Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

The Name of the Doctor StillThe Name of the Doctor

tl;dr WARNING: Yes, this piece is long.  No, I don’t care.  It’s the finale, after all!  I am full of squee, and I’m closing out this series with a bang!

GALLIFREY!!!!!  This is what I yelled (in my head, because I wasn’t watching it alone) right out of the gate.  Way to scoop me up and get me stoked!  I’m so glad I didn’t give in to my temptation to turn it off right there as I mentioned on the podcast.  But I’ve already squeed about seeing the past Doctors with my beloved Clara, so I shouldn’t take up any more space here with that.

Ok, a teeny bit more space:

SQUEE!

Clara

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention that I have some things to say about Clara.  I did manage to happily babble a lot of my thoughts while we recorded, but as usual, I’ve got a few more rattling around my brainpan.

A Small Bone to Pick

As much as I loved this story, I do have to take issue with one repeated sentence: “I was born to save the Doctor.”  I understand that it’s a catchy line, and it works great in promos, but I really didn’t think the story itself bore this out.  As I said, one of the things I love love loved about was that Clara’s birth wasn’t caused by the Doctor.  She may have been destined to save him, depending on how you look at it, but her birth had very little to do with it.  Neither the Doctor, nor any of the echo-Claras, caused that leaf to blow into her father’s face.  (We know it wasn’t the Doctor.  He was across the street reading The Beano.)  Yes, the Doctor might not have met her if not for the other-Claras, but she was still “a perfectly normal girl” just as Emma Grayling told him back in “Hide”.  And we can’t know anything for sure.  Maybe if this whole paradox hadn’t happened, he’d’ve bumped into her eventually and cajoled her into tagging along anyway.

So Very Clara

I love her reaction to the “conference call”.  From Jenna Louise Coleman’s performance reading the letter to her dazed reaction afterward to her description of River’s “space hair”, I found that bit lovely.  She’s so shaken by seeing the Doctor cry, but she doesn’t overplay it.  Also, I noted that she didn’t react to the news that River was an “ex” by displaying romantic jealousy.  She seemed a bit taken aback that the Doctor never told her, but that was all.  Her characteristic bravery is on display from the first as well.  Even after seeing the Doctor’s reaction to Trenzalore, she doesn’t balk.  “No point in telling you this is too dangerous?”  “None at all.”

I also appreciated how the engine room scene from “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” came back into play.  It made perfect sense within the story, and somewhat ameliorated the annoyance I occasionally feel after a reset-button story.  Now it’s back in both of their memories, so the experience counted for something!  Yay!  (And JLC pulled off that scene really well too.  She’s simultaneously confused and demanding.  Great balance.)

Sacrifice

We discussed her self-sacrifice a bit, but I feel the need to mention it again here.  I’ve heard people say it wasn’t really that much of a sacrifice because she knew she’d already done it.  WRONG.  She’s still doing something that will effectively kill her (as far as she knows).  That’s absolutely a sacrifice, and she has the opportunity to break out of the cycle and simply not do it.  Knowing that she’d already done it counts for something, but she still has to be willing to give up her life, and she does–with no hesitation.

And I ADORE the fact that her final line is now complete: “Run you clever boy, and remember me.”  ME.  That all-important word sang like poetry to this girl.  THIS is “Our Clara”, “Clara-prime”, and she’s the only one who gets to say it all because she’s where it all begins.  I want to hug Steven Moffat for that line.  (Let alone the rest of the hug-worthy stuff in this story.)

Even after making the sacrifice, she’s steadfast.  The Doctor enters his own timeline to rescue her and admits it’s collapsing in on itself.  She immediately yells at him “Well get out then!”  That’s Our Clara.

Souffle Girl

While we’re talking about poetic bits, I was also won over by the souffle metaphor.  “The souffle isn’t the souffle; the souffle is the recipe.”  As someone who’s been baking a special recipe (“Erika Cookies”) for decades, I completely understand and relate to this idea.  The fact that it ties in to the first episode with JLC just makes it that much sweeter.  The fact that it turned my expectation on its head made it sweeter still: when the souffle came up here, I thought it was somehow caused by Oswin, when it was 100% the other way around.  Oswin’s souffle was a Clara reference, we just didn’t know it yet.

