If you have not yet seen the 2013 Doctor Who Christmas Special, stop reading. Right Now. Go somewhere else, watch the special, then return here to read this information. This entire blog will contain spoilers for the special, and I will NOT be held responsible if you read it and get spoiled.
You have been warned.
Eleven made a big deal about Amy Pond being the “first face this face saw” and thus I knew she’d be the last one as well. Even if it was a hallucination. That did not disappoint me.
The Doctor has been summoned to a distant planet, one he was not familiar with, by a ringing bell. This bell terrifies all these other creatures in the universe, his enemies, and even this intergalactic Church. Not the Doctor, as usual, he’s fascinated. Except he has to go to Christmas Dinner with Clara. Naked, because Church requires nudity. Oh, hologram clothes are good for Clara, but did I mention he met his “girlfriend’s” parents (and grandma) in the buff?
Clara needed a boyfriend, she told her family she had one, and he was willing to oblige. “I’m a bit rusty on a few things…” That was sweet, Doctor.
After bursting out of the house to use the TARDIS to cook a turkey, they go to the future planet with the bells, and attend Naked Church, where we meet a “mother superior” with some sort of history with the Doctor.
She wants to be “alone” with the Doctor, so Clara waits outside, meeting the Silence who want her to “confess.”
Terrified, she bursts in, then the Doctor and Clara go planet side to a town called Christmas. He cheats to call his TARDIS planet side, just to have it there.
The locals are a quaint, likeable people, living near a truth field.
The Doctor finds a crack in the wall, much like Amy’s crack, generating the field and the signal. Then, he discovers two things:
Gallifrey is on the other side of the crack, begging to return.
This planet is Trenzalore, where he’s doomed to die.
The Doctor knows he’s on his last go-around, last face. He even tells Clara “oh we get 13 faces, but you forget Grandpa… and Sandshoes cheated and regenerated to keep his face.”
Then he sends her home, she returns with the TARDIS 300 years later.
The Doctor has aged; 300 years is a long time for him, especially stuck in one spot.
I kinda liked seeing an old Doctor 11. For the first time since #1, we have a doctor that lived a body’s full lifespan.
He can’t leave Trenzalore, because he’s in a stand-off. The armies above will invade, killing those quaint Trenzalorians. The Church has rededicated itself, calling itself the Church of Silence. (Who apparently traveled throughout the doctor’s timeline to stop him from bringing back the Time Lords and restarting the Time War, because if he answered that question, that is exactly what they would have done). This point I thought was kinda cheesy.
Silence will Fall when the question is answered. That crack constantly asks the question, you know the one…
“Doctor Who?” two words that terrify the Doctor’s enemies.
The question could not be answered falsely, the truth field saw to that.
The Doctor sat by that crack and with the town for centuries, protecting the people.
Never answering it.
It took Clara, returned on his dying day, a man dying of old age, to do it.
Clara is very much a “Damsel who saves herself.” She told the crack “His name is the Doctor.” Which is true, you use the premise that a name is “the appellation by which one is to by which others refer to a person, place or thing.”
And the Time Lords thus reached out through the gap, and giving the Doctor a pinch of shiny light, gave him more regeneration skill (presumably like they did the Master, who seemed to have infinite regenerations). They did not return, they did not get the code word of his “actual name,” but they heard he was in danger, reached out, and protected him. Because if he’s in danger, it’s not safe to return. And if he dies, ‘we’ will never come back.
Which he did. He regenerated.
Now, this is a violent process: and he dang near destroyed the planet by letting the energy loose, stumbling back to the TARDIS for a final meal of fish fingers and custard and a hallucinogenic farewell by Amelia. (This was something I predicted and expected).
He finally takes off the bow tie, and in the quickest face-change I’ve seen, POOF! Different face.
The Doctor’s new face is older, more mature than his old one. Perhaps after spending time settled on one planet, he wanted to be more respected (because 11 was young looking, as was 10, the body needed a change, something different. He needed to look older.) And his first thoughts weren’t to celebrate having legs, but more a concern with the color of his kidneys…. Interesting…
What do I think about it?
I was sad to lose 11. Though he never really took 10’s place in my heart, I liked the childish nature of 11. He was always so full of wonder, hope, and intrigued about the world around him, a fascinating trait in a character as old as he was.
I think it was a little cheesy that the Silence were parts of a church. I’d hoped for more there.
I wish they’d left the Angels out of it. Weeping angels were scary the first time, but like all bad horror plots, repetition makes them weak.
There were funny bits, and happy bits, and sad bits.
I wish we’d seen River again.
Now to wait. For eight months. For #12.
That’s nothing. I’m a Wheel of Time Reader. I can do eight months. Heck, I waited 4 years between “11” and “12” there.