Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013 Review “The Time of the Doctor”

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013 The Time of the Doctor (12)

And so another Doctor’s time in the TARDIS has come to an end. And though “The Time of the Doctor” may leave Doctor Who continuity buffs scratching their heads, Matt Smith’s final Christmas special was a perfect send off for the Eleventh Doctor and what he’s come to stand for in the past four years.

In order to get the negatives out of the way up front, I’ll go ahead and say that, yes, there were some questionable story developments in this episode. As a final curtain call for Matt Smith, it makes sense that writer Steven Moffat would want to reference all of the big storylines the Eleventh Doctor has been a part of in his four years on the air. That said, tying the Silence and the cracks in time back into the story once again wasn’t the best idea. With so many explanations given for the Silence, both as an enemy and a concept, over the years, the episode might’ve been better served without its return. At the very least, I was left wondering if this had always been Moffat’s plan or not.

More troublesome for some might be the way the Doctor received his new set of regenerations. Honestly, short of the whole episode being dedicated to the issue, I don’t see any way to satisfyingly answer a question that’s worried fans for years, and I’m glad they didn’t go that route. This episode was about exactly what it should’ve been: giving fans a final adventure with the Eleventh Doctor.

In that regard, this episode was an absolute joy to behold. Before the theme had even played, “The Time of the Doctor” gave us a fun little scene that served as a wonderful reminder of the manic energy Smith brought to the role. It made me fall in love with the character all over again, leading to greater heartache when his time finally came.

The meat of the episode was of course the Doctor’s time as the guardian of Christmas, doing all he could to protect a planet that had the misfortune of being chosen by the Time Lords. It was actually a bit of surprise to see the return of Gallifrey come up so soon, and I’m glad the issue wasn’t solved by the time credits rolled. It was Eleven’s job to save the Time Lord; it should be Twelve’s mission to find them, if there even is a way for them to return.

What worked well about the Doctor’s time on Trenzalore was that it served as a perfect counterpoint to David Tennant’s final adventure. The Doctor will give his life to save all of existence from destruction, but as seen in this episode, he’ll also risk his life for hundreds of years just to help a small handful of people. We’ve definitely seen it before, but this self-sacrifice is what makes the Doctor such an endearing character, and it’s definitely a great note to go out on.

Similarly, the Doctor’s regeneration was entirely different this time around. Unlike Tennant’s somber march and desperate pleas not to go, Smith went out on a much happier, resigned note. It was certainly still sad to see him go, especially with that last-minute cameo appearance, but it’s nice to know that for once, he could go in peace.

With a dropped bow tie and a flash of gold, Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor arrived, confused but ready for adventure. It’s going to be a long wait for the start of the eighth series, but I look forward to seeing what kind of energy and quirks Capaldi brings to the role. For now, though?

Goodbye, Raggedy Man.