Warning: Here there be spoilers...
The 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who was brilliant. Yes, it created some tangles that will re-write the time line of the Doctor but that is the beauty of a show that has been going for 50 years. I found myself going from excited to confused to indifferent and so on but the episode itself was really well done. I was invested in the War Doctor and the interactions with Ten and Eleven. In fact, any time the three of them were on screen I found myself loving the dialogue, expressions and just everything.
This love of the 50th left me on a high and, come Boxing Day, I was extremely excited to see the Christmas Special. I went into it wanting so much to love it. I'd shed tears for the 50th but I didn't feel the same sense of emotion toward the Christmas Special. Instead, I was left with a strange taste - almost as if I had tasted so many different foods that I like but they all cancelled each other out.
Love Stephen Moffat or hate him...it's entirely up to you but I do think he tried to do too much with Smith's last episode. The magic just wasn't there or, if it was, it was tarnished by the power of the 50th. Nothing was particularly bad. Smith was brilliant, Coleman is still trying to find her place as Clara but part of that unease in her character has been washed away a little by allowing us to see her family. Handles the Cyberman head was great and an interesting way to give the audience information.
This was a Pizza Disaster episode. Basically, Moffat treated this episode as a pizza base and he added all the toppings, regardless of whether they would go well together or not. This isn't to say that there weren't stand out moments but it was too enemy heavy and too rushed for me to truly find myself being immersed into the world of the Doctor. Using all the different enemies made it hard for me to truly focus on the main idea of the story and this makes me feel sad. Like I said at the beginning I truly wanted to enjoy the episode but, the last minute gift of regenerations from the Time Lords gave him an easy way out.
Enough of the negatives though. What I really enjoyed about this episode was Smith's performance. The energy he brought to the Doctor was brilliant and he was able to make the role his own, much like Tennant before him. The stay on Trenzalore was an interesting idea and watching the Doctor grow old and, almost, a little senile was almost beautiful. There was a sadness toward the end which managed to tug on my heartstrings.
Clara's insistence on not leaving the Doctor was a nice bit of growth for her character. I hope to see her character continue to grow and no longer be just a visual companion but a companion who can stand up to the likes of Donna and Martha. (Both misunderstood in my humble opinion).
The final ten or so minutes of the episode were enough to make me enjoy the episode. In fact, the visitation from Amy Pond and the significance of removing the bow tie was enough to induce a few tears. But the regeneration...I didn't mind that it was quick and almost instantaneous because Capaldi was brilliant. The line about his kidneys and then his admitting he doesn't know how to fly the TARDIS...fantastic. This got me excited for the new season - especially when I recall Capaldi's eyes cameo in the 50th Special. The seriousness behind them and the intensity still sends shivers down my spine.
If I had to give this episode a score out of ten I would have to give it a 6.5/10. And most of that does stem from the final moments of the show. So, not a bad episode but not really a good one.
So, what were your thoughts? Who is your favourite companion? (Sarah Jane from the original series and Donna from the 2005 series for me)