Christmas Day has gone, and with it, the Eleventh Doctor. Peter Capaldi has officially taken over the reins of Doctor Who from Matt Smith, and we have to wait about eight months to find out what this new Doctor is like. Depressing, isn’t it? *wink* “The Time of the Doctor” was definitely an entertaining episode and a great farewell to Matt Smith.
Spoilers ahead! Turn back now if you don’t want to know.
The episode encapsulated the personality of the Eleventh Doctor perfectly. It had slapstick comedy, uncomfortable flirting, charming of children, displays of bravura, and the schizophrenic dialogue that’s just so Eleven, as well as the general Doctorness of standing alone against armies to protect the innocent. It tied up some plotlines that were in danger of being completely forgotten (the origins of the Silence, for example). And the Doctor got one last chance to do a Pandorica-style speech. This episode did exactly what all regeneration episodes should do: it summed up the outgoing Doctor and celebrated his life.
The plot of the episode was fun: nothing particularly inventive, though through it all, you’re wondering how in the world is the Doctor going to solve the standoff. In my opinion, the most amazing thing about this particular regeneration is that Eleven died of old age, something that only the First Doctor was able to do (and you could argue that he died not of old age, but of the stress of an adventure combined with older age). Granted, Eleven didn’t die of old age the way Ten wanted to – having a normal life and a family. He aged while defending the town Christmas from hordes of aliens. However, he still got to live out his entire incarnation’s span, something that we know won’t happen often.
And of course, the whole “how many regenerations does the Doctor have left” debate was explained fully by Eleven, saying that Granddad counted for one and Sandshoes counted for two, bringing his total number of spent regenerations to twelve, which is the canonical limit. Then, when he’s granted more regenerations, he clearly states that he has a whole new cycle, paving the way to the 100th anniversary (wish I could be around to see that one!).
The Doctor seems to be gaining more control over his regenerations as he gets older: being able to use it as a weapon and holding it until he’s said his goodbyes again. His beautiful vision of Amy harks back to the Fourth and Fifth Doctors seeing visions of their companions before they died. He was granted a gorgeous ending sequence, with Clara, as is appropriate, there for him but not getting in the way of his final moment. I think the only disappointing thing about the scene was the quick switch to Mr. Capaldi; Eleven did not glow and morph into his new face like all of the other Doctors did before him (except Two’s forced change).
All in all, it was a great episode and a fitting tribute to the Eleventh Doctor. Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your wonderful performance, and all the best to you!