Then: The Doctor, in his first incarnation, prepares to steal a TARDIS and escape Gallifrey with his grandddaughter, Susan. In the TARDIS repair docks of Gallifrey, he is greeted not by security, but by a young woman whose face and name he will not know until his eleventh incarnation. She advises him to steal a different TARDIS than the one he was planning to take.
Now: The Doctor’s friends hold a cross between a teleconference and a seance, discussing an item of immediate concern: a man who claims to know the Doctor’s true name, his greatest secret. But the gathering itself is a trap: one by one, Jenny, Strax, and Madame Vastra are abducted and taken to Trenzalore, a planet where the Doctor has been predicted to fall. Clara relays this to the Doctor, and after a moment of hesitation, he leads the charge to free his allies. On Trenzalore, he is greeted by the unlikely sight of a giant TARDIS – his TARDIS, abandoned since his future death, its exterior dimensions catching up with its interior dimensions. As soon as the Doctor and Clara enter this future iteration of the TARDIS, it’s quite obvious that it’s a trap. At the heart of the TARDIS, the former console room, the Great Intelligence lurks with a small army of whisper men. The Intelligence wants to undo the Doctor’s history once and for all, by stepping into the Time Lord’s already-paradoxical time stream and thwarting every victory in the Doctor’s history. Against the Doctor’s wishes and his express warning about the danger involved, Clara leaps into the Doctor’s time stream in her own bid to defeat the Great Intelligence at every turn. In doing this, she is splintered into many incarnations of her own, meeting all of the Doctor’s faces and assisting all of them at some point in their adventures: this is why the Doctor has met more than one Clara, and why she has always seemed to go out of her way – even sacrificing her life – to save him. The Doctor jumps into his own time stream to retrieve her once the damage to his history is reversed, finding her alone with someone she doesn’t recognize as one of the Doctor’s many faces.
But the Doctor recognizes this face. It is the face which does not call itself the Doctor. It is the face of the man who fought the final battle of the Last Great Time War.
written by Steven Moffat
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold
Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Alex Kingston (River Song), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Simeon), Neve McIntosh (Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Dan Starkey (Strax), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Nasi Voutsas (Andro), David Avery (Fabian), Michael Jenn (Clarence), Rab Affleck (Archie), Samuel Irvine (Messenger Boy), Sophie Downham (young Clara), Paul Kasey (Whisper Man), John Hurt (The Doctor), William Hartnell (The Doctor)
Notes: Via colorized B&W footage from the original series (and stand-ins), William Hartnell has a speaking part in an episode of Doctor Who for the first time since the prologue of 1983’s The Five Doctors. The Five Doctors is also the source of film clips of Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee. Tom Baker appears in a clip from 1977’s The Invasion Of Time, while Peter Davison appears in footage from 1983’s Arc Of Infinity. A brief clip of Sylvester McCoy from Dragonfire (1987) is also seen; Colin Baker, Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston are represented by stand-ins wearing their costumes rather than by film or video clips.
The Great Intelligence mentions some of the Doctor’s “other names”, including “the Oncoming Storm” (the Daleks’ name for the Doctor, first revealed in the novelization of 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks in its original Dalek translation, Ka Faraq Gatri) and the Valeyard from The Trial Of A Time Lord, an enigmatic “future aspect” of the Doctor which was, in his only appearance in 1986, said to fall somewhere “between the Doctor’s 12th and final regeneration”.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]