The Clock is Striking: The Eleventh Doctor
written by Mackensie Baker (@MackensieBaker)
Summer may be coming to and end, but there is one last ray of sun heading our way—there is only one more week until the wait is over! Twelve is on his way, and a brand new era of Doctor Who is beginning... But until then, let's take a look back at the Eleventh Doctor.
I would first and foremost like to say that the latest in Eleven's title sequence is a personal favourite of mine. Very reminiscent of Classic Who, but also has wonderful animations of stars and nebulae which finishes with the TARDIS doors opening, beckoning the viewers into the adventure.
Matt Smith, at 27, was the youngest man to ever portray the Doctor. His first episode, "The Eleventh Hour" (2010), started with a bang and a crash... quite literally. It was also reminiscent of "Rose" in that it revolved around Eleven's best-known companion, the adorable Amelia Pond. However, due to a classic mix-up with the TARDIS and the Doctor's tendency to show up late to every party, when we next see Amelia, she has grown into the gorgeous and headstrong Amy, who believes the "Raggedy Man" was simply an imaginary friend of hers. This paved the way for the fairy-tale theme that defined Amy's arc on Doctor Who.
Matt Smith's Doctor too was somewhat childish, while simultaneously being very much an awkward old-man. He was bubbly, eccentric, and had a particular weakness for children in need of a Doctor's help. But, as I hinted at last time, Eleven's youthful antics (and appearance) is false, merely a disguise for the anguish, and anger, that the Doctor has experienced. His sorrow can be seen through times of high stress or reflection, but he usually covers it up quickly, before it can be seen by his companions, or his enemies.
There is always a wonderful feeling of suspense that pervades Doctor Who, and this remained true of Eleven. Moffat and Co. were very good at keeping the audience guessing throughout seasons. And of course we get quite the foreshadowing to the series' finale and the next 'big bad' or time paradox or what have you. With Eleven, we got the Pandorica and its parallel world kicking off the series, followed by the mystery of River Song/Melody Pond (the only water in the forest is the river) and even the Doctor's death ("tick tock goes the clock, even for the Doctor"). The new "impossible girl" storyline with Clara's identity and involvement with the Doctor's timeline has, we are to believe, come to a close.
While there was a bit of fun at the beginning with the metafictional and melodramatic fairy tale theme, which ended with the wonderfully written ending to Amy's and Rory's tale in "The Angels Take Manhattan." It was heartbreaking, naturally, but this goodbye was one of the best in Doctor Who history. In a letter that, truth be told, had me in tears, Amy asks the Doctor to tell her younger self a story about the adventures she'll have one day. And he does. "I'll be a story in your head," he told her in "Big Bang." "But that's okay. Because we're all stories in the end." Just because something is a story doesn't mean its importance is diminished. We have all learned this ourselves, watching this show.
With Amy's last wish, for the Doctor to "never be alone," we meet again the enigmatic character of Clara. Clara, as I recently discovered myself, is something of an easter egg unto herself, but I won't spoil that fun just yet. Souffle girl, sitting in Jenny's chair, and wearing a rose in her hair, the Clara we meet in "The Bells of St. John" is exceedingly different from her Dalek alter-ego Oswin. She's been a big hit so far, being flirty and witty and quick on her feet, but what will Clara's future reveal? Only time will tell, I suppose.
Man, it's hard not to make puns about this show...
"The Day of the Doctor" was a long, almost feature-length special that came out in November of last year, and if you missed that, then...well, what are you doing reading this? Go watch it! It wrapped up the story of what happened between the Tenth Doctor and Elizabeth I, had the return of Billie Piper as the Bad Wolf (sort of), and even sported the reappearance of the Fourth Doctor's signature scarf...and the Fourth Doctor himself! I'm just glad they managed to let Zygons be Zygons and work together in the end. As for the ending, with Gallifrey falling no more, this means that the Twelfth Doctor will be the first one to know he didn't commit genocide on his own people, and thereby meaning we will see a whole new Doctor in more than one way.
In "The Doctor's Wife"—written by my favourite author, Neil Gaiman—the human incarnation of the TARDIS, called Idris, asks the Doctor, "Are all people like this? So much bigger on the inside?" While the show is about travelling through time and space, history and aliens and technology and so on, more than anything else it's about people. Smart people, ignorant people, kind people and cruel people. It's about how everyday, 'ordinary' people are in fact quite extraordinary, and far more important than they could ever realize. Even the Doctor, in 900 years, has never met anybody who wasn't important. And it would do us well to remember that.
The countdown has officially begun. Eleven, the madman with his box, left us last Christmas, and the clock is striking twelve now.
Deep breath, everyone...