My primary feelings during the build-up to this year’s season finale were fear and an overwhelming urge to shield myself from the potential disappointment that I had, unfortunately, experienced in the past (against the grain, I was deeply disappointed by ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’. The terror that once gripped me whenever the angels appeared was severely lacking in that episode). Trailers infuriated me. After seemingly leaving so many nonsensical so-called plots (and their holes to boot) throughout the seasons, would Moffat dare to invent a name for the Doctor and reveal it so carelessly? Where would the mystery be, once his identity was revealed, and after 50 years since original writers Anthony Coburn and C.E. Webber ruled the scene, would the revelations be accurate?
In spite of my fears, however, I was delighted by the episode. Unlike previous finales or specials, this time the hype did not exceed the quality of the episode and every moment for me was purely exhilarating. Moffat certainly did the right thing by taking a hiatus from Sherlock to focus on this project. I only pray to Santa that he continues to do such an inexplicably fantastic job on 23/11 this year, because it is the first time in approximately three years that I felt he finally did this legacy justice.
The Doctor’s name has yet to be revealed, which maintains the almost choking suspenseful atmosphere for fans around the world, in addition to a myriad of loose ends being reunited at last in this episode. Not to mention the shocking arrival of John Hurt and the related plots that were simply genius, though also unfortunately leaked shortly after the episode aired, thus detracting from the elements of surprise and suspense we fans ought to have had the benefit of experiencing. Episodes from Classic Who had a cameo or two that actually made sense and left me reeling. Hearing the voice of my first Doctor appear in a new episode was the custard on the fish finger, and I’m certain that many other, older fans also basked in the warm glow of nostalgia that accompanied the new concepts and ideas that also featured on Saturday.