The Time of the Doctor – What Time Forgot
Guest contributor Emma McCulloch finds that some plot points didn’t quite add up.
Matt Smith’s swan song emotionally affected millions of viewers on Christmas Day. However, was it the best tribute to a fantastic Doctor? This article looks at the plot points of Matt’s era that were hidden, invalidated, or disregarded altogether in his final episode.
“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a Question will be asked, a question that must never, ever be answered. Doctor Who?”
In The Time of the Doctor, we see bits of a brutal war being fought on the planet of Trenzalore, and the one Doctor who had no choice but to stay on the battlefield. As the Time Lords yelled through the cracks the oldest question of the universe, Eleven refused to answer it, letting the battle for Trenzalore continue. This completely disregards the purpose of the truth field and the prophecy.
As we know from all the way back to The Eleventh Hour, the question will no longer be asked and ‘silence will fall’ if the Doctor says his name. If silence means the Doctor’s death, as he mentions in The Wedding of River Song, then silence never falls. The Doctor is saved by the Time Lords, invalidating the prophecy and rewriting fixed time. And when does ‘the fall of the eleventh’ occur? The prophecy implies that once Eleven falls, the question will be asked. The prophecy is also disregarded when the Doctor reveals that he is, in fact, the Thirteenth Doctor. In no way did this episode tie up loose ends from Series 5 and 6.
If the Doctor’s grave is not on Trenzalore, if he did not die in that battle, then Clara would have no need to enter his timeline and save him. Going off the notion that the battle ended once the Doctor killed everyone with his regeneration energy, this completely invalidates all of Series 7. There would be no more multiple versions of Clara, giving no mystery to solve. Since his timeline was altered due to the fact that he didn’t die at Trenzalore, it is crashing in on itself. He loses memories such as how to fly the TARDIS. This issue should hopefully be expanded on in Series 8.
The Doctor also allied with the Silence during the war, an enemy that he spent an entire series fighting. The Silence were minor plot points in this episode, an issue considering they are a part of the original prophecy (it is inferred that when the Doctor says his name, chaos will end and, more literally, the Order of the Silence will end, their mission fulfilled.) Considering how huge of a plot point the Silence were, to merely ally with them in the end was a huge, out of character cop-out for the Doctor.
In my opinion, the Eleventh era was defined by not only Matt’s amazing acting, but the fantastic storylines and gut-wrenching characters his Doctor encountered. In a utopia, these would come together in a perfect resolution for Matt’s final episode. However, I was disappointed by the cheap and easy way the loose ends were tied and angry to find much of the past 4 years disregarded or invalidated. This is in no way a discredit to his acting – Matt’s final performance alone caused me to shed a tear. The content itself seemed rushed and incomplete, though. The episode to me was a poor ending to a fantastic era.