Doctor Who Recap: The Name of the Doctor

series 7, series 7 finale, doctor who, matt smith

Forget where we left off? Take a look at last week’s recap right here.

This episode starts off with Clara, appearing over and over again throughout the Doctor’s past. She reveals she was born to save the Doctor.

Just as I’m like, “FINALLY! We’re getting some answers!” the scene changes. A crazy man has just prophesized that he knows the Doctor’s biggest secret, and Madam Vastra’s concerned. She calls a telepathic conference call between her, Jenny, Strax, Clara, and (wait for it) RIVER SONG! They discuss what to do about the Doctor’s secret, but before they can finish, they’re attacked by super creepy aliens, the Whisper Men.

Clara oswald, jenna-louise coleman, the name of the doctor

Clara wakes up and explains the prophecy to the Doctor. He makes a decision. He’s going to go to Trenzalore, the most dangerous place he can possibly go: the site of his grave.

There, they find what looks like a giant replica of the TARDIS, but the Doctor reveals that it actually IS the TARDIS, which has basically died and lost its ability to be bigger on the inside. As they’re poking around, the creepy, creepy Whisper Men attack again. Somehow, Clara and River are still telepathically linked, so River guides them safely into the giant TARDIS.

Meanwhile, Strax, Madam Vastra, and Jenny wake up inside the giant TARDIS. Then, guess who shows up? Remember Dr. Simeon, that weird dude who controlled the snowmen during the Christmas special? He’s back! He reveals that he represents the Great Intelligence, and he wants to kill the Doctor as revenge for all the races he’s slaughtered.

The Doctor, Clara, and River show up, and Simeon turns his attention to the Doctor. He tells the Doctor to say his real name, which will open his tomb, or else he’ll have the Whisper Men stop everyone’s hearts. The Doctor refuses, but River says his name.

doctor who, alex kingston, name of the doctor

Inside the tomb, there’s no body, just a shiny column of light. It’s the scar tissue that the Doctor’s adventures have left on time, and it leads back through his timeline. Simeon sacrifices himself by jumping into the timeline and sabotaging the Doctor at every turn.

Clara knows there’s only one thing she can do: follow Simeon through the timeline. She’ll be born and reborn throughout time, her sole purpose being to save the Doctor. Definitely cool, but it felt a little anticlimactic—didn’t they already do something similar with Rose and Bad Wolf back in the first season?

Anyway, the Doctor is horrified that Clara’s gone. Somehow, River’s still there, and bizarrely, the Doctor is able to communicate with her. I’m not complaining about the logic of it, though, because this scene was awesome. They say goodbye, River gets in one last “Spoilers!” and “Sweetie,” and then the Doctor does the unthinkable: he dives back into his past.

matt smith, doctor who, the name of the doctor

Now, it seems like this would have some horrible repercussions, but he just ends up in a kind of no man’s land, where he finds Clara. She’s somehow totally fine, and so is the Doctor, and then a third person shows up. The Doctor is a freaked out since he’s supposed to be the only one who can access this place. Turns out, this guy is an alternate version of the Doctor, or a future incarnation, or something. The Doctor leaves with Clara, and then the other Doctor turns around, revealing…actor John Hurt! Now, Hurt’s a good actor and everything, but I’ll just put it out there that I’ll be super sad if he ends up replacing Matt Smith forever.

Well, we’ll have to wait a long time (till November!) to figure out exactly what’s going on with this new Doctor. In the meantime, let us know your theories!

21 thoughts on “Doctor Who Recap: The Name of the Doctor

  1. Of course John Hurt won’t be replacing Matt Smith. Matt himself has confirmed that he will be on for Series 8. 🙂 John Hurt is playing the Doctor who fought the Time War and came between Eight and Nine. He’s the man who killed and destroyed the Time Lords and the Daleks in order to save the Universe. The man who betrayed the name of the Doctor (the healer, the wise man, and the savior of the Universe), and so was someone that the Doctor doesn’t like to acknowledge.

    I didn’t find Clara’s mystery anticlimatic. In fact, I really liked it, a lot more than most of the theories that I’ve seen or created! Clara Oswald IS an ordinary girl. She isn’t magical or speshul or a superwoman. She was an ordinary girl who made an extraordinary sacrifice.

    • I agree with you. I’m really excited to see what they do with him, and how they’ll play it out. I wonder how Ten and Rose come in? Maybe at some point during the whole, “Getting out of my own timeline” thing…

      Also I like how the Doctor was like, “I said he was me, not that he was the Doctor,” meaning we don’t have to rearrange Doctor numbers. But I wonder if it will affect the 13 Regenerations thing?

