Doctor Who series seven has been a weird beast. For one, it’s kind of been two series’: The Pond episodes last year, and the Clara episodes this year. Neither, it’s fair to say, set the world alight. Amy and Rory’s departure was felt by many to be an anti-climax, coming as it did after a bunch of standalone episodes that lost the character momentum that had been built up over two series’. And Clara, after strong multi-debuts, lost her way quite spectacularly. Her mystery was possibly so secret that the writers had no idea who she was, because she certainly didn’t seem to have much of a personality.
But, in true Steven Moffat fashion, he pulls everything together at the end, resolving mysteries and setting up even bigger ones to make you conveniently forget two years worth of dross. So what did we learn, and what do we still have to find out?
Clara is fractured through time because… she was fractured through time
In the end, Clara’s mystery makes sense. She threw herself into the Doctor’s timeline to save him from the Great Intelligence at every point in his life. She was born and died again and again, purely to save the Doctor.
So, yes, that’s another Moffat female character who exists purely to be there for the male lead (sigh). I wouldn’t care if Clara had been given anything beyond ‘perky nanny’ to work with, but she just feels like nothing more than a plot point. It’s not Jenna-Louise Coleman’s fault – she’s a great actress and does her best with what she’s given, but her ‘mystery’ has created a barrier between Clara and the Doctor, and no chemistry has developed between them. If she’s sticking around, then hopefully with the mystery out of the way she’ll be more of a character and less of an enigma.
The Paternoster Gang live!
After a worrying moment regarding Jenny, the Doctor’s Victorian friends were all left alive and well (and stranded in Trenzalore…) at the end of the episode. Hooray! The little nod to Strax having found a spiritual home in Glasgow was brilliant.
But River is dead
We caught up with River Song in this episode, and for the first time she was the post-Library River. Which means we never got to see the Doctor take River out one last time before her final – and his first – adventure, which is how we all assumed her story would be wrapped up.
But despite being dead she’s still hanging around, psychically hijacking people and keeping an eye on the Doctor, unable to leave until he says a final goodbye to her.
I get the impression that other people don’t love River quite as much as I do (and yes, she’s another of Moffat’s feisty ladies who are really only there for the hero), but Alex Kingston is so charismatic, and her chemistry with Matt Smith absolutely sparkles. So, while I didn’t shed a tear for Clara’s heroic sacrifice, I bawled my frigging eyes out when the Doctor finally said goodbye to River.
Is that it for River now? Will we see her again? If it was her final appearance, it felt odd to cram it in between Clara’s sacrifice and that final reveal, but it was beautifully played, and everything has been said between them now. He really did love her. Sob.
The Great Intelligence is back!
This has been the closest thing we’ve had to a series villain, but we still don’t know anything about it, except that it wants the Doctor dead. For some reason. And possibly world domination. Also, it likes to look like Richard E Grant. Which is fair enough, really.
Is the Great Intelligence going to be back? Did Clara finish it off by jumping into the Doctor’s timeline with it? And how did that work, by the way? Have all the Clara’s been having to battle all the Great Intelligence’s throughout time? Or was her mere presence enough to get rid of it?