While we’re on the theme of Oswin and how she relates to Our Clara, I can’t help but wonder if Oswin was such a computer genius because the Great Intelligence’s lackeys pumped so much computer hackery into Our Clara’s brain in “The Bells of Saint John”.

The Doctor

Hellllooo Matt Smith!  Bra-to-the-vo!  From his brilliant entrance with the blindfold, I liked nearly everything about the Doctor (and Matt Smith as the Doctor) this week.  We get him being silly, crying, and lying.  (“This won’t hurt a bit.  I lied.”)  The idea of him settling down to an old age of beekeeping and watercolors both delighted and saddened me, as his face did while he mused over those impossibilities.

We also see a bit of the bravado that’s a hallmark of Doctor-number-eleven.  “Clara’s got one advantage over the Great Intelligence…me.”  It’s shades of “The Eleventh Hour” (“basically, run”), “The Pandorica Opens” (speechifying at Stonehenge), and “Time of Angels” (“there is one thing you never, ever put in a trap…me”).

This is the performance I wanted last week.  He really brought it here, and all the pathos and brooding really worked for me.

River

Yep.  I liked her here.  I’m not sure if she wore me down or if she or I have changed, but this rings sweet and true as River’s last story (as I fervently hope it is).  I completely agree with Lynne that this was an elegant ending for a character like hers, and I hope they let her rest in peace.

Speaking of, how perfect was it that her gravestone was the secret entrance to his tomb?  That whole scene was brilliant.  River feeding lines to Clara was absolutely hilarious, and didn’t mar the tension of the scene.  On the contrary, it somehow managed to elevate it.  Plus, that scene takes on a new layer when you re-watch it knowing the Doctor can hear River the whole time.  (As do plenty of others.  I suspect her ability to bring champagne to the conference call might’ve been a clue that she was copy-River.)

Hooray for River opening the TARDIS!  Deb was right, there was no way we were gonna get the Doctor’s name, but as we know River knows it, this was perfect.  It fits with River’s character too.  She’s never been one to put up with the Doctor’s stubbornness, and she’s not about to start just because she happens to be dead.

Her kindness is on display here as well.  She tries to talk Clara out of jumping, knowing it’ll kill her.  (Or thinking it will.  Probably.)  Her manner here is slightly maternal–perhaps picked up during her time raising phantom library-children.

And then there’s the kiss.  As I said, I was so deep into this episode that I didn’t even mind the kiss.  I’m not going so far as to say I liked it.  I didn’t.  I still don’t like my Doctor being sexy or romantic, but that was clearly a romantic kiss.  Part of my brain is trying to convince me he was kissing her passionately because he knew that’s what River wanted and it was a goodbye present to her, but most of me doesn’t want to buy that.  Why?  Because it was so heart-wrenching that if I believe the kiss was a put-on, then it loses its emotional punch, and I’m not sure I’m willing to give that up.  This will probably be one of those “fixed points” of cognitive dissonance that litter Doctor Who.  I’m okay with that.  It’s all a part of the ride.

Questions

Okay, so I did have some questions, like how did that fourteen-time murderer know about the Doctor and the Great Intelligence’s lackeys?  Would the Whisper Men even have existed in Victorian London?  Yes, the Great Intelligence was there, but at that time the Doctor had only foiled him (it?) once, so I assumed the vendetta came after the next few encounters.  It seems he can time-travel?  And he can clearly get around–he makes it to Trenzalore after all.  So couldn’t he just muck about with the Doctor’s timeline directly by actually going everywhere and everywhen?  I suppose that would be a hassle, but he wouldn’t have to go through the pain and destruction of entering the Doctor’s time stream.

You know what though?  I really don’t care.  That’s the kind of plot thing I’ll gladly hand-wave into a happy nothingness.  If I hadn’t enjoyed this thing so much, it might nag at my mind, but nope!  Not worth the effort!

