Doctor Who Review: The name of the Doctor

The Name of the Doctor

Doctor Who Review: The name of the Doctor

Rating: ★★★★½ 

In order to save his friends, the Doctor must do the one thing no Time Lord should ever do and visits his own grave.

Best Moment: So many! How about the final scene for starters? I also loved all the scenes featuring past Doctors and Clara saving them. Some were hokey in the special effects department, but mostly I thought they did rather well. I also loved the scene in which the Doctor finally says goodbye to River Song. “Since no one else in this room can see you, God knows how that looked.” Best. Line. Ever.

Verdict: What can I say? I loved it. This whole half a season of Doctor Who has been somewhat lacklustre, but this episode almost makes up for it all.

Firstly, there’s the title of the episode. I for one was rather afraid they would go the Star Wars route and start explaining stuff that doesn’t need explaining, i.e. the Doctor’s true name. As it turns out, the title was actually a bit of clever misdirection and the episode is not about the Doctor’s name at all.

So what is the episode about? Well, for one thing, it’s about Clara and how she became the Impossible Girl. You see, it turns out that Clara becomes her while trying to prevent the Great Intelligence from completely destroying the Doctor and all the good he has done. Thus we find out how a girl that looks like Clara can end up at the Dalek Asylum, in Victorian England and how she appears, as seen at the beginning of the episode, to the very first Doctor to tell him which TARDIS to steal.

I’m not sure this makes up for the poor handling of Clara over the past few episodes. It doesn’t explain why she has felt like such a caricature of a companion. That is, up until this episode. Because while Jenna-Louise Coleman may not have been able to show a range of emotions in previous episodes, she certainly gets plenty to do this episode. For that matter so does Matt Smith who upon his first appearance in the episode, hears the word Trenzalore and gets rather worried.

Other friends along for the ride are River Song, Vastra, Jenny and Strax. Some people may be tiring of River, but I have to admit, I enjoyed her appearance in this episode. Last season was a little too River Song heavy, but this episode had just the right amount which after watching their goodbye and hearing her utter the word “spoilers” really makes me miss her. Of course, I’m also left wondering what she means by that! Vastra, Jenny and Strax were also a welcome return and also introduced a new way of time travel. Not sure what to make of that, but certainly interesting.

Then we had the villains. Personally, I liked the Whispermen. They were properly creepy and I’m sure they’ll be turning up at a con near you very soon. The always wonderful Richard E. Grant also returned as Dr Simeon or rather, the Great Intelligence. Although, to be honest, we don’t get to see too much from the Great Intelligence, especially after he decides to go off and destroy all versions of the Doctor. Apparently this will kill the Great Intelligence. I’m not so sure. I guess we’ll see.

And finally this leads me to what this episode was really about… a prequel to the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who. That’s basically what it was, and I’m not saying it as a bad thing. This episode was a real trip, and that final scene with John Hurt as The Doctor. Wow! Or not the Doctor since he broke a promise? I don’t know. All I do know is that that one scene has probably broken the internet as Whovians race to pose their theories about who John Hurt really is. Is he the Valeyard? Is he an incarnation in-between McGann and Eccleston? We won’t find out for another six months. The only thing I can say for sure is that I’ll be there, in a cinema, with my 3D glasses. How ’bout you?