Doctor Who, Season 7 (2013)
Reviewer: Charity Bishop
Though not as strong as preceding seasons, the year the Doctor found the Impossible Girl, wiped all knowledge of his existence from the memories of his enemies, and faced his own grave is a stirring, memorable ride through the flights of fancy (and history) that fans of the long-time sci-fi series (now in its 50th year) have come to expect. It's a lovely swan song for the 11th Doctor.
Life moves on in the absence of the Doctor, especially for the Ponds. Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Amy (Karen Gillan) have hit a rough patch in their marriage--specifically, divorce papers. Their abduction by dales comes just in the nick of time. The Doctor (Matt Smith) must now try to "fix" their relationship while dealing with a complicated problem -- teleportation down to the dale asylum, to take down a force field so the dales can destroy the planet before any of their nut job cousins get out. But once there, the Doctor discovers Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman), a human who crash-landed on the planet and has kept the dales at bay ever since. He can't leave without her, even if it means risking his life in the process.
Clara's twist is unexpected, and Amy and Rory's relationship repaired -- but they are a little less inclined to travel as much with the Doctor as in days past. Concern that they are aging faster than their friends and the lure of the real world pull them to remain in London, leaving the lonely Doctor to travel alone. But as he faces a devastating loss, he discovers another Clara... and then another. She is impossible! She is in multiple times and places in space all at once! And discovering how and why lead them both on a daring series of adventures that bring old enemies from the dead and introduce us to endless new possibilities.
This season faces two major losses -- the departure of Amy and Rory and, subsequently, of River Song. Fortunately, right from the start Clara (in all her forms) is a likable, feisty, bossy, and intelligent replacement. Her earlier incarnations are a bit more memorable than the later, consistent Clara, but she among all his companions is the most courageous in the decision she makes that turns her into the Impossible Girl. The episodes tug on heartstrings, yank at tear ducts, and give us some truly wonderful moments ... but some of them also fall fat or, worse, are downright boring. The series lacks momentum for a few episodes but finishes strong. This go-around, we peer into the heart of the TARDIS, encounter ghosts (or are they?), dive into a Russian submarine, and visit Victorian England not once but twice!
Infrequent gay references and short skirts notwithstanding, it's a decent conclusion for most of this particular Doctor's story.
References to homosexuality and same-sex married couples; a
lizard woman reveals she is married to a young woman; a gay
male couple identifies themselves as Protestant.
Female companions wear short
skirts. Occasional innuendos.
Mild profanities on occasion.
Characters die in various ways (incineration, dumped into acid vats, fall from high places), while wars level entire civilizations. Things implode.
A psychic communicates between worlds in one episode. An evil woman claims to adhere to Christian values, but abuses and murders others to get what she wants.