Violet recaps Season 7 Episode 13 of Doctor Who, titled The Name of the Doctor, where the Doctor meets up with some old friends, and the mystery of the Impossible Girl is finally solved! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts on the episode.
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Doctor Who, Season 7 Episode 13: The Name of the Doctor Recap Overview
Need a quick Doctor Who episode recap of Season 7 Episode 13, titled The Name of the Doctor? Here is a summary of events for the episode. Each event is linked to the more detailed Doctor Who episode recap for The Name of the Doctor if you need more information!
- Madame Vastra, Jenny, Strax, Clara, and River Song meet in a “conference call.” The Whisper Men kill Jenny, kidnap Vastra and Strax, and tell the others to tell the Doctor his friends are lost forever more unless he goes to Trenzalore.
- Clara and the Doctor go to Trenzalore to save Vastra and Strax. River Song appears to Clara because they are still mentally linked from the conference call. They find River’s grave, which is actually an entrance to the Doctor’s tomb.
- Strax revives Jenny. The Great Intelligence, in the form of Dr. Simeon, is controlling the Whisper Men. Clara begins remembering things. The Doctor and Clara find the others. Dr. Simeon demands that the Doctor speak his name to open his tomb. River does it for him.
- The Great Intelligence enters the Doctor‘s time stream and begins to rewrite the Doctor‘s history. Clara enters the time stream to save the Doctor, becoming a million different echoes of herself, saving the Doctor throughout history.
- The Doctor reveals that has been able to see and hear River all along. They kiss and exchange their final goodbyes. She disappears, and he enters his own time stream to save Clara.
- The Doctor finds Clara and saves her. He encounters a past self that is his secret.
Doctor Who Episode Recap: The Name of the Doctor, the Details
Season 7 Episode 13 of Doctor Who, titled The Name of the Doctor, begins in Gallifrey a long time ago… We see Clara talking to the First Doctor, and then we see a montage of her throughout the years trying to save each of the Doctors, while her present self is falling through fire.
Then we go to London 1893, as a prisoner is reciting a creepy poem about “The Whisper Men.” We see that Madame Vastra is the one holding him prisoner, and he mentions, The Doctor, saying that “The Doctor has a secret he will take to the grave. It is discovered.” Meanwhile, Strax is in Glasgow about to get into a fight, when he gets a telegram about a conference call. He asks his opponent to knock him out. Back at Vastra’s place, she and Jenny sit at a table and fall asleep. They wake up in a dreamlike place, still sitting around the same table. Strax arrives sitting in one of the chairs.
Cut to Clara in present day, she is busy making a souffle with the two children for which she is a nanny. She receives a letter from Vastra, directing her to light the enclosed candle to induce a trance state. But the substance on the paper also does the same thing, and she falls asleep on the floor. Clara wakes up sitting at the table with Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Then River Song arrives at the table as well.
Vastra explains that her prisoner offered them space time coordinates in exchange for his life. He claims that the coordinates contain the Doctor’s greatest secret, proving their value with the word “Trenzalore.” Just then Jenny realizes that someone has broken in, and that she has been murdered. She disappears from the table, and we see that the Whisper Men have killed her in reality. River Song tells Vastra and Strax they must wake up. When they do, they are both surrounded by Whisper Men. The Whisper Men appear in the trance and tell River Song and Clara to tell the Doctor his friends are lost forever more unless he goes to Trenzalore. River Song insists that the Doctor can never go to Trenzalore.
Clara wakes up, and the Doctor is blindfolded, playing Blind Man’s Bluff with the children. However, they have slipped off to the cinema. Clara catches the Doctor up on where she’s just been, and he tears up when he hears about Trenzalore, retreating to the TARDIS. He links Clara to the TARDIS to transmit the coordinates to it. The Doctor explains that when you’re a time traveler, there’s one place you must never go: Trenzalore. He then explains that when the prisoner said “The Doctor has a secret he will take to the grave. It is discovered,” he wasn’t talking about the Doctor’s secret being discovered, he was talking about the Doctor’s grave. They head off to Trenzalore to save Vastra and Strax, despite the TARDIS fighting it. The TARDIS shuts down just before they reach the planet, but the Doctor solves that by turning off the anti-grav, and the TARDIS plummets to the ground.
