Everybody enters The Doctor's tomb. They climb up into the console room, and it's the present design. I can't help feeling we are going to see Trenzalore again. If when he died there his TARDIS began to die, why else would it have this "theme" of a console room. And the place had begun to grow over, but hadn't gotten as far as it would be, say, if it had been 300 years. And the TARDIS was size leaking, but if it's infinite, how much bigger would it eventually grow, leading me to believe it had not been dying too long. But all of that is just wondering. Inside you can hear a sick sounding cloister bell. When they reach where the console and time rotor should be, instead there is a type of helix made up up tendrils of pulsing energy, rotating and glowing there in the center of the platform. "What did you expect to find, a body?" asks The Doctor, remarking he'd had loads and they're boring. This isn't what his tomb is for. He calls this the tracks of his tears, rips in the fabric of reality made by a time traveler. It's his path in time and space, from Gallifrey to Trenzalore. He points the sonic and you hear voices from The Doctor's life, including 9 saying "Fantastic". These are all of his days, even the ones that haven't happened yet, which is too great a paradox for him to be there. The Doctor collapses.
Simeon G.I. is amazed by the timeline. Did he expect to find it? How could he? And if only he knew that THIS is not The Doctor's secret. But still, he calls it an open wound that can be entered, where he would be splintered into a million pieces along The Doctor's timeline to attack him. The Doctor says it would destroy Simeon G.I., who argues that it would only kill him, it would destroy The Doctor. He steps in. The Whipsermen disappear and he begins to disintegrate. The Doctor begins to spasm as we see Simeon G.I. with the various Doctors we saw Clara chasing in the beginning of the episode. The Doctor is being rewritten, his victories turning to failures. The trio go outside and see that local star systems are going out because The Doctor wasn't there to save them. Jenny disappears. Strax forgets himself and Vastra, and she is forced to kill him before he kills her. Inside Vastra tells Clara The Doctor is dying all at once. We see his faces float around the helix timeline. Vastra notes locations: the Dalek asylum, Androzani. Clara reacts. The Dalek asylum, The Doctor mentioned that. She sees the helix that has turned red and knows what to do, what she has already done, and why she is the impossible girl. The Doctor begs her, no.
River appears and tells Clara not to do what she's thinking, but agrees it's the only hope. The time winds would tear her into a million pieces scattered in The Doctor's timeline, but they would just be echos, not her. Clara argues they'd be real enough to save him, and how about that, she's going to be souffle girl after all. Clara asks The Doctor to spare her a thought now and then, and then turns to add, "Run, run you clever boy and remember me" for the final, or is it first time?
Clara is falling and in a voiceover talks again about feeling like she's lived a thousand lives in a thousand places. How The Doctor hardly ever sees her, but she's always been there from the beginning. Back to the scene from the beginning when she is stopping the first Doctor from taking the TARDIS, but after saying he's about to make a mistake, she suggests a different TARDIS instead, and we are treated to what is the first Doctor and his granddaughter in an uncloaked TARDIS flying through the time vortex. In the montage though we get the addition of a clip from the Library where you can see Clara standing behind the tenth Doctor, and she appears to be wearing the clothes, or at least utility belt, from "Asylum of the Daleks", and that should be about the same time frame. But it got me thinking. Oswin knew who The Doctor was as she tried to help him. That means Clara from "The Snowmen" knew who he was, or did she only know she had to save him? I think it must have just been ingrained in her to help this man, certainly more than just meeting him.
It worked. Everyone else is restored, but The Doctor must go into his timeline to save Clara. River tries to stop him and he finally acknowledges her presence. She's baffled and he says she is always there to him and can always hear her. She asks why he didn't say something, and he tells her he thought it would be too painful for him, and he was right. Then he kisses her, a proper i love you kiss. Nothing sappy or overly passionate, but you could feel the love. And suddenly I'm not as negative towards River as The Doctor's wife as I used to be. Then we get a laugh when The Doctor realizes how the kiss looked to the trio, who can't see River. The Doctor tells her she's an echo that should have faded by now and he didn't know how to say goodbye. River says if he ever loved her he would say it like he was going to come back, and he does. Oh, and one more thing, says River. Always, quips The Doctor. River was mentally linked to Clara, if Clara was dead how was River still there. The Doctor asks how and River, naturally, answers "Spoilers". Sadly, she then says as she fades, "Goodbye, Sweetie". A still moment goes by as The Doctor stares at the empty space River had occupied. He silently turns and simply steps forward into the light.
Clara is falling. Talking about being born to save The Doctor, but now he was safe and her story was done. She falls into a foggy world that looked partially like the graveyards of Trenzalore. She hears The Doctor's voice. He is everywhere. Everything around her is him. Incarnations of him pass her and she sees them, recognizing them. They were his ghosts, his pasts. But The Doctor is in his timestream and it's collapsing, but he won't leave without saving Clara. She is confused and scared, but The Doctor sends her a leaf, page one, to remind her who she is. I might note here that it was THE leaf from "The Bells of Saint John", not the different one that was in "The Rings of Akhaten" so I still think The Doctor went and got the leaf to use here and then had to replace it. Maybe? Clara sees The Doctor and stumbles to him, collapsing in his arms. "My Clara" he says, relieved until he sees behind her a man standing with his back to them.
Clara is confused. If everything here is The Doctor, who is this? She saw all of him, and he's the 11th. The Doctor said he never said it was The Doctor, but him, his real name. The name you choose is like a promise and this is the one that broke the promise. Clara passes out. As he holds her, The Doctor admits that this is his secret. A voice says, "What I did, I did without choice." The Doctor says he knows. Then the voice says he did it in the name of peace and sanity. To which The Doctor answers, "But not in the name of The Doctor." He turns and walks off with Clara. The man turns and we see John Hurt standing there. Words appear on the screen:
"Introducing John Hurt"
"as The Doctor"
The episode is to be continued November 23rd on the anniversary. Is this going to be the true 9th Doctor, who destroyed the Time Lords and Daleks in the Time War? Since the future was there too, was it The Valeyard, who Simeon G.I. happened to mention? And what did he do without choice?
All in all it was quite a brilliant episode with surprises and ideas I never explored in my own head before. Clara's explanation was wonderful, and unexpected until you knew what the Great Intelligence was going to do. I am going to work now on a summary of how I feel about series 7.