“Space. The final frontier. Final, because it wants to kill us.” That how this episode of Doctor Who starts. Put simply, The Doctor and Bill find out just how dangerous outer space can really be in this episode, meet me after the jump, for my thoughts on “Oxygen.”
We’re running through the standard Doctor Who companion introductory course with Bill Potts. We’ve had an adventure on Earth, and we’ve been to the future, now it’s time to go into the past. Is there something under the frozen Thames of the early 1800s eating people? Meet me after the time travel jump as The Doctor and Bill investigate “Thin Ice.”
Remember that old rule? You know the one. “The Doctor lies.” It’s not just him. It’s his heritage. It’s his people. Just because The Doctor comes from the Time Lords of Gallifrey, some new schoolers might guess that the Time Lords are the good guys. Not true. The Time Lords are among The Doctor’s greatest enemies. They lie, don’t forget this. They fear him. Proof positive, meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Hell Bent.”
The Zygons are back, terrible whispering and shape-shifting “Doctor Who” monsters who make Whovians new and old hide behind their sofas, and this time, they’re playing for keeps. What can The Doctor and Clara, and the returning Osgood (!) do to stop them from destroying the human race this time? Meet me after the time and space jump for my thoughts on “The Zygon Invasion!”
In the last episode of “Doctor Who,” we were introduced to a new evil alien race, The Mire, and to a young Viking girl named Ashildr, who with The Doctor’s help, saved her village. Now, Maisie Williams from “Game of Thrones” returns as that now immortal character, this time in the guise of The Knightmare. What has she been up to since we saw her last? Join me after the time and space jump for my thoughts on “The Woman Who Lived.”
“Doctor Who” showrunner Steven Moffat certainly knows how to launch a series with a cliffhanger. When last we saw The Doctor and his unconventional entourage, things were looking very bad indeed. Missy AKA The Master and Clara Oswald had been exterminated by Daleks, The TARDIS has been destroyed, and The Doctor has been confronted by his old archenemy, the dying Davros, at the dawn of the Daleks, with a chance to end the Dalek threat forever… but what are the real consequences? Meet me after the time and space jump for my thoughts on “The Witch’s Familiar!”
Now that the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who” is over, there’s something we need to talk about. Peter Capaldi. It’s been several months since the announcement, and now the world knows the man’s name. He’s the actor who will be portraying The Doctor on the longest running scifi series in history, BBC’s “Doctor Who.” We all know the name now, but who is he really? Let’s find out, after the jump.
The Doctor has many secrets, but not the least of them is his real name. Other than The Master and other Gallifreyans, few folks are aware of it. River Song knows it, and she’s back in tonight’s season finale. Will we at last learn “The Name of The Doctor”? Find out in my review, after the jump…
Did you hear that “squeeeee”? Yeah, that was me watching the pre-credit sequence of this episode. We see The First Doctor, yeah baby, William Hartnell, and his granddaughter stealing a faulty TARDIS on Gallifrey… before being stopped by Clara Oswald. Then it gets better.
Her voiceover claims she was made to save The Doctor, and then encounters the Colin Baker version, Tom Baker, then Sylvester McCoy, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, Peter Davison, then finally Matt Smith, then the other shoe drops.
She says she entered the world on a leaf, the leaf that caused her parents to meet, fall in love, and have her. She’s the Impossible Girl who was born to save The Doctor. Roll credits. If the rest of the episode holds up to the opening, Steven Moffat, you are The Man.
Through the magic of dreams, ‘where time travel has always been possible,’ several old friends return in a magical unconscious conference call. Among them are Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Commander Strax (where’s our spin-off??!), as well as Professor River Song and Clara Oswald.
A murderer has traded his life for a secret to Vastra, one of The Doctor’s secrets. Unfortunately, new monsters, called The Whisper Men, attack the conference call and capture our Victorian London trio. Once again, Moffet has created couchworthy monsters.
Clara returns to The Doctor, relates the tale of a secret The Doctor will take to the grave, that is discovered, and of the place called Trenzalore. It upsets him greatly. Of course he’s upset. When you’re a time traveller, there is one place you must never go. Trenzalore is where The Doctor’s grave is. Whoa.
Hard to get there, as the TARDIS refuses to go, but eventually The Doctor and Clara arrive on Trenzalore. There, surprise surprise, the villain of the second half of season seven reveals himself, Dr. Simian, possessed by the Great Intelligence. He’s holding Vastra, Jenny, and Strax captive in the tomb of The Doctor.
Once inside the tomb, which is the TARDIS of course, albeit super-sized because all the paradoxes that make it bigger on the inside are broken, they encounter The Doctor’s corpse. It’s not a body, but an energy signature of all his trips through time, an open wound in the fabric of time itself.
The Great Intelligence, in a bid to destroy The Doctor once and for all, enters the wound, destroying all of The Doctors all at once, reversing all of his victories into defeats, and erasing The Doctor from history. If you’re following along, you know what happens next.
Yeah, enter the Impossible Girl. She counteracts the Great Intelligence at every turn, saving The Doctor as we’ve seen her do multiple times in different incarnations – and as we saw in the pre-credits scenes of this very episode.
Just when we thought even in death, River Song gets the short end of the stick, she gets a proper goodbye and a hot goodbye kiss, along with a juicy ‘spoilers’ line. Then The Doctor jumps into his own timeline after Clara. Yeah, crazy sumbitch thinks he’s going to save her.
That’s when things get bad. While The Doctor is looking for her, she keeps seeing ghosts of old Doctors. These visions, as well as those in the beginning, including colorized versions of the first two, are very well done by the way.
The Doctor finds her, inside his own time stream, haunted by ghosts of the past and the future. That’s when they encounter John Hurt, credited as The Doctor, and whom Matt Smith names as not acting in the name of The Doctor. Could this be another evil future incarnation of The Doctor, like The Valeyard referenced earlier this episode? Or could it be the incarnation who performed unspeakable acts in the Time War? Time will tell.
The Doctor (perhaps several different ones) returns in November for the big 50th anniversary, and hopefully some answers… And if you can’t wait until then, you could always go see Star Trek. What’s that you say? You missed Noel (Mickey Smith) Clarke in Star Trek Into Darkness? You better get to the theater and see him, great flick!
Last season, in Neil Gaiman’s writing debut on “Doctor Who,” we learned that his time and space machine, the TARDIS, was actually a she, and that she was in love with The Doctor. The episode was aptly, if creepily, titled “The Doctor’s Wife.”
This season we have seen the TARDIS take a positive dislike to new companion Clara Oswald. Could it be jealousy? Or something else altogether? In this week’s episode, with Clara trapped inside the damaged TARDIS, she, and we, might get the answers we’re looking for, or maybe not. Check out my recap and review of “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” after the jump…