I admit, I’ve been dreading this moment. Matt Smith put his own stamp on The Doctor and may have actually surpassed Tennant in terms of importance to the lore of the series. The past 3 years have been IMPORTANT years for Doctor Who. After existing for 47 years, the 48th year was the year it finally broke through to America. Despite a 25+ year original run, it never became a major element of pop culture. In 2005 it returned with high production value and incredibly talented writers. Eccleston and Tennant made it something awesome, but it was Matt Smith that became America’s first Doctor. At the screening on the 50th Anniversary special last month, I was AMAZED at the number of young girls in the audience. I briefly thought that it was the sexy Matt Smith that was pulling them in, but when Capaldi made a brief appearance onscreen the girls went WILD! They are into the lore of this series, and all the awesome scifi that Doctor Who revels in.
The special itself was rather straightforward plotwise. The Doctor arrives on a planet with a small village named “Christmas”. The infamous “Crack in spacetime” reappears and asks the question: “Doctor Who?”. He then discovers that this world has a name- Trenzalore. The planet where the Doctor fights his greatest battle and is buried. This episode covers the approximately 1000 year battle of Trenzalore. The Doctor eventually defeats the enemies (mostly Daleks at the end) and after a touching final speech, regenerates into Peter Capaldi: The 13th Doctor!
I was pleasantly surprised that they mentioned that The Doctor is only allowed 12 regenerations, and Smith is the last (Hartnell(original), Troughton (regen 1), Pertwee (2), Baker (3), Davidson (4), Baker (5), McCoy (6), McGann (7), Hurt (8), Eccleston (9), Tennant (10), Tennant’s quicke regen (11), Smith (12)). It is addressed and to be brief, the Time Lords recharge his regeneration battery. He has 12 more to go after Peter Capaldi.
It was a great send off, not as massive as Tennants, but more in line with Smith’s run. He is the “Raggedy Man”, the fairy tale Doctor. He lives longer than any other regeneration (approx 1300 years), and becomes, through the Trenzalore battle the most mythic. Now, this episode majorly rewrites the story as he does NOT die at Trenzalore. How this effects the timeline going forward should be interesting. Eventually the Doctor WILL die. Perhaps this is where he is buried in some distant future thousands, or millions of years in the future….or perhaps not. It’s Doctor Who after all.