I don't think I can better state how much I liked "The Name of the Doctor" than by saying it actually made me want to go back and watch a Sixth Doctor serial. Richard E. Grant, who gets a lot more to do here than he did in the Christmas episode and is really wonderful, actually mentioned the Valeyard from The Trial of a Time Lord
, something I really hoped would come into play for the 50th Anniversary. The end of the episode kind of hints, if not at that plotline, at a plotline very like it.
This is also the third of the only three episodes where I actually liked River Song (the other two being her first two episodes), despite a really stupid line about her choice of beverage early in the episode, which was otherwise a wonderful segment. I love the idea of Vastra holding a drug assisted séance trance to hold a conference call through time.
There's something both Lewis Carroll-ish and Beatles-ish about it. Oh. Could the Doctor's name be Robert? I won't spoil it for you.
So it seems the idea of Clara being a reference to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo
really was all in my head. Oh, well. The real story behind her being "impossible" was fine, though nothing really amazing. It worked because Jenna-Louise Coleman worked and Moffat's dialogue is really good here. The apparent death of one character helped the stakes feel pretty real--everything happened too fast for you to get your feet on rationalisations, but not Attention Deficit Disorder fast.
The appearance of the Doctor's previous incarnations was cool, including seeing the (oddly colourised) First Doctor steal the TARDIS. It's not a substitute for actually getting Tom Baker for the special, but it was nice. The only other complaint I have about the episode is the placement of the first closing credit.
I even liked Strax in the episode--unlike Gatiss, Moffat actually finds new things to do with him, new ways of playing against his foil, in this case the fight in the pub. I also liked his concurring with Clara in her confusion as to Professor Song's sex. Though I still wish the Strax stuff could be separate from the Jenny/Vastra stuff. Strax with Vastra and Jenny is like having a shot of good coffee in a good martini. Twitter Sonnet #508The green star flowers repeatedly now.
Repeatedly for potato thoughts run.
Thinking conjures hats for cognisant brow.
Bowlers boil apples for the ink sun.
Double jointed red giants judge us all.
Retired justices tryst behind Saks.
Charlie's sax saved Laura from a free fall.
Fire flavoured Otter Pops burn store racks.
The burn of cinnamon invokes the rain.
Mummies invoked by wrap lobbies are shills.
Skinny lobbyists link horseflesh with pain.
I tell you ponies have no use for gills.
Useful scars can transport your assistant.
Or a transport for alien infant.