Doctor Who Christmas Special – The Time of The Doctor

Steven Moffat promised viewers that all most of the loose ends from the recent seasons of Doctor Who would be tied up with a bow in the Season 7 Christmas Special “The Time of The Doctor.” A bow atop a heartbreaking present, because he is mad with power over our hearts! I digress.

“The Time of The Doctor” is the final act in a loose trilogy of stories and the final episode of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. This last episode, though not the greatest, was decent  when you sit and think about the totality of the Matt Smith era.

Let’s recap a bit. Starting back two episodes with “The Name of The Doctor” we learn about Trenzalore, a planet that is the fabled battlefield where the First Question will be asked and where “Silence Will Fall.” This is also where The Doctor’s tomb is located, as it is explained that he will die here in an ages-long battle that turns him into the Valeyard, a dark incarnation of our beloved Doctor. The episode ends as the Great Intelligence enters The Doctor’s personal time stream, and then Clara enters it to cross cancel. Then The Doctor enters it to save Clara and I guess to prevent anyone else from entering it. While in the wibbly wobbly of The Doctor’s personal time-y wime-y, Clara and The Doctor come face to face to face to face to face to face to face to face to face to face with all of his previous incarnations, including the long suppressed War Doctor that was sandwiched in between Eight and Nine.  Cliffhanger!

Doctor Who

This brings us to “The Day of The Doctor,” the 50th anniversary special. In this episode The Doctor, somehow now free of his time wound, is called upon by UNIT to help figure out where all the people from the 3D paintings in their secret vault have gone. This plot point later comes in handy as The Doctor meets up with Ten and addresses the “Who Was This Unknown Guy And What Did He Do” Doctor, aka the War Doctor. During this redemptive intervention the three Doctors save Gallifrey using the 3D paintings, rather than destroying it with the Moment. (Which, btw, in my fanfic I totally called how the time lock worked, but rather than using Gallifrey stasis cubes I used a machine based on Zeno’s Arrow Paradox. Same dif.)

So with the mystery of “Who Was That Guy” out of the way, as well as the removal of the tragic post traumatic survivors guilt of The Doctor’s by putting Gallifrey in a pocket dimension, we move back to Trenzalore. But this time it’s Trenzalore before the First Question, before the battle, before the fall of the Eleventh. And if you had lingering questions from the past three seasons about The Silence, exploding TARDIS’s, and subsequent cracks in reality then don’t blink, because you’ll miss the bow tying of loose ends.

The episode basically entails The Doctor and every militant race of aliens converging on the origins of a coded message that has been broadcasting throughout all of time of space. Once that message is decoded The Doctor fights a 300+ years-long battle to prevent the answering of the message. The message in question is the First Question: Doctor Who? Turns out the question is coming from Gallifrey from the pocket universe through a crack in reality. Yes, the same cracks caused by the TARDIS exploding and destroying all of reality. And this crack, the ever so predominate mystery in the fifth season, was what The Doctor saw behind door number 11 in “The God Complex”. Answers!

It turns out that the “Silence” are actually genetically engineered priests of this Papal Mainframe. Some of these “Silence” are recruited by Madame Kovarian in a rouge chapter of the Papal Mainframe intent on taking the “silence must fall” to a whole other level by trying to destroy The Doctor’s TARDIS sometime in his past, making it impossible to even get to Trenzalore. This has unforeseen effects, such as destroying the universe and making the cracks in reality that the Time Lords will later use to call The Doctor to Trenzalore. They, in effect, cause the means of the very thing they are trying to stop.Tasha Lem (played by Orla Brady), a friend of The Doctor and head nun of the Church of the Papal Mainframe (first heard of in “A Good Man Goes To War”) understands that if The Doctor answers the question then the Time War will start again. So she declares that he must not answer it; instead “silence must fall.” Get it?

Doctor Who S7 Ep16 Silence

When this action fails they decide to just kill The Doctor outright in the most convoluted way possible. They kidnap the baby of The Doctor’s then companions, the Ponds, and raise her as psychopathic killer. We know her as River Song. Of the two attempts made by her on The Doctor, at Lake Silencio 2011 and in Berlin 1938, it is the events in 2011 that the Kovorian Chapter did their best to orchestrate. And to some degree they succeeded, insofar as The Doctor would have them believe, and further attempts on The Doctor’s life by their hands had come to an end.

All of that is explained away in under a minute in a conversation The Doctor has with Tasha Lem over marshmallows. Never leave the room during a talky scene.

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