It’s been a long time coming. Matt Smith has slowly wormed his way into my heart as The Doctor but tonight he finally, finally, cemented his position with me as the new MY Doctor, a title previously held by Tom Baker. Smith reminds me so much of Baker – those similar manic tendencies, those similar off topic asides, but tonight the final piece fell into place as we saw the intensity of the fire within him. Previous “new” Doctors touched it – Nine (Christopher Eccleston) in “Dalek” and Ten (David Tennett) came close in “Family of Blood” – but when Smith tonight told the General to order “run away” and confronted River Song about her identity – there was real fire in his eyes, and Smith finally arrived for me as The Doctor.
“When you began all those years ago sailing off to see the universe did you ever think you’d become this? The man who could turn an army around at the mention of his name. Doctor. The word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are what might that word come to mean?”
From a stunning pre-credit opening – “Shall I repeat the question?” – to a head-spinning multitude of reveals – Flesh-Melody and River – this episode felt a bit haphazard but touched upon everything that makes Doctor Who great. Watching Rory (Arthur Darvill) kick arse was quite enjoyable, as has been watching the development of the character over time. Amy (Karen Gillian) had not much to do this episode except be alternatively sad, confused then angry – but having seen so much focused on her for so long it was nice to be less so. The guests are real stars here, especially two previous Doctor opponents Sontaran Commander Strax and Silurian Madame Vastra, given time to be interesting and fleshed out characters. However, and rightly so, the focus here is fully on The Doctor.
With eagerness we look forward to when the Doctor returns. Having left all his companions behind, he is off to rescue the baby Melody/River, with so many of the various season-long plotlines for the most part tied up. With no companions to concern him, here’s hoping The Doctor gets to show off more of that dark side when he finally catches up with the big baddies.