      • I think that Moffat’s going to use the “Getting out of my own timeline thing” (as you phrased it) to just allow the plot to get as wild as possible.

        The thing about the 13 regenerations is that if by the time we do, in fact, need a 14th and the show’s still going strong, they’ll find a way to get around it. DW is BBC’s teacher’s pet.

        On what Aquila said, I agree wholeheartedly. I was amazed when there wasn’t some complex thing that made Clara into River, or a Time Lord, or a character with superpowers. And it was fitting. I loved who Clara was, personally.

        • I’m eager to see how the “Getting out of my own timeline thing” (Angelina) plays out and by doctor who standards I hope it is really wild.

          One person that I really want to see come back is Jenny, and for a moment I thought Clara was her.

      • The thirteen regenerations thing was just a law of the Time Lords. They were a privilege, not a fact of their biology. Heck, there was even a storyline where the villian wanted to take the Doctor’s regenerations for himself! Since Gallifrey isn’t around anymore…who knows what’ll happen?

      • There aren’t any time lords around to say there can be only thirteen regenerations anymore, so the Doctor is basically immortal. He stated in the Sarah Jane Adventures that he has over three hundred he can use. No one’s sure if he was joking or not since he said it to Clive though.

  2. Ooo, First person to leave a comment! Anyways, I have a theory. It’s based off of some other ones but here you go. In the episode, they call john hurt the mane who broke the promise, and did something not in the name of the doctor ( basically, he did something with his real name.) he, this ” Doctor ” Is the doctors biggest secrete, so no one know who he is. My theory, he is actually, a previous life of the doctor that nobody knows about.( Possibly from during the time war??) Other wise, the doctor wouldn’t have been able to recognize him, so he must be from the past. I think we will have a season of him, while 11 and Clara try to get out of the time line, and we’re going to learn a little bit about the doctor that we have never known before.

  3. My only kind of question about the John Hurt being 8.5 and killing all the Time Lords and Daleks, is that when the Doctor says that, he always says that he was the one that did it. He killed them all, because he had to. But then he says that this past/future regeneration isn’t him, isn’t the Doctor because of what he did… but he always seems to own up to killing them all… so yeah. Not sure if that makes sense or not…

    • That is a good point. It could be that he just takes the blame for it, but when faced with 8.5 he actually can’t accept it. The Doctor is the ultimately complex character, and things can get to him a lot more easily than he lets on. If he was standing there, with Clara, would he want to let that be part of him?

      Just speculation. I kinda agree with you, but there is a strong counterargument too.

    • I agree, but also, did the Doctor ever outright say, “It was my fault”? To me it seems like he’s acting in the way someone would act if they knew they hadn’t done something, but they can’t blame the person who did because the blame would just backfire to them, so they don’t blame them. Whenever the Doctor gets frustrated, I can’t think of a time that he ever said, “Hey, guess what! I killed all my people! Still think I’m so special?” But whenever someone talks about it or accuses him of it, he just kind of stands there and takes it. I think that also explains the “he’s me, but he’s not the Doctor” thing, because the Doctor accepts that he did it, but knows it wasn’t really him.

  4. I just ‘what’ed so hard at this, it isn’t even funny.

    I have no theories. Just thought I should say how weird this whole thing is.

    Then again, I haven’t been able to see this season…


    That might explain my ‘what’ing. Yep. Bye.

  5. Spoilers! I’ve heard that John Hurt is actually the ninth doctor that the doctor doesn’t count as a doctor. Possibly the one who turned his back on everything? And this means that every doctor from the recent series is one doctor ahead I.e. the eleventh is actually the twelfth. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what November brings

  6. I really want to know if Clara now has the memories from all of the echo-lives she’s “lived.” Also, she now definitely knows the Doctor’s name, between the returning memories from Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS and being the only one besides the Doctor to hear River say his name to open the door. So who knows what’ll happen with that?
    Clara is my favorite companion, by the way. Just putting that out there.

  7. At the end of the ep, he said that John Hurt was “Me, but he’s not the Doctor.” I think it has to do with the “destroyer of worlds” thing, but it seems too simple for Moffat…

  8. I cried at throughout the episode because I love doctor who and it was sad to think that everyone other than the doctor would die but then I cried even more when it said to be continued I. November really.

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