Well, this is the last real appearance of the Eleventh Doctor, and for a man who never sat still, he ends his run staying in one place for a few centuries.
He has good reason to do so, and Clara is, well, still there.
Now, this was a Christmas episode, and that means there’s some interesting comedy as Clara, preparing Christmas dinner for her family, asks the Doctor to stand in for her boyfriend, but he appears naked to everyone but Clara for reasons, and she excuses him as being simply Swedish. See, he was naked because he was going to church, but not the sort of church one might expect.
See, there’s a planet with a signal coming from it that attracts, well, everybody. The Church of the Papal Mainframe managed to put a forcefield around the place, a small colony named “Christmas” with a special field around it that forces anyone there to tell the truth, thus forcing the Doctor, should he show up, to answer the question of “Doctor who?” Why is that bad? Well, that crack in time is down there, and if the Doctor’s name comes out, well, Gallifrey would return from its moment of time and the Time War would resume. That’s what the Church and the Silence were trying to prevent, so it turns out the Silence wasn’t as evil as they first appeared to be.
As it is, the Doctor settles into the colony to defend it from all comers, sending Clara back home in the TARDIS at least twice. Like a bad penny, she keeps coming back, and then she proves instrumental when, after hundreds of years of defending the colony, with the Doctor defeating many of his foes including the likes of the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels mostly with his wits alone. The Daleks even briefly take over the Church, but the Doctor knows how to psyche them out, and teams with the Church and the Silence to battle the Daleks, the last race standing because those jerks never know when to quit. And, of course, Clara saves the day by convincing the Time Lords to give the Doctor a new set of regenerations since the Doctor used the last of his up once you count the War Doctor. The Doctor, regenerating to a new form, throws off enough energy to temporarily regain his youth and destroy the Daleks. With his last few moments, he gets a final vision of Amy Pond, and then he turns into Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor.
Is Amy there to remind me of a companion I liked? Clara is just too…cute.
So, that was the Eleventh Doctor. At times like this, I would do two things: 1) sum up the Doctor and 2) put up a new video from that YouTube channel that does the ongoing Doctor Who documentary videos. Small problem with #2 is the channel hasn’t put out anything on any Doctors since David Tennant’s time in the TARDIS, so I won’t be able to do that anymore from the looks of things.
But I can comment on Smith, and his Doctor was certainly different from the others. Not as arrogant as some, but a lot more goofy and childlike. This is the Doctor high on a perpetual sugar rush, a child in a man’s body, and yet one shaped by a past he is perpetually running away from. That the Time War was resolved and the Doctor was able to actually settle in a place for a few centuries says a lot about what he was running from, and this was one of the most sexless Doctors I’ve seen in a while. After two Doctors in a row (three if you count Paul McGann) where the Doctor’s companion acted as a love interest, we’re back to where the Doctor showed no real romantic interest in his companion. Sure, he may have married River Song, even kissed her, but that never seemed to be something he would really want to do. He was a man who just wanted to see everything else in the universe because what he had seen was too much.
That this last episode took place on Trenzalore, and he pointedly did not die, suggests even the Doctor can have his future be a big unknown. Then again, there is that glimpse of Capaldi in the 50th anniversary special, and the new casting had certainly already been announced. Meanwhile, he went out doing the sorts of thing the Doctor does best: saving the day repeatedly from hostile aliens without getting his hands dirty. He prefers to let bad guys blow themselves up when possible. Besides, his companion for most of this time was a detached Cybermen head. There’s something endearing about that, to say nothing about how he defeated a wooden Cyberman by just tricking it with a sonic screwdriver into, again, blowing itself up. This was a Doctor who could raise an army if he needed to but mostly seemed to be happy to be anywhere. His anger was rare, but always noteworthy. He was humane, but prone to bouts of running off by himself. He loved his bow ties and his fezes, and in the end, well, he had to go the way of all Doctors.
But maybe, just maybe, I’ll see some more of him just one more time to come…