The Big Bang (11th Doctor, episode 13)

[A revised and improved version of this essay appears in my book The Eleventh Doctor: a critical ramble through Matt Smith’s tenure in Doctor Who.]

I wanted to blog about The Big Bang the moment it finished — I felt electrified, and wanted to let it all pour out — but the way things fell out, Andy Murray’s match against Gilles Simon started just as The Big Bang ended, then I watched the extra time at the end of the USA-Ghana World Cup match (commiserations to US-based readers, I was supporting you guys).  Then I had to reboot my son’s iPod (which crashes if you try to play an MPEG layer II file on it, if you can imagine anything so lame), then I had to clear up the detritus of dinner, unload and reload the dishwasher and all.  So it’s only now — four hours after the end of the program — that I’m free to write.

Has the glow faded?

Heck, no.  I have never enjoyed an episode of Doctor Who so much: never before laughed out loud so many times at the sheer audacity of it, never before marvelled so delightedly at the show’s virtuosity.  I loved, pretty much literally, every minute.  Right now, what I want to do most of all is watch it again (and indeed I have a torrent running in another window as I’m writing this).

Admittedly I’m not 100% sure that it all quite made sense.  And some of the deliberate attempts to make us feel the emotion of the moment were perhaps a little hamfisted.  But I can forgive those flaws very easily because of the sheer headlong rush of brilliant moments: not “brilliant” merely in the sense of “very good”, but more specifically sparkling, incandescent, glittering; to use a Whedon Word, shiny.

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for a time-travel paradox, always have been: but I’ve never before seen paradox piled on paradox like this, and never seen them played for laughs in this way.  And I don’t mean that in a sense that trivialises the weighty matters that the plot concerns — I mean laughs that emerge organically, one might even say spontaneously, from the characters, and most especially the character of the Doctor.

The story didn’t develop in at all the way I’d envisaged: the Axis Of Evil that had gathered for the climax of The Pandorica Opens wasn’t seen again, whereas I’d expected them to play a huge part.  This was A Good Thing: going down unexpected routes is always more interesting, and abandoning the actual Bad Guys in favour of a plot-and-paradox episode made this season finale very, very different from those that have gone before.  Be honest: don’t The Stolen Earth, The End of Time and The Last of the Time Lords sort of blur together in your mind?  There’s no way anyone’s going to be confusing The Big Bang with any of them.  What we ended up with was a sort of character-driven clockwork plot with added bonus running-down-corridors (albeit much more beautiful corridors than we’ve been used to seeing): an episode quite unlike any that has gone before, while still fitting perfectly into the series’ overall character.

Oh, and so many individual marvellous moments: the surprise when the Pandorica re-opened in the present day, the sequence in which the Doctor repeatedly popped back 2000 years to give instructions to Rory, the reappearance of the Doctor-in-his-jacket scene from Flesh and Stone, the world without stars that has an exploding TARDIS for a sun …  Really, it was one thing after another.

And perhaps what’s most impressive is that, for all the time-travel/rewriting paradoxes, the core strand of the story held enough coherence and momentum to tie it all together — so that, for example, my 12, 10 and 7-year-old sons could all pretty much follow that was going on and why.  I’m not going to say that I fully understand all the strands of alternative timelines, and how various changes in the past switched between those various futures: at the moment, I don’t.  But I understood enough to keep surfing the wave of events.

(And I will understand it fully: I’m going to watch again, think it through: and I’m confident that Moffat, just as he did with Blink, will have tied it all together in a neat little bow.  We’re all going to be finding links and in-jokes for some time yet — I am really looking forward to reading other reviews of The Big Bang in part for this reason.)

Another reason I’m keen to see other reviews is of course to find out whether the world agrees with me.  I can easily see this finale splitting the audience into lovers and haters and not much in between.  One of the interesting things about this season is that episodes that some people love seem to get very different responses from others, and vice versa: for example, between us it seems that Gavin Burrows and I have both loved and been unimpressed by pretty much every episode — it’s hard to find a single one where our opinions match.  (That’s within the broader picture of both of us generally being very enthusiastic about the season as a whole.)

