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Author Topic: $$ Doctor Who "The Time of the Doctor" Special $$
Krenim
Unholy Triangle Fella
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After watching this episode, I had only one thought in my head: This is Moffat's Author's Saving Throw for the past few seasons. To some extent it succeeds, as it could have been a lot worse, but it also could have been a lot better.

In essence, everything is one big causal loop:

1. The Time Lords are attempting to return to the universe via one of the time cracks from Series 5. They send out a message to the Doctor consisting of a single question: "Doctor Who?" Should the Doctor answer the question (which he must answer truthfully as the Time Lords are also sending out a truth field through the time crack), the Time Lords would know they were in the right place and come back. And which time crack do they use for this purpose? One on Trenzalore.

2. That same message also attracts every baddie in the universe, especially the Daleks. If the Time Lords return here and now, the Last Great Time War will re-ignite, and everyone on Trenzalore (at the very least) will die.

3. The Church of the Papal Mainframe (seen as both allies and enemies of the Doctor over the past few seasons), eager to prevent such bloodshed, attempt to enforce a truce between the Doctor and his enemies. They forbid the Doctor from summoning the Time Lords, but also attempt to stop the Doctor's enemies from coming down to Trenzalore and killing him.

4. Over the years, one faction of the Church (Kovarian's sect) goes rogue and decides to prevent this from happening in the first place by travelling back through the Doctor's timeline and trying to kill him before he reaches Trenzalore. One of those attempts was blowing up the TARDIS, creating the cracks in time in the first place.

It does wrap up everything fairly well, although we still don't get an explanation as to how the Kovarian sect blew up the TARDIS, which has always bugged me.

We also get confirmation that the Tenth Doctor did use up a regeneration in "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", and has indeed reached his regeneration limit. In previous interviews, Moffat seemed to go out of his way to deride fans for inquiring about the regeneration limit. I'm wondering if he's actually been trolling us this whole time.

The Dalek puppets again? Really? Really?. While they're not the stupidest Dalek flunkies ever (Pig-slaves, anyone?), they're just so pointless.

The Time Lords grant the Doctor another set of regenerations, but it's all so underwhelming. For something so important to the series as a whole, it should have been a lot more grand than a wisp of regeneration energy floating from the time crack into the Doctor's mouth.

Although, wow, that regeneration made the Tenth Doctor's regeneration into the Eleventh seem positively tame. He was blowing up Daleks left and right.

And now Matt Smith is gone. I'm really going to miss him; I think the Eleventh Doctor has been my favorite to date. (I really only started with the TV movie, and have only been very slowly catching up on the classic series.) Looking forward to Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor. He sure does have a piercing stare from what little we've seen of him so far.

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"Kirito? I killed a thing and now it says I have XPs! Is that bad? Am I dying?"

-Asuna, Episode 2, Sword Art Online Abridged

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Trimm
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I think there was a better, slightly more coherent story in there that was rendered nearly nonsensical by the time limit. Overall, it was typical NuWho. It hit all the emotional notes well, with a plot that just doesn't sustain scrutiny. I can live with that.
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Omega
Some other beginning's end
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^Well-said. The plot was full of holes, but the emotions they hit were good.
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Zipacna
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What amused me is that if all you need to do to wipe out a Dalek fleet is zap them with regeneration energy then why did Galifrey need to go into hiding in the first place? There's bound to be thousands of Time Lords sitting on Galifrey who needed to regenerate by the last day of the Time War! When death itself is a weapon, it's counter-productive to kill your enemy.

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The Mighty Monkey of Mim
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Beyond the obvious visual cues, I thought it was implied that the energy released was much greater than usual when the Doctor said "Regeneration number 13! We're breaking some serious science [or was it 'silence'?] here, boys! It's gonna be a whopper!" It was an extraordinary circumstance, although I guess we won't know for sure whether it was unique until the next one.

I was not underwhelmed at all. Even though I basically knew what was going to happen, I was trembling with anticipation and emotion at the climax. Smith was a great Doctor and this was a great way to send him off.

I really have to thank Steven Moffat and Smith for getting me back into watching Doctor Who. I used to love it as a child (Tom Baker into Peter Davison era) but lost interest as it waned with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, and ultimately went off the air. Leading up to the 50th anniversary, BBC America was showing highlights from Smith's tenure, and I was instantly hooked again. It's allowed me to revisit the classic Hartnell/Troughton/Pertwee years as well as the Russell T. Davies era with renewed enthusiasm and much enjoyment.

So, about Tasha Lem...as I watched this episode I became increasingly aware that it seemed to be hinting at her being another incarnation of Melody Pond/River Song. Then I came on the internet, finding many people saying they thought the same, and about an equal number of people essentially calling them idiots for thinking that. It could turn out to be a red herring, but if so, I find it difficult to believe that it wasn't designed as one. Too much coincidence.

I loved Handles!! A cute yet emotionally effective takeoff on "Wilson" from Castaway, and a nice source of comic relief at points.

