Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Doctor Who The Name of The Doctor: Review, Part One

I have to be honest, while I ended up loving the episode, the end of series 6 did nothing to make me a fan of one part finales. That and the hint at revealing The Doctor's name had me going in nervous. I was not let down one bit. Sure I would love to see two parters return, but with "The Name of The Doctor" it didn't matter because so much happened, and what happened was good. I didn't even mind the Vastra, Jenny, Strax trio this time. There is a post-Library River Song. We got resolution on Clara that I certainly did not think of, and in the end we learn The Doctor's real secret, which could indeed change  the course of Who forever. This was such a big episode whith so much that I am forced to split this into two posts otherwise it will be ridiculous.

About 15 seconds in I gasped and covered my mouth until the credits. On Gallifrey, a long time ago, some men marvel that someone is stealing a faulty TARDIS from repair. On their screen we see the first Doctor and granddaughter Susan going towards some capsules, un-chameleoned TARDISes. But Clara pops up and tells him he is making a big mistake. We hear a voice over of Clara talking about not knowing where she is, falling through time, everywhere at once to save The Doctor. He always looks different but she always knows it's him. We see clips of her trying to get the attention of the first 8 Doctors, and then in "The Snowmen", where she finally catches his attention. She's the impossible girl and she was born to save The Doctor.

London, 1893, a man in prison for killing 14 women is muttering about Whispermen. Vastra visits him and he uses The Doctor to attract her attention. He says The Doctor is hidden in the babble of the world if you listen, and he has a secret he will take to the grave, and it is discovered. He bargains for his life with space time coordinates. Vastra calls for a conference call. This is cute. But while they get ready you see the Whispermen passing the windows. Kind of tails and top hat with white stocking face and bitey teeth. Strax is in Glascow on vacation fighting Scotsmen, presumably for fun. He gets the message and has his friend knock him out with a shovel. 

Jenny lights a candle, there are whispers. They sleep and wake in Vastra's dream world, an Asian looking tea room. Since it's her dream mind she can change the desktop and formulate tea. Strax arrives. Whose coming? The women is the answer. Clara gets a message on modern day Earth as she is attempting to make a souffle, claiming "I will be souffle girl". Vastra had sent her a candle to release a soporific and induce a dream state, but knowing she'd be suspicious, she also put the ingredient in the paper and Clara falls asleep, waking immediately in the dream tea room. Vastra says time travel has always been possible in dreams. The last person arrives, post-Library River. She's in the same clothes from the end of "Forest of the Dead" and she meets Clara, who had heard the name, but didn't know Professor Song was a woman. Oh, River's face at that. I should mention that this whole scene was shot beautifully, and dreamily I might add. They had the table revolving so the walls slowly turned past the shot. 

They discuss the murderer and his message. We also see Vastra's real door opening. Clara learns River knows The Doctor's name, learning she had to make him tell her, it took a while. The killer had said one word as a clue, Trenzalore, to which River insisted on knowing what he said exactly. Something brushes past the real Jenny and dream Jenny seems to sense it. When they tell River of him saying it is discovered she tells them they misunderstood. Then a heartbreaking moment when Jenny lets them know someone has broken into the house, she forgot to lock the door. We see her real body on the floor when she says she thinks shes been murdered, a tear falling down her cheek. Then she fades away. River slaps Vastra to wake her up and throws champagne in Strax's face. Both wake up surrounded by Whispermen. They all hear the Whispermen telling them to tell The Doctor. The Great Intelligence, or Simeon's face, appears and says "His friends are lost forever more, unless he goes to Trenzalore." River says he can't go there. Clara begins to hear The Doctor's voice and wakes up.

Over a cup of tea Clara tells him everything. He is noticeably upset at the word Trenzalore, whimpering an "Oh dear". Even got teary eyed. Clara looks lost. In the TARDIS he tells her Trenzalore isn't his secret. He hooks her up to a TARDIS cable to link telepathically and get the coordinates. The Doctor tells Clara there is one place a time traveler should never go, never be found. When the killer said it was discovered he wasn't talking about the secret, he was talking about his grave. Trenzalore is where The Doctor is buried. And they have to break into his tomb to save his friends. At this point I was calm but thinking "Whaaa?" because oh man I never thought of him having a grave. Totally new idea to me as a long time viewer. Great concept. 

The TARDIS fights it. She doesn't want to go and won't land. We see Trenzalore out the door. Hard to describe so I'll include a pic. The Doctor remarks about where he ends up, musing maybe he retired and took up a hobby. He turns off the TARDIS anti-grav and they fall. This is what caused the crack in the glass from the promo pic for the episode. They land in a battle graveyards and his is potentially the most
dangerous. Clara thinks the huge TARDIS they see is the tomb, but it's the real TARDIS. Sometimes when they die they can "size leak" and the bigger starts getting outside. Another great concept.

River appears, only to Clara. the Doctor sees a tombstone for River and is confused, it shouldn't be there. Clara learns River is dead, but she still has the conference call connected. The Whispermen appear and River has Clara tell The Doctor her grave is a secret entrance. He says that they wouldn't have buried his wife out there, startling Clara. Close by, Vastra and Strax wake up by Jenny's body. Vastra pleads with Strax to use his magic life machine, which he does. Simeon G.I. and the Whispermen show up. In the catacombs, Clara learns about River's death, and subsequent life. Again River mentions he doesn't like goodbyes. Simeon G.I. tells the trio that Trenzalore was The Doctor's last battlefield, calling him blood soaked. He says he will become many things, The Storm, The Beast, The Valeyard. I've mentioned The Valeyard before as being in "The Trial of a Time Lord" and The Valeyard turned out to be an amalgamation of all the bad things in The Doctor, somewhere between his 12th and 13th regenerations. Remember that for part two.

The Doctor and Clara enter the tomb and Clara gets dizzy from the dimensional forces. She remembers their discussions from "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" where he met her before at the Dalek asylum and the barmaid and she kept dying, a conversation he says she should never be able to remember. The voices are back and say "The girl who died he tries to save, shall die again inside his grave". 
The Doctor shows up where the others are outside, late for his own funeral, ha. The key to the tomb is his name and he won't say it. Simeon G.I. instructs the Whispermen to stop the companion's hearts. The Doctor still won't say his name. What is your name. 3 times he is asked his name and he starts"Is..." and the tomb opens. The Doctor seems confused, and the others are when he says he didn't say his name. Then we hear River. The TARDIS can still hear her and she had said his name. Brilliant way to get out of it. That's why we needed post-Library River and I think how they brought her in was awesome. One of the best ways. The Doctor asks Simeon G.I. if he knows what's in the tomb, to which he replies, "For me, peace at last. For you, pain". they enter the tomb.

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