Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review - "The Name of the Doctor"

As River Song would say 'spoilers...'

I'm a little late with this review. Usually I write this reviews following the show, but my mind was just blown following the airing of this story I couldn't coherently put together a formal review of the Season 7 finale. So, I will try my best to create something here which can be easily followed and not just a flow of consciousness.

Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax call upon Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) and Professor River Song (Alex Kingston) when they discover that the Doctor's greatest secret which he has planned on taking to the grave has been discovered. The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara arrive on the battlefields of Tenzalore, the place where the question, the first question, the question which never be answered shall be spoken...Doctor Who?

Written by Steven Moffat, "The Name of the Doctor" is one of the best season finales which I have ever seen. It brilliantly answers all the questions we had regarding Season 7 and ties in with the sixth season as well. The answer as to who Clara, the impossible girl, who has died twice in the Doctor's presence was, was genius. It was also nice how in answering the question of her identity, we were treated to some clips from the classic series featuring the Second, Third, Forth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors. What's more, we actually saw some colourized footage of the First Doctor (played by William Hartnell) stealing the TARDIS. This episode also saw the return of the always watchable Richard E. Grant as The Great Intelligence and he did a great job as the villain.

And while we're discussing villains, I feel like I should mention the Whispermen. What were supposed to be really scary villains were just really underwhelming here. Yeah, they looked cool, but they didn't do a whole lot. The creepiest scene in which they appeared was when one morphed into the Great Intelligence personified. However, one scene which really stands out is very underwhelming especially when the monsters look really cool but do not contribute to the story whatsoever.

The acting was good overall in this episode. Coming off of his acting tour-de-force from last week, Matt Smith doesn't shine as much here. However, the scene in which he discovers that he must go to Trenzalore is heartbreaking. The fact that he begins crying and his very subtle acting is fantastic. He also interacts very well with Alex Kingston as River Song. Chronologically, this story is River's final story. If this were her final appearance on the show, it would have been a grand send-off. It was all very moving and the two had great screen chemistry.

The final twist of this episode was great and it is one of the few times that I have ever fallen to my knees and yelled at my television. The final shot which introduces us to John Hurt as yet another incarnation of the Doctor was wonderful. Steven Moffat is an evil genius though - he leaves us with a tremendous plot twist such as this and then tells us we have six months until it's resolved! What shall now follow will be six months of fan speculation and theories. The 50th Anniversary special cannot come soon enough. Aside from John Hurt we have Matt Smith and David Tennant (as to the 10th Doctor) to look forward to.

While "The Name of the Doctor" wasn't as good a season finale as "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" from Season 5, it was a tremendous story which brought an end to an overall excellent series of Doctor Who. Overall, I'd give "The Name of the Doctor" a 4 out of 5. Well now, I'll take a little hiatus from Doctor Who and from this blog in general. I'm in the middle of a number of things at present and although I shall continue to post, I feel like I should make you aware my blog output may not be what it usually is in the coming days and weeks. Nevertheless, I hope you continue to stop in to The Consulting Detective. I try to keep an ace or two up my sleeve every once and a while.

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