By Ed Sum
** Spoiler Alert
BBC and The Telegraph have confirmed that Matt Smith is indeed leaving the series, Doctor Who. As for who will replace him, that could either be John Hurt or the return of David Tennant. If the cliffhanger of season seven is any indication, the 50th Anniversary special will no doubt address this particular addition. As for the ramifications, hopefully the series will make a change for the better and explore the psyche of what the Doctor really is.
Is all the ‘good’ that he is doing truly that, or is there some selfishness about him that viewers do not really know? Long time fans will recall that the First Doctor (William Hartnell) did have an air of selfishness and self-centeredness about him. The episode “Name of the Doctor” did come full circle with Hurt mimicking some of Hartnell’s style.
And while Smith will still be the Doctor in the Christmas episode, his past may well be lurking deep in his own animus waiting to burst out. Maybe the reason why he keeps female companions around is that they represent his anima, the female part of his inner self. Carl Jung would have fun dissecting this character apart.
The 11th Doctor just didn’t have the fire to become totally unique in the fixture of this mythos over the years. He tends to come through as a touch androgynous, like a young David Bowie, and his early press release photos seem to only reinforce that idea. Thankfully he becomes more masculine during his tenure as the Doctor. But after attempting to watch two and a half seasons with Smith in the role, not many tales really defined this particular incarnation. He was more of the lone wanderer being overshadowed by season spanning arcs where his beautiful female companion bears some secret. To focus on those characters more did not give this incarnation a chance to truly shine and to hear of Smith exiting the series is no surprise.
Rumours have been floating around on the Web since the early part of the 2013 year. He was not the Doctor some fans hoped for. Smith’s version focused on exuberance and the Doctor is better off being chaotic and fussy.
But if Hurt’s introduction at the end of season seven is any indication, the series might make a turn for the best. The tales in this particular series were not as robust. Moffat does a reasonable job as being a show runner, but he is better off at being a writer than producer. When he is actually penning an episode, that’s one to watch. Neil Gaiman’s contribution to redefining the legend of the Cybermen was beautiful. Moffat’s decision to look back, at what happened during the Time War, may well be the focus of the 50th anniversary special.
As for where the events took place, either in the Doctor’s personal time stream or in his subconscious mind, that still needs to be answered. And if its going to be a hint of the turmoil that the 11th Doctor has to face, continuity experts will realize that all his regenerations are up! Somehow, the series has to continue and to smartly have the series look back at the Doctor’s past adventures from a previous regeneration will make sense to keep this series going. And long time fans who remember Trial of a Time Lord may start to pay attention. All those dark impulses that makes up the Doctor’s psyche will have to resurface at some point. Like the Master, only the Time Lord Council has the ability to give any of their kind the ability to have a new set of regenerations. Now that’s a story that devoted fans have been waiting to see happen!