Just one more day until the Twelfth Doctor arrives, so let me sum up the Eleventh. Final part of my Classic Who watch/ New Who rewatch writings, after this I’ll post a list with all the others (because, well, all of them are pretty long). So, Moffat era beware. Geronimo!
The Eleventh Doctor - Matt Smith
There’s something you better understand about me, ‘cause it’s important and one day your life may depend on it. I am definitely a madman with a box!
I said it with Ten that he was the Doctor who tried to move on and just be happy and failed, but Eleven got the fresh start. Yes, I know, the big changes are mostly because of the new showrunner, Steven Moffat, and that’s why new Doctor, new companion, new TARDIS, new screwdriver etc. But anyway, it’s much better to see it as a fresh start rather than knowing the reasons behind the change. So, the Eleventh Doctor was born from the solitude and madness of the Tenth, but only the madness was a defining trait for him, and in a silly way. We can look at him as the most lonely Doctor, as he spent hundreds and hundreds of years without a constant companion, but frankly, if you live that much it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Eleven often seemed like the most childish Doctor, even more than Two. Not a coincidence, Matt Smith really liked good old Pat Troughton when he watched the show and therefore he wanted his Doctor to be similar to the Second. The bow ties, the hands,
the Scottish companion, all the little things that made him the New Who version of Two. Except, he was only like Two in his first series, than his other side was becoming more dominant. This quite manipulative, darker and, should I say, more majestic side. He was more like the Seventh Doctor later in his life. And that contrast, the trying to be young again but still having to face his inner demons side was my favourite thing about him.
Sure, it wasn’t always a good thing for his companions. I felt really uncomfortable with the way Amy’s mystical pregnancy was handled by him, and how he went on and on about how Clara is “the impossible girl”. Also, he was very good with kids, more than any other Doctor, but that’s no excuse for stalking Clara throughout her entire life. The darkness of the Eleventh was definitely a deeply fascinating theme for the viewer, combined with his childlike nature, but it was much better when it was subtle and not “the darkest hour” all the time.
Also, Eleven hadn’t changed as dramatically as is predecessors, but the development was there. He began his life innocently, with little Amelia, than as his companion grew up he had to be more responsible too. He finally let go of the Time War and Rose and everything that made him cling to his previous life, only to get attached again. This time it was mainly Amy, and with her came Rory and River (yes, Amy felt like a more important person in his life, weird). The Ponds were part of his life for centuries, and Amy had known him for decades when he was still wandering around. When he had to let go of them, when Amy chose to grow up, it hit him hard. I’m not sure how long he was planning to sulk on a cloud, but because of Clara we didn’t have to find out. His arc with Clara wasn’t the fairytale and growing up one we got with Amy, rather the “let me solve you ‘cause you’re a puzzle one”. Bit disturbing, but after his regeneration let’s hope he gave up on that.
Oh yeah, the regeneration. After he had to face the Time War again, his last adventure was a really, really long one. Like longer than all of my sum ups. I think there were a lot of silly and illogical things about The Time of the Doctor, but at least the regeneration itself was a kind of a good one. Not as elegant as Three’s, or bittersweet like Nine’s, and sometimes it felt like the script was trying too hard, but the Eleventh accepted his death more than any other Doctor. Though, it was probably because he knew he had a brand new cycle ahead of him.
Amelia Pond - Karen Gillan
There’s a little girl waiting in a garden. She’s going to wait a long while, so she’s going to need a lot of hope.
Magnificent, glorious Pond. Little Amelia Pond, with a name from a fairytale, the girl who waited and had an imaginary friend. The girl who grew up. I view the whole story of Amy as the “growing up and becoming an adult” story.
Basically the whole story of Amy is that, a story. The story of Amelia Pond, who had an imaginary friend, who ran away, who found her true love, who lost her child. Amy, whose imagination brought back people to life, literally. Amy’s story in series 5 is that she ran away from marriage only to realize that all she wanted was Rory all along. In series 6 she suffered a lot because of her best friend, and in the last series she had to chose between a normal life and the dangers of the magical she always thought she wanted. She chose to grow up and let go.
