Doctor Who "The Name of the Doctor" Review: The Impossible Girl Made Possible

Doctor Who S07E13: "The Name of the Doctor"

The things that initially attracted me to Doctor Who were its grandiosity, its epicness, its dark imagination, and the heart-wrenchingness of time travel with an ancient alien. Series 7 has delivered these qualities in fits and starts—giving us a gorgeous new world but not fully realizing it; asking a fascinating question and then distracting us rather than answering it; showing us intense quandaries and then solving them in under three minutes.

I am happy to say that the Series 7 finale—the last we'll see of Doctor Who until the show's 50th anniversary special this fall—restored my faith in the magic of the Whoniverse, and somewhat restored my faith in this entire series. Though I don't love the idea that the previous 12 episodes have been used merely to set up a finale, or worse, as filler between the aforementioned relevant set-up episodes, I do love the way Moffat ties things together and makes you rethink what you've already seen. This is me making excuses, yes—I wouldn't allow any other show to get by on this much treading water and setup—but Doctor Who has earned some cachet with me. For a show that often rushes its endings, this finale has been in the making for almost two series now.

Before I get into "The Name of the Doctor," I need to first mention that my press screener was missing the last three minutes of the episode entirely—this was true of every early screener of the finale. The Doctor Who camp has been extremely tight-lipped about this episode (which could perhaps be a reaction to the news that, earlier this week, some Series 7 DVD sets were incorrectly shipped early, with the finale included—oopsie!). 

Was all the over-protectiveness worth it? Was there anything in this episode so insane that it would blow the internet's mind? Having not seen the last three minutes (spoilers!), I can only say that if the opening scene of this episode had been spoiled for me, I would have been pretty bummed. 

You see, Clara is an impossible girl, and that goes way deeper than meeting Matt Smith's Doctor several times. We were treated to a few moments of Clara, in respectively styled clothing and varying video quality, interacting with several incarnations of the Doctor: warning William Hartnell, chasing the Tom Baker, yelling at the Sylvester McCoy. "He always looks different, but I always know it's him." She informed us that she was born to save the Doctor. We still didn't know how, but finally, we knew who SHE was, and it was delightful. While we let that bit of info sink in, and basked in the magic of technology for inserting her into old episodes, this particular one began in earnest. 

A seance of sorts was called between the Doctor's best mates—Vastra, Jenny, Strax, Clara, and River Song. It was absolutely wonderful to see River again, and she was in full saucy River mode. River and Clara had some initial moments of friendly jealousy with each other (it had to sting River when she found out that Clara never realized she was a female, based on the way the Doctor described her), but it was time to get down to business: An insane murderer Vastra caught in 1893 overheard some ominous whispers. "The Doctor has a secret, you know, one he will take to the grave, and it is discovered." He also said one other word: Trenzalore.

Let's talk about Trenzalore real quick: In Series 6, "The Wedding of River Song," a large, blue, man-like creature named Dorium Maldovar mentioned Trenzalore when discussing a prophecy. Dorium's line: "On the Fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked—a question that must never ever be answered: 'Doctor Who?'"

The seance was interrupted because the horrifying Whisper Men (some of my favorite new Doctor Who monsters, although I can't exactly tell what their powers are) broke into Vastra's house and murdered Jenny. Clara came to in the present and explained everything to the Doctor, and of course he wanted to go to Trenzalore to try to save Jenny. It wasn't the secret that was discovered, he explained, but the Doctor's grave. (Moffat loves sentences that can be interpreted in multiple ways.)

The Doctor and Clara arrived on Trenzalore and found a battle graveyard. There was an enormous, monument-like TARDIS there, but it was no monument—it was the real thing, and it was enormous because when a TARDIS is dying, the "bigger on the inside" energy starts leaking out. This huge TARDIS was now the Doctor's tomb. River appeared, basically by not hanging up from the seance conference call, but only Clara could see her. River's appearance was a data ghost, basically—but it was still her, thank goodness. As they ran through the wrecked TARDIS, Clara started remembering being there before, started remembering the events of "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS," started remembering that she'd met the Doctor several times... and also that she'd died several times. 

Meanwhile, Vastra, Jenny (reanimated by Strax), and Strax woke up inside the embiggened TARDIS to find Dr. Simeon, the face of Great Intelligence, and the Whisper Men surrounding them. He was still furious with the Doctor for ruining his plans and wanted to ruin the Doctor. (In another Moffat-esque shortcut, I'm not sure why they woke up there, but the story was moving along snappily enough that I didn't think about it until hours later.)

As a quick aside, I did enjoy the over-the-top performance of Richard E. Grant as Dr. Simeon, and perhaps I'm not steeped enough in the deep history of Doctor Who to properly fear Great Intelligence, but I don't know that Simeon's arrival rocked me to my core—even though it was the most logical choice for a supervillain. Perhaps if it had been Ian McKellen who showed up (he voiced Great Intelligence in "The Snowmen"), I would have been more wowed. 

Simeon's demand: that the Doctor open his tomb the only way he could—by saying his own name—or else Simeon would kill his friends. The Doctor refused, but data ghost River did it for him, and then they were all inside. The twisting, pulsating, vinelike collection of light they found inside, we were told, was the damage from time travel. It was the Doctor's own personal time tunnel. It was an open wound, Simeon added, and one that Simeon could enter. To wreak revenge, Simeon's plan was to enter The Doctor's timeline and rewrite every single moment. Victories turned to defeat, friendships poisoned. And then he did just that.

We didn't get to see how this rewriting changed the universe too much, which felt like a bit of a cop-out, because it would have been horrifyingly fun to see Cybermen running the show, or the races of aliens The Doctor had saved over the years now gone. It would have been nice to see this catastrophic damage, but no dice. What we did see was that Jenny was now dead, and Strax went back to his Sontaran ways and tried to attack Vastra. Clara realized at that moment why she's the impossible girl, and decided to go into the Doctor's time tunnel herself in order to save him. Yes, it would scatter her into a million pieces, like confetti, each one a copy of the real version of her, but as she'd said before, "the soufflé isn't the soufflé, the soufflé is the recipe." Clara was convinced that her recipe would remain intact even as it spread through the Doctor's timeline, saving him from Great Intelligence's plan over and over, advising him. She seemed at peace with her decision but said one thing to the Doctor before she scattered herself, one thing we've heard several times over the last two seasons: Run you clever boy, and remember... me.

Once she was in, the Doctor was able to sit up and feel normal again, and his first order of business was to jump into his own time tunnel to save Clara. This would be a huge paradox, and ghost River yelled at him not to do it, but he couldn't hear her—until he heartbreakingly revealed that he'd been able to see and hear her the entire time. He didn't want to acknowledge River because he thought it would hurt too much, and it did. He then pulled her in for one hell of a kiss before saying a final goodbye to her ghost, a ghost who'd hung around for far too long, waiting for closure with the Doctor—a man who hates closure. 

Then he walked into his own time tunnel... and that, my friends, is where MY episode ended. 

In a show that mostly hinges on the Doctor's brave sacrifices to save the ones he loves, as well as his absolute inability to cope with loss or the way relationships change over time, it was lovely to see a few changes to the status quo. Let's face it, the Doctor is kind of like a little boy who throws a tantrum when Mom takes him to pre-school for the first time. He's angry, he's scared, and he ends up angrily ignoring his mom as she tries to kiss him goodbye. 

