Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Undefined Gamer: "The Time of the Doctor" Review

Cinema Won no edit because spoilers.

      Matt Smith has died. Trenzalore still isn't resolved. Gallifrey is
still hidden.
      And the Daleks are just as powerful as they were during the Time War.
      The episode at first is very enjoyable. Classic Matt Smith discovers
Trenzalore, a planet emanating a signal across time and space. Smith
boyishly gets to the bottom of things, but is presented with an
      Unlike Smith, he quickly comes to the conclusion that their is no
solution. He stays on Trenzalore for hundreds of years.
      He ages.
      Following up the Day of the Doctor, the ultimate feel-good fanservice
episode, Moffat busts out the scalpels and quickly rips out our hearts.
Moffat slowly takes away everything we love about Matt Smith, from his
boyish grace, quick-thinking, and overall defiance by putting him into
an impossible situation. Moffat resolves nothing but the 12
regeneration rule, which is mentioned here for the first time since
the classic series, leaving the events leading up to the "Name of the
Doctor" episode still up to the imagination.
      It's quite an infuriating episode.
      Smith does get an epic send off, however I can't but feel that Moffat
could've handled it a tiny bit better. In the last 15 minutes of the
special, Moffat builds up the moment Smith transitions into Capaldi
remarkably well. The buildup was so powerful, I found myself shedding
tears, as I was waiting for the trademark last moments of a doctor,
beams of light spewing from Smith's hands and face. It never came.The
climax happened in less than a second.
      True, this moment already did happen in a very big way when (old)
Smith receives his 13th regeneration from Gallifrey, and it was the
most violent "beam-thingy" moment that we've ever seen with any
doctor, as the Doctor's regeneration energies destroyed an entire
Dalek ship and broke the sound barrier. Still, I feel robbed that we
never got the climax that Smith deserved, as I kept finding myself
expecting Smith to come back next season to re-do the "good bye"
      Overall, this was written really well, but a slight fault in direction
keep this special from being great. It feels bittersweet, rather than
      All because of a slight error in direction.
      Let's talk about Capaldi.
      He got one line, "Do you know how to fly this?", looking ridiculous
in Matt Smith's old attire, blundering about in the Tardis (he
apparently got short-term amnesia or something). Compared to his epic
cameo in the 50th, Capaldi appears to have fallen on his ass, but
honestly he wasn't given anything to work with. He just doesn't seem
to have gotten his bearings yet (which Smith is no stranger to, as his
very first lines where eeked out, "I'm a girl!").
      I don't like this. As a whovian, this was painful to watch, yet I
can't find any other complaints with it, other than the at times
confusing direction, and that one fault that I mentioned earlier.
Everything written here has a purpose and is meant to help transition
11's state of mind to 12's. However, the transition between Smith's
"Running all my life," mindset to "I'm going to stand my ground,
what's the point?" should've been better explained, but that is a
direction problem.
      Production values remain high, in fact they are identical to the
values seen in "Day of the Doctor."
      Overall, I don't like it, though I believe it's well made. I rank it
below the 2010 Christmas special, solely because the director f**ked
the payoff during the end.
      All this special really seems to accomplish is to raise questions
similar to the ones raised at the beginning of Smith's tenure.
Despite its quality, Moffat's deviation from the formula presented in
previous Doctor Who episodes and Smith's character as a whole leaves
me with a hole in my heart. This doesn't feel like Doctor Who. The
Doctor never loses, and even if he did, he wouldn't accept it as
cheerily as Smith did in this special.
      I feel that this episode unfairly raises the expectations for
Capaldi's Doctor, when it should raise expectations for Moffat's next
season. Though not a bad Doctor 11 episode, this episode needed to be
great. It didn't do that as a whole. Certain parts shined through, but
to a lack of a solid narrative and the botched payoff, what should
have left me feeling sad but optimistic towards season 8 merely leaves
me with a dagger in my heart. This is also where the writing deviates
from what is typical of Steven Moffat. Sure, he wrecks havoc on
everything you love, but he at least usually cleans up afterward.
Here, he doesn't even do that.
      Again, the episode is good, it just didn't do some of the things that
it needed to do. As long as season 8 starts off strong, we'll all
forget this come june (or whenever the new season airs)
      Like the Doctor, I've been given an impossible situation. The episode
is good, but doesn't do what it should. How do I grade it?
      The answer: I don't.

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