Doctor Who: The Time of The Doctor has ended, and begun.
Christmas has come again, and The Doctor must save the day. This is my favorite Christmas tradition, and this year it was particularly powerful, if not entirely satisfying. This episode was entirely a sendoff for Smith. A chance to tie up some loose ends regarding his regeneration, and the lost Gallifrey, the 50th anniversary special left unanswered. That said, it was entirely entertaining for what it was, a way for us to say goodbye to Matt Smith as The Doctor.
The premise is as follows. A planet has been sending out a message, to all of time and space. None could translate the message, but everyone came to answer the call. The first to arrive was The Church of the Papal Mainframe, who sealed the planet so none could land. The Doctor, with a new toy, the remains of a cyberman head he has modified, has analyzed the signal, and the planet of origin, Gallifrey. Not believing the findings, he visits The Church and Mother Superior Tasha Lem is able to send him down to the planet to discover the source of the message. The Doctor and Clara are transported to a small town called Christmas, where the signal is originating from a crack on the wall of a clock tower. The message, which is Gallifreyan, is “Doctor Who?” The planet is Trenzalore. The Doctor has only to answer the question to bring Gallifrey and the Time Lords back from the pocket universe where they are trapped, this is the beginning of the siege of Trenzalore. This is also marks the turn of The Church of the Papal Mainframe into the The Church of The Silence, who now dedicates themselves to preventing The Doctor from returning the Time Lords to the universe.
The Doctor sends Clara home, and he stays behind to defend the town of Christmas for the next 300 years while the TARDIS is returning, with Clara attached. When she returns, The Doctor explains the situation with the Time Lords, and his regeneration cycle. He explains how Time Lords are allowed 12 regenerations, and he has used all his, and when he dies, he will not be able to regenerate. (If you are counting, that means the meta-crisis regeneration counts are one used up regeneration) A fact The Doctor acknowledges and admits could change if only the Time Lords were not lost, but who needs the Time Lords when you have Clara Oswin Oswald.
As I said before, this is by in large, a big shining sendoff for Matt Smith. There are ties back to his first episode, and the threads of story that have run through his seasons. The loose ends of those threads have mostly been tied up by the end, and The Doctor is given a new regeneration, or regeneration cycle, courtesy of the Time Lords. (Seriously do not ask me how, it just happened, they didn’t explain it) I have stopped picking on plot holes, and overly contrived plot-devices with this series. They exist as an integral part of the show. Just believe me when I say there are more than enough in this episode.
The farewell, complete with a brief return of Amelia Pond, and a fantastic tear-jerking speech delivered in Matt Smiths beautifully rhythmic manner held me captive. It’s hard to believe this time has come, yet it has, and with this, I am ready to move on.
The Time of The Doctor: 7 of 10 objectively, there were too many plot holes and unexplained elements to be fully enjoyable apart from the farewell. 10 of 10 for a fully effective sendoff to a magnificent Doctor. It is full of reminders of why we love him, and why this is OK. Dry your eyes, and never forget how to fly your TARDIS.