How many times have we known that we were witnessing the waning moments of the current Doctor’s term, regeneration was nigh, and that heartache was imminent, yet we were riveted to the screen? And in those moments, how much time was spent in the episode where the Doctor himself knew that time was at hand? With few exceptions, these exercises in loss (for both character and audience) have been graciously brief, relatively speaking. The quick-pull of the bandage, if you will.
When your showrunner is also a showman, however, and knows that the fiercest arrows in his quiver are named “drama”, “emotion”, “witness”, and “time”. Moffat will ensure that hearts are laid bare by the events to come, the reactions will be profound and cathartic, they will seek to shake the core of all who take part, and — as we now see — they will not be brief. We will linger.
This week, we draw the incredible tenth series of the renewed Doctor Who to a close (if you will) with “The Doctor Falls”. We scream for respite from the pain of Bill’s predicament, and get a most unexpected response. We beg for the resolution of a millennia-old struggle between Doctor and Master, and are handed an outcome that leaves us agape. We hope for a closure to the Twelfth Doctor’s struggle to rediscover himself, a ‘good man’, renewed as the champion of those who cry out for help, anywhere and at any time, and find the most unlikely guide steps forward to aid in that last journey. Christmas of 2017 is going to be one very melancholy holiday, indeed.
BONUS: We step through the many and various responses to our tweeted question about Capaldi possibly emerging as some listeners’ ‘official’ Doctor after Series 10.