“The Name of the Doctor” – Review: Redux

War Doctor “What I did, I did without choice.”
The Doctor “I know.”
War Doctor “In the name of peace and sanity.”
The Doctor “But not in the name of the Doctor.”

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Following a couple of duff episodes and, if I’m being brutally frank, a below-par Series 7b in general, one could be forgiven for thinking that all of everyone’s attention behind the scenes had been so drawn to the impending 50th Anniversary that some of the other episodes may not have got the attention they deserved. However, “The Name of the Doctor” was everything I could ever have wanted it to be. That is despite the fact that it didn’t really have much of a plot of which to speak. Essentially what happened was that the Paternoster Road gang were kidnapped by the Great Intelligence (and his Whispermen henchmen) and taken to the much mentioned Trenzalore, luring the Doctor and Clara to follow them against the Doctor’s better judgement. The reason being that Trenzalore is the location of the time-traveller’s grave amd time travellers should never, ever visit their own graves (Obviously?!). Once there, the Richard E Grant character jumps into the Doctor’s timeline (they don’t have bodies) to disrupt the Doctor’s history, and Clara jumps in afterwards to put it all right again. As if that wasn’t enough, the Doctor then completes the hat-trick by jumping in as well to rescue Clara.

So, all in all when viewed in the cold, harsh light of a blog review, it was a little lightweight. However for that to be the conclusion would be massively missing the point. Firstly, those little scenes that flashed back into moments of the Doctor’s history were glorious, especially the one with William Hartnell outside the original Type-40 TARDIS just before he stole it (and just before it stole him). Anyone who thought that that was treat enough were to be even more rewarded right at the end as other Doctor’s appeared in the time-line rushing past Clara. These were the kind of acknowledgements and nods to the past that a lot of people had been clamouring for since the series came back in 2005 (or 102 days ago in the life of this blog).

Next up, we get Matt Smith in his third from last outing as the main man. The scene where he is sat on Clara’s couch having just found out that he’s going to have to go to Trenzalore, might be the best acting of someone being devastated by bad news that I’ve ever seen. You almost can’t help but cry with him. There are plenty of other good acting turns on show too. The aforementioned Richard E Grant goes toe-to-toe with Matt Smith outside the locked door of the grave and grabs Matt Smith’s face in the most supremely manner. McIntosh, Stewart and Starkey also put in more three-dimensional portrayals as the unlikely Victorian comrades. Well, perhaps not Strax whose persona stays stuck in a pretty standard two-dimensional but no less lovely manner. What it lacked in story, it made up for in visual and emotional impact and that last moment, as John Hurt turns around and we get the “Introducing John Hurt as the Doctor” sting, almost everything that had gone before was forgiven. Roll on 23rd November.

Highlight: The William Hartnell scene

Lowlight: None

Talking Point: What happens next?

Demon’s Run Rating: 20 out of 20

Original BBC1 Broadcast: 18th May 2013

Marathon Status: IT’S BLOODY FINISHED

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  1. Well good job then!
    I got a few episodes behind, but hope to be caught up before the big event. I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews.
    Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be in the UK this weekend…!

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