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Who’s Zoomin’ Who? Thoughts on The Name of the Doctor episode of Doctor Who

The_Shalka_Doctor_by_PaulHanley

I am not sure, but this post might contain SPOILERS of a type, so proceed with caution.

Yeah, I stopped doing my Doctor Who recaps. No one was reading them anyway and although I was going to do shorter ones, life intervened and I wasn’t able to do so. So I decided to just throw out some thoughts about the season finale of Doctor Who on this Tuesday morning (feels like Monday because of the holiday here in the States). Mostly these thoughts are coming to me so late because they are regarding the Non-Doctor that is being played by John Hurt. Let me go on record as saying, I like the idea and I am okay with there being an alternate Nine or a Betrayer or a Gallifreyan-formerly-known-as-the-Doctor because it doesn’t mess with the current numerical system and only sort of messes with canon in a really compelling and odd way. I find this story line to be a most intriguing and ingenious one. It makes sense in the scheme of things, really and doesn’t feel like much of a cheat to me.

I will also go on record as saying that two weeks ago I re-watched The Pandorica Opens and I am pretty sure that it is John Hurts’ voice that says “Silence will fall” when River was trying to fly the TARDIS at the end of that episode. I am not alone in thinking this. There are several sites that agree with me. Here they are. On some of them the comments are where the people agree with me, but these sites may contain SPOILERS so beware. http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Talk:The_Silence

http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1827951

http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/doctor-who/25672/doctor-who-series-7-the-name-of-the-doctor-review

http://www.kasterborous.com/2013/05/how-leaks-are-spoiling-doctor-whos-50th-spoilers/

If it is Hurt’s voice heard in The Pandorica Opens, then this means that Moffat was setting this up for quite some time; two seasons or more. If other sites (some official) that have released information about this episode and the 50th are to be believed, then Moffat only cast Hurt after Christopher Eccleston refused to return for the 50th and that blows my theory out of the water. As much as I love John Hurt and think he will be awesome as this new character, I do think that Doctor Who casting missed an opportunity here.

Richard E. Grant played Simeon and subsequently the Great Intelligence this season, but in the somewhat recent past, he played the Ninth Doctor in an animated episode, The Scream of the Shalka that aired during the great dearth in the years that Who was not a live-action show on the BBC. Some fans lament that he wasn’t cast as the new Ninth Doctor back in 2005 when the show did return to the airwaves of Television. If Grant had been cast as this Non-Doctor character, it might have resolved some of those arguments. Although I have never seen Scream of the Shalka, so I have no idea how this would have worked or if it could have. I just think it maybe should have been explored. Maybe even still have used Grant even though he had played Simeon and the GI, ¬†although that would have required some machinations that could have been entirely too convoluted to explain and be plausible or probable even for a genius, Timey Wimey-head like Moffat.

I enjoyed The Name of the Doctor for the most part and have few complaints about it other than it was once again a Season 7 episode that felt crammed and a little lacking in development. Bring back the two parters, please. Now on to the 50th Anniversary in November and here is to hoping the two hours is enough and that I don’t regret putting my faith in Moffat and Hurt regarding this Gallifreyan, Time War-betraying Time lord who doesn’t ever get to be The Doctor.

Episode Rating A-

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