It is Violet’s turn to give her take on this week’s episode of Doctor Who. Who is the “impossible girl”? This episode shines some light on her past, while providing an epic adventure in a distant solar system. Josh also provides his thoughts on the episode, which can be found in the blue font! Remember: if you haven’t seen the episode, come back later so we don’t ruin it for you! Check it out after the jump!
The episode begins with the Doctor watching a guy walking down the street in 1981. A leaf blows in the guy’s face, which leads to the guy almost getting hit by a car, but a girl saves him. The guy later confesses to the girl that he has kept that leaf because it is what led him to meet her. We then see a montage of the couple raising a little girl, and we soon realize that the couple is Clara’s parents, and the little girl is Clara. Meanwhile, the Doctor has always been creepily watching them the whole time, and even accidentally meets them at the park one day when Clara accidentally kicks a ball at the Doctor’s head. Then we jump ahead to Clara crying over her mother’s grave in 2005, while the Doctor watches from afar. After witnessing all this, the Doctor is very confused, as she is just a girl, but she is not possible.
This episode of Doctor Who is probably my favorite of the season so far. I enjoyed the opening learning more about (this) Clara’s past. I enjoy the bit with the Doctor getting a ball to the head, and him admitting he is embarrassed, which is a first as far as I am aware. I am curious where this story line of “the impossible girl” will take us. Another thing regarding Clara, is I feel they may be setting up a romance, as the Doctor puts off that vibe towards her I feel like. It could be that she is just a fun mystery for him though.
Back to the present, Clara is sitting on the stairs with her 101 Places to See book, waiting for the Doctor to return and take her away in the TARDIS, which he does. He asks her where she wants to go, but she blanks and just says she would like to see “something awesome.” He takes her to the Rings of Akhaten, and she gets her first visually stunning look of outer space. They then enter a bustling marketplace of many different types of aliens. (This scene was very reminiscent to me of when the Ninth Doctor takes Rose to the last day of Earth’s existence, where she also gets her first great view of outer space, and meets many different alien beings for the first time. ) The Doctor mentions that he came here a long time ago with his granddaughter. (Wait — what granddaughter?? We know that he had children back on Gallifrey, but I don’t believe he ever mentioned any grandchildren. The Tenth Doctor also had a daughter, Jenny, formed from his DNA, so she could have had a child. But he thought she died, although the viewers know that she didn’t. So who is this granddaughter?) The Doctor explains to Clara that he has brought her here during the Festival of Offerings, which takes place about every thousand years or so when the rings align.
I was thinking that Clara might say she wants to go see her mother before she had died at some point. I think that would have been an interesting conversation at the least between the Doctor and Clara. I was also intrigued by the Doctor having a grandchild. I really enjoyed the Rings of Akhaten scene. I would have liked to know the year though, as there were human-looking people there (in addition to the human-like people with the lines on their faces). I would have liked to know if it was another race similar to humanity, or if it was the future and Earth had made it there.
Somehow the Doctor and Clara get separated, and a little girl wearing a red hooded robe runs by. A minute later, two men wearing red hooded robes ask Clara if she has seen the Queen of Years, but Clara plays dumb, then goes looking for the little girl, who is running away and trying to hide. Three creepy masked aliens are also looking for the little girl. Clara brings the little girl back to the TARDIS to hide her in there, but it is locked, so they hide behind it. The little girl, whose name is Mary, has to sing a special song to a god, and she is scared of getting the song wrong, so that is why she is hiding. We get a touching flashback to Clara as a child, and her mother is telling her that no matter where Clara is, or how lost she feels, she will always be there and come and find her every single time. Clara encourages Mary, promising her she won’t get the song wrong, and then Mary lets Clara bring her back to the red hooded people that were looking for her. Just after that, the Doctor shows up and asks Clara what she’s been doing, to which she replies, “Exploring.”
We then see a guy in a red hooded robe singing to an alien, presumably the god Mary was supposed to sing to. Meanwhile, the two hooded men bring Mary into a stadium filled with all different kinds of aliens. The Doctor and Clara run into the stadium and get some good seats. Mary looks back at Clara for encouragement, and begins to sing her song. Her voice blends with the guy at the temple who is also singing. The Doctor explains that they are singing to the mummy at the temple, and that the song is a lullaby without end to feed the god, and keep him asleep. The people in the stadium have brought offerings, gifts of value to feed the old god. However, something goes wrong. Everything starts shaking, and an orb of light appears around Mary, and begins to drag her toward the temple. The Doctor says to Clara, “One thing you need to know about traveling with me, we don’t walk away.” They go back to the marketplace to rent a moped, for which they need something precious to use as currency. The Doctor won’t give up his sonic screwdriver, so Clara gives her ring as payment instead. They race after Mary, and Clara is almost able to grab her hand, but her grasp slips and Mary is taken into the temple.