In my very positive review of The Lodger, I said that “If I try to analyse why I love Doctor Who in a way that I don’t quite love even manifestly superior shows like Veronica Mars, it might come down to its sheer ambition”.  That goes double for this finale episode.  It does a hundred things where other shows would do two, or perhaps three.  Its scope is both epic and intimate, its lead character is both a fool and a genius, its monsters are both terrifying and comical, and of course it’s a show for both children and adults.  If most good TV shows are perfectly formed but easily digested, like the Beatles’ She Loves You, this is more like Genesis’s Supper’s Ready somehow condensed down into a three-minute single: a heady brew, rich, complex, sweet, sour, searing hot and freezing cold.  It leaps effortlessly from scenario to scenario and somehow — somehow! — ties it together into a coherent and consistent whole.

So farewell to Season 5; and, for now, to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor.  It’s been a wild ride.  I am not 100% sure yet that this is my favourite season of the revived series — that honour might still reside with Christopher Eccleston’s season, the first — but I can tell you right now that Smith has firmly established himself as my favourite Doctor: thoughtful, insightful, inspired, vulnerable, compassionate, insensitive, endlessly curious: in short, Doctorish to the core.

So The Big Bang is an instant classic and a fitting finale.

Special bonus wonderful moment

Rory’s rather plaintive realisation, “I’m plastic”, very much lost in the aural background during the wedding reception.  Loved it.  And loved how they just threw that line away.

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39 responses to “The Big Bang (11th Doctor, episode 13)

  1. “and indeed I have a torrent running in another window as I’m writing this”

    What, Iplayer not good enough for ya?

    Anyway, I have to agree; although I’m not completely sure yet if I’m happy about the season finale almost completely ignoring the issue if who was controlling the Tardis (and so, presumably, behind the whole thing) I did enjoy a finale that was happy being a huge story without having to bring in a million Daleks, a Cyberman army and a nuclear countdown. Yes, yes, I realise that the whole of the universe was under threat, but it was a very small, intimate part of the universe that was shown, much like holding of the vital pass or destroying the key bridge that will save the whole country; we want to know that the stakes on the whole are high, but feel the characters’ personal stakes in the situation.

    I don’t want to get too spoilery just yet, but I will say the following:
    1. Rory is definitely not just a tin dog and it’s about time we had a strong male character, too (although if we had to lose one it would still be Rory – sorry, mate, but Ms Gillan is the Best Companion Ever™).
    2. I don’t much care for River Song; she just seems a bit too David Tennant Smug Grin for my liking. Matt Smith’s Doctor seems to delight in sharing information (maddeningly cryptic at times, but still sharing), but River seems to delight in the whole “I know something you don’t know” thing.
    3. Matt Smith has now pushed Christopher Eccleston into third place as my most favourite Doctor ever, holding joint first with Tom Baker.
    4. One Dalek makes a much better threat and a much better story than a hundred or a thousand. Ridiculous threats will require ridiculous solutions, serious threats can be dealt with by imaginative solutions.
    5. I’m glad I didn’t speculate too much in the last week; in some ways I would’ve been right and in others, wrong, but I trusted Mr Moffatt to do something amazing and he came through.

    Can’t wait for Christmas.

  2. I just checked and he said “I was plastic.” *WAS*. I don’t think he has the absurd gun-for-a-hand any more. :P

    (SPOILERS!)

    Incidentally, this episode was pure joy. So many memorable, fantastic, brilliant moments. The flashback to Flesh and Stone was sublime; I love it when there’s little, seemingly silly or inconsistent things thrown into a story that turn out to actually have been hugely important.

    Still, I think Moffat missed a huge opportunity in having inserted appropriate “I thought I heard something” moments in a few episodes to link back to now. :P

    Rory’s refusal to leave the Pandorica was completely bone-headed… whilst also being completely in-character and somewhat heartbreaking. Spending nearly two thousands years alone, guarding and protecting Amy… it was a cheap shot at our heart strings and I would have dragged Moffat over the coals if he’d missed, but it was well played.

