Doctor Who: What a disappointment!

Aractus 31, December, 2013

Okay, so I loved the 50th anniversary special – who didn’t – and while there were some niggling inconsistencies, on the whole it was a great episode. I loved seeing Tennant’s Doctor Who return, loved the scene where they’re locked in the dungeon, loved the episode. Didn’t like them pushing the dalek and destroying it with their screwdrivers, didn’t like how the TARDIS was never referred to as a “Type 40” or “Time Travel Capsule” or TTC by the other timelords (this interestingly enough Moffat must have realized as he put it in the xmas special).

(Note: the “Daniel Baxter” in the credits is not me)

So on to the problems with the Christmas special – the plot holes continue and I’m underwhelmed!

SPOILER ALERT, read ahead if you’ve seen the episode, or you don’t intend to.

Okay, Moffat cheated us again! There’s two issues I want to contest with this episode: firstly the overwhelmingly complicated storylines that Moffat has created, and secondly the inconsistencies in his plotlines.

Let’s start with River Song. She’s a great character, I love her and she’s one of the best things that Moffat introduced to the show – but that said he still made it way too difficult to follow. Do you remember in which episode she dies? I didn’t, I had to look it up – it’s the first time we meet her in the Tennant era “Silence in the Library”. That episode is a great two-parter, however Moffat made the horrible mistake of killing off River Song the very first time that the audience meets her – before we care about her at all, before we’ve built up any memories of her, before she’s had a chance to become integrated in the show. This was a huge mistake, she should have been used at least 3 or 4 times before being killed off, that way the audience has a sense that she’s important and will remember her death.

Okay, so in Silence, River has been given the doctor’s screwdriver. So obviously I’m expecting that Matt Smith’s doctor gives it to her in this episode – nup. So when does she get it from him??

We’ve been told that the doctor dies on Trenzalore, yet once we’re there he instead regenerates a 13th time, meaning it can no longer be his final resting place. Again Moffat has cheated the audience. Why introduce the doctor’s tomb in the first place, if it’s only to be revoked in a re-written storyline?

The episode starts out well, and I enjoyed how the doctor goes and meets Clara’s family naked. I also like the doctor’s cyberman head that he calls “Handles”. I like how Clara meets the Silence and then the Weeping Angles “haha it’s stone!” she exclaims. I like how Doctor Who shaved his head to conceal his TARDIS key…

Doctor Who 2013 xmas special "handles"

Doctor Who 2013 xmas special Matt Smith's shaved head outside TARDIS

Doctor Who 2013 xmas special Matt Smith's shaved head in TARDIS

But from this point in the episode on (16 minutes in), everything went downhill.

First Clara tells the doctor to wear his wig. Well, it is a nice throwback to Hartnell who wore a wig, but it’s unnecessary, the doctor may as well have left it off the remainder of the episode. We could have seen it slowly regrow while he’s on Trenzalore (this could have worked perfectly), or he could have just kept it shaved.

Now the problems. Firstly he sends Clara away which is unnecessary. If he’s going to do it, then she should have stayed out of the episode from this point on, and it would have meant trimming it down a bit to her departure. Secondly, he spends hundreds of years on Trenzalore – also completely unnecessary and absurd, and worst of all it means that we cannot build any bonds with the residents of Trenzalore. The great thing about the show is having characters you care about, you can’t build those characters when an episode takes place over such a long period of time, and the residents in his care keep changing over the generations. Later in the episode when some of them are attacked and killed, we don’t know their names, their identities, and consequently we don’t care that they die. This is bad writing, bad storytelling, and it’s the wrong way to do this episode. The residents love Doctor Who, and he loves them back – but we don’t, we can’t get involved as there are no characters to bond with.

No one wants to see fake aging – it just looks ridiculous as much as anything else. There was no reason why the doctor had to spend hundreds of years on Trenzalore, the same story could have taken place over say 20-50 years, and allowed the children around the doctor to have grown up, and allowed the viewer to bond with those characters. Every Christmas episode is supposed to introduce new characters and have them interact with Doctor Who throughout the story, this was sadly lacking in this one. The only part about this entire thing that was nice is that Doctor Who says “that’s not my home” at the start of the episode, and later it becomes his home, but that’s it – that’s only positive side to it.

The nuking effect. Okay, I’m fine with the Timelords giving Doctor Who a new regeneration cycle – we all knew this was coming. I would have preferred to have seen Doctor Who die and the series re-begin at “Doctor 1”. However, as I already mentioned it means the entire story about his grave being on Trenzalore was a cheat. I did like the way that this regeneration happens, except for nuking a dalek ship with the regeneration energy. If it’s that easy to destroy Dalek ships than how come the millions/billions of Timelords on Galifray didn’t do it in the Time War?? His hallucinations of Amy and his quick-change to the 13th Doctor were however well done. So for what it’s worth, Capaldi’s debut was well done.

While we’re on the subject, there’s a petition for a series for the 8th doctor – Paul McGann, just click here to sign it.

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