I think the guy had screwed up the song, at one point there is a pause, and the crowd gasps and the camera focuses on the male singing, then looks to be freaking out. The sonic screwdriver came up a lot this episode, though, I thought that was a bit strange. And the Doctor is a bit of a jerk making Clara give up her mother’s ring! Especially because he knows what happened! I do enjoy Matt Smith’s “epic” moments, such as when he says, “One thing you need to know about traveling with me, we don’t walk away.” While I always will find David Tennant the better of the Doctors, I feel Matt Smith has more epic moments, and he does really great at them.
The door to the temple is sealed shut, but the Doctor is eventually able to use his sonic screwdriver to get it open, and struggles with holding it up, as it is very heavy. By this time, the god has started to awaken. Mary tells Clara to go, but of course, she and the Doctor refuse. The Doctor stops holding the door up, and they are all now locked inside. Meanwhile, the red hooded guy is still in there and has been singing, but the Doctor convinces him that the song is over, and the guy uses his arm band to teleport elsewhere. The god, who is being contained inside four glass panels, has awakened, and Mary believes it is her duty as Queen of Years to sacrifice her soul to him, to save everyone else. The Doctor tells Mary that it is not a god, it is a vampire, and that sacrificing her soul to him would be a waste because she is unique. The three masked aliens from earlier magically appear in the temple and have come to feed Mary to “grandfather.” The aliens shoot some sort of blue energy at the Doctor and Clara, which throw them against the wall. But the Doctor then attacks them with his sonic screwdriver. As the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to battle the blue energy, Mary is able to sing a secret song that opens a secret door, and she and Clara escape to another room. The god then breaks through the glass, and a beam of light gets shot into the sun, as the god collapses into his throne. At that moment, the three masked aliens disappear, because now that grandfather is awake, they no longer have a function. The Doctor admits that he made a “tactical booboo.” It turns out that the alien behind the glass was not grandfather, it was his alarm clock. The massive sun is actually the old god. Clara quickly figures out that the Doctor intends to fight the god, and she wants to help. But the Doctor tells her that she and Mary should leave. Clara protests, bringing up what the Doctor said earlier about not walking away. But the Doctor says when they have something precious, they run.
At this point I felt like the male singer had really be sabotaging the whole thing to make the mummy wake up. I could be wrong though. My scientific-leaning mind has problems here with the “weight” of the door being a problem for the sonic screwdriver and Doctor, and how his tool seems to be able to solve many problems (unless wood is the problem), but it is something that one has to accept being a fan of the Doctor.
Clara takes the moped and brings Mary back to the stadium, while the Doctor stays behind at the temple. At the stadium, Mary asks if the Doctor is frightened, and says she wants to help, so she sings a song, and everyone in the stadium joins in singing. The Doctor hears the singing, and makes a dramatic, epic speech to the god, telling the god to take his soul, even shedding a few tears. Clara takes the moped back to the temple and makes her own epic speech, offering up her leaf, which she refers to as “the most important leaf in human history,” the same words her father used to describe the leaf. The leaf isn’t just the past, it’s a whole future that never happened. The god hungrily eats up the leaf, as the Doctor explains that there is quite a difference between what was and what should have been, because what should have been is an infinity, and an infinity is too much, even for the god’s appetite. The god implodes. Clara saves the day!
Matt Smith at his finest. This scene was very epic feeling. The Doctor staring down a gigantic star preparing to do battle. The silhouette of the Doctor surrounded by the burning star was just really fun to watch. Clara’s rescue efforts were interesting as well. She describes the leaf as representing what never happened (referring to her mother dying so young). It is an interesting take as I wonder what the Doctor would say to that, as we do not know if it is a “fixed point” as the Doctor often says is a problem with changing the past.
The Doctor takes Clara home, and it looks different to her now after all that she’s been through. Clara realizes that the Doctor was there at her mother’s grave, watching her, and asks why he was there. He tells her that she reminds him of someone who died. She says that if she’s going to travel with him, it’s going to be as herself, Clara, and not as the ghost of someone else. The Doctor agrees. The episode ends with the Doctor giving Clara back her ring, which the people she saved wanted to give back to her to thank her.
The Doctor better have gotten her ring back, geez! I really want to know what the deal is with the 3 varieties of Claras we have though. Hopefully we get some answers soon.
My thoughts on the episode: I really enjoyed this episode. I like that we got to see a little background story not only on Oswin, er, I mean, Clara, but also on her parents, and that we got a good answer to a question that was brought up in the previous episode, as to what the leaf represented. The theme of “we don’t walk away” is such a defining theme of Doctor Who, that we are all aware of, but that has never blatantly been put into words. Mary’s singing and the joining of everyone’s voices was very inspiring, as were the Doctor’s and Clara’s epic speeches. Clara has proven herself worthy to travel with the Doctor, and I think I’m beginning to like her. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and watching as the mystery of the “impossible girl” unfolds.
As I stated earlier, I thought this was the best episode this season. Despite being very sad that Amy and Rory left, I don’t feel their last episode did their exit justice. I thought the chemistry between Clara and the Doctor worked better than I had thought it would, and have high hopes they will continue to be a good pair. I can’t wait for next week!