Doctor Who Review: Raggedy Man, Goodnight

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To be perfectly honest, it's difficult to match the sheer excitement we experienced in November, but Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 16 was the 800th episode and we said goodbye to Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor... so it will be remembered.

I'm not going to even attempt to touch upon all of the lore and dangling questions that were answered, but there were enough to make even the most die-hard Whovian at least a teeny bit pleased.

The hour itself was all about Matt Smith saying goodbye to his character and his time as The Doctor, giving us time to grieve. By making a stand against the most powerful evil in the universes in a town called Christmas, The Doctor lived longer than any other and was the only Doctor we ever had the privilege of seeing engage in a full life.

Matt Smith as Doctor Who

The beginning of "The Time of The Doctor" was fun, cute and witty -- filled with the banter we've come to enjoy between Clara and The Doctor as she requested his presence at her family's Christmas dinner in the role of her boyfriend.

Somehow, Clara went from being The Impossible Girl to having a family again -- a step-mother, her father and a grandmother who loved champagne.

It gave Smith time be at his comedic best, ready with the lines and quick quips about the vet giving the turkey even odds to up and walk out of the oven it was so undercooked. There was just enough to crinkle our hearts a bit when the signal brought the Silence that could have brought another time war, and required the presence of The Doctor in a town called Christmas in Trenzalore to keep the peace for the next 300 years, which meant they must be apart.

Orla Brady made a guest appearance as Mother Superious, Tasha Lem of the Church of the Papal Mainframe. In the U.S., we remember her best as Elizabeth Bishop on Fringe. Here she was formidable and sexy as the person responsible for maintaining the Silence and forbidding The Doctor to say his name to ensure there wasn't another time war.

Baddies from all over were back to ignite sparks, including the Cybermen, the Daleks and the Weeping Angels, who featured prominently when Amy and Rory made their departure. It seemed rather fitting to see them again here.

It was a little sad, I guess, to have Matt Smith under prosthetic makeup for so much of his final episode, but it really did make his ending so much more acceptable. As far as The Doctor was concerned, he was done. There were no more regenerations possible, so he made the choice to have a last stand in Christmas. Clara was tricked and left by him twice before she finally met up with him the last time.

Clara made an appeal into the rift in time to all of the time lords, not to come back and help, but to send their mojo his way to help him. The Doctor got enough juice to regenerate once and most likely many more times, because Doctor Who isn't going to stop at 800 episodes by a long shot. Clara saved the day again, so maybe she's still as impossible as she was at the beginning.

Once The Doctor got his juice back and eradicated the Daleks (who had downloaded their memories when they overtook Tasha Lem, so were in full possession of Doctor WHO), a young Doctor started the process of regeneration.

It was difficult not be to be impressed with the acting throughout, and especially with the nod to not only the Eleventh's awareness of his time as The Doctor, but Smith's own time in the role as he uttered this line:

I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.

The goodbye between The Doctor and Clara was touching, but his seeing the first face he saw with those eyes, of little Amelia Pond, then the face to face with Amy as Karen Gillan made a cameo appearance just before Smith turned into Peter Capaldi, really stole Clara's moment. And then he was gone.

Capaldi will be using his Scottish brogue, it appears, and felt good about his kidneys, but didn't like the color. They all have something that sticks out to them after a regeneration. The rather wicked look we saw in the 50th Anniversary Special, Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 15, hadn't quite made it's way to the new eyes yet. The verdict will be out until next fall, when he steps into the shoes, or before, when we get a preview. 

I suspect we'll be introduced to a new male character, a Rory type to Clara's Amy. Now that we've had the flirtatious nature introduced to the series, it will be difficult to take it away. We don't want to go there with Capaldi and Jenna Coleman.

I'm going to miss Matt Smith terribly. It's been a wonderful ride with the youngest Doctor Who. Doctor Who is dead. Long live Doctor Who!

The Time of the Doctor Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (123 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 16 Quotes

Clara: Emergency. You're my boyfriend.
The Doctor: Ding dong. OK, brilliant. I may be a bit rusty in some areas, but I will glance at a manual.

I said put me on a ship. I didn't say put me on a Dalek ship. Don't put me on a Dalek ship when I'm holding a broken bit of Dalek!

The Doctor