Sunday, May 19, 2013

Doctor Who Season Finale: Questions Answered, Questions Raised. Ugh. (spoilers)

In what has been a bit of a choppy season we are given a season finale that makes it all worth it!  My God!  Everything from the episode title to the last few seconds was fantastic.  Okay, so the tagline is kind of misleading.  Even though Moffat has publicly stated that he will soon be revealing the Doctor's name (which kind of feels like a shark jump considering we are only on Doctor 11 and know there are still more Doctors to come), it turns out he was just dangling a juicy tid-bit in front of whovians faces.  Apparently, his name is not the Doctor's biggest secret, but what we find is mind blowing, insanely puzzling and intensely exciting.  There is a secret that is answered however, why the impossible girl Clara Oswald is so impossible, and in true Who fashion I don't think anybody could have ever figured it out.  If you haven't seen the episode and don't want to know what happened read no further.  At the bottom of this post I have theories about the 50 year special so if you wana glaze over the recap be my guest!

Like every season of Doctor Who, season 7 had a repeating question, "Who is Clara Oswald?  Who is the impossible girl?"  Every whovian had a theory, but I don't think any of us could have guessed why this one girl kept popping up and popping out of the Doctor's life.  The episode starts with Clara falling through some sort of time rift, running after every version of the Doctor, screaming for him.  In a voice over monologue Clara says "I don't know where I am.  It's like I'm breaking into a million pieces and there is only one thing I remember.  I have to save the Doctor."  She finishes with "I'm Clara Oswald, the impossible girl, I was born to save the Doctor."  Well what the hell!  All I wanted to to was fast forward my DVR just to see who Clara is, but I patiently sat through the episode.  Here is a super quick recap of how we finally find out who Clara is.

Madam Vastra and her band of Victorian misfits find out that somebody has found out the Doctor's biggest secret.  Vastra calls a subconscious meeting with all of the people most important to the current Doctor, Madam Vastra, Strax, Jenny, Clara and.... RIVER SONG!  She's back and just a naughty as ever, changing a cup of tea into a flute of campaign.
Things go a bit off in this dream world as Vastra and Jenny are attacked by some crazy looking monsters in the waking world.  River wakes everybody up and makes Clara tell the Doctor whats going on, that his secret has been revealed.

Clara does as she is told and in some beautiful acting by Matt Smith, the Doctor realizes he must go to the one place a time traveler must never go... to their own grave.  We find out that the Doctor has been buried on Trenzalore, a name which has been thrown around in quite a few episodes, now we know why.  Of course the TARDIS doesn't like this time stream cross and blows up like always, but the Doctor and Clara make it on to this graveyard planet.  Here we find the Doctor's grave in the form of a dying TARDIS that has grown, now unable to keep up with the whole "bigger on the inside" thing.  Still mentally linked with Clara, River speaks to her without the Doctor being able to see or hear her.  For a second you think maybe the Doctor can because he turns and says "River" only to find her grave.  But of course, we know that this can't be River's grave, she died in the library a long before this. And that's when we realize the sad truth.  Clara is talking to the dead River, the River that was uploaded into the library.  Before your heart has a chance to break completely, the Doctor and Clara are attacked by those horrible creepy monsters and River tells Clara that her grave is a shortcut to the Doctor's tomb.

Meanwhile, the Vastra crew have all been brought to Trenzalore as well, where they discover the true nature of these monsters, they are all part of the Great Intelligence from the Christmas episode.  Remember all of those minds that were uploaded in "The Bells of Saint John"?  Well they fed the Great Intelligence with enough power for him to make copies of himself in the form of Doctor Simian.  The Doctor meets them all in front of the TARDIS tomb and Simian demands he open it using his name, his true name.  Of course every whovian heart is POUNDING thinking this is it!  This is the moment we find out!  Every one of the doctor's companions is being attacked by Simian's unfinished doppelgangers and you think, the doctor must use his name!  It's coming!  "PLEASE!"  The Doctor yells and the doors open... his name is please?  Oh no, Moffat you dirty genius you, RIVER in psychic form and knowing the name of the Doctor opened it without the audience ever hearing.  Whew!

Inside the tomb, we find not a body, but the scar tissue of the Doctor's journeys through time and space.  All that is left of him is an echo of his entire lifespan, of every moment he ever lived.  So what does the Great Intellegnce do?  Well he jumps on in!  He is ripped into a million pieces and spread across every moment in the Doctor's life!  HE UNDOES EVERY GOOD THING THE DOCTOR HAS EVER DONE!  We see what would happen if there was no Doctor in the universe.  Jenny disappears, Strax goes all Sauntaran, the stars start going out and the Doctor struggles in pain on the floor as his life gets re-written.  Well there is only one way he and the universe can be saved.  Clara throws herself into the Doctor's time stream, essentially killing herself.  River tries to explain that the copies won't be Clara, but Clara doesn't care, "Just like my mum said, the souffle isn't the souffle, the souffle is the recipe."  THAT is why there are so many versions of her.  She spread herself throughout space and time in order to constantly save the Doctor from the Great Intelligence, Clara is literally every Doctor's savior.  

But just when you think "YES!  We finally know who Clara is!"  River Song goes and spoils it all.  It turns out that the Doctor knew she was there the whole time, "You're always here to me, and I always listen and I can always see you."  The Doctor had been ignoring her because he knew talking to her would bring him pain.  They share a proper, beautiful kiss and a final absolutely beautiful goodbye.  But, before she says her final "Goodbye sweetie" that brought tears to my eyes, River gives us one last spoiler.  "I was mentally linked with Clara," she says, "if she's really dead, how can I still be here."  WELL WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?!  Is she just referring to the fact that Clara isn't dead?  Is she saying she has some really important connection with Clara?  IS THIS THE FOREVER LAST EPISODE FOR RIVER!  UGH DAMN IT!

Anyway, the Doctor throws himself into his own time stream in order to try and save Clara.  They both end up in this sort of smokey dusty pit that looks like an old set from Charmed.  The Doctor is able to reach Clara, as she sees every version of the Doctor run past in the collapsing time stream.  Finally number 11 is able to come through and grab hold of her, but not before facing the secret... the Doctor's biggest secret.  A man stands at the edge of a pit.  The Doctor confesses that this man is him.  You think "Is it a future Doctor?" but no.  This man, is just a secret.  The Doctor tells Clara "My name my real name, that's not the point."  The name he chose, "The Doctor" is a promise he made, this man is who broke the promise, he is the Doctor's secret.  They have a brief conversation.

Man:  What I did, I did without choice, in the name of peace and sanity.
Doctor:  But not in the name of the Doctor.

The mysterious man turns around and we see legendary actor John Hurt with a caption.  "Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor."  WHAT?!?!?!  

SO MUCH INFORMATION!  Of course I've already started to wonder about the implications of this episode.  Is the John Hurt doctor the one who made the decision to end the Last Great Time War?  Is he a personification of the Doctor's real name?  Does he count as a regeneration?!  They have left us with such an enormous mystery!

Obviously Hurt is going to be in the 50 year anniversary episode.  Here is a clip of Smith and Tennant talking about the special.  They talk about an actor and a character who is "bemused" by them and now I assume they are talking about Hurt.

Also, this episode gives pretty good insite to how Smith's Doctor and Tennant's Doctor both show up in the 50 year special.  The Doctor has crossed into his own time stream... on the way out does he end up in Tennant's?  It makes sense, he was the last Doctor before this regeneration... does he get out of the time stream too soon?  That would be my guess but when it comes to Doctor Who I am always wrong.  I guess that's a good thing!  Welp, I'll see you whovians back in November for a 50 year anniversary blog post!