2013 Christmas special episode, The time of the Doctor

Do you remember the first question? The one that’s hidden in plain sight, the oldest questiobn in the Univers, the one in it’s name the Silence acted to kill the Doctor and to stop him to reach Trenzalore.

Doctor: “Who wants me dead?”
Teselecta: “The Silence”
Doctor: “What is the Silence? Why is it called that? What does it mean?”
Teselecta: “The Silence is not a species; it is a religious order or movement. Their core belief is that silence will fall when the question is asked.”
Doctor: “What question?”
Teselecta: “The first question; the oldest question in the universe. Hidden in plain sight.”
Doctor: “Yes, but what is the question?”
Teselecta: “Unknown”

To the end of season 6 he was told what the question was, the one in the title of the show: Doctor Who?

DORIUM: “On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature may speak falsely or fail to give answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered.”
THE DOCTOR: “Silence will fall when the question is asked”
DORIUM: “Silence must fall would be a better translation. The Silence are determined that the question must never be answered. The Doctor must never reach Trenzalore.”
THE DOCTOR: “I don’t understand? What’s it got to do with me?”
DORIUM: “The first question. The oldest question in the universe, hidden in plain sight. Would you like to know what it is?”
THE DOCTOR: “Yes!”
DORIUM: “Are you sure?”

If you haven’t watch the yesterday episode, yet, let me tell you its most important aspect: it’s not only Matt Smith closing as the Doctor, an epic one, and a ending of 12 regeneration cycle (the Doctor should have died on Trenzalore, as you already know from The name of the Doctor), but it’s the moment a lot of pieces of the puzzle known in different episodes from several seasons get together in a coherent story. It’s one of the most beautiful aspect of temporal travels: you find out the reason of  various events only in the final, when you have to find out, and the forces that will bring to experients in the past are already in motion.

Why 12 regenerations? Everyone knows, or at least everyone knew until The day of the Doctor, that Matt Smith was the eleventh Doctor. Because that Lord of Time played by John Hurt was not considered to be a Doctor, at least not by many for a long time, but he consumed a regeneration. Also, the tenth Doctor (played by David Tennant) regenerated once, when he was wounded by a Dalek, dar he kept his face. That’s why the Doctor should have die on Trenzalore, defending the village called Christmas – the man who stayed for Christmas – during several hundred of years of conflict, but it did not happen this way.

But let’s start with the beginning: a strange signal was send from some planet to the rest of the Univers, it reached the most distant stars. Nobody knew what it was, but it succeded in frightening a lot of people… and everyone came, trying to find out its meaning and source. Among them there were old enemies (to each other and the Doctor), as Daleks, Cyberman, Sontaran and many others… but in the beginning they did not fight each others. Tasha Lem was Mother Superious to a religious order, Papal mainframe, the first one that arrived to the planet, and she decided to isolate it – not even the TARDIS could land without her approval. If you still remember, you have watched her soldiers (some warrior priests, the Clerics) in action in 2 previous episodes, The time of angels and Flesh and stone, and the creatures known as Silence were some genetical modified priests to make people forget their confessions as soon they move their eyes somewhere else. Also, mentions to the religios order and its leader appear in the episode A Good Man Goes to War, when it is said that colonel Manton had her approval to reveal the identity of the Hooded Monks. Some of the member of this religious order traveled back in time in Doctor’s personal history, they tried with no succes to stop him to get to Trenzalore. The result was the creation of River Song, Doctor’s wife, the explosion of the TARDIS and the creation of that cracks in time and space that helped transmitting the signal that brought them here.

When they realized the the Time Lords were sending the signal, the same Time Lords saved by the Doctors (David Tennant, Matt Smith and John Hurt) in the previous episode, broadcat at 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the half curious, three quarters frightened gathering of ships and creatures start a siedge that last about 3 centuries: they can not allow the Doctor to speak loud his name and bring his race back, and he can not let the ones from the orbit to destroy the life on the planet Trenzalore.

I let you find the the details of the siedge and how it turned into a real war (that lasted some further time) on your own. Into the final the dying Doctor get an unexpected present from the Lords of Time: a new cicle of regenerations. In the period of the siedge and the war he became an old fellow, the present reset him.. before transforming into the new Doctor (Peter Capaldi) he gets a surprise visit: Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan), his former companion.

It was a pretty good episode – it brought together several stories and elements from Doctor’s history into something coherent. But, from several points of view, it was a little superficial. It could have insisted on several aspects of war, the factions or Tasha Lem’s position and relation with the Doctor, so my evaluation is 7 of 10.

Director Jamie Payne, writer: Steven Moffat.

Cast: Matt Smith (the Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Dan Starkey (Sontaran), Nicholas Briggs (vocile Daleks / Cybermen), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 1), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 2), Ken Bones (voice), Orla Brady (Tasha Lem), Mark Anthony Brighton (Colonel Albero), James Buller (Clara’s dad), Peter Capaldi (the Doctor), Aidan Cook (Cyberman), Tom Gibbons (young man), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Sonita Henry (Colonel Meme).

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