This Doctor, who faced the pain he was feeling about River rather than joking about it and running away, seemed more grown up, a bit more evolved. Perhaps that's Clara already at work inside of him, or perhaps he's learning. I also loved that it was Clara who ultimately saved the day by sacrificing herself after coming to the realization that her fate was somewhat inevitable. She was the impossible girl because the situation demanded that she become the impossible girl. The idea that you can be a copy of yourself and still be yourself is an interesting one, but the real test will be what Clara and the Doctor do with this knowledge going forward. Now that Clara knows her role, and knows that there are many of her scattered throughout time, will it change her? Will it abate her existential wonderings about time travel? Will it speed up the romance between her and the Doctor, or will she feel somewhat weird that her only purpose, throughout all of time, is to save him? 

I cannot wait to find out.


UPDATE: I have now seen the final three minutes of "The Name of the Doctor," and wow. The Doctor rescued Clara inside his own time stream, and then they both noticed a man standing there, a man Clara hadn't seen before in all of her splintered companioning. Everyone in the time stream was the Doctor, right? So what gives? "I said he was me," the Doctor replied, "I never said he was the Doctor."

"John Hurt as the Doctor" flashed on screen, and now we're left with over five months to wonder who the hell he really is. The two biggest theories at this point are as follows:

1) He's the Time Lord who stole the TARDIS and re-christened himself the Doctor. I like this theory, because it implies that he was escaping something by renaming himself, making promises to be a different creature from then on. But this theory is probably not right, as the Doctor says, "The name you choose is a promise you make. He's the one who broke the promise."

2) The Sun reported a while ago that John Hurt had signed on to play the ninth Doctor, which would mean that Eccleston was the tenth, Tennant the eleventh, and Smith the twelfth. A Time Lord can only regenerate 12 times, so this would be a really interesting new twist on things, and what on earth could have happened in John Hurt's tenure as the Doctor that needed to be wiped out entirely? Hurt has confirmed that he is playing "part of the Doctor" alongside Tennant and Smith, so this is clearly setting us up for one heck of a 50th anniversary special. 

I am intrigued and also very grateful that the last three minutes didn't actually reveal the name of the Doctor. I've never thought that his name was important—it's what he does that's important. Any name would have been a letdown. What theories have you heard about John Hurt?



NOTES

– What did you guys think of Clara being inserted into older episodes? Did you think it was done well? I'm normally not a fan of such things (that one commercial where Fred Astaire dances with a vacuum bummed me out), but I actually liked how this was done.

– I kinda love that Clara's bratty babysitting charges get one over on the Doctor. 

– It was somewhat jarring to see the tiny crack in the TARDIS window when they landed on Trenzalore. All the things the old girl has been through, and yet, it was that crack that made me gasp. 

– I always love the companions' reactions to finding out that River is the Doctor's wife, but I especially enjoyed Clara's screech of "YOUR WIFE?!"

– I tried to catch what the Whisper Men were saying as much as I could; the most interesting thing I heard was, "The man who lies will lie no more when this man lies at Trenzalore."

– Great bit of special effects with Dr. Simian revealing himself to be a hollow creature, and then reforming as himself. 

– Strax had so many great lines in this episode! 

– Vastra: We're waiting for one more. Strax: The one with the big head? Jenny: It's hair. 

– Strax, to Vastra, while he was bringing Jenny back to life: "Unhand me, ridiculous reptile!"

– Strax, awkwardly, after coming back from trying to kill Vastra: It was an unprovoked and violent attack, that's all that matters.

– Holy shit, that KISS. 


What'd you think of "The Name of the Doctor" and Series 7 overall?

Comments (296)
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Has anybody been thought that the john hurt doctor was then1 who started the time war and he needed help from his future selves so he can use the 'moment'
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I think I also recall that when tom baker was lord cardinal of the time lords.they had also gave him a whole new set of regenerations as thank you for saving them once again.maybe feeling bad for taking his regeneration as patrick troughton to jon pertwee at the end of the war games.maybe all this has to do with the black and white gaurdians and the keyto time, which also rassilon was after
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In the original series dr .who has mentioned hints of things of his past.he once said that he was with rassilon at the very beginning and rassilon did horrible things.the dr. Regreted what they had done and ran away.who knows maybe rassilon the dr. And omega in creating the black hole that powered the time lords, trapping omega , actually destroyed some major civilization. And the dr. Has more than 12 regenerations.peter Capaldi is th we 12th dr. Not 12th regeneration that would be the 13th dr.plus the dr.has said he has regenerated many times before william hartnell.and plus he got 10 from river song because she gave him her remaining regenerations.she regenerated once at end of the impossible astronaut as a girl.then the second time in lets kill Hitler
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Guys, there's no way John Hurt's incarnation is the one that ended the Time War. This anti-Doctor did something so horrible that the recent incarnations keep him secret and want nothing to do with it. However, 9th proudly admits to a Dalek that he was the one that killed the rest of them. 10th admits he killed the Time Lords because they were going to destroy the universe if he didn't. And when House was taunting 11th with his whole "Fear me, I've killed hundreds of Time Lords," 11th responded "Fear me, I've killed all of them." Plus, why would they introduce a forgotten incarnation just to say he was the one that ended the Time War, when everyone already assumed it was 8th? Seriously, what's the point? No, this "Doctor" did something far worse than killing the Daleks and the Time Lords.
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I disagree. Hurt's Doctor could be a secret Doctor "8.5". We know the Doctor killed off the Daleks and the Time Lords - genocide; a war crime. That we do know - we don't know what other things he did in the course of the war but horrible horrible things were done and millions died. What specifically he did that was so bad that he tried to hide this regeneration we don't know. Reference is made to the Doctor using something called "The Moment" to destroy both Daleks & Time Lords to end the Time War. Perhaps something happened to the 8th doctor during the Time War that so twisted him and his "8.5" regeneration did something truly terrible in revenge.
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i am confused: last two seasons: did the Silence work for the Great Intelligence, one of the efforts to corrupt all the Doctor's timeline in one go or was it trying to kill the doctor so that he never goes to Trenzalore, never says his name and so the GI never scatters in all his timeline and so many worlds end up destroyed? were the cracks in time connected to his timeline being invaded?
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Some thots from a Whovian:
1. The Doctor didn't really choose his name, so much as accept it. [Trivia Question: Who was the first person to say, "Doctor Who?" It was the Doctor himself, in the very first episode (1963), when Ian mistakenly called him Doctor Foreman.]

2. I just went back and watched The Trial of a TimeLord (spoilers for that story arc ahead...), and I think that John Hurt is the 12th Doctor, the one that releases the evil part of himself, the Valeyard. The Valeyard supposedly went back to accuse the 6th Doctor in Gallifreyan court, and (when the Doctor got the death penalty) take his remaining regenerations (not sure how that would work, but that's what the Master said). In reality, he was there to kill TimeLord members of the jury. Maybe 12 thinks that if he releases the Valeyard to go back and assassinate certain TimeLords, he can prevent or lessen the Time War....
(The writers have painted themselves into a corner here, because the TimeLords have been erased from time, and yet, the Valeyard did go back...)

