Part II of series 7 comes off a lot stronger than part one. When it shines it really shines. When it doesn’t it has me wondering if it’s time to give the show a rest.
The Christmas Special The Snowmen was an excellent episode. It had me laughing out loud in places as it did my parents who never watch this sort of thing usually. If it can get all of us in the same room and all of us enjoying it that’s something quite special in my view. Great to see Strax back. He was very funny in this. I loved the allusions to Sherlock Holmes too and there was some sweet homages to the great detective when the Doctor bursts in introducing himself as Sherlock Holmes. The Doctor living on a cloud in the sky been meloncoly over the ponds was fantastic. Right out of a fairy tale.
The bells of Saint John
Good start, nice introduction to Clara. I liked the surprise return of the great intelligence along with Richard E Grant. I liked that we have a villainess group that is playing more of an active role than the Silence did. It’s a good episode but it doesn’t blow me away and I didn’t find myself captivated by Clara either. Things I don’t like about her for example are in ‘The Rings of Akhaten’ when the character is a bit too willy nilly and goes off exploring by herself even though it’s her very first time to travel to another alien world (at least from her perspective). I think back to Rose’s reaction back when she first traveled with the 9th Doctor or even Amys and I see how that sense of wonder has grown less and less important with each companion as it becomes more run of the mill. It’s just get on the horse and ride type of companion. The back story of Clara is interesting though. Blowing into the world on a leaf. It’s a strong point of the episode however it was a bit weak with not much happening until the end when the leaf defeats the giant monster planet. Yes, I just wrote that.
With these recent episodes I get an impression they were trying to cut back on the budget (for the 50th?) as they seemed to do with Cold War with the crew of the Sub being chased by an enemy we don’t really see on screen and hides in the shadows. Feels like they’re trying to cut back on costs and I do realize that the producers don’t have the budget they did before. Still you’d think an episode set on a Russian sub would be more exciting. Hide though, was a fantastic episode involving ghosts and aliens. Some really nice moments where Clara scolds the Doctor who callously examines earth’s past to it’s future in a matter of moments without thinking for a second that he’s just traveled from a planet earth full of life to a dead barren one in the far future. The moment where the Doctor comes face to face with the Alien creature haunting him was hilarious. For 40 minutes the creature was a terrifying thing and then at the end you can do nothing but sympathize with it and split your sides laughing by the expression on Matt Smith’s face when he looks at the creature. Sci-fi at it’s best, turning our discriminating thoughts on their head.
Journey to the center of the Tardis was a fun episode too and I loved seeing the Tardis explored in greater detail than it was in ‘The Doctor’s Wife’. Loved the throwbacks to past series. Clara finding a book on the Time War, the swimming pool, the eye of harmony. The guest characters were a bit of a let down in the episode though. The Crimson Horror seemed like it was going to be a great episode to watch but the whole thing kinda fell flat for me. Very disappointing even with Strax in it and I’ll never look at Diana Rigg in the same way again. Nightmare in Silver was a bit of a boring mess for me too, with kids. I feel they haven’t really got the Cyberman right yet since this new series started.
The Name of the Doctor
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I had to watch it 3 times before I was completely satisfied. It’s that good. As other reviews have said, it could almost do as the 50th anniversary episode. Although they never actually reveal the Doctor’s name in this as I had expected them to by the end it didn’t matter. From the opening to the final scene it was a roller coaster ride. Sweet, funny, full of drama. Some elements of it reminded me of Bad Wolf with Clara and Rose have similar roles in saving the Doctor and planting the seeds of their mysteries in his past. It was fascinating to see the Doctor visit the place where he is buried. I wonder if his ultimate fate is coming sooner than we think? There was an interesting point where the Tardis fell to Trenzalore and cracked one of it’s windows. We see the same damage remains on the larger Tardis where the Doctor is buried. I could see the end coming soon with the 12th Doctor coming up leaving one more regeneration (or not). I’m sure there is a point where the BBC will consider resting the series. Moffat might want to wrap up a few things first including the Doctor’s remaining regenerations. If in future there is an end to this current series then finishing with the 12th Doctor might be a way to put a cap on it with a future producer starting with a new set of Generations for the Doctor.
Favorite Quote: “You are always here to me, and I always listen.” – The Doctor