Saturday, 1 February 2014

Lost in the Time Vortex: an impossibly late Doctor Who review

Time can only be experienced subjectively by any observer and, at a quantum level, time as a concept probably doesn't actually exist... which is why my Doctor Who reviews are always so late. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...
Coming as it did only a month after the historic 50th anniversary celebration, 2013's Doctor Who Christmas special had a lot to live up to. The Time Of The Doctor was, of course, Matt Smith's final bow as the "hipster boffin" Eleventh Doctor.
The episode veered from the typical Moffatt silliness ( nudity! cooking turkey in the time vortex! ) to the equally typical Moffatt time-twisting plotlines. The Doctor finally found himself trapped on the fields of Trenzalore, facing Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and a whole galaxy-full of evil aliens, all trying to reignite the Time War. In a breathless style that must have been baffling to the casual, mince pie-stuffed viewer, Moffatt managed to tie up dangling plotlines ( the Silence are confessional priests! ), introduce and then kill off new characters ( the flirty Mother Superious, Tasha Lem ) and address the fan-pleasing concept of the Time Lord regeneration limit. Phew! But was it any good...?
Even though this episode didn't have the scope and scale of The Day Of The Doctor
( which would have been a hard act for anyone to follow ) it seemed a fitting send-off for Chinny. In keeping with the original, twisted fairy tale vibe of Smith's first season, this episode was heavy on the myth-making, with a real sense of the weight of time as the Doctor spent decades defending the town called Christmas from seemingly overwhelming odds. ( This theme of waiting and enduring runs all through Eleven's era, from little Amelia waiting for the blue box to return, to the Last Centurion's vigil, to Amy growing old in an alternate time-stream. )
And Matt Smith pulled out all the stops for his final appearance. Even labouring under layers of latex as an aged version of the Doctor he was as subtle, playful and soulful as ever  -  flirting with Tasha Lem, dancing with the children of Christmas, castigating the Daleks and, finally, giving that wonderful speech: "I will always remember when the Doctor was me." So will we, Matt. Oh, and it was a lovely surprise to see The Girl Who Waited one last time...
 And just when it was all getting too soppy, up popped the brand new Doctor in the shape of the awesome Peter Capaldi  -  all mad, staring eyes and complaining about the colour of his kidneys. The old order changeth yet again. How long is it until Autumn? It's a good job time's only subjective...

Soundtrack: loads of old school Hip Hop from Public Enemy, De La Soul, Wu Tang Clan, Dr. Dre etc.

4 comments:

Kid said...

Y'know, I'm not sure why, but that bit on Christmas seemed somehow familiar to me. Wasn't there something like it before? I really hope we're now going to get a dark and serious (even sinister) Doctor. I've nothing against Matt Smith as a person or an actor, but I just didn't like the characterisation of the Doctor that he was stuck with.

cerebus660 said...

I can't imagine the BBC will go TOO dark and serious with this new Doctor but it may be nearer to Chris Eccleston's incarnation in tone.

Kal said...

I loved it personally. I like and expected more of the fantasy from Matt Smith. Now Peter can kick ass in a cool outfit. It's almost like he is wearing a cape and you know how much I love the cape. Plus I want to see how cute young Clara deals with her Older Doctor. The dynamic will be exciting to watch.

cerebus660 said...

Peter Capaldi is a very stylish man so I expected him to look pretty cool. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how Clara deals with the new Doc. It'll be a long wait until Autumn...

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