I also wondered how the heck Vastra knew exactly when and where the GI was killing the Doctor throughout his history.  That’s a pretty nifty gadget.  Seems a bit overpowered if you ask me, and I didn’t really think we needed it.  I’d’ve almost preferred Clara to make the leap without putting together that she’d (sort of) already done it.

The most interesting question I have isn’t about this episode, it’s about the next.  Will the TARDIS have a crack in her window from here on in?  The giant tomb-TARDIS had a cracked window, perfectly matching the one acquired when the Doctor and Clara fell to the planet.  So if there’s no crack at some point in the future, then the Doctor’s death at Trenzalore–perhaps even the whole battle there–may be averted.  (Or the TARDIS could just get cracked again in exactly the same place, but that’s boring.)

The biggest question of all is who’s John Hurt really playing?  “The Storm”?  (Or did that refer to “The Oncoming Storm”–the Dalek’s name for him?)  “The Beast”?  (If that’s a reference to something we already know, it was lost on me.)  “The Valeyard”?  (I loved hearing that name, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about his return.  Guess I’d wait to pass judgement like I always try to do.)

The Script

I bow to Steven Moffat.  I admit I started to doubt him after last season, but he’s gotten me back.

The Story

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I really liked this story.  There are so many parts about it that make me happy.

  • Despite my questions above, I love the idea of the Great Intelligence entering the Doctor’s timeline and killing him everywhen at once.  It does make my brain hurt, but in a good way.
  • Strax as a baddie again!  Hooray for Sontarans being (sorta) badassey!
  • The Doctor’s method of trying to save Clara is intriguing to me.  He enters his own timeline.  That is some serious s&^! right there!
  • Using the leaf as a grounding force to bring Clara back to herself was inspired.  I didn’t like how it played into the denouement of “The Rings of Akhaten”, but here it worked for me completely.

The Lines

In addition to loving the story and plot as a whole, I quite enjoyed many of the individual lines.

  • “The doors require a key.  The Key is a word.”  Did anyone else want to yell “Mellon!”  Speak friend and enter.  (A lovely example of how punctuation is important!)
  • “Bodies are boring.  I’ve had loads of them.”  I laughed.
  • “The tracks of my tears.”  Broke my heart.  “Less poetry Doctor.  Just tell them.”  Really worked for me as a villain’s line, and Richard E. Grant handled it perfectly.
  • “Oh dear goddess!”  A very nice subtle touch, coming from Vastra.
  • “Just this once, just for the hell of it, let me save you.”  She did save him an awful lot–even before she became a series of echoes.  And Matt Smith’s brought tears to my eyes here.

The Niggle

Okay, so there was one line that bothered me–well, not the line itself, but its delivery.  Matt Smith wasn’t 100% perfect I guess.  This is one of those nit-picky things that my nerd-brain can’t seem to let go of.  I recognize that it’s dumb to harp on it, so no need to chastise.  Anyway, when John Hurt appears as whomever-he-is, our Doctor says that’s him, but not “the Doctor”.  When he’s talking about names, he says “the one YOU choose”.  He should’ve said “the one you CHOOSE”.  The choice is the important bit.  Emphasizing “you” makes it sound like Clara chose the name, and nothing else made me think that was a twist that’s coming.  (Oh please don’t let that be a thing.  Clara has done enough.)

The Humour

As you may know from listening to me on the podcast, humour and Doctor Who don’t always coexist peacefully for me.  This time I found the balance to be spot on.  The tension barely ebbed when Strax rattled off a line, and when that happened, it was needed.  I’m not sure my heart could’ve taken that story with no respite.  The gags were sprinkled in at just the right ratio.  That’s such a tough equilibrium to achieve, I’m picturing Moffat on a tightrope, and managing to stay upright.

  • Glasgow. *snort*
  • “The one with the gigantic head?”  “It’s hair, Strax!”
  • “This planet is surrounded.  Surrender your women and intellectuals!”  (What the heck do Sontarans want with women though?)
  • “Do not divulge our military secrets!”
  • “It’s beautiful.”  “Should I destroy it?”
  • “Nobody else in this room can see you, god knows how that looked.”

And yes, I do realize I’ve just listed a bunch of dialogue with almost no specific comments or critique.  I’m that squeeful.  Sue me.