3. River Song (LOVE her) was connected to Clara when the latter scattered herself across the Doctor's time stream. I think that means that River too is scattered across the Doctor's life (though in what form, I don't know). Maybe... River is the Doctor's wife. On Gallifrey. Susan's grandmother...! The mind races, does it not? ;)
[I know, only thing with that is, why didn't he recognize her (half a millennium later)?]
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It's been like 20 years at least since I've seen Trial of a Time Lord. Wish I could watch it again to refresh my memory. But I don't think the Valeyard or the Time Lords are much of a plot problem.....at least considering the show so far. At the end of Tennant's tenure, the Time Lord's brought their own selves back. Might as well be able to bring the Valeyard back. And we can't forget that a mythos involving time travel and rewriting history can kind of pick and choose when and if it wants to do or undo certain things. Like in 11's 3rd episode, Amy didn't remember the Daleks and the Doctor didn't understand why. While they never explicitly explained it, I think we're supposed to infer from the rest of the season that the cracks in time "ate" that whole sequence of events (just like they ate Rory and the angels and other things from existence). And indeed, all that never happened anyway, because the TARDIS did ultimately explode, ate the universe, and then the Doctor rebooted the universe with the Pandorica. So technically, the original Trial of a Time Lord (and everything else that was canon) didn't happen. Did it all happen the same way in the rebooted universe? I guess that gives Moffat license to play it how he wants to and not technically have gaping plot holes.

Incidentally.....I don't remember Daleks invading earth either, or a giant Cyber-king stomping through Victorian London. Ergo, I can assume the cracks did indeed erase those events :)
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I know, THAT KISS, that scene between River and the Doctor made me cry
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Unfortunately this season has comprised of either episodes for kids with no real depth or tension, or mythology-changing episodes where the solution is the one thing the Doctor is never allowed to do (I wouldn't like to think how many potential time-traveller rules this episode broke).

So.... we had the ONE thing the Doctor can't do - go to visit his grave. But if he doesn't his friends will die. How will he get out of that one?

Easy - he visits his grave, goes into his tomb and, without the intervention of Mr Great Intelligence, there would have been no consequences at all!

And then, he jumps into his own timeline to save Clara.

If Stephen Moffat just has the Doctor breaking every imaginable time-travelling rule out there (even rules the Doctor states are unbreakable in the same episode) just to fix a story problem, what is the point?

Please Mr Moffat, for the next season don't be showrunner or lead writer. Take an executive position, write the occasional episode. Otherwise you are going to ruin this series.
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River Song gave The Doctor the remainder of her regenerations when she brought him back. I believe that gives him more than 12.
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If a timelord can regenerate 12 times, doesn't that give us 13 physical bodies?
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Right. But also, I don't think the old show ever clarified whether 13 incarnations was the physical biological limitation of the Gallifreyans OR if 13 incarnations was all they were allowed by their society (like, legally, or something, to avoid living forever and eventually overpopulating the universe. Any immortal race that breeds will eventually overpopulate the universe over 100's of billions of years). Interesting to see where the new show goes with that and how they address. it. I'm not sure if the guy above is right or not....River did give her remaining incarnations to save the Doctor, but I don't recall anything said about the doctor getting her extra incarnations. I think that might have only saved his life....not actually given him extra ones.
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Does anyone think Hurt is an actual incarnation of the Doctor? Remember back in Amy's Choice where there was a piece of the Doctor that was him that was his dark side? It may not actually be a regeneration but a form of him. Side note: Didn't the Doctor choose his name long before he stole the TARDIS (when he and the Master were young)? This could mean that Hurt could be anywhere, even before the time war itself. Perhaps he started it?
OR is it David Tennant's human/time lord hybrid at an older age? He broke the promise of the Doctor when he destroyed the deleks again and was left with rose in the alternate dimension as penance? (which I think wraps up the 50th episode special nicely considering Billie Piper is also listed on the cast list). yes? no?
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I figured when they said that David Tennant would be back in the Anniversary special that it would be the human version of the Doctor that we last saw with Rose. (I actually have wondered for a while now whether they were going to bring him back someday.) The new guy couldn't be theory 1 as mentioned by the reviewer because they showed the first doctor stealing the Tardis with Clara's suggestion of which to choose. (Navigation is broken, so much more fun!) I thought that he would either be the version of the doctor who finished the Time War by blowing up Gallifrey (ie: #9 since they never said that it was the Christopher Eccleston version who did it, he was just the first one after the fact who was trying to emotionally handle what he did during the war) OR the 12th version of the Doctor who replaces the Matt Smith version and gets dragged into something terrible that we haven't learned about yet. Your idea that he is the older version of the David Tennant human one is an intriguing idea. Never occurred to me.
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I totally thought that we are going to see David again, before he turned (by the way, sorry as I clicked Flag button, instead of More on your post, and I can't undo it :( )
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I also think that John Hurt is the ninth doctor regenerated from the 8th doctor (Paul McGann) after "dying" in the middle of the Time War. But the result was a bitter and hateful man that decided to go back to his real name and became the opposite of what "The Doctor " stood for. This was why Clara found his real name in the history book of the Time Wars. However, I think that this path of vengeance did not end with the Time War but continued on in a vendetta with his old enemies, the Daleks, the Cybermen, etc. as implied by the Great Intelligence. I also think there was no regeneration between the ninth and the tenth doctors (Christopher Ecclston). I think the two sides of the "Doctor" literally split into two since they could not be reconciled. The 10th doctor who split from his old self was a remorseful and angst-ridden being that simply decided to travel off in his Tardis leaving his spiteful self behind. The "Old Man" or the Ninth Doctor continued in his path of vengeance until ending it in Transilor which is why the Doctor never knew where Transilor was until this episode since it was his "other self" that ended up there in a final battle that either made him stop or destroyed him.
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I think the 8th doctor died during the Time Wars maybe by a horrible way or seeing other timelords dying a horrible way just before the time of his death but he got lucky and was close to his TARDIS to regenerate.
However with the trauma of the war, he regenerated into a spiteful hate filled Doctor braking his "promise" to his namesake and ending the war in a way that killed billions including destroying his home planet -- (you saw some of the anger/ insanity come out with Eccleston's Doctor when he saw the daleks return) and after he died a remorseful man turning into Eccleston's Doctor going back to his "namesake" promise.

This could explain why none of the Doctors will talk about the Time Wars knowing it was a time that changed him.
Why the doctor went along time without a companion till he met Rose.

As for regenerations that would make it the 12th doctor (and 11th regeneration) giving maybe one more to him however I also think a timelord can go pass that amount as the Master was ment to have in the 1996 movie and yet his "being" refused to leave instead he tried to take the rest of the Doctors regens. With that said if a timeload can take anothers regens then its plausible a timelord could give regens as River Song did meaning the doctor has plenty to go
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My opinion about John Hurt is that he was the "ninth" who committed the final acto fhte Time War.
My opinion about the episode... Jenny, Vastra, and Strax were used poorly, and mostly stood around (although my heart broke for a little bit when Jenny was killed, doing it twice was over the top). Clara's specialness originating from her own will was awesome to see. I will never not be mad about the wasted potential of River Song's story arc. If I'm ever not mad about that, remind me to watch the Library episodes again. Sigh. The scenery was great and Matt Smith acted the heck out of it. I'm glad we didn't hear the name, but I'm still huffy about the grandiose tease in the first place. And to be honest, Clara won't exit the show in a better way than this.
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Actually, I thought Strax got a lot of time to shine in this episode.
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Restarting Jenny's heart was good. The rest was attempted one-liners, if I remember correctly.
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Doesn't Clara's presence on Gallifrey imply that at least one of her selves might be a Time Lord? Granted, it was established that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords. Remember the Romana regeneration sequence? Perhaps Hurt was an incarnation that only lasted for mere minutes (specifically designed by the Time Lord Council who had forced the Doctor to regenerate once before) before fully transforming into the Ninth Doctor after performing whatever dark deed he loathes himself for...
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I'm still thinking there might be something to the "Clara is a TARDIS" theory. Possibly THE tardis. What was interesting to me was that we saw Clara in the first Doctor's timestream and told him which TARDIS to steal. In "The Doctor's Wife" the TARDIS told the Doctor that she chose him, not the other way around. I've read a lot of other people's thoughts supporting that Clara is somehow a TARDIS, and I don't know if it's right, but they make a lot of good points. It would also explain why the TARDIS hasn't seemed to like Clara much, it senses her and doesn't like crossing it's own timestream. Could also explain why the Doctor feels a strange attraction to Clara just like he did with the TARDIS' personality in The Doctor's Wife.
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It would make sense. It appears that each incarnation was born into that timeline, had a life and experiences, etc.