    What annoys me is that we got no hint as to who that voice was; who had taken control of the TARDIS? Moffat might be leaving that for Christmas *or* it might be the hook for the next season.

    Also, I really, really desperately hope that Rory is going to stay on as a permanent companion. He’s a great character and actually feels three-dimensional, unlike certain others I could name.

    All in all, I really do think this has been my favourite season. I didn’t like every episode, but then I never do and that’s not a good judging criteria. For the first time I can remember, the series has felt like a cohesive whole. Most of the episodes themselves made sense and didn’t just seem like a sequence of “stuff happens” moments followed by a lagomorph being extricated from a head adornment.

    Ok, I’m gushing now. Off to watch again. *doot-de-doo*

  3. A thought: do you have access to any spoiler plugins with your WordPress hosting? If so, you might want to enable one. :P

  4. I think this is my fav. season so far. Like what had already been said by others, this season is cohesive in a way that the previous seasons never were. Some of the episodes are linked (Vincent drew the tardis explosion, Churchill found it, River took it from Liz; and the scene from Stone and Flesh featuring the ep13 doctor). It was very enjoyable.

    This season also had the 1st companion death, and the 1st time an overarching story arch on top of the season-arch (the crack is the season’s arch, but whoever blew up the Tardis is the meta arch on top of that. Assuming that’s the topic for next season and not the xmas special)

    It has some plot holes though. I guess that’s unavoidable. How did River find a picture of Rory in Amy’s house when Rory “never existed”. And the whole thing about blowing up the Pandorica with the tardis to spread the effect is both predictable and contrived. Then we see River showing up in 2010 to give Amy the book; how does River remember the Doctor (she obviously does, otherwise why give Amy the book?) and why is she in 2010 and not her own time? They way they “bring back” the doctor is also very forced. These plot holes are like scars on a clean, beautiful face. It is because the episode (and season) is so wonderful that these holes are especially jarring.

    I was a bit worried when Matt Smith was revealed. He turned out to be an incredible doctor, and in certain aspects better than the 2 previous ones. That’s unbelievable, considering that the 2 docs before him were wonderful. And yet he did it.

    Waiting for Christmas specials sucks. :(

  5. nefredfelman

    ***Be honest: don’t The Stolen Earth, The End of Time and The Sound of Drums sort of blur together in your mind?***

    Hang on just one cotton-pickin minute there. Are you saying that they’re three separate stories??? ;)

  6. nefredfelman

    Oh I’ve just checked the subtitles on iPlayer and he says “I was plastic”. Pity as I’d have liked him still to be an Auton.

  7. If you choose your favorite season by averaging together all the scores of the individual episodes, I’m not sure this is my favorite. But it’s definitely my favorite arc, finally displacing season 1. So many of the arcs were like the first, just a couple of words strung together. With this we actually got some development and some clues as we went along, which makes it feel less like a parlor trick and more like an organic result of the season’s stories.

    For the “plot holes”, I think we have to claim Timey-Wimey. The story occurs in the “eye of the storm”, and River in particular was in the Tardis more or less as it was blowing up. A bit of crossing of pre- and post-erased timestreams is to be timey-wimey-expected. River’s delivery of the book may have been arranged post-Doctor’s return, timey-wimey. It’s more or less impossible for a time travel story that uses mutable histories to make perfect logical sense, so you sort of have to cut a bit of wibbly-wobbly slack.

  8. I liked this episode, but it sort of felt like a completely different episode from “The Pandorica Opens”, and as a result they don’t really feel like a two part story. This finale feels like Utopia, and The Sound of Drums, where Utopia is more or less self contained, but leaves the doctor trapped at the end. I wanted something perhaps a bit closer to RTD, but clever (i.e. not pushing daleks around like salt shakers *shudder*), and not simply turning the volume up. Without an explanation as to who was controlling the voice, it doesn’t actually feel to me that the Season was resolved, and I dislike that fact.

