Matt Smith’s swan song received some mixed reactions on its first airing – probably not helped by most fans trying to hear it over jabbering family members, collapsed on the sofa after a giant Christmas lunch.
It’s not a perfect episode, but it’s certainly an underrated one, with plenty of brilliant little moments that demand giving it another chance if you were initially underwhelmed.
Here we look back at the best bits from ‘The Time of the Doctor’…
The return of all those villains
Doctor Who’s big finale episodes often take on a ‘kitchen sink’ approach, but here the enemies have gathered for a reason, and one which adds to ‘The Day of the Doctor’s new Return of The Time Lords arc while also tying up the majority of the loose ends from the Eleventh Doctor’s era.
The winter forest attack by the Weeping Angels is suitably tense, as is the encounter with a wooden Cyberman. And despite them eventually siding with the Doctor, the Silence remain a chilling invention.
The Christmas cracker scene
One of Clara’s best moments to date, the scene where she is reunited with an elderly Doctor is beautiful in its emotion. Having run out of the flat upon hearing the TARDIS, that Clara chooses to spend Christmas day with the Doctor rather than her own family speaks volumes about their relationship.
Her helping him to open the cracker showcases the many levels of their relationship in a single action, but it’s the poem inside the cracker that provides the scene’s most poignant part. A moment of meta-commentary, the poem reads:
“Now it’s time for one last bow, like all your other selves.
Eleven’s hour is over now, the clock is striking Twelve’s.”
A well-kept secret, but something we all secretly hoped for, was the brief cameo by Karen Gillan as Amy Pond. As “the first face this face saw”, Amy is undoubtedly more important to the life of the Eleventh Doctor than Clara and this is proved simply with “Raggedy Man… goodnight.”
A simple and heartfelt moment that echoes her own final words and neatly brings us back to the start of Matt and Karen’s era in ‘The Eleventh Hour’.
The idea of the Doctor befriending a Cyberman head is questionable on paper, but it ends up creating one of the episode’s most poignant moments when, after 300 years with no one but each other protecting Christmas Town, Handles slowly passes away. That the Doctor cries over this loss is both bittersweet and a commentary on what the Doctor has made of his life.
The goodbye speech
From the second Matt Smith utters “I will not forget one line of this” you know he is speaking more as Matt than as the Doctor, and it’s all the more moving as a result, aided by Jenna Coleman’s heartbroken performance and Murray Gold’s rousing score.
“I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”
Continued on Page 2…