Bits and Bobs

  • The “conference call” was an interesting way to get everyone together.  I like that it was science disguised as Victorian mysticism.
  • The Whisper Men didn’t quite work for me.  As a concept, they were fine, but the rhyming seemed a little silly, and it was too hard to understand what they were saying.  I mean, they weren’t classic-Ice-Warrior-difficult, but it was a bit tricky at times.
  • TARDIS console explosions!  That scene looked great.  Pyrotechnics can be a tricky thing to pull off, so well done to Saul Metzstein and the crew!
  • The TARDIS-as-tomb was exceedingly effective, both emotionally and visually.  It broke my heart and creeped me out.  Well done.
  • The booming cloister bell was an excellent touch.  The cloister bell has been a sound to inspire alarm for decades.  Transforming it to match the distorted nature of the TARDIS made it truly unsettling.
  • Remember how the voices coming out of the TARDIS console didn’t really work for me in “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS”?  Well this was a perfect example of how I think that sort of thing does work.  We’re looking at the Doctor’s entire timeline, something we’ve never seen the like of before.  It makes sense that bits of phrases would float out when coaxed by the right sonic screwdriver setting.
  • I agree with Lynne that it was nice to see Richard E. Grant get a bit more to do this time.  I like him better as cranky crazy villain than a non-emotive manchild.

The Wait

And now we’re done with weekly Doctor Who for quite a while.  And we have quite the cliffhanger to fret about for the next six months.  I am therefore even more pleased that we’ve been left with “The Name of the Doctor” as our final episode.  I shall be filled with the squee of this (and all of series 7b) from now until November 23rd.  So here’s one more for the road:

SQUEE!

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Comments on: "Erika’s Last Word – Episode 15" (42)

  1. The only place I’ve ever seen people actually “put up their dukes” was a fight in the middle of the street in Glasgow (which was broken up by an old woman – even better), so I always enjoy a good joke about that city and brawling!

    • Hah! That is hilarious. I wonder how the Glasgow chamber of commerce (or tourism board or whatever might exist there) feels about this episode. I’d actually imagine it’d be good for the city instead of the other way around.

  2. Elvis Omar said:

    I agree with all of these things (except that I have no discomfort with a Doctor that is romantically involved). The one that is worthy of underlining, in my eyes, is the TARDIS as tomb. If I squeed once in this episode, it was upon hearing about how the big on the inside leaks out to make it huge. Our TARDIS is huge and sad, and presumably a bit mad—but she was apparently still herself enough to help Clara show the first Doctor which one to steal.

    • I had assumed that the original TARDIS back on Gallifrey was the one who showed/told/influenced Clara to point the Doctor in the right direction. Idris told us she chose him. Though I suppose it could have been the big damaged version that so deeply implanted that info into Clara’s mind that her copies remembered it too. It’s an interesting question!

      • I think A. Clara’s supposed to be counteracting against the Great Intelligence’s interference so Clara’s fixing what the great intelligence changed and B. That’s a sweet line in the Doctor’s Wife but blatantly ridiculous:
        The tardis may be sentient but Doctor/Tardis is cargo ship, certainly in the Hartnell years. Gallifrey was a decadent planet with a policy of non-interference, the tardises to them were transport and nothing more. I actually count the Doctor’s Wife as canon but only because it makes the idea of doddery old 1 escaping Gallifrey all the more plausible with the tardis effectively putting things on easy mode for him but the tardis more helped him do what he already wanted to do, rather than “stealing him” although I guess in that sense she did steal him in as much he stole her, if you ignore the whole driving away with someone else’s transport without paying aspect of it.

      • Ridiculous or not, many people choose to view that line as strict canon now–that’s the beauty of retconning! Doctor Who “canon” is changing constantly and is vastly different, depending on whom you ask. And I think that’s totally fab! 🙂

      • Elvis Omar said:

        Erika, if you ask me, you think it’s totally fab because it *is* totally fab!

  3. Chuck said:

    Regarding the niggle…
    I think you’re reading way too far into it. 😉 You have to look at the whole comment:

    “The name, my real name …. That’s not the point. The name … the name I chose is ‘The Doctor’. The name you choose, it’s like a promise you make. He’s the one that broke the promise.”