    I also doubt that it will be resolved in the Christmas episode. One thing that has bothered me this season, is that since Flesh and Stone, the Doctor has known when the explosion happened and since, In Cold Blood, he has known that it was the tardis, and again did nothing about it. I suspect that he will dilly-dally again for another season and we might find out who it was in the next season finale, and then a resolution in the 7th season finale.

    That said, as for favorite season, I’m not sure why Season 1 seems to be held in such high regard, though I agree with it. I suspect however that it’s partly because Ecclestons time was so short, which is something I always felt. About a week ago I took a scale of 1-10 out of all this seasons episodes, and ended up with no episode less than a 7, and 6 10’s. With perhaps “Amy’s Choice” being my personal favorite episode (not necessarily the best written, best story, but my favorite). Season 1 comes no where close to this stellar grade, with perhaps only Fathers Day, Bad Wolf getting a 10.

    I suspect that once all the arcs are resolved (perhaps at the end of Moffet’s era), we will look back at these seasons as the Golden Age (or second Golden Age) of Doctor Who, but no individual season topping out Season 1, by virtue of Seasons being an arbitrary way to cut up Moffet’s story lines, when may be best viewed as one long story line spanning multiple seasons.

  9. I agree that it was an enjoyable episode, and the fitting end to a very enjoyable season. Grinning ear-to-ear through the whole thing… up to River’s “that’s when everything changes”. Errg. That just sounded so pretentious and not at all portentous. I’m sure it’s just me, but it put a real cramp in my enjoy-the-doctor muscle.
    C’mon, we all know that not even Moffat can really live up to “everything changes”.

  10. Thanks, all, for some very insightful comments.

    Unlike Paul Brown, I am completely happy with the season not resolving the issue of who was behind all the problems — because that issue was mentioned at the end as still being open, so we know it’s not just been dropped on the floor. I do completely agree, though, that part of the winnage of this episode was that though the stakes were very high, the scope was very narrow — or perhaps I should say tightly focussed.

    Also agreed on River Song: she’s never done much for me, and the more we see of her, the more she looks like a collection of mannerisms rather than an actual character (which might be down to the actor rather than the writing, of course). Yes, the “I know something you don’t know” shtick got old very quickly (not least because I know someone like that in real life and it’s always an irritant), and her “everything changes” comment would have been a bit meh even were it for the disturbing echoes of The Dreadful Torchwood. I am much, much more interested in both Amy and Rory than in River. (And I think it’s a first to have a married couple as companions, isn’t it?)

    “One Dalek makes a much better threat and a much better story than a hundred or a thousand. Ridiculous threats will require ridiculous solutions, serious threats can be dealt with by imaginative solutions.” — so, so true.

    Rats: Rory merely was plastic rather then is. Not as funny. Still.

    Quxxy, I am just using WordPress’s own hosting, so as far as I know I have no plugins, spoiler-related or otherwise. Sorry.

    Several of you mentioned how this season taken as a whole felt more integrated than previous seasons, and I agree. Season 1 had an emotional arc (Doctor recovering from Time War PTSD) as well as the Bad Wolf stuff, and that gave it some additional heft which subsequent seasons lacked. Not so this time.

  11. I think the crack is better than the way Bad Wolf was resolved. I was intrigued by Bad Wolf throughout the season, but the resolution of that mystery was a big let down for me.

    The crack in time had much more significance in this season (even used as a solution to the weeping angels), and the resolution much less of a let down (sans some plot holes).

    Reading the comments here makes me wonder why season 1 is my fav. Like Steve said, this season had more quality episodes than season 1. I wonder if it is my fav just because it was the first Doctor Who experience for me and it colors my perception with bias.

    Or may be because this season, as awesome as it had been overall, didn’t have any Empty Child/Doctor Dances caliber episodes, and nothing like Blink.

  12. Not only does Rory say “I was plastic!” , the full line is funnier:

    “How did we forget the Doctor? I was plastic! He was the stripper at my stag party!”

    :D

  13. (Sorry if these comments are a little disjointed. Teeny, tiny text boxes for the lose.)

