Back here I ended by saying “Now if they can keep this up for the next three months I’ll be a happy man” – and so thirteen weeks later we look back on Moffat / Smith’s first run.
And what a first run, everything about it has just continued to get better and better until we finally got a season finale that didn’t disappoint, didn’t rely (too much) on dues ex machina and showed just how much Moffat has got planned for us in the future. We still don’t know who exactly River is, what the silence is or why the Tardis was exploding, but given the strength of what we’ve just seen it’s likely that Moffat already has answers to these questions but needs to continue building up the tension. This was a first for New Who, a season finale that was about the season rather than just trotting out “the universe ends – and then doesn’t”. Clearly something’s been going on since day one, and given that the Doctor has now revisited his own timeline I wouldn’t rule out the team revisiting parts of this season again before the end of their run.
“It’s a fez – fez are cool”.
Like the mad, embarrassing uncle that every family has Smith has taken the role by the horns and made it his own. To think that we were worried about him living in Tennant’s shadow the call is now more like “Tennant who?” An old man in a young mans body (see him talking to the young Amelia to see how much he understood this) still determined to have adventures has been a joy to watch from start to finish. And the Doctor got to save the universe – on his own – all he needed was someone to save him afterwards.
Enter the best thing of the series, we now have a couple – married and everything – in the Tardis removing the romantic angle from the story. The Doctor and his best friends off in space, Rory having gone from “Who?” to badass in a single sentence (just how romantic was his Centurion story – yup, Moffat still remembers how to write relationships after Coupling). The promise of a third companion in the next season (River?) indicates how big the ideas are.
And moving away from the overall plot arc, how good have the individual episodes been? “Vincent & The Doctor” seems to have produced tears in everyone I know who watched it, whilst “The Time Of Angels / Flesh & Stone” was properly scary. More interesting were “Amy’s Choice” and “The Lodger” which showed the quality of the writing and set up the possibility of testing the audiences stomach for the timey-wimey stuff to come. Only the Dalek episode felt weak, but that may have been more because of the need to shoe-in the classic villain than anything else.
So now we await a hopefully gloriously silly Christmas Special before season Thirty-Two. Moffat’s set himself a very high target, one I feel sure he can meet.