    So, he clearly and unambiguously states that he’s the one who chose the name to begin with. I think the way he said it was just the way Matt Smith felt most comfortable saying it.

    • 🙂 Don’t worry–I’m not actually reading into it. I’m firmly in the Doylist camp here. I think Matt Smith just emphasized in incorrectly. And I do still think that was the wrong choice. It was like a sour note in an otherwise lovely symphony.

  4. The Beast comes from the Beast Below and the Doctor who does not deserve the name is not called the Doctor but is the same person we know as the Doctor so John Hurt being credited as the Doctor is fine.

    The Dreamlord, the Timelord Victorious, the Valeyard, the Ka Fariq Gatri (Bringer Of Darkness), the Karshtakavaar (The On Coming Storm), The Destroyer Of Worlds and to a certain extent the Other and the Professor are all names for the darker aspects of the Doctor, most apply to specific instances or incarnations but all serve to highlight how our great hero ceases to be known as a healer from time to time.

    John Hurt’s Doctor by being undeserving of the name Doctor is marking himself out as THE Dark Doctor since so many others have committed so many atrocious acts (and I count the books as canon) yet they all got to keep the title of Doctor.

    • It’s been a while since I’ve seen “The Beast Below”. When in that story is the Doctor referred to as “The Beast”? I don’t remember that part.

      But yes, I’m well aware of many of those darker names for him. I was just curious about the few they chose to mention here. The phrasing was something like “he’ll be known by many other names before the end.” (I don’t remember the exact quotation.) So that implies that a few of those names may be ones we haven’t seen yet. We have seen the Valeyard, but technically the Doctor hasn’t *been* the Valeyard yet, so that fits with the timeline implied by that line.

      • The Beast is more implied through the whole “The Doctor is the space whale” thing with that duality running through the entirety of the Moffat era, I’ve read a lot of essays analysing the series and its themes sand the Beast seems to be a constant for this Doctor.

      • Ah, in that case, I doubt that’s all there is to it. Moffat’s far too cagey a writer to leave it at that. That smacks of reading too much into it. The dark Doctor is certainly a constant, “The Beast”? Not so much.

        I fully suspect that “The Beast” will reappear, and we’ll find out what that means somewhere down the line. And if Moffat doesn’t do it, it’ll probably be someone else eventually.

  5. Ray Adamson said:

    Is team verity assembling next week for a new podcast now you’re finished reviewing the latest series or will it be slighty longer?Are you planning to discuss Mc Coy era Who next or something different,probably?Gee,normality ensues quickly when Doctor Who finishes.

    • We’ll have something for you next week, but we won’t be getting back to the classic Doctors quite yet. Soon though! (But we’ve already covered McCoy!)

      • Ray Adamson said:

        Och! Sorry, i,m blaming the silence and the passage of time.Guess, i should relisten to that sometime.Suppose you may be reviewing the JNT biography which should be available next week.Actually thought you might have been tempted to delay since your currently acclimatising.[ Surely, it’s absolutely impossible you’re enjoying ice hockey now,it’s un-geek like.Are you being upgraded or something?Should be watching Doctor Who DVD you haven’t seen instead.]Stay pure.

      • We will, indeed, be reviewing the JN-T book soon, so keep an ear out for that!

        And against all (or at least most) expectations, I have been learning to enjoy hockey. What can I say, I am large, I contain multitudes. Let’s cast off the outdated bonds of geekery and embrace life as a whole!

        Whoa. Got carried away there. Yes. Hockey is nice. 🙂

  6. Joris M said:

    I forgot about the retirement comment. The beekeeping is one of the things Sherlock Holmes did in his retirement, the watercolours might as well although I don’t remember. So it is a nice nod to the other series.

    The YOU, it depends on expectations. If you consider it in contrast to the name parents, friends (nicknames), loved ones etc choose for you it makes a bit more sense. In all cases people choose, only in one the person makes that choice themselves, which does deserve some emphasis.

