‘The Time of the Doctor’ could have been so many things.
Instead, it’s mostly terrible. I spent most of the first half resisting the off button. I hate the nudity gag; the sexual banter with Tasha Lem; the voiceover. I don’t like the fatality of the Trenzalore storyline. I don’t get stealth Daleks. I don’t buy a single character’s motivation: why would Clara consider Christmas dinner an emergency? why would all the Doctor’s enemies be called to battle by a message? why would the Time Lords ask the Doctor’s name? None of it makes any sense.
I get that Moffat’s trying to tie up all his little strings. A whole series late he finally justifies his S6 arc – silence will fall. He offers motivation for Madame Kevorian, and a purpose for the Silence – one that contradicts their original storyline, but never mind. He even brings Amy’s crack – sorry, can’t help it – all the way back from Eleven’s very first story. Such a self-referential mess might be justified if the showrunner were on his way out; instead, he’s still here a year and a half later, no end in sight.
The episode has a single saving grace: Amelia Pond.
There were plenty of episodes in her run I didn’t like, and there were even times I didn’t like her all that much. But when little Amelia runs through the TARDIS, all that fades away, leaving behind the Doctor’s eternal affection. Amy gives her friend a perfect sendoff, the perfect bookend to his era. The first face this face saw, and his last goodbye. Never mind that they’re both wearing wigs: it’s a gorgeous moment, full of the best this show can be.
As in the Ponds’ final episode, the last minute nearly salvages the rest – but not quite.
Fortunately, we now have S8.