I like it that Amy had to chose and grew up in the end. On the other hand, I don’t like how it was often portrayed as a choice between Rory and the Doctor, two men she depended on. No, get lost, it’s her choice only concerning her own life. It’s not about Rory and hell it’s not about the Doctor for once, it’s about Amy. Because, as we all know, this is the story of Amelia Pond. The girl who lived in stories because she was running away from real life, the girl who cared too much about her friend to realize how toxic that life was. The woman who grew up. Give me that Amy over the Amelia Pond, the girl who waited, give me her any day. Oh, and don’t give that bullshit of Rory loving Amy more either. They loved each other and that’s it, 2000 years or not.
Rory Williams - Arthur Darvill
You know what it’s dangerous about you? It’s not that you make people take risks, it’s that you make them want to impress you. You make it so they don’t want to let you down. You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves when you’re around.
Mr. Pond began as the boyfriend/ fiancé of Amy, but ended up as a companion himself. He would have followed that girl anywhere. And that’s what he did, and series 5, but in series 6 he was a proper companion. Always the same awkward Rory, but a proper companion who always saw the Doctor for what he was.
That’s what I like about Rory. He followed Amy and that’s how he ended up on the TARDIS, and he stayed because he wanted to, but never stopped seeing the real face of the Doctor. The Seventh Doctor face of the Eleventh. As much as I love Amy, she wanted to believe in her raggedy man so badly that she hasn’t noticed all the mistakes he made. Sure, she called him out like in the episode A Town Called Mercy, but she preferred to see the imaginary friend in him. I don’t blame her, but that’s what she did. Rory, however. He was the Doctor’s mate, but I can’t imagine him following him blindly.
Poor Rory was often killed just for the drama, but considering that he always came back and in the end lived a long, happy life, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that he and Amy lost their child, and I can’t emphasize it enough. In my opinion this was the biggest, most dramatic thing in series 6, but somehow the Doctor’s death overshadowed this.
River Song - Alex Kingston
It’s hard to leave when you haven’t said goodbye.
Talking about the lost child… Oh, River. Or should I say Melody? Little Melody Pond. Just for the record, I like River. At least I really, really want to like her. So in order to do this I kind of try to focus on scenes like the on in The Angels Take Manhattan, when she told the Doctor to shut up his selfish “no Amy don’t go” speech and told her mother to go and live with Rory. I like that River. I don’t like the River who pretends to be fine just to avoid making her “husband” upset.
See, I don’t like River’s arc about killing the Doctor and then marrying him, dying for him etc. But I do like her character, her personality, her sass, her determination. I’m angry that she could have been so much more, but I guess I just have to accept the way her arc went. It’s hard to hate her when Alex Kingston is her main actor.
That being said, I don’t really want her to return in series 8. Her Doctor is Eleven, and I want it to stay this way. Plus, people keep going on and on about how RTD couldn’t let Rose go, yet they want River to return, even after her cyber-death. Let her go, let her find peace.
Clara Oswald - Jenna Coleman
But here we are, talking. So I am a ghost. To you, I’m a ghost. We’re all ghosts to you. We must be nothing.
Good thing about Clara is that her journey continues in the next series, so I’m going to write more about her later. But until then, Clara (Oswin) Oswald in series 7.
Her story began as a mystery to be solved. She was the Doctor’s personal puzzle. That made Eleven creepy and Clara look like a plot device, but thankfully by the end the Doctor also realized that Clara is just a girl. A normal girl, not some impossible thing designed personally for him
I hope that Clara in series 8 will not accept the Doctor’s bullshit, if he’ll give her any. She’s a far more interesting character, and being the current one, she gets enough bullshit from the fandom. I find myself defending her more and more. I loved her in The Rings of Akhaten, and I think her mother’s death and its effect on her can, and should be explored more. I would love to see a series which focuses on Clara as a character rather than a mystery.
As much as I have my problems with the Moffat era, I did enjoy the Eleventh Doctor. Yeah, there were creepy moments, nonsense moments, sexist moments even, but the fairytale of Amelia Pond and the childish and lonely Eleven were exciting to watch. And in the end, I suppose, the cracks and Silence and Trenzalore all made sense, even if it was a bit overdramatic.
I just want Twelve to prove that Eleven’s era made sense. I want him to feel like he actually spent hundreds of years in one place, that he is so much older and more mature than the previous Doctor. I want him to act like he spent the last few hundred years away from Clara, and to see the effects it had.