    Steve: I noticed that it felt different, too. I actually quite liked how it worked out: the series as a whole slowly built up the idea that “cracks = bad”, “TARDIS exploding = bad” and “Pandorica = dunno, but probably bad”.

    Episode 12 was then spent building up to an expected climax where the terrible monster was revealed… which turned out to be the Doctor himself. Oh, and Rory’s not real. Oh, and Amy’s dead. And so is River. And the TARDIS. Crap.

    Which is why I think 13 being so different works; if RTD had written it, things probably would have gotten *silly* at that point with the Doctor pulling hitherto unnoticed magic powers out of his posterior. Instead, we get the Doctor trying to reboot the universe because it’s now irreparably screwed up; it even (more or less) makes sense as to how he does it. Less a case of “it got worse” and more of “it can’t GET any worse, and boy is it going to take some doing to fix.”

    I also liked how the only enemy was a single Dalek *and* we got plenty of character time. Maybe Moffat’s real plan was to trick us into thinking he was going to do a big RTD-style finale before pulling the rug out and revealing a character-driven finale.

    Mike: Is it possible that River feels somewhat two-dimensional because we literally don’t know who she is? Moffat’s made a point of keeping who and, apparently, what she is a secret because it hasn’t happened yet (from the Doctor’s point of view).

    She’s also never really had a story that was about her; the closest would be Silence in the Library, but she spent most of her time refusing to reveal anything, which probably didn’t help.

    Wils: I always felt very let down with how RTD did arc stories. I mean, if you think about it, you could have replaced “Bad Wolf” with “Angry Broccoli” and it wouldn’t have changed the story in any meaningful way.

    On the other hand, the crack was a recurring and important thing throughout the season. I’m actually somewhat surprised that it didn’t show up in the finale except during the Doctor’s rewind. It would have been pretty nifty to see the museum cracking apart as the Doctor prepared to leave.

    eve11: Oh, that’s brilliant. All I could hear was mumbling.

  14. @Quxxy:
    “Maybe Moffat’s real plan was to trick us into thinking he was going to do a big RTD-style finale before pulling the rug out and revealing a character-driven finale.”

    I don’t know that he definitely tricked me into thinking that, but he certainly had me scared for a week that he might. All of the ships and Cybermen and Autons and Stormtroopers and Slayers smacked very much of an RTD “big noise” finish. The fact that the real finish was small, personal and tight makes me prepared to forgive quite a few plot holes and even a daft solution or two.

    I think that this is probably why I’ve enjoyed this series so much; before the series started I had pretty much decided that Matt Smith was too young and completely wrong for the part, Karen Gillan was just eye candy and Steve Moffatt was just going to carry on from where RTD and David Tennant left off. My expectations were at almost rock bottom. The fact that episode one was fairly good, if not exactly mind blowing, still didn’t prepare me for when episode two actually made me cry*. For real.

    Every Saturday I have looked forward to the next episode with a relish that I haven’t felt since before “Rose”. Sometimes I’ve been disappointed, sometimes not, but the excitement hasn’t left me yet and I’m so giddy about this Christmas that I may even be tempted to shout “Geronimo”**.

    * ET leaves me stony faced and most weepy films bore me to death, but an episode of Doctor Who made me cry almost as much as the end of The Iron Giant. That’s impressice.

    ** Depending on blood alcohol levels at the time.

  15. I hate replying to myself, but I’ve just noticed:
    1. I spelt impressive as “impressice”. That’s unforgivenable.
    2. The “Slayers” thing might well look like a Buffy reference in these parts, but I assure you that it isn’t, young Colwyn.

  16. Gareth Jones

    I too was resigned to a lame RTD-style mess after the throw-in-everyone scene in ‘The Pandorica Opens’ (@Mike: the Daleks looked the least lame of the available RTD solutions). ‘The Big Bang’ was such a massive relief – except we’re now faced with the wait for the Christmas episode and the next series, so maybe a bad ending would have been better.

    It was obvious some genuine thought had gone into this episode, and the series as a whole (and maybe the next already). Leaving the real antagonist for next season was a wise choice.

