Saturday, August 30, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Time of the Doctor"

“The Time of the Doctor” is Matt smith’s swan song as the Eleventh Doctor.  It appears he is in a big hurry to leave.  Smith displays good acting chops, but he cannot hide his desire to leave the doctor behind for a film career.  He is sporting a wig here because Smith had to shave his head for a film role done during a Wholigan filming hiatus.  But it is not the only fake thing on display in the episode.
There is much ambition here.  The story ties in aspects of the eleventh Doctor’s tenure dating back to the crack in Amy Pond’s wall four years ago.  The Time Lords are seeking to come through, and they eventually do to aid an aged doctor at the end of his regeneration cycle to save a planet named Christmas.
Yes.  The doctor literally saves Chrisrmas in this one.
The Eleventh Doctor’s era has been a sharp turn away from the science fiction past of the series more towards fantasy.  The eleventh doctor is Peter Pan, showing up every now and then to whisk away companions for an adventure in a fantastical land while having them back home in time for tea.  The companions did not even travel with him fulltime any longer, a circumstance which allows for some unfortunate sitcom shenanigans with Clara’s family.  You see, she has invented a boyfriend who will come for Christmas dinner to meet the family.  Guess who must pretend to be the boyfriend?  Hilarity ensues, I suppose.
The Doctor subsequently becomes the defender of the planet from which a my6sterious signal is emitting.  For three hundred years, he serves as protector from various members of his rogues gallery in between repairing toys for the children.  Th4 signal is revealed to be the returning Time Lords.   They have good timing, because they are able to empower the aged doctor to destroy a Dalek armada that has finally lost patience after all these centuries.  The doctor is rewarded with a new regeneration cycle that begins immediately with a change into Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor.
 I am not as down on “The Time of the Doctor” as it make sound.  There are some good moments.  The regeneration is the highlight.  I am also fond when writers can weave together story elements from past episodes into a cohesive arc.  That comes from my misspent youth obsessing over comic books.  But there is much to bring the episode down.  The bits with Clara’s family were downright painful.  The ending, aside from dragging out the Daleks yet again, involves the Doctor shooting energy beams everywhere in order to annihilate the enemy fleet.  Since when can he do that?  Is there not some better way to resolve the episode?   Surely there is.  “The Time of the Doctor”  earns a good, but not great score from me.   It is fairly enjoyable, but I got the impression the creative juices ran out making the anniversary episode which aired a month prior.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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