The Time Of The Doctor is this years Christmas special and is also a special episode because it is the last episode of Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. In this episode all of The Doctor’s enemies appear including Daleks, Cybermen, The Silence, and the Weeping Angels to name a few. These villains then proceed to all gather around a planet that is emitting a cryptic message out of a town called Christmas (if you haven’t seen the episode there are spoilers below).
I thought that this episode as a finale for the 11th Doctor was slightly underwhelming in that it didn’t really establish a main threat or enemy for the Doctor. The Doctor finds himself caught between a whole range of enemies that wish to kill him to prevent the Timelords from returning. Of course none of these enemies can do it or get past the shield put up by the Papal Mainframe for hundreds of years. So we watch the 11th Doctor age and sort of just sit around defending the town. I’ve not known the Doctor to ever just sit around and wait so it was a strange episode. Having all the Trenzalore death of the Doctor references and having Trenzalore as the location doesn’t really help because it made the episode seem that it was just playing into a story that doesn’t really have much to it. I also found the narration of this episode to be annoying, since when does Doctor Who have narration? Once Upon a time all of the Doctor’s enemies gathered to hear a sound and they were all scared…. except one… I thought it was a bit lame.
While I did think that the story of this episode was weak I did like the acting from by Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) and the Matt Smith (11th Doctor). Matt Smith did well in all parts throughout the episode and the way he acted as he aged during this episode was great to watch. There is no doubt that Matt Smith is a great Doctor and I’ll always remember him for his entertaining performances. Jenna Coleman was also quite good here as well with little facial expressions here and there during different parts of the episode such as Matt Smith’s nude scene, or when wandering around Trenzalor nude but with clothes on. Both actors do well together with little interactions and I think are really entertaining to watch.
Other characters in this episode like Tasha Lem who is played by Orla Brady I thought were okay, but didn’t get a chance to establish much presence because there was simply too many of them. Tasha Lem was likely the most interesting one in this episode and Orla Brady played her well. But I did find Tasha Lem annoying as I don’t know where she came from or why or how she can hold back the forces of Daleks, Cybermen and everything else trying to get in. How is this Papal Mainframe so strong? I mean if the Daleks can match the Timelords in the time war, surely they can deal with the Papal Mainframe! The voice acting for the Daleks from Barnaby Edwards and Nicolas Pegg was good, especially whichever one of them who did the main one for the massive ship towards the end, that Dalek had some presence! The Cyberman head that the Doctor carried around was also pretty cool as well and provided some funny jokes for everyone.
The settings, effects and overall look for this episode was also great. The Dalek Ships and all the aliens looked excellent in this episode. There was a a lot of explosions and overall there was good costume work in this episode. The town of Christmas was well designed and looked like a Christmas town. I liked the snow effects and it added a dark and cold feel to this episode that matched the dark and cold themes, of the possible death that the Doctor was facing.
The message of this Christmas special episode was more about that over a lifetime people change and become different but they are still the same person, just growing up and changing as they go on. It was a nice episode but the overarching plot of this episode I thought brought a lot of it down. To me none of the characters got a chance to stand out fully because there was just too much added in to such a short amount of time. Having so much villains in at once didn’t add anything dramatic, to me it sort of lessened the threat of them all because none of them had any chance to be threatening. I think the episode could have been done with just Daleks as the main danger because the others seemed just slotted in there to add drama to the episode which was clearly lacking in any dramatic danger, other than the Doctor having to die. I mean a wooden Cyberman now? What’s with that?
Overall this episode was okay, but I thought that they tried to fit in way too much with such a short amount of time. I don’t know why they chose to add in so many enemies, what’s the weeping angels doing there? They added nothing to the episode, why have the Sonatarans there? The performances from both Matt Smith and Clara were great though and the episode does have a lot of funny moments in it. It is quite entertaining in terms of shows that air around Christmas, but as a send off for the 11th Doctor I felt underwhelmed with the Time Of The Doctor. It did have some good strong moments towards the end when the regeneration was occurring, but as an episode in the series I do not think of it as one of the greats, and the end of a Doctor should be something great, not just okay.