So, one of her incarnations was most likely a Time Lord.

But... that doesn't necessarily mean she's still out there somewhere. The Doctor commented that even for a Time Lord he's now "up there" in age. It's possible she died in the time war or is otherwise bottled up in Gallifrey.

OR... maybe that's what River hinted. That there's a confetti-version of Clara still alive as a Time Lord out there. But that wouldn't work since, as the Doctor said, if there was a time lord out there he would be able to sense them (assuming no Chameleon circuit).
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My theory is that John Hurt is the William Hartnell Doctor before he was called the Doctor. He did something terrible in his original form that the Doctor couldn't bear to go by that identity and instead decided to atone for his actions. He took his granddaughter with him, stole the TARDIS and started to travel. If you remember the Hartnell Doctor was quite cold in the first episodes and it took a few story arcs for him to mellow.

Knowing this show, none of the theories we come up with will be the answer to the question. I don't think anyone guessed that the person who will knock three times would be Bernard Shaw's Wilfred. Or, that the "one that will die" was the Doctor Donna, while Donna continued living.

On this episode, I loved the interactions with the past Doctors. Having the Hartnell Doctor talk to Clara was fantastic. By far, this was the best Matt Smith era episode.
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The episode was epic to say the least and I'm a big ol' Doctor Who fan. Great review, too.
I just published a new book called A Brief History of Time Travel - which I was giving away free on here last week. Chapter Six is all about The Doctor and the chapter's last line is, "I'm waiting for the episode where the Tardis materializes in my living room..." Lots and lots of TV in the thing, Fringe, Lost, Continuum, Supernatural, Haven, Warehouse 13, Star Trek and, of course The Doctor. historyoftimetravel (dot com) is the place and I've set up a forum. Check it out...
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My best guess is that John Hurt is The Doctor that ended The Time War. The doctor has killed before, but never on such a scale and that is probably the betrayal of the promise he spoke of. It's been stated before that not only the Time Lords and the Daleks but a bunch of other high level races were involved in The Time War, so The Doctor basically committed many cases of genocide all at once. That the Time Lord Council was going to wipe out all life in the universe and had to be stopped was beside the point.

As to The Doctor and his regenerations, it has been stated that there are only twelve regenerations normally, which means if Smith is the eleventh then he has two more (since the first Doctor was born and not regenerated). If they rejigger the numbers to insert John Hurt into the past then Smith would be the twelfth and normally have one left. But it's been shown in the past that it's possible for Time Lords to have multiple regeneration cycles, though the additional regeneration cycles were granted by the Time Lord Council in that case. Perhaps The Doctor knows how they did that and can reproduce it, or perhaps what River did to save his life in Let's Kill Hitler gave him her remaining regenerations. There are a bunch of ways they could easily explain away having more then thirteen Doctors. If the series' ratings are still going strong at the time the thirteenth actor wants to call it quits I'm sure they'll come up with something.
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David Tennant as the 10th used 2 regenerations & if John Hurt is 8.5 then there are no more regenerations left if the regeneration rule is true, but don't forget "the Doctor lies"
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Nice comment and some really good explanation of how we get more Doctors. This is major British culture and I don't see it ending any time soon thank God...
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Yeah, the twelve regeneration thing was a throwaway line and it can be waved off in a number of in-canon ways, let alone coming up with more pseudoscience to do it. They have precedent for going past the limit on the Master alone in like three different ways, the River Song regeneration shift could have granted him another dozen batch, the time he inhaled a bunch of regeneration-y vortex-y energ-y at the end of series one...

Yeah, DW has hand-waved bigger deals than this, although it should make for an exciting episode when that bridge requires crossing.
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It was a nice piece of work that because Clara is spread through the Doctor's timeline that she can't met the copies of herself.

"Seeing" all the different doctors was great too.

None of this felt rushed or cheap. The whisper men in my mind where shown to be a part of the great intelligence when he entered the timeline and they where gone. One being, multiple bodies.

I also guess this is the end of River Song and the Pond family now for the show.

It also has us trying to figure out Hurt's character and role, yes he's a version of the doctor but from when. Is he the last Doctor? Is he 9 as is said below? Time to sit back and revisit all the episodes from this season and last till then.
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I don't exactly remember the episode but I remember Alex Kingston most probably before she became River in a great adventure in a huge cave and am wondering if anyone knows whether she was River Song then, too. It was David Tenant way before Amy and Rory.
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Seriously? First appearance of Alex Kingston and River Song was in the Library (no cave) and it was a very important part of the story arc. She died, became a data ghost there, it was mentioned in this latest episode. The cave adventure was with 11th, at Byzantium.
And _you_ wrote a book :/
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I just asked a question, no reason to get all snarky. It seems you didn't understand the question, anyway. A Doctor Who elitist, Who knew...
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No problem on the mistake. Some people have short fuses.

I mean, your post wasn't posting a certainty... it was posting it as "I remember this, does anybody else" type of thing.
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Okay, I just found the answer to my question, which is yes, Alex Kingston only appeared in Doctor Who as River Song. And it is an important episode in her arc. In my defense, it was her first appearance and it's been 3 years since I've seen it. The cave thing was because she was in a environmental suit most of the time and my memory tricked me into thinking they were in a cave. But I am familiar with her mythology and do remember her being all cryptic about herself to the Doctor. Just needed a little memory jog.
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At first thought that he might be an older version of Paul McGann's Doctor but that would only work if Hurt was signed up to play the eighth Doctor. (I think - I might need to go through all the Doctors again and double-check the numbers)
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Wouldn't there be at least *3* places a Time Traveller should never ever EVER go?
- Grave
- Birth
- Conception

Granted, with the "grave" there's a wider gap. You pretty much can't go to a specific planet any time from Year X until the end of time. And I guess the time map / scar thing makes it quite dangerous.