They exit the TARDIS into a graveyard, and see a huge TARDIS, which the Doctor must be buried in. As the Doctor walks ahead, River Song appears to Clara, who only Clara can she because she is still linked to her due to the conference call. Then they find River’s grave, and the Doctor is confused, saying that her grave can’t be here. The Whisper Men come after them, and River tells Clara that maybe her gravestone is actually a secret entrance to the tomb. Clara repeats it, and the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver, as he lets it slip that River is his wife. The ground opens up and they fall, as the Whisper Men whisper, “The man who lies will lie no more when this man lies at Trenzalore.”
The Great Intelligence and the Doctor’s Tomb
Meanwhile, Vastra and Strax awaken inside the large TARDIS, with Jenny laying nearby, dead. Strax is able to use a device to restart her heart, and she wakes up. Dr. Simeon and the Whisper Men approach the three, and Vastra deduces she is actually talking to the Great Intelligence. He welcomes them to the Tomb of the Doctor.
Back with the Doctor and Clara, they are making their way through the catacombs, and River explains that the Doctor saved a data copy of her when she died. The Whisper Men begin to catch up with them, and they run.
Dr. Simeon demonstrates that he, the Great Intelligence, is still a mind without a body, as he strips off his skin and there is nothing beneath. Then he turns into a Whisper Man, and subsequently turns back into Dr. Simeon.
Clara begins to remember things she’s not supposed to, including the conversation they had when he told her that he keeps meeting her and that she died. The Whisper Men whisper, “The girl who died he tried to save. She’ll die again inside his grave.” They run.
The Doctor and Clara reach Dr. Simeon, who demands that the Doctor open his tomb, but he refuses. Dr. Simeon asks the Doctor what his name is. He doesn’t answer. Dr. Simeon commands the Whisper Men to stop the hearts of the Doctor’s friends until the Doctor tells him his name, repeatedly asking, “Doctor who?” Suddenly, the tomb door opens, though the Doctor doesn’t know why, because he never said his name. We find out it’s because River said his name.
The Impossible Girl
The group heads inside, where there is a glowing light in the middle of the room, which he explains as the tracks of his tears, the scar tissue of his path through the universe, his own personal time tunnel, containing even days he hasn’t yet lived. The Doctor falls to the ground due to the paradox. Dr. Simeon realizes that the light is an open wound that can be entered, and that he can take revenge on the Doctor by rewriting every second of the Doctor’s history. Dr. Simeon enters the light, and disappears, along with the Whisper Men.
The Doctor convulses on the ground as Simeon attacks the Doctor’s entire timeline, killing him in different places. Outside, stars and worlds begin to disappear that the Doctor had saved. Jenny disappears. Strax turns on Vastra, then disappears. Clara realizes that she has to step into the light so that she can save the Doctor, because she is the Impossible Girl. River explains that the time winds will tear her into a million versions of herself, which will be echoes of herself. Her real self will die. Before she steps into the light, she tells the Doctor, “Run you clever boy, and remember me.” We then see Clara saving the various Doctors throughout the years.
Back in the present, everyone is restored, except for Clara. The Doctor wants to go in after her, and River tries to talk to the Doctor, to stop him, but he doesn’t hear her. She goes to slap him, but to her surprise, he catches her hand and explains that she is always with him, and he can always hear her. He didn’t acknowledge her until now because he thought it would hurt him too much. He kisses her. Then he realizes no one else in the room can see her. He explains to River that she is an echo that should have faded by now. They exchange casual goodbyes. Then River brings up the fact that she was mentally linked with Clara, so if Clara is really dead, how can she still be here? The Doctor asks how, but she replies, “Spoilers.” She tells him, “Goodbye Sweetie,” then disappears. The Doctor steps into the light and disappears.
