So here we are at the end of another run. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around how long our wait between waves of new DOCTOR WHO episodes seems to be, and how quickly these fresh batches zoom past once we finally get them.
This newest and final S7 installment - The Name of the Doctor - caused quite the kerfuffle last weekend when word came down that home video sets of Season/Series 7B had inadvertently and prematurely been shipped to a small group of folks who'd pre-ordered them. This set included TNOTD, which had yet to be transmitted.
Said leak has sent shockwaves through The Powers That Be at BBC and at DOCTOR WHO, and ripples are still being felt. As a result, this Docback is not premiering exactly as intended today - and whether or not what you see here remains the entirety of this week's content remains to be seen. Please considering checking back for an UPDATE - although I can not guarantee one will come.
NEXT WEEK: we'll revisit/postmortem the whole of DWS7 in a roundy-uppy sort of way, and will quite possibly dive back into 'Classic WHO' with a look at The Visitation (Davison, Story #119). There's a slight chance we may not get to Visitation next week - if this is the case, it'll come around the following week.
BELOW: due to delayed access to this week's screener, and the incomplete nature of said screener, I didn't have time or the breadth of material to prepare a full-on review. But I've provided a few knee-jerk reactions to the bulk of this week's much-anticipated saga for y'all to mull until tomorrow. Before proceeding...
PLEASE REACQUAINT YOURSELVES with the Docback Codes of Conduct ans SPOILER policies, as folks tend to become more uppity than usual at milestones such as The Name of the Doctor. And then, start Disqussing (see what I did there?) and HAVE FUN!
The Name of the Doctor (ULTRA-ABBREVIATED, SPOILER FREE MINI REVIEW)
CAVEAT: The last three minutes of this episode are not included on this episode’s screener. They might or might not undo cursory opinions found below. We’ll see when they’re incorporated into TNOTD’s transmission version tomorrow (Saturday May 17).
** Is there any content in The Name of the Doctor worthy of the dramatically escalated spoiler paranoia which has surrounded this episode?
In terms of big reveals - we’ve already been told by The Moff that we’ll find many answers to who/what Clara is in this episode, and this does indeed happen. So this isn’t a shocker.
There is another extremely fun gag utilized at several points in the episode - I don’t know if this recurring gag, in itself, would necessarily surprise fans or even regular viewers...all things considered. This doesn’t mean it’s not neato...just not sure it qualifies as something which would be ruinous is spoilers about if leaked.
I’m truly not convinced more-amplified-than-usual secrecy was was justified here - regardless of what happens in that last three minutes. In fact, such protective measures may’ve even hurt the episode by nudging forth expectations which were unrealistically high.
** Uneven effects work. Some is lovely, some is not.
** High among composer Murray Gold’s best work ever.
** Perhaps the most well-executed episode of the Season in terms of tone, emotion, and style and direction - but I found it to have a tad less ‘bang’ than expected. This might be reversed by the still-unseen final three or four minutes?
** Trenzalore mythology largely expanded (this isn’t a spoiler - DOCTOR WHO Magazine and episode promos have reveled the Doctor was going there). Still room for more, which I’d be excited to see. The place kinda sucks.
** A few great Strax moments - particularly a snarky observation regarding River Song which is golden.
** My writings in previous articles this Season, as well as some speculation on the Whotinninies podcast and discussion within these Docbacks, have been in the ballpark in terms of the Clara mystery - although none were exactly right that I can recall. A few other story elements from prevous S7 episodes which previously seemed random or 'out of left field' are hauled back for further evaluation here.
** Is the “Who’s Clara?’ thing resolved in an interesting way? Does it work? I think so, and it has a lovely pathos about it. BUT...part of this answer will depend on what they ultimately do with her from this point forward. (I’m not ruining anything here - they’ve already publicly said she’s back for S8). In a way, the answer to the Clara question...and the potentials said answer suggest...are more interesting than the mystery itself.
** I very much enjoyed this episode, but reserve comment on its ultimate effectiveness until after that final three minutes or so have been seen. Do I have a guess what those final three minutes are? I do...but to reveal and argue my guess (which is, admittedly, a fairly obvious one) would necessitate diving into spoilers which have been very subtlety hinted at by both myself and the Moffat article linked herein.
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DOCBACK CODE OF CONDUCT
1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)...
2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity. Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Clara" is OK, for example. "** SPOILER about that Motorcycle" is fine. **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?" Is NOT good.
And, above all...
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In short, it's easy. Be excellent to each other. Now party on...