But the other 2 I gave would be a substantial enough paradox that would even baffle the Who writers. And that's ignoring ones like "the day / place you became a time traveller" or whatever.
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Looking forward to the next season. I find it curious that people keep mentioning the Doctor as a Time Lord has only 12 regenerations. Yes. But I thought they took care of that restriction when River Song gave up all her regeneration energy to the Doctor to bring him back to life in Let's Kill Hitler. The writers did have to come up with something to keep things going. Also, didn't the Doctor also say that Hurt was him but he never said the Hurt character was the Doctor? I know he also said Hurt's character "broke the promise," but I took it to mean that before he renamed himself "Doctor" there was some strict code of conduct that he as Hurt had broken and to reaffirm his adherence to that code he abandoned his old name and took up the name 'Doctor.' Another thought that even as Simeon was killing his friends the Doctor still refused to say his old name. I wonder if it's because saying it would somehow give the Hurt character some sort of dominance over the Doctor character, name the Devil and he comes out so to speak.
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I too have been wondering where the whole '12 regenerations' thing came from.
I'm wondering if the John Hurt Doctor has anything to do with the Dream Lord that appeared in Amy's Choice in season 5. As at the time I got the impression that he was the manifestation of the darkside of the Doctor.
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The 12 Regenerations thing was established in a Tom Baker story called The Deadly Assassin from 1976 where The Doctor had to thwart a plan by a degenerate Master who had used up all his 12 regenerations. he was trying to find a way to get more regenerations by tapping into the power of the Black Hole that gave the Time Lords their power. It was the story that forced The Doctor to leave Sarah Jane on Earth as he couldn't take anyone with him to Gallifray, something that was conveniently forgotten a season and a half later when he took Leila back in The Invasion of Time.
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I think that John Hurt has to be the part of the doctor that destroyed the timelords and "almost" destroyed all of the darleks.. No one who calls himself a doctor should do something that will destroy two entire species. So for the doctor to do something like that he would have to cut away a part of himself, the truly dark part, and that part can never be the doctor
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strax waking up in the tardis was hilarious. pretty much every line of his has me cracking up. i hope he is in more eps
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how does this show do this to me every season. it's just so awesome how everything ties together. it gives me chills.
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Okay, I have thought and thought about this whole Valeyard thing and the in between time and I am back to my original theory that John Hurt is like Patient Zero. He was the one who locked the Daleks in the time warp and basically committed genocide. I think the Valeyard made sense with earlier editions of the Doctor because he didn't have a real dark side, so to balance out the good, the bad had to go somewhere. However, both Ecceleston and Tennant played darker versions of the Doctor, so it wasn't really necessary. Matt Smith's was a little darker during Amy and Rory's run, but he has been distracted, happily, lately. I did initially think we were going to get an aged version of Eccleston what with the leather jacket. But, the Doctor has been trying to repent and that is why he chose the name Doctor.

On happier notes, I love the idea that Clara has been with the Doctor the whole time and that gives us all the justification not to feel as if he is cheating with River. Heck, if anyone else might have seen Clara, it would be River. I also liked the addition to her catchphase to remember her.

I do wonder if creating the paradoxes might allow that once they figure out everything inside the time streams, another Doctor is created who isn't exactly our Doctor, but close. But our Doctor can live happily ever after with Clara.
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I'm pretty much with you on this review. The episode reminded me why I am a fan of the whole series. I think when Clara goes into the Doctor's timestream and is scattered across his life, in a way she becomes an embodiment of us as fans. After all, haven't we been following the Doctor's entire life, cheering him on?

As for who John Hurt is, I think he could easily be the Valeyard. Remember, the Doctor has 13 bodies, and Clara saw eleven of them. The Valeyard was implied to be an amalgamation of the twelfth and thirteenth incarnations of the Doctor. Those are the only two that Clara didn't see.

My reluctance to fully embrace this theory is that it seems to pat, and I strongly suspect that Moffat has something way more complex up his sleeve.

I've posted my own review to this episode here: http://bowjamesbow.ca/2013/05/20/doctor-who-doct.shtml
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The Doctor ended the Time War but who started it? That question has been rattiling around in my head since this episode aired. The Doctor heals and stops the bad guys. So the opposite would be hurting. What if John Hurt's Doctor started the Time War.
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I think the answer to who started it is the Daleks. After all, their mission in life is to eliminate all other life forms that aren't Dalek. I suppose seeing the Daleks eliminate species after species would lead the Time Lords to take up a war to stop them because, after all, the Daleks would also be coming for the Time Lords sooner or later. Also, the Time Lords were also supposed to be basically a kind people. Eccelston to Rose and Tennant to Martha described it as a war to save all of creation.
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I will say this. The Time Lords sent the Fourth Doctor to stop the Daleks from ever existing. In a way, they fired the first shot.
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I think you're looking at things too generally. Yes, The Doctor is supposed to stop the bad guys - but not via genocide against multiple races. That's mostly what he was referring to when he said that while what was done may have been necessary for peace and sanity, it wasn't done in the name of the Doctor.

As far as who started the Time War - it's not clear; but it did end up involving the Time Lords and Daleks, as well as several other races. The Doctor had to stop it in the way he did - because both sides were essentially abusing time travel to bring back the dead, to continue fighting. In other words, it would never end.
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Plus as we saw in David Tennant's last "special" the Time Lords were willing to destroy *all* of space and time to exist as energy / consciousness as their "final solution" Which is a big deal: destroying all of time and space makes Genocide seem like a misdemeanor.

So he sealed them away.
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I don't get why River is the ghost from the library... I mean why it's not her in flesh! Did Jenny meant to call River the ghost? What happened to River, she is still alive isn't she? i mean she died the 1st time we saw her, but we still got to see her !
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In the "mini-episodes" prior to this 1/2 season we saw the Doctor taking River on her various dates. After all, after Lake Silencio he said that while the prisons had her in the day, he would have her at nights. So this continued that trend.

A version of the Doctor is seen taking River on their final date... which is the last time she saw him prior to dying in the Library. Keep in mind their "meetings" are more-or-less in reverse.

Many speculated that prior to Victorian-England-Clara, when the Doctor was all dark... it was because he'd had that final date with River. Meaning that he was alone (no Amy, no Rory, no River). Which helped him in his darkness spiral.

Since their meetings are more-or-less in reverse, that means the Doctor has run through his dates / adventures / etc. prior to their time in the Library. Though as River hinted... perhaps their adventures aren't over afterall.
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"A version of the Doctor is seen taking River on their final date." when was that? which episode?
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It was the minisodes. Just looked it up, they were from a year ago. There have been other quirky mini-sodes here or there. Look up Doctor Who minisodes last night

We see the Doctor going on dates with River. I think the 2nd mini-sode ended with the Doctor bumping into another version of him from the near future going on their "final" date. Which gave them both a sad face. Obviously River didn't know so he put a smile back on to keep her happy.
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To clarify, we don't see the actual dates themselves. But he and River preparing for them and getting dressed in the era-appropriate clothing.

But still, it's a nice little bit to confirm they actually got to date.
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I was hoping that they are going to mention something about the dates and that we'll see them together ... i will definitely look for it
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Has anybody ever maybe wondered if the good doctor's actual is really Doctor Who or The Doctor? Maybe, just maybe, his name, translated into english is The Doctor or Doctor Who. Would be cool if something that so many people seem to place so much importance onto is actually something so basic and simple when explained.
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Dahk tah Hu
:-)
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but reincardnation 12 is the valeyard
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No - actually it's from "between his 12th and final incarnations". Considering Moffat has brought up the idea that with the destruction of the Time Lords, the regeneration limit may be gone - this can mean pretty much any reincarnation past Matt Smith's Doctor could be the Valeyard.
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I liked your post for using the phrase from the show. The Valeyard is not really one of the Doctor's incarnations though--he was created by Time Lord meddling as an amalgamation of his darker nature between his 12th and final incarnations. So he's an incarnation 'created' from the Doctor, but not one of the Doctor's incarnations.
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I think the 12 regeneration limit is because they use up their regeneration energy. Their supply of regeneration energy doesn't seem to be naturally infinite. Remember that Simeon speaking of the Doctor's last battle, where he dies, referred to the Doctor as "the old man. " Whatever energy he'd gotten from River Song in Let's Kill Hitler was apparently exhausted. In his last battle the Doctor died and did not regenerate it seems. Which, thank goodness, I hope we will not have to see Moffat trying to work his way out of as he did so well in The Wedding of River Song. Although it makes me wonder why he did come up with this idea of the Doctor and the Tardis dead finally on some rock in space. Creepy. I hope this isn't some plot twist in the future he's thinking of doing.
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Some one made a comment that Clara telling the doctor which tardis to pick craps on the original dr who universe... I made the comment ...maybe that's because "the impossible girl" is the tardis.....and the more I thought about it the more sense it made...who else would have the power to enter the doctors timeline or the knowledge to be there at just the right time in all the right times
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I think Clara is just that, an ordinary girl. But she is an ordinary girl who travels with the Doctor, and as Martha told Donna, the Doctor is like fire. You can be burned. Clara is a companion and his friend. When the Doctor is in trouble, his friends will step in and help him as much as they can. Clara is an ordinary girl who endured something extraordinary to save the Doctor: she stepped into his personal time tunnel and allowed the time winds to rip her to shreds so that she could, even as an echo of herself, retrace Simeon's footsteps and undo the damage he had done to the Doctor's timeline. She saved his life and the Universe by saving the Doctor; and the Doctor saved her by stepping into his own time line and somehow bringing the fragments of Clara together enough to get her back safely. She was "his Clara," just as Sarah Jane had been "his Sara Jane." Which is why I don't believe there is going to be any romance there. Moffat went to a great deal of trouble to stress the Doctor is married to River, for whatever future plot developments. If River does come back in the next series there is not going to be room for a girlfriend, but there will be for a special friend who obviously cares very much for the Doctor as he does for her.
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As for the whole River thing. Up until her last lines, it looked like they did the whole "she's dead, move on" thing. That between the mini-sodes and how dark he went between the death of Amy+Rory and meeting Victorian-Clara... it's implied this he's finished running his reverse relationship with River.

