Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: Saul Metizen
Producers: Marcus Wilson and Denise Paul
Series: 7, episode 13
Companions: Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman), River Song (Alex Kingston)
Summary: Madame Vastra visits a murderer named Clarence DeMarco, learning from him that the Doctor’s “greatest secret” has been discovered. She assembles the Paternoster gang for a “conference call” and contacts Clara in a dream to tell her. When the Doctor and Clara arrive on Trenzalore, where the Doctor’s grave is located, they find the Great Intelligence. It wants to enter the time scar created by the Doctor’s journeys to rewrite his history, turning all his victories into defeats. This is the moment Clara realizes her purpose: she was born to save the Doctor. She jumps into the time stream to save him, splitting herself into echoes all over the timestream. The Doctor is eventually revived by her efforts and jumps in after her. When he saves her, he shows her “the most important leaf in history”. At the end, however, they stop and notice an unfamiliar figure: The War Doctor, an aspect of the Doctor he has rejected.
Review: Despite all the vitriol surrounding this episode before I viewed it, I was optimistic. I had been intrigued about Clara from her first appearance and was only wanting to watch in order to solve her mystery. Richard Grant was excellent as the Great Intelligence. I loved all the call backs to the show’s past and even the fact that some footage was retouched didn’t bother me. This made me anticipate the special so much more.
Overall Rating: 10/10
Continuity: The cold open contains several scenes from Classic and new Who, including “The Five Doctors”, “The Invasion of Time”, “Dragonfire”, and “Arc of Infinity”. The “time scar” also has several lines of audio from previous adventures, both classic and current. The Sixth Doctor was duped into thinking that he had encountered his own grave in “Destiny of the Daleks” The Great Intelligence mentions several names for the Doctor, including the Ninth Doctor’s boast that he is “The Oncoming Storm” (cf. “Bad Wolf”) and the Valeyard, an evil version of the Doctor introduced in the “Trial of a Time Lord” arc. He also mentions enemies he has killed, such as the leader of the Sycorax in “The Christmas Invasion” and Solomon the Trader in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Clara regains her memories of being trapped in the TARDIS in “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS”. By now, River Song only exists as data, indicating that this takes place after the episodes “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”. Clara receives the leaf that brought about events that led to her birth, which was chronicled in “The Bells of St. John”. This leaf was lost to her in “The Rings of Akhaten”. The Doctor was also killed prematurely in “Turn Left.” River again mentions that the Doctor hates goodbyes, which she said in “The Angels Take Manhattan”. Madame Vastra mentions several events that are being undone, including “Asylum of the Daleks”, “The Caves of Androzani”, “The Snowmen”, and “A Good Man Goes to War”. The First Question prophecy that was first stated in “A Good Man Goes to War” is mentioned. Clara repeats “I don’t know where I am”, which she screamed repeatedly when the Spoonhead captured her in “The Bells of St. John”. Clara again attempts to make souffles, which she was seen doing in “Asylum of the Daleks”. Vastra and River both tell Clara that the Doctor doesn’t share secrets, which was told to Amy in “Amy’s Choice” and Ace in “Silver Nemesis”. The Whisper Men repeat Col. Manton’s calling the Doctor “the man who lies” in “A Good Man Goes to War”. The Doctor mentions the Fast Return Switch, first mentioned in “The Edge of Destruction”. The War Doctor’s origin was explored in the web-episode “Night of the Doctor” (note: I don’t review web episodes because they are too short.)