    • Ahh, I thought the beekeeping thing sounded familiar.

      And I like your explanation of the emphasis on “you”. This is the first explanation that really makes sense to me. I’m actually a bit chagrined that I didn’t see it that way in the first place. Thank you for smoothing that over for me! 🙂

      • Joris M said:

        You’re welcome.
        I believe at times it is useful not to be a native speaker, the different ingrained expectations do help access some different interpretations more easily.

      • I never thought of it that way, but that’s an excellent advantage!

  7. Malcolm73 said:

    I wouldn’t call myself a complete Whovian nut, but I vaguely remember The Key To Time and all that Tom Baer era, and this episode triggered some lore I long remember but assumed had been airbrushed out.

    There was once an episode/sequence where the Doctor was put on trial on trumped up charges on Galifrey by corrupt Time Lords. The prosecutor was the Master, acting at the instigation of the corrupt chief Time Lord, who was chief judge. Anyway, the Master’s reward/motive was to be given the Doctor’s twelfth (and final) incarnation, I.e. a stolen life.

    In other words, that sequence told us two things:
    * Time Lords get twelve incarnations
    * the Doctor’s 12th is the Master

    The Name Of The Doctor led me to remember all this and wonder, is John Hurt not just the Doctor, but also the Master?

    • Interesting guessing! Your memory of The Trial of a Time Lord season (starring Colin Baker) is somewhat hazy, but you’re right that some people do suspect John Hurt might have something to do with the prosecutor in that case, the Valeyard. He was actually a dark version of the Doctor himself (not the Master–he figured in those episodes, but he was actually helping the Doctor), taken from between two of his final regenerations. (The 12-regeneration thing was established years earlier in “The Deadly Assassin”, but I can’t imagine that they’ll stick with it. There are no more Time Lords these days, so I doubt their rules hold much sway. Also, I believe it was 12 *regenerations*, which would mean 13 lives.)

      Wow. I didn’t realize I remembered that much. 🙂 I might have a few details off, but I did just watch most of ToaTL last year, so it’s not entirely un-fresh.

      • Was the Master really ‘helping’ the Doctor in those episodes? I prefer to think of it as ‘taunting constructively’.

        I think the namedropping of the Valeyard in this episode was definitely significant, either to imply that’s who the Hurt Doctor is, or to remind us all that a ‘Doctor between the numbers’ is canon!

      • I use “helping” in the loosest sense possible. 🙂 “Taunting constructively” is an awesome phrase though!

  8. I think Sontarans value ‘women and intellectuals’ as potential hostages. That doesn’t mean that Strax would be able to tell the difference between the two – or of course recognise that some people can be both.

    I loved that line!

    I also agree with Matt Smith’s stress of the ‘name you choose’ but remember there are a few people in the story other than him who choose their own names – River Song, for one, and Clara has ‘Oswin’.

    I like to think that the reason the TARDIS has been snitty about Clara all season is because she interfered when the TARDIS was already in the middle of stealing him, and hogged the credit. OR maybe she’s constantly shutting doors on her etc. not because she doesn’t like her but because she’s used to the Doctor not seeing Clara and therefore she doesn’t have to treat her like a person?

    • Thanks Tansy! As usual, you’ve helped me handwave/understand some of the stuff that nags at me. And I like your Clara/TARDIS theories!

  9. It definitely seemed like River Song’s goodbye moment in the series. But Moffat still hasn’t answered how she knew the Doctor’s name, how she got his screwdriver, how he got it back(!), and their final moment at the singing towers.

    So even though it felt very finished and I liked her ending, I kind of want to know all of that.

    • You bring up some very good points. Now the marketing bit of my brain has taken over and wonders if he’ll tell those stories in some other medium–books? Video games? Maybe he’s saving that for a really sweet Big Finish drama in about 15 or 20 years?

      • BTW a River Song book would be brilliant – a novelisation of their story, with two different potential reading orders, either as a Choose Your Own Adventure style thing, or just an e-book where you can hit ‘Doctor chronology’ or ‘River chronology’ settings.