    My only gripe this time was the ease with which the sonic screwdriver reopened the Pandorica, but on the other hand a ‘proper’ solution would merely have wasted time or been boring.

    Oh, and Richards Dawkins’ dangerous “star cult” made this atheist smile!

  17. I do have to concur that this episode was fantastic. I was a little bothered by the use of the Bill and Ted quick paradox solutions (like the screwdriver and the drink), but it was so wild that it worked.

    I do have to say, I really expected the smaller “big” episode. The villians (well except for the stone Dalek) did all end up being red herrings :-).

    I wonder if Moffat created the colorful iDaleks just to create contrast between them and this stone one… He did an amazing job creating a big cohesive season. And I love that the who did it thread lives on into next year. Could Moffat make the Master a REAL villian and not a cartoon character like RTD did? That would be amazing.

    Best. Season. Ever.

  18. Andrei Vajna II

    Mike, I have a question for you. Would it make sense to watch season 5 after only seeing the first season?

  19. Andrei, I don’t think there’s anything in Season 5 that won’t make sense due to your having missed 2-4. In fact I think you could come to it cold never having seen Doctor Who at all, and still make perfectly good sense out of it. So, yes, go ahead — certainly don’t feel that you have to slog through the David Tennant era before you’re allowed to :-)

  20. Hi Mike,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your comments about Dr Who. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this doctor, but I have somehow come to the conclusion that I rather like him…and I’m not sure why or how that happened!

    I really liked Eccleston, perhaps because for me he was such a departure from what I remember of the other doctors.

    I should say that I’m an american who has lived in Australia for the past 21 years, so I remember Dr Who being on late Sunday nights after Monty Python, after Dave Allen…you had to really want to stay up (and be allowed to by parents) in order to watch the show. And then my husband, who is Australian (and may I add has scarily similar background and interests to yours…it’s just too weird!!!) remembers growing up with Dr Who as something akin to the Sunday comics – an adventure show for kids more or less.

    Anyway, enough rambling…

    There were some things I found really irksome about this series (Winston Churchill, the heavy-handed emotional maniuplation and the rousing speeches that seemed to serve no purpose other than to state the obvious [although Tennant's doctor had a bit of that too] for example) and other things I found weirdly distracting (why did Amy’s nail polish colour change haphazardly?) and then other things I found to be charming and enthralling (mainly due to the subtlety and depth of Smith’s acting).

    I wasn’t sure about Amy, and even less sure about Rory. But I must say that in the finale, I loved Rory. I like Amy, but some of her mannerisms, like some of the other companions, tend to get in the way of me liking her more.

    I’ll read through your other posts, so I’m sorry if you’ve answered this before, but which of the most recent companions has/have been your favourite?

    I think I kind of like Martha the best. But perhaps Amy will grow on me.

    Thanks once again for a good read…and thanks to those who comment here as well…fun stuff to read!

  21. Thanks for the kind words, Ann.

    Ooh, favourite recent companion. Of the Big Four — Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy — it’s not easy to choose, except to say “definitely not Martha”, who was by far the least interesting of the four. (I am ignoring bit-part players like Captain Jack, River Song and (so far) Rory, not least because it means I’m less likely to go off on an extended tangential rant about how I loathe Captain Jack.)

    Rose completely redefined what it is to be a Doctor Who companion. She’s the Beatles of DWCs, and will always be recognised for that. I reacted with absolute horror to the news that Donna was going to be the Season 4 companion, because she was awful in the one-off Runaway Bride, but she won me over with an emotional range never so much as hinted at in the shoutfest that had been her debut. Amy is the best actor of the three, and the only one I’ve ever seen look genuinely frightened (in Flesh and Stone). So they all have their merits.

    But I think for now I’m going to stick with Donna, because she was so unexpected and so different from the others. But depending on how Amy shapes up, she’s set fair to overtake Donna. Much may depend on the writing.

  22. While re-watching The Big Bang, I realised something.

    “I was plastic.”

