Geronimo! Top 11 Matt Smith Moments (11-6)
John Hussey counts down eleven of Eleven’s best.
After the shocking and devastating news that Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, is to leave the role at the end of this year’s Christmas Special I was left extremely upset. I couldn’t believe the news that was placed in front of me. So to help with the transition of my sadness, I thought I would give Matt Smith the send off he deserves by writing this article which looks over his tenure and points out my favourite moments from his incarnation and why I loved his take on the part so much.
When it was announced back in 2008 that David Tennant would be leaving the role, I was upset knowing that the Tenth Doctor would be no more. The question buzzing through my mind was ‘who had the potential to replace such a popular incarnation?’ Then Matt Smith arrived and blew me away from the word go. After watching his short Confidential interview I was left feeling reassured towards the future of the show. I was already looking forward to seeing one of my favourite Who writers, i.e. Steven Moffat, take on the reigns of show runner and so when I saw the new lead actor portraying such exciting energy of enthusiasm, I was left seeing potential within Smith’s abilities as an actor to pull off a good job as the wondering Time Lord.
It was always clear he had a hard job due to the popularity of Tennant’s Doctor but upon witnessing his first onscreen footage at the end of ‘The End of Time, Part Two’ I was already left impressed and full of excitement as this new Doctor burst onto the screen in a very explosive demonstration. I was certainly left reassured that Moffat had found the right replacement for Tennant.
This is how brilliant Smith is as the Doctor; he captured my interest from his first few minutes on the show. I already considered him the Doctor and was left waiting in suspense to see how he continued to develop his incarnation and that’s exactly what he’s down for his entire tenure; made Eleven better and better and better. ‘The Eleventh Hour’ really established his place within the role through his mad personality and impressive thinking skills that brought about Prisoner Zero’s defeat in such a genius way via the simplest of methods he had as resources after being locked out of his TARDIS and losing his sonic screwdriver. The scene that sealed the deal was the rooftop scene when Smith chased off the Atraxi with the power of words, backed up by his signature theme, ‘I Am the Doctor’.
The reasons I think Smith’s incarnation of the Doctor is so brilliant and memorable is because of his alien nature. We had gotten used to Tennant’s human-side as he got in touch with his humanity after finally recovering from the Time War, but with Smith it was more about returning to his real self of being an alien filled with hidden anger and manipulation which is displayed in dark ways on more than one occasion. The other thing I love about Eleven is his fun and childlike nature along with his caring side which counteracted and almost balanced out his darker side, giving him a well rounded character that could be loved on different layers of characteristics.
The Eleventh Doctor’s story was also very inventive and unique. It was full of mystery and really did do its job to attack his different emotions and provoke them in different ways. Firstly curiosity stuck him with the deadly Cracks in time that slowly led him to the reasoning behind them, i.e. his own TARDIS exploding on a certain date. The Eleventh Doctor then sacrificed himself in order to reboot the universe.
Eleven was then taken in dark territories when he faced his own death at the hands of the Silence, a religious group who wanted to silence his dark secrets before they were allowed to be revealed. Not only that but he also had to face the revelations behind his wife River Song who was in fact his companions daughter. Eleven was left feeling responsible for her cruel upbringing and her separation from her parents as an infant. After escaping his fate, Eleven went on to erase himself from history in order to protect himself from being found by the Silence again.
He then faced the devastating departure of his good friends Amy Pond and Rory Williams which caused him to exile himself away from the universe and give up saving it. This was averted by Clara Oswin Oswald who presented a mystery before him as to how he encountered the same girl twice in different lives and time-streams. It’s fair to say that curiosity has gotten Eleven into a lot of trouble and now he has finally been drawn to Trenzalore, the place the Silence tried to prevent him from reaching, and his name allowed the Great Intelligence entry to his tomb which contained his entire life-stream. Clara was revealed to be his saviour who splintered herself through time in order to rewrite the chaos the Great Intelligence tried to inflict. Now the Eleventh Doctor attempts to save her while also re-confronting his great secret; the Forgotten Doctor.