    • Actually he totally addressed their final moment – in the Night and the Doctor sequences that were on the DVD of Series Six. We saw multiple Doctors and Rivers moving in and out of the TARDIS, and one set of them were just about to go on that particular ‘final date’.

      As for him getting the sonic screwdriver back, we saw the TARDIS grow him a new one in the Eleventh Hour, as part of the ‘changing the desktop setting’ process, and it’s not unrealistic to imagine that this happened again before The Snowmen episode. He runs through those things like crazy!

      We haven’t seen her ‘making him’ tell her his name, though… but if it doesn’t happen on screen we can just assume it was a sexytimes scene, right? Right? (sorry, Erika)

      • Night and the Doctor? Multiple Doctors? I have no memory of this! Was it a DVD-only special?

      • Elvis Omar said:

        I prefer to think River convinced the Doctor to share his name NOT in bed, but rather at the end of one of those incredible, wonderful day-long dates many of us are lucky enough to have had.

        Picture the filmed montage scored with soft accordion music: walking the banks of the Seine holding hands, feeding each other oysters and mousse au chocolat, laughing and looking into one another’s eyes, and then again holding hands standing at the door of the TARDIS and looking out at the birth of a star—one hand holding a glass of champagne and the other resting softly on the shoulder of the other.

        River looks into the Doctor’s eyes, “If you can’t tell me your name now, you may never be able to tell anyone, ever; and I don’t think you can keep living with that, sweetie. Can you?”

        Close up of the Doctor smiling, one tear running down his cheek. He takes a sip from his glass and gazes into the light of the infant star, “River… I hate it when you’re right. Why do you have to be right so often? Why does that make sense?” He sighs and pulls her closer to whisper something into her ear.

        They both are in tears now as the camera pulls away, the two of them standing in the doorway, lit by the spectacular fusion-fueled glory that is the star he was born under.

        Maybe it was the Thames embankment, and not the Seine (too many reminders of Romana II, perhaps?). Maybe it was the Tiber or the Hudson or a glowing river of energy. Maybe it wasn’t oysters. But, he told her his name, and that’s how it happened.

  10. >>While we’re on the theme of Oswin and how she relates to Our Clara, I can’t help but wonder if Oswin was such a computer genius because the Great Intelligence’s lackeys pumped so much computer hackery into Our Clara’s brain in “The Bells of Saint John”.

    Yeah, I’ve thought that, too. We haven’t seen her be computer-savvy since, but it would make sense that Clara-Asylum got it that way.

    And is one of the echoes of Clara, thanks to the scenes with the First Doctor on Gallifrey, a *timelord*?

    • I think the Clara-as-Time Lord question is one that Deb is wrestling with. I do hope she writes her Last Word post. (Even though I know I’ll disagree with it almost entirely. 🙂 )

      • I never even thought of that! OMG. My personal canon now is that Clara regenerated into Rodan from The Invasion of Time (she can’t be Romana, would be too old).

      • No way. I just watched “The Invasion of Time”, and Clara is way more world-competent and fearless than Rodan. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rodan, but after re-watching, she’s far more sheltered-damsel than I’d remembered. None of our Claras came off like that.

  11. Tamara – yes, Night and the Doctor was a series of shorts exploring conversations he had with Amy & River after hours & between adventures, a DVD special. Worth hunting down – they’d be on YouTube.

    • Found them! 😀 (Although it makes me wonder what else I’ve missed by not seeing all these shorts D:)

  12. AntonB said:

    ‘…I love the idea of the Great Intelligence entering the Doctor’s timeline and killing him everywhen at once. It does make my brain hurt, but in a good way’

    It reminded me of a Superman comic from some years ago (I believe it was a sequel of sorts to Kingdom Come) where the Super Villain/demi-god Magog travels back in time and systematically kills Superman at earlier and earlier times in his past. Superman had to travel to some kind of death dimension, where he found piles of his own super-corpses, and sort it out.

    • I’ve never been a superhero comic reader, so I’m not familiar with that story, but the term “super-corpses” had me smiling. 🙂

  13. “This planet is surrounded. Surrender your women and intellectuals!” (What the heck do Sontarans want with women though?)” Aren’t intellectuals and women the same thing? 🙂

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