Up until River's parting "spoilers" bit it looked like both the Doctor AND River were spelling it out: River is dead, the Doctor had his final good-bye-date, she's a dead-ex.

BUT... they just HAD to drop in River's little hint and spoilers. That maybe she's not gone at all. So now, who knows. If it's true then the Doctor falling for Clara gets a bit complicated.
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I think the spoilers tag had to do with whether or not the Doctor would find Clara alive. As in, 'If she's dead then how am I still here?' meaning that perhaps Clara really was still alive. Of course, River herself probably didn't know what would happen after this point but it made for a great opportunity to throw one last "Spoilers.."
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Well, the Tardis is a machine, which was "downloaded" into a brain in one episode and the brain almost fried. And we are certain that Clara doesn't have the Tardis in her head, cause the Doctor checked her entire timeline before interacting with her in the episode after the Christmas special. So, impossible! :)
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The tardis is a bioship... Therefor the heart of the tardis is a living entity....and if checking Clara's timeline meant anything then the dr would understand why she is the impossible girl..and I didn't say the tardis downloaded into a human...I said she is the tardis....being in two place at once u ask...well it is the heart/soul of a time machine...
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"well it is the heart/soul of a time machine..." ..... which is in the machine. Having it at two places at the same time would be a paradox and the Tardis, herself, avoids paradoxes as they are the plague.
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1. Comic Con 2010: A fan asks Moffat "What will happen to the show when The Doctor uses all his regenerations?", Moffat replies: "We haven't discussed this in details, but it would be safe to say that now the Time Lords are gone, there is no limit to The Doctor's regenerations"
2. I like the idea that John Hurt is The Doctor's incarnation after Paul McGann's and before Eccleston's and because of what "he did without choice in the name of peace and sanity" has made him a part of the Doctor that he himself shuns. So, "Doctor" is the word for "healer", the one that helps others, and John Hurt's incarnation broke the promise that the name "Doctor" gives. Let me, in a cross-sci-fi manner, assume something in Spock-like thought: It's only logical that John Hurt's incarnation is the one that ENDED THE LAST GREAT TIME WAR KILLING ALL TIME LORDS AND DALEKS. That would even explain why Eccleston's incarnation was expecting his face like he was seeing it for the first time in Rose's appartment in episode 1 of the new series!
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If trapping and killing the Time Lords was so terrible then why was Tennant so willing to, even desperate to do it again in The last of the Time Lords? No, that can't be Hurt's crime since the Doctor did it to stop the Time Lords from selfishly bringing an end to time iand destroying all creation tself to save themselves from death.
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"then why was Tennant so willing to, even desperate to do it again"
In the name of peace and sanity :)
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I also think that thinking is really influenced here by a desire to see what happened in the Time War. I think the Hurt character is who the Doctor is before he became the Doctor which means he is the man before the first Doctor. It does seem to me that Moffat might be moving toward some kind of telling of the Time War. But I think the story of the Hurt character is separate from that. Maybe we'll get a story of how and why the Doctor left Gallifrey, why he refuses to tell his name and how he and The Master became enemies.
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Consider this: When he chose the name "Doctor", he gave a promise. If he's the Gallifreyan that became the First Doctor, how can he brake a promise that wasn't made yet?!
Though I admit you present a great question - Why does he refuse to tell his name?
Either way it's the 50-th anniversary and I doubt the plot is going to be as obvious as we think it would be. :)
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This to me seems pretty plausible. By the dialogue, it's pretty obvious that this incarnation of The Doctor was from the past - as Clara seemed surprised that she hasn't seen this one, and Eleven knew him. Neither of which would be true if it were a future incarnation. So it means that this isn't the Valeyard

The next clue was the description that this incarnation did what needed to be done in the name of peace and sanity - but, as was pointed out, wasn't done in the name of the Doctor. The only situation we know about that could fit that description was the way he ended the Time War. While necessary, it certainly wasn't an action we would expect of the Doctor.

So yeah, I agree that this is most likely the 9th incarnation; but since what he did wasn't "In the name of the Doctor", he wasn't the 9th Doctor. However, even before this reveal, it's been assumed that "Rose" took place shortly after Nine came to be - we just assumed that Nine was the product of Eight's regeneration, instead of John Hurt's.
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I think it's some kind of alternate/echo of the doctor who obviously must use a different name. I don't think this changes the numbered order of the various doctors. I think it will somehow relate in some way to eventually gaining more regenerations. Maybe John Hurt is a replica or what eventually becomes the GI. I have no guess I'm happy with so I am excited that whatever happens will be epic. The GI entering the time stream also explains how the doctor met him more then once and probably we will see him again. Clara may end up meeting her echo's too. It will be cool to see how the human doctor and rose are doing, and rose will probably be really important in the 50th. Isn't there still a prophecy about her dying still? I don't think rose's final appearance fulfilled that. So sad I will miss this show till it comes back. I think even after the 50th special we won't get the new season till 2014 I seen somewhere. I feel a bit let down with how few episodes we will get this year. Half a season and 1 very hyped special is just so much less then what I'm used to.
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Yes, it is hard that they have so few episodes. But on the other hand, if the BBC was driven in the same way by market forces as American television is, I very much doubt that we'd have Doctor Who at all. You really have to love the characters of the show to do it so well and to have it last so long. Here I think it's about ego and people milking the product for everything they can get and squeezing shows dry and tossing them away since they have no personal investment in the product. I tell myself that as I desperately wait for the new episodes:)
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I've often wondered if the doctor really has only 12 regenerations. When River saved the doctor she used her remaining 10 to save him, was every regeneration used just to save him or did some get added on to his life? Just curious...
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Lots of people were wondering that. Did it take all 10-regeneration energy packets to heal him? Or did it take only a couple, giving him a whole bunch more?

Honestly, they writers could do whatever they want: use River's transfer, use the "rules" thing, use some other plot device, etc.

Being so close to the end goal... they will need to think of something, or cancel the show, or use a new character (like Romana).
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They will come up with something. Let´s not forget that when they first came up with this rule 50 years ago nobody could have imagined that the show would still be running after all this time. I highly doubt they´re going to cancel one of the biggest TV shows of all time forever because of some plot device made up 50 years ago. They´ll find a way around it.
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I hope that this is the case ... I've never heard about it's only 12 regeneration except for now :( ...
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I also think we need to reevaluate the Silence based on this event. "Silence must fall, when the Question is asked".

