Thoughts on the Season Finale of Doctor Who (Season 7)

The 12th Doctor is gonna be revealed Sunday, August 4th (tomorrow), so I figured I better get on this. So, yeah, I’m just gonna dive right in.

Clara Who?

After killing off Amy and Rory we were introduced to Clara. Except we had already been introduced to Clara. Oswin, she was called, and she was a Dalek by the time the Doctor found her. And she kept dying. And the rumors spread like wildfire.

There were a couple of problems with this. First of all, I heard so many fantastically fun and inventive theories that when I found out what was really going on I was a little let down. Aside from the fact that it seems a little unlikely (his original form and 10 regenerations, 11 if you count John Hurt) and he never noticed her before? They suggest that she helped the first Doctor decide which TARDIS to steal, but all the same, he’s very observant and after 5 decades I’d think there would have been an earlier point when he’d have thought, “gee, that well-endowed brunette looks familiar.”

My other issue I finally realized while reading an online article the writer said that while he likes Clara, she isn’t so much a character as a problem for the Doctor to solve. I Guess a plot, rather than a person. I mean she’s fun and feisty and flirty and her theme sounds like it’s out of Beauty and the Beast and Jenna Louise-Coleman is doing a damn good job, but at the end of the day she’s more concept than character. And now that she’s been solved, what will be left? And who created her to save the Doctor? Or has she been fob-watched? Is she Romana? The Master?

For this very reason I wasn’t devastated at the thought of losing her at the end of the episode. Moffat ran the same risk with Amy, but gave us a good chunk of the story from her perspective. It seems like he tried to do this with Clara, but too little too late. And she only exists in relation to the Doctor.

What I did like about her reveal was the way they intertwined her with all the past versions of the Doctors in the beginning of the episode, and again at the end. You just see a flash of Ten’s coat or Four’s scarf and know the wonderful character it represents. And in Moffat’s defense it is closed case, there’s no “but what is she really?” That always bothered me with a Good Man Goes to War. We did not find out who River was, as had been teased. We found out what her relationship to Amy and Rory was, not her relationship to the Doctor. But we know what Clara is to him.

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The Whispermen and the Great Intelligence

*cough* Buffy *cough*

The Gentlemen from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer

Alright, so they sort of copped the Gentleman from Buffy’s Hush episode, but I have to hand it to the Doctor Who crew, the Whipermen were creepy (though my favorite creepy moment in the series goes to Nightmare in Silver, when the Doctor starts turning Cyberman). And it seems to be setting up the Great Intelligence as our new villain. I’m good with Richard E. Grant being the bad guy for a season (and I know they don’t get along in real life, but if they could get him and Paul McGaan, seeing as he was briefly the Doctor, in a scene together for a Withnail and I nod, I’d be much indebted to them).

And I’m looking forward to some kick-ass Whispermen costumes at Gallifrey One come February.

The Whispermen from Doctor Who

The End of River?

Maybe. It sounds like Moffat isn’t even sure himself if she’ll come back. If there’s a good story for her, he says. I’d be okay with this being her last story. It’s a good solid ending for her. I just would have liked to have known beforehand that we were saying good-bye. I realized as it was happening, as it was ending, “wait, is River over? Was that it?” But in case anyone was wondering, the Doctor loved River. At the very least, in that moment, right before he went after Clara, it was clear. The Doctor was in love with River.

To be honest, it was something I had wondered about. Their marriage sequence was…strange: why it happened, the way it happened, and even in the wedding, I never really believed a kiss the two of them shared. They always seemed uncomfortable. Not in the finale. Now that’s a bloody kiss. I finally believed it.

Someone also pointed out, though now I can’t remember who, that it was the first time the Doctor initiated a kiss with River.

Tying It All Together

The Doctor and Amy

Alright, I was kind of hoping the Mof would pull a crazy ending, that wound all the episodes from the season together. There is a very abrupt jump from Angles Take Manhattan to Snowmen and I thought maybe there was a miraculous twist that I hadn’t seen coming. There was not. And that’s okay. But I felt like Moffat used to do that sort of thing when he was just on the writing staff and Davies was showrunner.

This is different, I realize, it’s a whole season, and the Ponds left in the middle and the Christmas special was in the middle and, I don’t know, a similar thing may happen when Matt leaves after Christmas this year. We’ll have to wait and see. But seasons 5 and 6 had a very clear through line that seemed to get muddled after Amy was removed from the equation. Season 7 had one story line, that was necessarily ended after those companions died, and a completely new story picked up in the Snowmen with Clara.

That being said, Doctor Who is very much about one off episodes and the whole point is that there is so much to explore and every week you’re somewhere and somewhen else.

And enough with the Doctor carrying the damsel in distress through the climactic scene. The strength of the show relies on the strength of the companions.

The Doctor and Clara

Introducing John Hurt as the Doctor

Hell yes.

The anniversary trailer (shown at Comic-Con), looks ridiculous. In the best way. David Tennant, Matt Smith, John Hurt, Billie Piper, and Jenna Louise Coleman ring in Doctor Who’s Golden Jubilee on November 23rd.

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About Risa Romano

Writer type thing. I work on stories for kids when I'm on the clock and screenplays quite a bit less for kids when I'm not. I have a blog: rambleonnerdyponderings.wordpress.com I'm also the creator and moderator of the Doctor Who vodcast/podcast A Disused Yeti: https://adisusedyeti.wordpress.com/
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