The Doctor’s Secret
Present day Clara finishes falling, and lands on the ground. She calls for the Doctor, not knowing where she is. She hears the voice of the Doctor, who explains that she’s in his time stream, and everything around her is him. She sees different Doctors running past her. He sends her the leaf from her past, then she looks up, and the Doctor is there, calling to her. She goes toward him, and they hug.
But the Doctor looks up and sees the back of a man, who seems to disturb him. The Doctor says it’s him, but Clara doesn’t understand, because he’s not one of the eleven faces she saw. The Doctor explains that he never said that the man was the Doctor, and that the name you choose is like a promise you make, and that man broke the promise. Clara passes out and the Doctor carries her. The Doctor tells this man that he is his secret. The man says to the Doctor that what he did, he did without choice, in the name of peace and sanity. The Doctor angrily replies, “But not in the name of the Doctor.” The Doctor walks off with Clara, then the man turns around, and we see his face. The screen reads, “Introducing John Hurt as the Doctor.”
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 7 Episode 13 of Doctor Who: The Name of the Doctor
I thought the episode as a whole was pretty good, and one of the better ones from this season. However, I was a bit disappointed with the explanation of the mystery of the Impossible Girl. All season long I was looking for clues I could use to solve this mystery, but I felt like I was grasping as straws, as there didn’t seem to be anything, for the most part, other than references to the fact that there was a mystery. I was expecting there to be something mind blowingly awesome that was there all along but somehow overlooked or dismissed as unimportant. However, when the big reveal came, I felt like it was something that no one could have ever guessed, as we weren’t given enough information to come up with anything near that explanation.
It was nice to see River Song again, even though she was only an echo of herself. For the first time, the Doctor initiated a kiss with her, and it actually looked natural and like he felt comfortable doing so, rather than awkward. From the looks of things, this was supposed to be the last time that we see River Song. But will we in fact see her again? As River Song would say, “Spoilers!”
The revelation of this other Doctor was something I did not see coming, and for some reason, the first time I saw this episode, my initial thought was that he was a future Doctor. But now that the Night of the Doctor mini episode has been released, we know more about who he is, and my original theory was entirely wrong. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all plays out on the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor!
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 7 Episode 13: The Name of the Doctor
After seeing this episode, I was quite confused, and I assume this is intended, as things will become more clear after seeing The Day of the Doctor. We have always heard bits and pieces of the dark days of the Doctor, and now we are going to get to see some of it. I have to say, this has me very excited, as seeing a darker Doctor seems like it will be very interesting.
Clara’s explanation I thought was a little weak. As Violet mentioned, I had been looking for clues the entire season trying to figure out who she is. It would have been fun for it to be something we can kind of go along and then have that epiphany of seeing all the tiny pieces come together. Unfortunately, it is something basically out of the blue that would be impossible to guess.
My question for Stephen Moffat is how quickly did he know this was his plan for Clara? Since there was a huge break in the middle of the season, I am sure he could have changed it several times between the start of the season and the end. I am just curious to know when the plan was set in stone.
It was really fun seeing all of the Doctors in towards the end, albeit always the back of their heads. I think it was kind of neat to figure to a way to bring them all back for the 50th anniversary.
I am really excited to see how Jon Hurt plays his Doctor. I guess I am still wondering–does Jon Hurt’s Doctor actually number to ten, meaning that Eccelston is really 10, Tenant is 11 and Smith is really 12? I guess since the Doctor is ashamed of Jon Hurt’s iteration, he was removed from the succession line?
I am really excited for the next episode, which we will be seeing in theaters! I hope to have the best episode of the series, which is high hopes, considering how many good ones there are (especially David Tenannt’s era!)
Scenes from Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: The Day of the Doctor
Here are scenes from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special episode, titled The Day of the Doctor:
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