The Silence believe that there will be consequences if the Doctor answerste Question. The Answer opens the tomb. In a way, they were completely right.

Given the fact that the doctor has in the past literally saved everyone in the universe from the reality bomb, the GI changing his time line like that would result in the extinction of reality itself.

So, in a way, the Silence, by trying to kill the doctor to assure his silence, were really trying to save the universe.

What they didn't count on was River.
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I beg to differ! The Great Inteligence is, in his own words, Great, so, he wouldn't allow Davros to detonate the reality bomb even if the Doctor is not victorious or even present in this battle.
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I must disagree. The GI knew when he stepped into the time line he would be killed. He didn't care what happened as long as he made the Doctor suffer for all time for constantly thwarting his plans-- although how that was going to work with all the diverse universe-ending threats the Doctor had stopped in his lives I don't know. I suppose it would have been enough for the GI to know the Doctor would die in agony and who cares if he took the universe with him. The GI got to die a happy entity. He was at peace.
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Yeah, I watched the episode again yesterday. Vastra entered the Tardis-tomb after GI started rewriting the Doctor's timeline and said "Stars are going out", so basically Davros' reality bomb worked but its effect didn't reach Trenzalore before Clara set things straight again. :)
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Can't wait that long! I miss David Tennant too much and want to see him already! :'(
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Option 3) John Hurt is Eccleston's Doctor, but older and perhaps insane, a fragmented timeline version who broke the covenant of The Doctor to do something the Doctor wouldn't do.
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Unlikely! The signed with John Hurt before they even started negotiating with Eccleston to play the 9th Doctor which he later refused. John Hurt's incarnation was part of the story before they considered including Eccleston's Doctor and two 9th Doctors doesn't seem, for the lack of more suitable words, cool enough. Though I admit I thought of that too for a bit when I saw Hurt's clothes.
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It's implied heavily that John Hurt's "Doctor" didn't actually go by the title, as his actions weren't deserving of the name. So it's still entirely plausible that Christopher Eccleston's Doctor is still the Ninth Doctor; but it's the tenth incarnation.
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That makes perfect sense. Though I wonder if John Hurt's character would have likely gone by the name Doctor until he didn't. Ultimately it's the same thing though, but it's why we may see him called the Doctor until he isn't. Eschewed after the fact by the choices he made...whether he had a choice or no.
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Interesting. The first thing that attracted me to the modern Doctor Who was the way the character handled situations in creative and vastly different ways from all the other characters out there, his whole attitude was alien to how most fictional characters behave without being overly whimsical or easily-dismissed. That monsters weren't always evil, that heroes weren't always heroic, that solutions weren't always simple, that morality exists beyond the confines of our planet and our way of thinking.

I absolutely agree that this series hasn't delivered on its stated intents, and that this episode did try a lot harder to be more than the sum of lazily-assembled parts slapped into empty vessels the way too many other episodes have been lately.

There was fun early on in this episode, but it didn't feel like it weighed the story down for once, and it transitioned to real business and real drama fairly quickly. From there it had broad scope not just in locations but in ideas it was conveying (as opposed to just hinting at). It got dark and dangerous and big very well, and kept that up for most of the episode. The dangers weren't just the monster and the big villain, but the journey itself.

That said, I do think that the resolution on Clara was another underwhelming element, that she isn't at all the impossible girl, she's just a pretty girl who fell into a paradox, being important to the Doctor before she was actually important, yet that importance is what drew the Doctor to her so either time is cyclical - which this show has argued it isn't - or Clara is exactly what she seemed when we met her, a bubbly, shallow nanny who doesn't really have all that much going on and intrigues the Doctor based on something she really isn't: impossible. Clara isn't impossible, she's just a deus ex machina in human form, she's quick to attach herself to the Doctor (similar to Martha, it's trust at first sight, rather than having this level of dedication earned a la most of the others of the modern run) and sacrifice herself for the Doctor. She wasn't born to save the Doctor, she was born to be Clara Oswald and eventually saved the doctor, spread herself throughout his timeline putting things right that the Great Intelligence had put wrong, and die over and over. Her story is uneventful except for one thing, and assuming she gets out of that intact (which it appears she will), she'll be still just be the plug-n-play companion with not much personally going on.

You're absolutely right that Vastra and pals just appeared out of nowhere, I didn't think of it at all because they ultimately didn't matter at all to the rest of the story, they were merely observers (and hostages, but if it had only been Clara the result would have been the same).

I do have to take issue with Richard E. Grant as the Great Intelligence, he's just chewing scenery and not nuanced, not impressively grand the way something that calls itself "The Great Intelligence" should be.

The Whisper Men also ended up a letdown, they don't make any sense - they're copies of Dr. Simeon before the GI jumps into them, but they have stocking-face features with portruding bone structures, mouths full of monster teeth, and similar but not matching heights and costumes; moreover their powers are vague, where do they come from, and why do they just do whatever when it's convenient? Hand through a chest? Sure. Door keeps 'em out? Why not. Invulnerable? Mostly. And they call back to The Silence, who were very similar and ended up also disappointing when finally revealed.

And the GI's plan seemed flawed, the whole universe should have winked out twice, most recently after the Pandorica incident, so he'd gain nothing but revenge and then he'd cease to exist. Instead it caused waves of changes and pain to the Doctor, but eventually it'd have to catch up completely, that's the point of showing stars winking out like that.

Also, a souffle is more than a recipe, it's experience and application on top of raw talent. We were never shown raw talent from Clara, and she really doesn't have experience to carry the day, so it's all application to make her savings of the Doctor, her souffles in time. Does that mean every bad thing that ever happened to The Doctor that he escaped was thanks to Clara, or was every bad thing that happened the cause of the Great Intelligence? Either one starts to negate the entire series in unappealing ways, did the Daleks lure the Doctor to their asylum only because of the GI, or did he only ensure the Doctor's failure death there, how did he poke that wound, and how did Oswin Oswald live her life and get turned into a Dalek only to save the Doctor to undo that? It's dubious how the recipe made that souffle.

I personally didn't like the editing Clara into old events, I think it's a cheap way to call back, I didn't like it in Forrest Gump or most other applications either, it never looks quite convincing and it feels wrong, it feels like the modern storyteller's vision is more important than that which came before.

I didn't think at all about the crack in the TARDIS window, this Doctor already blew out those windows on his first story.

Yeah, the Doctor kissed someone, kissed her big, kissed her for real. Kissed her off too, it seems, that moment really felt like a saying goodbye to River Song for the last time, despite the episode arguing against it.

No mention of the cheesy Sherlock Holmes tie-in with the Doctor thinking of retiring to keep bees? (That's what Holmes always intended to do in the books, and did end up doing until the world went to war and drew him back into need.)

This was the second best episode of series 7, but that's not saying much. Yet for all the big ideas, it still let me down in execution, it still ended on Moffat-fever: the last act's sets were nothing and made little sense, the visual effects budget felt stretched over its reach, the story came down to a gimmick rather than a worthy payoff, the monsters basically just crumbled, and we got talk of big actions by the Doctor rather than exploring what they meant. Series 7 was a low point in the new show.
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I always felt that all the timelords got new regenerative cycles for the time war - it would be the easiest way to get around the regeneration problem - the timelords brought back the master, so giving new regeneration cycles wouldn't be too much of a stretch.
I also think john hurt is the doctor that finished the time war (whether that makes him the older version of the 8th doctor or part of the new regenerative cycle is debatable), but the background we can see with john hurt seems to be a war zone.
the clara timestream explanation reminds me of the bad wolf and rose tyler explanation
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I always thought that The regeneration limit was a time lord law. Not a physical limitation. We have seen time lords like the Master and Rassilon who have extended or even gained a whole new set of cycles.
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Comic Con 2010: A fan asks Moffat "What will happen to the show when The Doctor uses all his regenerations?", Moffat replies: "We haven't discussed this in details, but it would be safe to say that now the Time Lords are gone, there is no limit to The Doctor's regenerations"
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I disagree. The fourth doctor had a chance to end the Daleks before they came into existence. And he declined.

