I have mixed feelings about the Doctor Who series/season 9 finale. The following contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it before reading. I warned you.
Going Back Home
The Doctor goes back home to Gallifrey and has a confrontation with The President, who initially, was unsure what the Doctor wanted. Thankfully, Ohila clued the President in: the Doctor blamed him for the Time War. The President tries nicely to get the Doctor to tell him what he knows about the Hybrid. The Doctor refuses, and the situation escalates quickly to the President ordering soldiers to fire at the Doctor. They fire. They purposely miss. Everyone sides with the Doctor against the President. The Doctor orders the President off the planet.
You see how I rushed telling that situation? That’s how I felt the episode dealt with the confrontation. The more I watched I understood it was just a means to an end to get to the real issue: the Doctor saving Clara.
I didn’t mention that the episode starts off with the Doctor narrating this story to a woman in a diner that looks exactly like Clara. The Doctor went back to Gallifrey to use the Extraction Chamber to stop time just before the raven kills Clara. As Clara asks questions, that the Doctor does not want to answer, the General tells her the truth about the extraction. As the General insists time cannot be fractured, the Doctor is pushed so far he shoots the General, who is regenerated as a woman.
I’ve got no idea about the meaning of that one. There has to be a reason, right? A significant one?
Anyway, Clara continues to ask questions and asked how long the Doctor was in the Confession Dial? The General and Ohila tell her 4.5 BILLION years.
The Doctor and Clara squabble about whether Clara should actually die and mess up the timeline. Clara accepts her fate. The Doctor does not want to let her go. There is a knock on the Tardis door, and it’s Ashildr, who is immortal. The Doctor wants to talk to her alone, but conveniently makes it easy for Clara to observe the conversation. Ashildr first suggests that the Doctor is the Hybrid, then suggests the Hybrid is two people, the Doctor and Clara. The Doctor tells Ashildr of his plan to erase Clara’s memory and put her back on Earth. Everyone but the Doctor sees this is a bad idea, especially Clara, who turns the tables on the Doctor by reversing the polarity of the neural blocker (the device used to erase memories). The Doctor, sadly, realizes one of them has to go. They both press the button on the neural block and it ends up being the Doctor with the erased memory.
Which explains why he is talking to Clara, telling this story, and does not recognize her. Clara tells him the girl her speaks of could be anyone, even her, and the Doctor replied if he encountered her again, he would know. He looked pitiful there until Clara, still stuck between heart beats, left in a Tardis with Ashildr. They left behind another Tardis for the Doctor, encouraging him to continue to be The Doctor. The Doctor looks epic with his new sonic screwdriver.
I quickly summarized things here because I encourage everyone to watch it. If only so what I’m about to say makes sense.
Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
Watching the finale, it feels to me Steven Moffat is great at creating characters viewers will love and he has an equally hard time to saying goodbye to them. Clearly, Moffat loves Clara as a character because her personality morphed to be like the Doctor’s. He keeps bringing her back. The Doctor sacrificed his morals and ethics to try to save Clara, showing it was clearly a toxic relationship between the Doctor and Clara.
Which symbolizes, to me, the toxic relationship Moffat has with Clara.
The finale completely unraveled the ending in episode 10, “Face the Raven”. How many times do we have to say goodbye to Clara? In this ending, we don’t see her die so she could recur in the future. It’s a shame death doesn’t mean anything anymore on TV. When a character dies, I don’t truly believe they won’t come back.
It is a shame that the unique personality traits of the Doctor were given to a companion, a role that is meant to be temporary. When will the Doctor realize this? The Doctor becoming too attached to his companions is overdone to me. It’s becoming predictable that the Doctor will make that bad choice of becoming too attached. One could argue it is a character flaw, but is it interesting when a viewer knows in advance what the plot is going to be?
It is a shame that the Doctor was not strong enough to hold true to his principles and ethics. It is a shame that, in the end, the Doctor was willing to sacrifice everyone and everything for a person who clearly not worth it and did not want that burden. The sad part: with the Doctor’s memory wiped, this means he cannot learn from his bad choices, leaving the door open for this horrific mistake to happen again (with character design).
I feel that the Doctor deserved a better ending than being tricked by his companion and having his memory wiped because he was unable to perform effectively as the Doctor. His actions show it’s time for him to stop being the Doctor. The way it ended, even though we don’t see him being The Doctor, history will repeat itself because the important lesson was wiped from his memory.
Love It or Hate It
I can see this being an episode people either love or hate. I can see people loving it because of the plot twist, the way it cleanly ties up loose ends. I can see people hating it for the reasons stated above. I do not hate the episode. I was incorrect in thinking the Doctor was a stronger character. Everyone has weaknesses. I hoped the Doctor’s character believed in his convictions, his morals and ethics enough to stand by them.