Ignoring the fact that I’m in the midst of writing a two part post on why Moffat isn’t good, I really quite loved The Name of the Doctor.  We actually learn who Clara is and we get a cool set up for the 50th anniversary episode, but more on that later.

For the first time since the midway point of series 6, Moffat has figured out how to write a really solid 45 or so minute long episode.  But really this is a set up for the anniversary, so he basically wrote part 1 of 2, going back to

I know Clara, the coat is too much to handle

I know Clara, the coat is too much to handle

the point that the series needs two part stories.  Another first is Strax didn’t annoy me to tears and the rest of that gang were actually well used.  Yet another  first, River Song actually had a point beyond just saying “hello sweetie” or “spoilers” (spoilers is still said as is sweetie, but it makes sense and isn’t forced, it’s actually kind of touching).  The Doctor has a sentimental moment with River that shows Moffat can still write characters with emotion and personality.  It’s clear these are his two characters, and Matt Smith and Alex Kingston clearly respect these characters.

But what we all want to know, who is Clara?  The episode starts right up with a very cool montage of Clara basically being a guardian of all of the Doctor’s regenerations, and a quick bit of her at Gallifrey before it all went to ruin.  I hope to see more of these sorts of clips in the 50th, as Matt Smith needs to somehow “interact” with his past versions (to see him run along side Tom Baker would be absolutely hilarious and fantastic).  As the story progresses so does Clara’s realization of who she is, and it’s all played very well by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who was pretty much pushed to the side for the last two episodes.

Just an aside, but an important, and actually more than an aside: Moffat needs to stop writing big old sayings that go relatively nowhere.  See, the whole thing about silence falling when the question is asked, well silence doesn’t really fall.  Yeah, it kind of does for maybe thirty seconds, but it’s not nearly as grand as it was hyped to be.  Another area Moffat needs to cool it with is the Doctor being this evil person/god, it’s just getting old and making less sense each time.  But back to the good now, yeah?

Situations have been better for the Doctor

Situations have been better for the Doctor

The Great Intelligence, played yet again by Richard Grant, has become more foreboding and dark, making him (well technically it I suppose) an even better nemesis.  I would have liked to have seen the Great Intelligence bet a little more great and, well intelligent, as it didn’t do much in terms of being clever or smart.  However, its ultimate act of evil is pretty grand and unlike the endings of the past two series, makes sense.  Now, the ending needs talking about, and I’ll try to not include spoilers, but they’ll most likely happen, so you are warned.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS FROM HERE ON, YOU ARE INDEED WARNED

Cool, so we find out the master plan of the Great Intelligence, who Clara is, why/how River is still hanging around, and there’s just one more thing: how is the Doctor going to save Clara?  See, Clara has to do something to save the Doctor that ends up killing her a lot.  So the Doctor decides he needs to save her this time after failing so much before.  When doing so he finds himself facing himself.  Kind of himself that is.  It seems that somewhere in his timeline there is a Doctor that doesn’t do what the Doctor would do, a Doctor that disgraces the title of Doctor (played by John Hurt).  I’m going to be one to jump ahead and say this may very well be the Valeyard.  This would go in tune with the show wanting to have a lot of throwbacks to Classic Who.  However, as a write this there are also reports that Hurt’s Doctor will be the “real” ninth Doctor, which apparently 9, 10, and 11 forgot about because it was too horrible a time during the Time War.  Though, I would also argue, if he is to be one of the Doctor’s regenerations, then he may be an aged version of the eighth Doctor, as he does resemble him, just older.  Actually, in a picture of Hurt on set for the 50th, he looks a bit like a mix of eight and ten.

If we are to have him be the Doctor instead of the Valeyard, then it would be cool if Paul McGann was asked to come back, start off in the Time War and then have something happen to him so that he’d begin to regenerate, but be forced by the Time Lords into some sort of in between regeneration stage, where he has both aged and has a bit of both eight and nine’s personality.  In order to fully regenerate he would then have to finish the Time War.

And let’s not forget, the Doctor does say he’s (Hurt’s Doctor) not the Doctor, or at least he breaks the name of the Doctor.

Regardless, I’m definitely looking forward to the 50th.  This episode has restored some faith in Moffat for me, and if he doesn’t go overboard with a nonsense/complex plot for the 50th, I’ll be looking forward to series 8 (apparently Smith and Coleman will be back for next year and I’m assuming Moffat will as well, unless the 50th is a flop then who knows).  Regardless, this is a great episode, so let’s praise it for bringing the show back into the spotlight before I go on and on about it, as there is a lot to say, but it’s best said by saying to watch it.

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