Now I shall look back through Series 5, 6 and 7 and pick out my top eleven moments from Smith’s Doctor:
11. “If there’s one thing you never ever put in a trap…”
Starting off the countdown, I look way back to Smith’s first series within the role, i.e. his first two-parter story ‘The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone’. The cliffhanger was rather different as the attention wasn’t solely on the danger at hand. Sure the Weeping Angels were quickly reviving themselves and began surrounding Eleven, Amy Pond, River Song and the Clerics, draining the power-source to their lights in the process, but the main attention was upon the anger of the mad man with a box. Angel Bob pushed the boundary and tried angering the ancient Time Lord and so after an amazing speech on what his great enemy should never ever do, he fired a gun at the Byzantium. We were left wondering, what is Eleven doing? This just demonstrates how mad Smith’s Doctor could be, especially when provoked.
10. Abandon Ship!!!
Not many enjoy ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’ but few can deny that the opening scene was kick-ass. It was a brilliant and explosive way to open Smith’s second Christmas Special. As it was shown in the ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe Prequel’ Eleven was facing a massive dilemma which had him holding onto a big red button that would destroy not only the alien ship he was on, thereby preventing Earth being invaded, but himself as well. Choosing to press the button Eleven raced for his life towards an exit as the entire ship exploded into flames around him and began to fall apart. Accompanied by Murray Gold’s fantastic music, the scene said it all and demonstrated what a mad life Eleven led.
9. Spoonhead Doctor
This little scene just demonstrated how manipulative Smith’s incarnation could be, especially when provoked by his enemy. After arriving to see that Clara had yet again been downloaded into the Web-Cloud, this time being a full process, Eleven led a desperate frontal attack upon Miss Kizlet’s base inside the Shard. As it turned out Eleven had deceived Miss Kizlet and revealed that what stood before was the Spoonhead that was sent to download Clara, now under his control. In order to get Clara back he persuaded Miss Kizlet by downloading her as well, forcing her associates Mahler and Alexei, through further persuasion after Eleven hacked their emotions via Kizlet’s tablet, to release everyone from the Web-Cloud. This was ingenious of Eleven and totally devious. It fooled both Kizlet and the audience. It was a brilliant resolution to ‘The Bells of Saint John’ because of its brilliance and also because of the manipulative factors involved, showcasing why one doesn’t provoke the Time Lord.
8. Checkmate in Three Moves
As much as I didn’t enjoy ‘Nightmare in Silver’ I can’t go without mentioning how brilliant Eleven’s resolve was during his chess match with the Cyber-Planner. He had already outsmarted the cybernetic creature twice before by introducing the game of chess, thereby giving him a way to regain control of his mind and also delaying the Cyber-Planner from controlling his mind, and then by using the golden ticket as a means to temporarily shut the creature off. His three move win was technically cheating in terms of getting a mate in chess, but this is the Doctor we’re talking about, and besides, the Time Lords invented chess. It was ingenious and certainly left the Cyber-Planner shocked upon its defeat, especially since it believed it had achieved its victory after making Eleven lose his queen in order to get back Angie and Artie.
7. “The Best Ship in the universe. And it’s mine.”
I just love Clara’s introduction to the TARDIS, it was a magical moment. Also it was our first glimpse of the new Console Room which I was most impressed with. It looks ancient and totally alien, which went hand-in-hand with Eleven’s new persona and outfit. Eleven seemed totally proud of his spacecraft and enjoyed showing off her capabilities to Clara, showcasing that he was a changed man – redeemed from his former scrooge self and back into the light. Also the scene was accompanied beautifully with my favourite Murray Gold track ‘The Majestic Tale (of a Mad Man in a Box)’. Last but not least, the reaction on Eleven’s face when Clara put a new spin on the longest running gag in the show “It’s bigger on the inside” with her saying, “Its smaller on the outside.”
6. Silencing the Silence
The resolution in ‘The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon’ was top-notch work by Steven Moffat. Again, it’s another scene that showcases Eleven’s manipulative side and what happens when he’s provoked. Witnessing the Silence manipulating humanity through hypnotic suggestion for thousands of years pushed him to the brink to which he devised a plan to terminate their plans and existence once and for all. By using Neil Armstrong’s speech Eleven sent out a message using an injured Silent to give humanity a message, “You should kill us all on sight.” Through this message, the Silence we’re driven from Earth by the creatures they once controlled. Again, this scene was accompanied with my favourite track ‘The Majestic Tale (of a Mad Man in a Box)’.
Check back tomorrow for the top five! In the meantime why not list your own in the comments.