10 and 11 gave chances to various people multiple times. The way the Doctor's use of the Moment is described, implies that he pushed the button. He destroyed everything he ever knew. That kind of decision is totally unlike him in any of his known incarnations.
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Yea all this talk that John being the 9th doctor to me I just don't believe it. That's just my opinion. You have to think they have marketed this past few years that Christopher is 9th, David is 10th and Matt 11th. Even all the Doctor Who head hanchos saying that. I mean they are having the specials running now ever month for the 50th breaking down all 11 Doctors. I mean this is a Tv show. Do you think there gonna throw all that merchendise away they have sold. But I do love ever ones theorys and getting into the story. Also Christopher was approached to be in the 50th but declined. So maybe if he did accept (which I wish he did), maybe John would not have been in the 50th. But don't get me wrong he could be the Doctor of some sort just not 1-11 though. I think..lol.
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oops! i clicked flag by mistake...
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One thing I didn't like was Clara pointing the Doctor towards the right TARDIS. I was under the impression that it was a TARDIS-chooses-the-Doctor, love-at-first-sight thing, and Clara kind of ruined that.
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Clara was there trying to undo the "changes" The Great Intelligence made.

So the Great Intelligence probably nudged The Doctor to pick a different TARDIS which would let him fail more. Like moving a sign, making him think differently, or something minor like some dirt in front of a door.

So Clara was there saying "Nope, pick THIS one instead." To counter-act the GI's interference.

Granted it's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg thing... was she always the reason for all of his successes, or was she there just trying to undo the GI damage.
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Ah thanks! I also wondered about Clara nudging the Doctor to pick his Tardis. Makes sense that the GI was undoing the Doctor by this first great mistake of choosing the wrong Tardis.
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The River scene was so sad, and I never even liked her that much. The episode was happy/sad, something which Doctor Who excels at. I never know whether to cry or laugh.
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There is a misunderstanding on the part of most posters that the Matt Smith is the eleventh regeneration. He is the eleventh Doctor, but the first Doctor was NOT a regeneration. Thus, there have been, if you ignore any future revelations, ten regenerations. If the the 13 limit is true, there are still three left.
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Depending on how you look at it, there actually could have been eleven regenerations used. In "Journey's End", the Tenth Doctor uses his severed hand to do a kind of regen without the transformation so that he can heal. Not a full-blown regeneration but some might still count it in the tally.
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Well said. Now, would they please definitively explain Susan? Who's (ha ha) the father and mother? Really a grand daughter? She's been seen or heard twice this season. An official genealogy is in order!
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And another thing about Susan is this, when the Master died and the Doctor "died" on earth, their bodies were burned because there were whole civilizations that would rip the earth apart to get just a bit of a Time Lord's body; and the first Doctor strands a Time Lord, his "granddaughter" on a Dalek devastated earth? What?! Is she a Time Lord or somebody he adopted from some planet other than Gallifrey?
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I think we already know who John hurt is.

Remember when the master and the Doctor were talking about the Time War? The master asked the Doctor what he did in the Time War. The Doctor said I fought.

Remember the Doctor telling Rose, that when he first met Rose he was born of battle. He exiled the meta doctor because he committed genocide.

Remember how he felt when PM jones fired on the Sycorax? He was disgusted.

Now think back to 9. He was sick with his life. Just going through the motions. His comment at the end of his life was that he was fantastic.

Think about 8. Was there really anything different about him that leads you to believe that he was capable of double genocide?

We know what Rassilon was trying to do at the end of the war.

So we know something terrible happened to the doctor during the war. Something so terrible that he used the moment to burn all of his people and the Daleks in the time war.

We know that the last three doctors have all expressed a dislike of themselves. They have all felt the need to convince themselves that they are greater than thier guilt.

Now we have the new testimony of the revealed Doctor. He said that what he did, he did without choice in the name of peace and sanity. 11 acknoledged this as true.

So, I submit that this doctor is the Ninth Doctor, born in battle when 8 died in the time war. He is the one who definitively ended the time war by using the moment. And then, he regenerated himself.

Eccelston's doctor is the tenth. Tennant is 11. Smith is 12. All three of them consider 9 to be a pariah. Something to forget and bury in the past.

So, the 50th will be a battle between 11 and 12 versus 9 for the very soul of the Doctor.
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Why does there have to be a battle with the 9th Doctor? If what you say is true then he basically killed himself after ending the Time War because he too believed that he didn´t deserve to live anymore. That what he did was unforgivable. He did seem ashamed of what he did at the end of this episode. Does that sound like an evil person to you?
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I love that theory about the 50th Tennant & Smith against Hurt for the Doctor's soul. Exceptional
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OR...perhaps he is 8. Aged as Doctors, when left alive long enough, do. I believe most of what you've said to be self evident, as you conveyed. But I do think he is 8.
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It's too treacly and bathotic. Furthermore, having Clara tell the first Doctor which Tardis to take was moffat dumping all over the original series.
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Clara was there trying to undo the "changes" The Great Intelligence made.

So the Great Intelligence probably nudged The Doctor to pick a different TARDIS which would let him fail more. Like moving a sign, making him think differently, or something minor like some dirt in front of a door.

So Clara was there saying "Nope, pick THIS one instead." To counter-act the GI's interference.

Granted it's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg thing... was she always the reason for all of his successes, or was she there just trying to undo the GI damage.
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Wellllll....maybe the impossible girl is the tardis.....
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I don't think she is the Tardis, but I think Matt Smith's psychically linking her to the Tardis when he had to retrieve the time coordinate map from her mind might have some plot twist consequences later in the series.
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Clara is awesome!!!
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Rose was awesome, Lady Christina was awesome Amy was awesome Donna and Astrid were great Martha was good, then comes Clara
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Clara is different in a good way. Amy is my joint fave. The Rose/Doctor romance was odd.
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LOVED this episode. And especially that kiss. I didn't really feel much for the Doctor/River pairing (thought it was good for the story) but now...goodness. I tried to catch as many of the Doctors in his time stream as I could - I'm pretty sure I saw Nine's coat and Ten's coat, but I'm not positive. And River saying "Spoilers" with a smile made me very very happy.
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Nine went running by Clara in the mindscape. Eight and Ten, as far as I can tell, were seen hovering around the time rift as Vastra scanned it.
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Ah, thanks! I knew I saw Nine's coat. I got ridiculously excited about that. Haha
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Disappointed Capt Jack wont be in the 50th anniversary. Love Strax he is just hilarious! This was such an emotional episode what more can River possible mean when she said "spoilers". November can't come soon enough.
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I think she meant that part of her consciousness or personality traits or some part of her were imprinted with Clara. This way, if River is the love of the Dr.'s life he can continue that relationship with Clara. At least I hope they move forward with a romantic relationship - he was married with children and grandchildren after all - why wouldn't he have done that again in the centuries since Susan left? Besides I think the chemistry is great between the Doctor and Clara.
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Susan wasn't really his grandaughter from memory I think. So he has never married before that I am aware.
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I like the Doctor with Clara too :)
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