Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, May 24, 2013

From the Girl Who Waited to the Impossible Girl

A couple of days ago, I was cleaning out my PVR when I came across The Name of the Doctor, which is the finale to Series 7 of Doctor Who.  Rather than lump it in with everything else I was blogging about, I figured the finale of Doctor Who deserved its own blog entry.  So, here we are, as we reflect on the series that was.

I have to agree with one blogger I recently read that the series may have been diminished somewhat by the fact that they split it up, and in doing so, deprived us of one of it's great surprises.  We had the first half back in the fall, where we said good-bye to Amy and Rory, and then we had the second half that just finished up, introducing us to the new companion, Clara Oswald.  As this blogger pointed out, the fact that we knew the first half was going to be Amy and Rory's send-off kind of diminished things.  Would it have not been better if we didn't know it was there end, and they kept it a surprise?  Maybe, but now, who knows?

All in all, though, I felt that series 7 was a bit weaker as a whole.  Maybe it's because they had too much going on, maybe it's because behind-the-scenes they've been distracted with all the 50th anniversary stuff happening later this year.  All I know is this series seemed to be lacking in stand up and cheer moments like the Pandorica speech in Series 5, or the emotion of Series 6, where it felt like the final half of that series had me bawling my eyes out at the end of each episode.

Don't get me wrong, though, there was still fun to be had.  Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is just a silly enough premise to be enjoyable.  And near the end, things got pretty good, as I found The Crimson Horror to be a fairly enjoyable mystery, and legendary fantasy author Neil Gaiman gave us another good installment with Nightmare in Silver.  I think the main problem, though, was that there were too many standalone adventures, and we didn't have enough time building our overreaching mystery.

Series 5 gave us the cracks in the universe, Series 6 had the prophecy of the Silence, and Series 7's main mytharc was going to be the mystery surrounding our Impossible Girl, Clara Oswald.  For those just joining us, here's the mystery.  We first met her in the first episode of Series 7, where she promptly died.  We met her again in the Christmas special, where she died again.  So, that was the mystery that piqued the Doctor's interest.  How can the same person exist in two separate time periods, with no memory of her other existence, and wind up dying both times?  So the Doctor sought out another incarnation of Clara, this one in our present day, and extended the invitation for her to become his new sidekick, and in the process, study her.  And it seemed like every time the Doctor took her to some kind of specialist, they all said the same thing.  "Don't know what to tell you, dude.  She's perfectly normal."   I really don't think they did enough to build the mystery.  It could have been more than having the Doctor be told "She's normal" at every crossroads. 

But all was explained in our finale, The Name of the Doctor.  The Doctor's enemy the Great Intelligence has taken several of the Doctor's friends hostage, and demands the Doctor meets him on the planet Trenzalor.  Of course, this is bad news, because as we learned last series, Trenzalor is the location of the Doctor's tomb, and as the Doctor tells us, when a time traveler visits his own grave, the temporal paradox could destroy everything.  But, the friends must be saved, so off to Trenzalor they go.

At Trenzalor, the Great Intelligence forces them into Doctor's tomb, and we see a shimmering pillar of light.  As is explained, this tear in the fabric of time and space is the Doctor's remains...it's the physical manifestation of his timeline.  The Great Intelligence seeks to gain his vengeance upon the Doctor by entering his timeline, and rewriting the Doctor's history.  The Great Intelligence does this, and the Doctor doubles over in pain as his personal history begins to get rewritten.  We see stars go out because the Doctor wasn't there to save those planets.  The Great Intelligence travels throughout all of the Doctor's life, turning all the Doctor's victories into defeats.

So it's up to Clara to save the day.  She knows what she has to do.  She has to enter the Doctor's timeline and undo the damage done by the Great Intelligence.  That's exactly what she does, and in doing so, creates multiple versions of herself across the Doctor's lifetime.  That's how we saw in the first episode, that's how we saw her at Christmastime....all time travel duplicates of herself to save the Doctor.

This undoes the damage and fixes the timeline.  Everything is back to normal...but Clara is now hopelessly lost in the Doctor's timeline.  Risking a universe-ending temporal paradox, the Doctor enters his own timeline to pull out Clara.  Of course, he's successful, and they have a tearful reunion.

I've got to admit, the creators do know how to tug at your heartstrings when they want to, as their reunion and the Doctor's rescue of Clara is one of the few moments that had my lower lip quivering as much as the last half of series 6.

But...before they can leave the Doctor's timeline and go back to adventuring across time and space, we have to have our WTF cliffhanger for the 50th anniversary special.

Popular speculation right now is that this John Hurt Doctor is the TRUE Ninth Doctor...the one who banished the Time Lords to their Time Lock and ended the Time War.  But I learned a long time ago that, when it comes to this series, it's best not to speculate, as there's so much wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff going on that we should just sit back and wait for things to unfold. 

November's a long ways away, so to tide us over, one last look at the Girl Who Waited, Amy Pond, as played by the incredibly cute Karen Gillam.

And one last glimpse of the Impossible Girl, Clara Oswald, played by the ridiculously adorable Jenna-Lousie Coleman.

This being the Internet, I think I'm supposed to look at those two pictures and say, "Now kiss."  I'm sure that slashfic exists somewhere. 

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