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 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.
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.
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!