Raggety Man.....Good night.
You know, it's hard to believe it's been nearly 4 years since Matt Smith took on the role of the 11th Doctor. Reactions to his casting from January 2009 up to the premiere of The Eleventh Hour in the spring of 2010 ranged from severely negative to open minded approval; taking a wait and see outlook to how good he'd be. Now four years later (five next month to the day of his casting), we bid adieu to our Raggedy Man, our Mad Man in a Box. So how does tonight's Chirstmas Special measure up to the previous ones and does 11th go out on a coherent high?...Well...lets cut to the good this time:
- The intro with 11th and the Daleks (and "Handles") early on was strong; leaving you to believe this will be a very strong send-off.
- The performances from Smith, Coleman and guest star Orla Brady were on the ball. Plus the scenes in Trenzalore showcased why I like 11th. Going toe-to-toe with the wooden Cybermen whilst rapidly aging through 900 years (rivaling 8th's 600 years on Orbis). The aging 11th was very amusing. By the time we got to the grand finale, Smith's elderly make-up makes him look nearly Hartnell-esque right down to the wig and walking stick.
- The cameo from from Karen Gillan was one many a fan won't forget. It serves as a right little bookend to 11th's lengthy life. He met Amy in his beginning as her imaginary friend, now she's became his just before he went.
- Wooden Cyberman....Wooden. Cyberman!. That is all.
- The expanation to who blew the TARDIS up, but not the why (why is disappointing) apart from the destiny trap the church mapped out for the Doctor.
- Dat final speech! Now this (while second to Paul McGann's Physcian, heal thyself line) it strong dialogue for Matt Smith to go out on.
- The sexism is quite evident here just as it was in last November's turkey and even moreso 2011's Let's Kill Hitler. Normally I don't have a dog in that race but it's quite alarming when the showrunner's sexual politic issues run the gammut from mild to flat out hamfisted. Case in point the unneeded mysogynist line or two being foisted on Smith to say which feels more at home from a Terrence Dicks penned Doctor Who novel of old than on TV.
- The Daleks were not in best use here One forum comment the other day was on point about there not being a single extermination from them since Steven Moffat's reign begun. They're now no more neutered (on TV, anyway) than Saturday Morning cartoons were when parent forced TV programmes to be the parent while the actual one just continue their passive parenting without a single-(Kory. Rambling!). Bottom line, they've ceased being scary and its a damn shame in their 50 year in pop culture. Plus, I can see now we'll never see a proper Dalek agent or a Roboman at this point or ever.
- The plot when it comes to the previous baddies used through out the Smith era made the entire special feel like a Greatest Hits complilation but with no bonus bits og new material to shine through to round it off. The late Craig Hinton would've crapped out a better form of fanwank without blatantly gushing about what a genuis he is.
- Clara, Clara, Clara.....I can't help but think her lack of character development is more in tune with how Susan was written the fifty years before. Only in 2013, sprained ankles and cry spells have been replaced with quips, flirtation and her saving the day a lot whether its a a leaf or her apealing to the Time Lords via a crack to give the Doctor a new regeneration. Speaking of that....
- Yay for Moffat's latest Kanye moment! Rubbing salt on an old wound by bringing up the Eccleston stand-in (that's all John Hurt will always be to me) and Handy to remind us that the 11th Doctor was the last one with complete disregard for the Valeyard angle to tackle which could've been the best opportunity to exploit it. Ain't he a stinker?....
- Will someone please tell Murray Gold to turn down the friggin' volume when adding music to every episode?! It wasn't cute during the RTD era and it's not cute now.
Do you know how to fly this thing?!
It's Feels Different This Time...::
- The regeneration was a lot short this time around; in a same quckness as the Pertwee-Tom Baker regeneration in Planet of the Spiders and, more or less the infamous 6th regeneration in the intro to Time and the Rani. Still the 30 odd seconds with the now incumbent Doctor Peter Capaldi was a real treat. So, it's good to say that everyone has a good reason to look forward to August 2014 (or Easter depending on an odd rumor or two).
The verdict: The Time of the Doctor is indeed uneven and often slow in certain parts. It really shoud've been a stronger send off for Matt Smith rather than the net result. Compared to the hollow Day of the Doctor, the Time of the Doctor is more stable even if its disjointed it's own Moffaty way. On the bright side, Smith didn't go out like whiny child like his pinstriped predecessor...(just saying!).
*a nod to both the Virgin New Adventures swear word and Capaldi's iconic role of Malcolm Tucker on The Thick of It.