What’s that sound? It’s the sound of thousands of fanboys’ heads exploding. What to make of the season finale to what has been a reasonable but patchy run, lest we forget one that has been cleaved in half, with the Amy & Rory half feeling like a lifetime ago.
Moffat has done some things very right in his tenure as producer of the show since he took over, but season finales haven’t been on that list. At best, they were pseudo-scientific rambles through a case reunion of old baddies. At worst they are nigh-on incomprehensible high-sci-fi that even I – as a reasonably open-minded sci-fi fan – lost patience with.
So, would we learn the name of the Doctor? Was I bothered? Not really – what’s in a name (check me, all cultured)? But naturally we didn’t, and I didn’t care, mostly because they never do stuff like that. But what we did learn is that there will be a new character in the mix for November’s 50th anniversary special (just don’t mention it wasn’t on for 15 years). Very intriguing, and possibly already linked into Who mythology. I won’t say too much though … let’s just hope he doesn’t die of old age before his story is sorted out. But holy Christ, what a closing moment!
The episode somehow felt climactic without really a great deal happening. The pre-credit sequence with Clara’s travels was a marvellous little fanwank. After that though, the marvellous Richard E. Grant’s “Great Intelligence” reappeared to scowl at all and sundry, and manipulating the Doctor to cross the streams. If Ghostbusters has taught me anything (and it has), it’s that you NEVER cross the streams.
Flanked by the Victorian trio of Strax, Madame Vastra and Jenny, and even River Song, Clara had to put in a strong performance to resolve her story arc (or at least the bit we know), and secured herself as another great companion. The Doctor himself played a blinder, believable emotions, not so much running around. His simmering anger at the Great Intelligence was wonderful.
I certainly enjoyed it, if only as a mythology-loving episode. Being critical, it did just feel like it was a prequel to the events in the reunion episode than something that could easily stand alone. However, it gave plenty for the fans to get their teeth into. The scene between the Doctor and River was touching, but perhaps would have been more so if I could remember what the hell the backstory was between them.
I know in my heart that for all its issues, Doctor Who will always remain a TV show with a special in my heart, and while we might not see eye to eye all the time, I’m excited to join in the celebrations, even if they are six bloody months away.