“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, a question would be asked, a question that must never be answered”- Dorium Maldovar
Despite being marked by accidental information leaks and enough spoilers that would send River Song away shaking her head, season seven successfully concluded tonight with the finale, “In the Name of the Doctor.” Directed by Saul Metzstein, and written by head writer Steven Moffat himself, the Name of the Doctor has been cited by many news sources, including the official Doctor Who Twitter page, as being a “game changer” for the series The episode features the return of the much beloved character River Song, played by the talented Alex Kingston. It also features Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart), Strax (Dan Starkey) and Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), all who have featured heavily into the current season, as well as past adventures.
During a mental conference call, Jenny Flint, Strax and Madame Vastra call upon Clara sensing something has gone very wrong. River Song is also welcomed to the call and discovers that the Doctor’s dislike of endings has lead to Clara not knowing some key facts about his past. During the call, Jenny is killed by intruders in Madame Vastra’s home and one by one the members of the conference call are transported away to Trenzalore; the one place where the Doctor may never go.
The episode is a dream for those classic fans who have desperately wanted a voice in the newer versions of adventures with the Doctor. William Hartnell, the first Doctor, is seen stealing the TARDIS. Shots of various incarnations of the Doctor are seen running through their former adventures (including a very brief glimpse of the 8th Doctor, usually forgotten). River Song is allowed references to her various catchphrases throughout the new series, allowing her to use “Spoilers” at just the appropriate time.
Possibly the most poignant scene in the episode is one in which the Doctor finally acknowledges River Song, his deceased wife, despite the fact that for most of the episode it is implied that only Clara is able to view her due to a psychic link from the conference call. Smith and Kingston have some of the most intense play between two characters that I have seen on Doctor Who, and perhaps most of the television and films I have viewed. Both have the ability to draw you in to the point where you are able to feel what they are experiencing.
The episode was marred by a shipping error, in which some complete Series Seven Part Two box sets were shipped to fans in the United States, two episodes before the season had even ended. This lead to a sudden desperate Twitter call from Doctor Who brand manager, Edward Russell, encouraging the fans who received the box sets not to spoil it for the rest of the fans. Despite pleas, Wikipedia’s page was hacked to reveal details and various sources had images and spoilers that may or may not have come from the episode. Diehards of the series will remember that a similar thing happened in 2005, when the episode “Rose” was accidentally leaked to the public. Some fans have posed the question of whether the leak was a genuine error, or merely an attempt to keep the buzz going.
Rumors are already circulating that upcoming season 8 will likely be Moffat and Smith’s last season together, but nothing has been confirmed by the BBC. Sit tight Whovians, the 50th Anniversary special will air November 23, 2013, the day of the 50th Anniversary Special.