I also liked that the Daleks at the end seemed to be almost an analogue for the nitpicking fanboy hordes. "Trolling" indeed. More like "well, I can see from the internet discussions after the anniversary special that I'm going to have to really spell it out for you guys."

In summary, I was quite pleased with it.

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Krenim
Unholy Triangle Fella
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quote:
Originally posted by The Mighty Monkey of Mim:
So, about Tasha Lem...as I watched this episode I became increasingly aware that it seemed to be hinting at her being another incarnation of Melody Pond/River Song. Then I came on the internet, finding many people saying they thought the same, and about an equal number of people essentially calling them idiots for thinking that. It could turn out to be a red herring, but if so, I find it difficult to believe that it wasn't designed as one. Too much coincidence.

Yeah, they were very, very similar. The monkey wrench in them being the same person, though, is that Tasha mentions this is her first time meeting the Doctor's eleventh incarnation.

quote:
Originally posted by The Mighty Monkey of Mim:
I loved Handles!! A cute yet emotionally effective takeoff on "Wilson" from Castaway, and a nice source of comic relief at points.

Handles! How could I forget mentioning Handles? Who'd have thought a disembodied Cyberman head could be so... endearing? I wonder if the Doctor brought him back to the TARDIS after blowing up the Daleks.

And, going off on the tangent of "Hey, does the Doctor still have X?", I wonder if he still has the Moment...

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"Kirito? I killed a thing and now it says I have XPs! Is that bad? Am I dying?"

-Asuna, Episode 2, Sword Art Online Abridged

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The Mighty Monkey of Mim
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quote:
Originally posted by Krenim:
The monkey wrench in them being the same person, though, is that Tasha mentions this is her first time meeting the Doctor's eleventh incarnation.

I take it you mean when she playfully asks "Is that a new body?" This may simply mark flattery rather than genuine ingnorance. (As is often the case in real life when someone round-aboutly pays another a compliment by asking "Have you lost weight?" or "Is that a new dress?") Moreover, the line might have been put in specifically to toy with the audience and deflect their suspicions. ("I've got a great idea! We'll actually bring up the concept of new bodies in her first scene, but in such a way that viewers won't see what's right in front of them! Hidden in plain sight!")

And remember, River pretended not to know her parents in the first episodes in which they interacted as well.

Furthermore, I know it's gotten a bit muddled (wibbley-wobbled?) as it's gone on, but wasn't the original gimmick with River that her timeline flows in more or less the opposite direction of the Doctor's? The first time he met her was the last time she met him (in the flesh, as opposed to her "ghost" in "The Name Of The Doctor") so I would presume that the first time she meets him will be the last time he sees her. He continues to know her more and more, and she continues to know him less and less. Of course, I'm not sure they'll actually stick (or have actually stuck) to that. It seems like the kind of thing that could prove quite a challenge to writing workable stories. Temporal mechanics are indeed a headache.

So maybe it is her first time meeting the young Smith. Maybe from her point of view, her meetings with him as an old man are previous encounters. Maybe she met Capaldi first. I honestly don't know, but I'd say there are more possibilities open than those (not anyone here) who are categorically saying "no, they are completely separate characters" are considering. There are many "clues" in the episode that suggest she could be Mel/River, and the one thing people are saying precludes this really doesn't.

[ January 06, 2014, 12:22 AM: Message edited by: The Mighty Monkey of Mim ]

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Krenim
Unholy Triangle Fella
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Yeah, River's personal history is such a timey-wimey ball that anything is possible.

For instance, I'm still not entirerly convinced that "Melody Pond" regenerated directly into "Mels" at the end of "Day of the Moon". Maybe it goes "Melody Pond" -> "Tasha Lem" -> "Mels" -> "River Song".

For another possibility, Tasha Lem is the head of the Church of the Papal Mainframe. And River Song did wind up becoming rather remarkable software, if her ability to project herself across space and time is any indication. A connection, perhaps?

Then again, maybe Moffat's just messing with us.

*Shrug*

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"Kirito? I killed a thing and now it says I have XPs! Is that bad? Am I dying?"

-Asuna, Episode 2, Sword Art Online Abridged

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Nim
The Aardvark asked for a dagger
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One thing bothered me: the Cyberman head promised to remind him of a message routed through his phone and waiting for him, then did so before it died, but the Doctor never went back to the Tardis and picked up the receiver to hear the actual message. So, what was that thing about? What was the phone call that he got in the very beginning of the episode?
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The Mighty Monkey of Mim
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The phone call was Clara asking him to pose as her boyfriend at Christmas dinner with her family. All the Doctor wanted Handles to do was remind him "later" to re-route the phone line through the main console (as it had been in the previous configuration of the TARDIS) so that he wouldn't have to keep opening the outer door to answer it and drag it around with that ridiculously long cord. Handles found "remind me later" too vague to process, so the Doctor told him to pick a random number, express it as a quantity in minutes, and remind him after that time had elapsed. As it so happened, that turned out to be the moment before Handles' lights went out, so it ended up being the last thing he said to the Doctor.

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