Tonight is the end of a Doctor Who era. In this year’s Christmas Special, Matt Smith, who has officially played the title role of the Doctor since 2010, passed the torch to the twelfth Doctor (or thirteenth if you count the War Doctor), Peter Capaldi.
“The Time of the Doctor,” this year’s Christmas special, follows the season 7 finale, “The Name of the Doctor,” and Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary episode “The Day of the Doctor.”
1. All of the Doctor’s Enemies Gather
The episode begins with all of the Doctor’s classic lineup of enemies, the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Sontarans, gathering around a mysterious signal that no one can translate. The Doctor flaps around in his usual way trying to translate the message but being entirely stumped. Even “The Silence” and the WEEPING ANGELS come out of retirement for this one, two villains Clara has not yet met while traveling with the Doctor.
Meanwhile, the Doctor has a cyberman head and is using it as some sort of robo companion.
2. We Finally (Maybe) Find Out Why Matt Smith Shaved His Head
Unless it was a convincing bald cap, we have finally found out actor Matt Smith’s reasoning for shaving his head. Months ago, Smith turned up at press events with a buzzed head. Many believed it was a Emma-Watson-esque impulsive move after years of being forced by a studio to look a certain way.
In the episode, the Doctor hides a key to the TARDIS under a wig and whips it out when he and Clara get into a tight spot with the Weeping Angels. Clara quips that he just shaved his head because he was bored and then FINALLY, someone mentions Matt Smith’s nearly invisible eyebrows, or as he calls them, “delicate.”
3. All of The Eleventh Doctor’s Story Lines Merge
The crack in the universe, the one the Doctor first saw on the wall of Amelia Pond’s childhood bedroom, is back. Gallifrey, which was saved in an alternate universe during “The Day of the Doctor,” is trying to break through the same crack in the universe. The Time Lords have been transmitting the message heard around the universe and it’s a question, not just any question, the oldest questions in the universe: Doctor Who?
If the Doctor were to say his name, thus answering the question, the Time Lords would know that they have reached the right universe and enter. However, with all of the Time Lord’s enemies laying in wait over the planet —Trenzalor, the place where the Doctor is destined to die, their entering would could a war that would destroy the universe.
Thus, the doctor lives in the town “Christmas” for three hundred years while the “Papal Mainframe” and The Silence attack Trenzalor in hopes that the Doctor will say his name and “silence will fall.”
4. The Doctor Says He is the Last Re-Generation
Followers of the Doctor Who mythology know that the Doctor can only have 13 regenerations. If you count “Mr. Grumpy” aka John Hurt’s “War Doctor,” as well as the regeneration where one of his version chose to retain the same form, that makes Matt Smith’s Doctor the thirteenth.
We obviously know that’s not true because Peter Capaldi is waiting in the wings. We also know, according to an interview given by show-runner Steven Moffat that he’s found a loophole that will allow the show to continue passed the thirteenth regeneration, who is, confusingly also the eleventh Doctor Matt Smith.
It’s still interesting that Moffat would introduce the eleventh Doctor’s anxiety over his own death.
5. The Old Doctor/Matt Smith is Silly
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Matt Smith’s tenure on the show has brought a lot of young lady viewers. That’s why, its almost a bit of a shock that they would choose to put him in old-man makeup for a good portion of the show. Granted, even under prosthetic wrinkles and gray hair he’s still a handsome man. Good thing he reverts back just before the end.
6. Clara Saves the Day
Despite the fact that Clara has once learned the name of the Doctor, in a book on the TARDIS library in the episode “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS,” she answers the Time Lord’s question, “Doctor Who?” with the simplest explanation possible: He’s the Doctor. Duh.
7. The Doctor Never Follows the Rules
The Doctor begins his thirteenth regeneration, something that was once thought impossible, with the most “Doctor-esque” of all explanations: The Doctor doesn’t follow the rules.
8. Amy Comes Back One Last Time
Just as David Tennant got to give one last goodbye to his most beloved companion, Rose Tyler, so too did Matt Smith get one last farewell the Amy Pond. The moment was touching and much needed for both Matt Smith’s Doctor and the viewers looking to say goodbye to a lot of great adventures.
9. The Bow Tie Falls & The World Cries
As if Amy’s appearance weren’t enough, the bow tie, the eleventh Doctor’s most iconic wardrobe choice, falls to the ground. Do you think it’s because the world just would not be able to see Peter Capaldi rock the signature look? Maybe. Either way, just before the sudden change, the bow tie falls to the floor.
10. Introducing Peter Capaldi
Ladies and Gentleman, Daleks and Cybermen, I give you Peter Capaldi, the bewildered twelfth Doctor who may or may not be able to fly the TARDIS?