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Doctor Who: Podshock 290 - 2013 Christmas Special - The Time of the Doctor Reviewed Live and Live Feedback


Administrator - Posted on 31 December 2013

Doctor Who: Podshock - Episode 290
Running Time: 2:18:42

We review live on the net the 2013 Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Time of the Doctor which bids farewell to Matt Smith and introduces Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with your live feedback, plus Doctor Who news, and more. Hosted by Louis Trapani and Dave Cooper. Happy New Year Everyone!

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Doctor Who: Podshock an international Doctor Who podcast premiering in 2005 by the Gallifreyan Embassy and produced by Art Trap Productions.

Blue Box Bill's picture

Some opinions expressed by callers during the live show were similar to mine while others made little or no sense. I can't possibly question or answer them all in a 3 minute audio feedback so instead I'll do so here and as succinctly as possible.

Steven Moffat's script, correctly deemed a 'continuity-fest' set out to tie up loose ends from Matt Smith's era. It was asserted that holes existed in Moffat's explanations but I don't recall hearing examples of how his answers were wrong. With so many loose ends this patchwork episode was largely a story about nothing, that's understandable, likewise it isn't hard to see why long story arcs spanning multiple seasons aren't the best way to spin a yarn.

One caller insisted there's no monster or villain in this regeneration episode. I disagree. There is a villain. Its name is spelled T I M E and the Doctor was unable to outrun or outwit it. Why? Because he is without his TARDIS. What is a Time Lord without his TARDIS? Even google can't answer that question.

Another caller commented about how the Oswalds reacted to the Doctor's arrival for Christmas dinner and that Mr. Oswald wasn't as warm as we remembered him. Trade places with the Oswalds and consider how you'd act if your child brought their significant other to Christmas dinner in the nude... and remember, Clara's father lost his wife. A loss like that can affect people in ways we can't begin to comprehend.

Clara's been the 'impossible girl' since always. Expecting 'character continuity' from her doesn't seem reasonable. Doctor Who showrunner and writers can continue to clarify her (pun intended) so we really don't 'need to know' more about Clara during Matt Smith's swan song. Vislor Turlough was as enigmatic as Clara Oswald is yet we accepted the character and moved on. If observations made about Clara's lack of character continuity are calling attention to how she behaved contrary to her established character then I'd ask the obvious, what did we expect of her? Trade places with Clara. What would you do?

Doctor 10's 'I don't want to go' regeneration line in 'The End Of Time' is emotional and memorable. Those 4 words are all he had to say however numerous scenes preceding that line were written for the same effect. Doctor 11's 'farewell speech' was long by comparison but far more time was devoted to the 'farewell tour' of Doctor 10. Looking for patterns or contrasting one regeneration scene with another is like comparing Apples to PCs. Reasons for why the Doctor has regenerated are as many and varied as the actors who've portrayed him. Each regeneration yields a 'new' Doctor but through it all he is the same.

By comparison the internal moral battle of Doctor 10 in 'The End Of Time' upstaged Doctor 11's final moments but don't lose sight of the fact (of fiction) that 11 IS 10. He remembers that battle. It was his own doing. Obviously he learned a lesson or two by playing god or we wouldn't hear him admit to Wilf (Wilfred Mott) that he did some things that went wrong. Would 11 have been such a 'clever boy' if he caused history to repeat itself? Don't answer that. Rumor has it that we humans learn from our mistakes so why wouldn't the Doctor? 11 led a different life than 10 so it is fitting that it ended as it did.

'So what?' was one caller's comment about how the script acknowledged (Time Lord) rules of regeneration. Parts of Doctor Who are 'fixed points in lore' and when tampered with Doctor Who ceases to be Doctor Who. Long time fans have looked forward to seeing how 'the rule of 12' would manifest at the appropriate time. No matter how inconsequential a plot point this particular detail may be, betray it and you betray your fan base.

I strongly disagree that there's anything wrong or odd about Amy's cameo appearance or that the music underpinning her scene is somehow inappropriate because it's reminiscent of the soundtrack from 'Rings Of Akhaten' or that the segment steals Clara's thunder. Doctor 11 shared most of his time with Amy. For every Clara episode there are three Amy episodes so bringing Amy back for a final farewell wasn't the least bit bothersome to me, not when so many of the Doctor's foes from previous regenerations returned to menace him once again. Music in Amy's, 'Raggedy man. Goodnight' farewell didn't strike me as incongruous, rather shades of 'Akhaten' kept me in the moment, underscoring Amy's fleeting appearance... she literally disappears. This was a Clara episode.

A long-time friend of mine, also a fan of Doctor Who, offered up a rather plausible reason for why the Doctor so noticeably aged in this episode. He was without his TARDIS. Clara was 300 years older than when she began her 'ride' on the TARDIS exterior yet she didn't appear to have aged a day. And how about that Christmas Turkey.... how long did it cook? From 'The Impossible Astronaut': RIVER: 'The Doctor we saw on the beach is a future version, two hundred years older than the one up there.' But the 'one up there' didn't look any older than the one on the beach, did he? And the one on the beach wasn't really the Doctor but rather the Teselecta posing as the Doctor to fake his death. Appearances can be deceptive. Still at no point in Doctor 11's run was he ever separated from his TARDIS for an extended period, say long enough for Father Time to change his boyish ancient features which is what made Matt Smith so perfect for the role lest we forget this was his last episode.

I rather like the word play which may be hiding in plain view, right out in the open for all to see in the title of this episode. That which brings us to the end of our days doesn't have to be a bug eyed monster from another planet or some otherworld malady or for that matter an injury that would push the constitution of any human beyond the capabilities of the most advanced trauma center or hospital emergency room... time is the enemy of all... no matter how many hearts you have.

Happy Travels!

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