Reviewed By: Atomic
Review Date: 12/6/15 11:27 am
5 out of 7 found this review helpful.
Like most good science fiction, this episode left me to ponder about what happened long after the episode finished, and my conclusion is this: "What would happen if Earthshock ended very, very differently?"
One of the criticisms of that episode was that the Doctor simply stared gawping at the screen while seeing Adric blow up, instead of doing something proactive like rescuing him. The second idea is basically this episode, which sees how desperate the Doctor gets when his friends' life is put in danger by his own race, the Time Lords.
Unlike any of the other finales from the 2005-onward era, this episode isn't the usual "Baddies (Time Lords) want to destroy all life in the universe/Earth/unspecified planet" and I feel that advertising the episode like that was to its detriment, because now there are a bunch of fans left angry as to why they advertised Gallifrey in this episode but not focused on it. This episode is pure drama about Clara, like Heaven Sent, and a lot less action, and people about to watch the episode should go in with that mindset.
There were two other criticisms I have for the episode, the first being the very uneven pacing at the beginning to a third of the episode. I hate, hate, hate it when scenes change way to quickly between different characters after they get 5 sentences in. It's very noticeable and annoying, and it makes the episodes feel a bit more fractured like "The Day of the Doctor", which jumped around different times and locations every 2 minutes. However, once Clara and the Doctor are reunited, the pacing begins to get even. The second is that The Doctor shoots his biggest supporter on Gallifrey in the General, leading me (and Clara) to go "WTF are you doing, Doctor?"
Other then that, I really enjoyed the rest of the episode, with some great ideas by Moffat, such as the original TARDIS interior, the Doctor tricking the Time Lords into reviving Clara, and the creepy wraiths. I did like the scene where Clara wiped the Doctor's memories of her, which is understandable because of how attached he was to her, and how far he went to get her back alive. It gave Clara a better farewell story than "Face the Raven", which felt like it had no impact.