Doctor Who 7×13 – The Name of the Doctor Review

Your name is a very important thing, as the Doctor points out ‘the name you choose is like a promise you make.’ The Doctor chose to be called the Doctor, he promised to save others, to heal. So at some point the Doctor broke that promise and was therefore not deserving of the name. Or at least a regeneration we didn’t know existed. A regeneration played by John Hurt, who we’ll have to wait until November 23rd to properly meet. (Excuse me while I go rewatch Merlin episodes.) However I’m getting ahead of myself here, let’s back up a bit.

When you are a time-traveler there is one place you must never go. One place in all of space and time you must never ever find yourself, your grave. Unfortunately that’s the one place the Doctor must go in order to save his friends, Vastra, Strax and Jenny, providing she’s still saveable at this point. The three people who cared for him during the ‘dark times’, after Amy and Rory’s departure, are in peril and being detained in the one place the Doctor should never go, Trenzalore. Why must he never go there?

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? Who’s glad his name was never uttered aloud for us to hear? It was answered, by River, but no one heard. Oh sweet heavens, there would have been pandemonium otherwise, that or great disappointment. However there we are, against the TARDIS’ wish, on Trenzalore because the Great Intelligence (and his Whisper Men) can’t give it a break. We discover the Doctor’s Tomb within the dying TARDIS, that was beautiful despite leaking the essence that makes it bigger on the inside.

Before we get there, however, we had to go through the secret passageway, River Song’s ‘tombstone’.

Seeing River again was lovely. Saying goodbye was… difficult. The Doctor doesn’t like endings, we know this. Nor do we. So his goodbye to River was, well, bittersweet. Because it hurt, but it was perfect. I mean:

Making him say goodbye like he was coming back was the closest thing to a goodbye you can get with the Doctor. Although, I still believe this isn’t the last we’ll see of River. She’s mentally linked to Clara now. However how and what exactly that entails is… Spoilers. Damn it!

And the answer to the Impossible Girl finally rears its head. We finally understand who/what Clara is. It makes sense, just don’t try to delve too far into it. When the Great Intelligence decides to walk into the Doctor’s time stream and essentially rewrite the Doctor, undoing all the right the Doctor’s done it sets his time stream on fire and the only way to save it is for Clara to also jump into the Doctor’s time stream. In doing so she is torn into a million pieces by the winds of time, a million versions of herself, living and dying all over time and space. She becomes a million copies, echoes, of herself. This is how she becomes that impossible girl. River says that she wouldn’t be her anymore, however I like to think that it is all of her versions that make Clara who she is. She is, after all, the impossible girl. These versions of her are ingredients of Clara, spread out through time and space. She is soufflé girl because all of her echoes make her. ‘The soufflé isn’t the soufflé — the soufflé is the recipe.’

I don’t know where I am. I just know I’m running. Sometimes it’s like I’ve lived a thousand lives in a thousand places. I’m born, I live, I die. And always there’s the Doctor. Always I’m running to save the Doctor. Again and again and again. And he hardly ever hears me, but I’ve always been there. Right from the very beginning. Right from the day he started running.

So who, then. Is this version of the Doctor that doesn’t deserve the name? Who is he? We’ve seen a few theories thrown about here and there. The Valeyard. Ninth Doctor? A regeneration of himself that occurred just before or during the Time War to do the unspeakable in order to come out the other side, not unscathed but alive and psychologically damaged enough to bury the memory beneath the surface? We won’t know until the 50th Anniversary episode, where we will encounter David Tennant and Billie Piper reprising their roles as Ten and Rose and of course, John Hurt as… “The Doctor.

And with that I leave you with the final scene, just in case you needed it. Who am I kidding? Of course you need it again.

Special Mentions:

– Strax, everything this Sontaren says deserves to be preserved in an archive of hilarity.

– ‘Those little Daleks.’ HAHAHAHAHA

– ‘What kind of idiot would try and steal a faulty TARDIS?’ This guy.

Care to theorise?


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