    “2000 years. The boy who waited.”

    This means that, technically, Rory more than twice as old as the Doctor. That’s a strange thought…

  23. Been away, so only just watched it. Pure, Who-ish joy. Are Fez (Fezii?) cool? Who cares. Its just good telly. I doubted him but Matt Smith is all the doctor was, is and should be.

  24. @Quzzy

    OH Yea!! Wow. Didn’t realize that. That’s kind of strange, really. I wonder if they’ll make mention of that in the show.

  25. Down here in Oz, we’ve just seen this and I actually held off reading these until now (much, Mike, as I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts of the season).
    One point that I’ve not seen mentioned, though, is this: River Song didn’t know who Rory is, referring to him as ‘the plastic centurion’. Given they’re setting her up nicely to return and into her own past, I’m not quite sure what this means for next season. And given how well Steven Moffat has been setting up these points, it will probably matter.
    Overall, loved this series, both because Amy and Rory are strong characters, the Doctor is no longer invincible/infallible/omniscient etc, and because the twists are actually interesting twists! Now to wait for Christmas…

  26. In response to “Should I watch seasons 1-4 first?”, I’ve been thinking of introducing my wife to this show, and I just now realized (yes, seriously, weeks later) that if I ever do, my plan is to simply start with this season. You really lose almost nothing, and you spoil almost nothing. This is probably a better intro for a new fan than any other season… though perhaps you run the risk of them being disappointed by later seasons.

  27. what is wrong with you people? DAVID TENANT WAS THE BEST DOCTOR EVER! he was absolutley brilliant. he was charismatic, mysterious, good looking and utterly crazy but genius at the same time. he portrayed the doctor perfectly. he will be missed

  28. Well, Annika, I really liked David Tennant, more I think than any of the Old Who Doctors but Tom Baker. But the longer his tenure continued, the more he seemed to become a parody of himself — it seemed like each episode had to have The Lonely God Bit, and The Shouty Bit, and so on. After that, Matt Smith’s performances seem much nuanced. Certainly now that I am going back and re-watching Season 3 having seen Smith’s episodes, there are quite a few places where Tennant looks like’s he’s in a pantomime.

  29. Sorry to be the downer to this party. But you are right, there can only be lovers and haters for this episode. I’m utterly disappointed with this season but I don’t think it was Matt Smith’s fault. I didn’t like most of the plots and my friends and colleagues concur. Let’s just say this is for a different kind of Doctor Who fans. I’m glad you guys enjoyed it but a lot of us loathed this entire season.

    And the cheesy “remember and I will come back meme is the stupidest thing I have heard in the Sci-fi context.

  30. Mike: I have to call bull. You apparently didn’t watch “Last of the Time Lords”. “Remember and I can come back” is stupid, yes, but it was also set up all season, slowly but surely; from the very first episode hints are dropped that there’s something special about Amy. Sci-fi isn’t about the intelligence of the rules, but the coherent application of new rules. “Suddenly if everybody thinks happy thoughts about me I will de-age and completely overpower a dude” is stupid too, but it wasn’t set up in the slightest. The closest thing to a setup was the description of the satellite ring as a slow-but-steady brainwashing tool, but what about brainwashing says “magically unage and float through the air”?

  31. Jeremy makes an excellent point (although promoting an episode by comparing it favourably with Last of the Time Lords is a bit cheap, as it would work on just about anything). I very much like the observation that sci-fi is about “the coherent application of new rules.” You could imagine a very effective Doctor Who that is entirely about that: the Doctor pops up in some alternative universe and has to figure out basic things like how physics works.

  32. Agreed, totally brilliant. A “reset button” episode that didn’t have me resenting the fact that they used a reset button. Loved how well the entire season tied together in the end, and was blown away by the revelation that the Doctor was not the same Doctor in that scene with Amy in Flesh and Stone. What a treat!

    I also loved that my knowledge of Douglas Adams’ Total Perspective Vortex was instrumental to following the plot. (I always kind of thought that something like that was going on–my theory was that it was Amy’s universe. I was close!)

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