‘Doctor Who’ Season 6 Finale Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:24 pm,

doctor who season 6 finale Doctor Who Season 6 Finale Review & Discussion

A tale of epic proportions, which seamlessly blends the answers to years worth of questions with a cleverly planned transition of the series into the true vision that Steven Moffat has been working towards all along, the Doctor Who season 6 finale is much more than a spectacular end of a single season: it’s a brilliant new beginning to a beloved franchise.

Picking up on the foretold events from the previous episode, the visually stunning opening reveals an alternate reality where all of history occurs at once: pterodactyls chasing children in the park, Charles Dickens promoting his Christmas special on a talk show, and Winston Churchill being hailed as Caesar – with the Doctor serving as his bearded soothsayer.

Presenting the newly formed world as the unfortunate aftermath of what now occurred at Lake Silencio, a series of flashbacks follow the Doctor’s retelling of what happened – and why time is now disintegrating. While these flashbacks initially feel like an unwelcome addition to the actual story that viewers want to be told – which leaves out all of the details (read: answers) that many have been waiting for – the eventual shift of focus towards the present-day alternate reality makes the purpose of these flashbacks inherently clear.

In a sense, the flashbacks served as wonderfully subtle nod to the Doctor’s eagerness to not cheat death, but to find out why he must die – with the alternate-reality serving as a platform to carefully reveal the answer to the audience. Taking into account the answers provided for the many questions that Steven Moffat has been presenting over the past years, the only way a story such as this could have been competently told was with a masterful, methodical handling of its execution. Of which, Moffat clearly accomplishes with his choice to juxtapose flashbacks with a forward progressing, present-day tale.

doctor who season 6 finale the doctor Doctor Who Season 6 Finale Review & Discussion

With so many familiar characters returning, and a heartbreaking moment to remember the late Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, the Doctor Who season 6 finale is a thematic return to the briefly touched upon awareness (or lack-there-of) of the Doctor’s relation to, and impact on, the universe.

While this element was subtly peppered throughout these past two seasons (though clearly acknowledged by everyone who watches the series), it very much comes to a head in the finale. Serving both as a beautiful nod to everything the Doctor has accomplished in his life and as the reason why he must die, the elegant handling of using the Doctor’s greatest trait to reveal his ultimate demise is an astonishingly complex, yet profound statement.

After centuries of saving the universe from the evils that it contains, a simple notion puts everything into perspective: the Doctor is too big and his adventures have made too much noise in the universe. With a dangerous history that has become legend around the universe, and a future that is said to be even more so, the death of the Doctor has become a much needed fixed-point in time. So say the Silence – the guardians of history.

doctor who season 6 finale the silence Doctor Who Season 6 Finale Review & Discussion

Even though it can be said that the core elements that progressed the finale, and which saved the Doctor from death, are clearly simplistic (which most of the viewers assumed all along), the sheer amount of information, revelations, and foretelling that these simplistic plot points find themselves wrapped in serve to not only provide an amazing amount of depth to the story – more than anyone could have hoped for – but to seamlessly transition Doctor Who into the vision that Steven Moffat has had all along for the series.

No longer can the Doctor continue to lead the life that he has for over 900 years. His grandiose adventures, though selfless and rewarding, are ultimately becoming a danger for the universe. One man is doing too much. He must keep to the shadows; his actions must be more deliberate. The implications are compelling, the logic is intriguing, and the possibilities of what may come are endless.

And, yet… on the fields of Transelor, when the eleventh falls, the question that must never be answered; the question that’s as old as time; the question that the Doctor has been running from will be answered.

Doctor who?

Doctor Who returns this December for a Christmas Special

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

TAGS: Doctor who
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. It’s simple…the Doctor we’ve been seeing these past half dozen or so episodes isn’t THE Doctor, it’s the Flesh Doctor.

    • What do you mean??

    • Not flesh doctor but robo one

      • the tessalector?

    • actually post Closing Time he meets the Teselecta and crew, and it’s revealed later that when he does he switches right before visiting Dorium Maldovar in the box. He’s already found a way out of death, but now he’s learning why he needs to die. Once he does that he can figure how to stay alive once and if the silence learn he’s alive

  2. Our family has been watching the Dr. since William Hartnell [in black and white] Please say it isn’t over!

  3. Not over, the Dr. fakes his death so he will continue at least till Christmas.

  4. A twisty-turny wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey episode.

    Complexley plotted over years, a rather brilliant episode if I may say so.

    The Skulls in the crypt? Skulls are cool.

    If you watched the Confidential on BBC3 after, the sketch written by the schoolchildren was absolutely brilliant! Film more!

  5. I’ve not be very happy with any of the episodes that Moffatt has written to be honest. I enjoyed the beginning of the season but apart from the very first two episodes Moffatt has been all talk and under-delivers.
    I enjoyed this last episode but i do think everything with River was rushed, all her mystery is gone, and we still don’t know why the Tardis exploded in season 5 causing the cracks. Is it because of the doctors “death” was it caused by the silence will we ever learn, probably not. Moffatt brings up more questions than he answers and when he does, the answers are half-assed.
    I love Doctor Who and I love the vibe the show has since season 5, I just think someone needs to pull the ropes back on Moffatt and some people need to stop all this Moffatt praise since his stories have been by far the dullest in series 6.

  6. I have only been watching Dr. Who for maybe 2 months now and i believe it is amzing, all your comments make me wonder-Since I think it is so great now, I wonder what the earlier episodes were like??

    • Paw – While I’ve greatly enjoyed the last 2 months, I can’t recommend enough you going back and watching Dr. Who since the start of the new series with Eccleston. David Tennent and Eccleston have given Matt Smith a place to go with this incarnation. Each provided something we had never seen in Dr. Who before. Matt Smith is wonderful as this Doctor. He makes me laugh out loud .. and cry. And I adore Amy, Rory, & Riversong. But definitely .. as we now have a break until Christmas .. go back and see all the other eps. It is well worth your time and a true joy. Very few series has that much good work .. maybe Farscape. hmm. Enjoy!

  7. That was extremely disappointing. Moffat didn’t answer any of the questions he had raised, and chose to raise new ones instead (like Lost!).

    It was a crazy mess, and not in a way that merits further thought. But naturally, I thought about it anyway :)

    • If you really think there weren’t truly HUGE answers provided in the finale, I’d hazzard you weren’t looking for solutions to the right questions….

  8. I did enjoy the episode and especially sometimes enjoy Moffet’s episodes where he writes them. He did leave several lingering questions but honestly i was confused as to the ones he answered quess i just not that into the show to realize some the obviious questions.

  9. Plenty that didn’t quite add up or make total sense, but I went with the flow of ridiculous and serious and enjoyed the finale. If I’d asked too many questions I’d disappear into a crack in the wall.

    One thing I do have mixed feelings about is the departure of Amy and Rory. On the one hand I think their dynamic has been a welcome change to the series as a whole, but on the other they’ve both been occasionally undersold by the writers; Rory’s “ordinary bloke in extraordinary situation” becoming too much the comic relief, and Amy in particular treated incredibly inconsistently this season. To the extent where I don’t really know who she is any more, and I’m not entirely sure Steven Moffat does either. “The Girl Who Waited” was a brilliant, moving episode – and, interestingly, not written by Moffat – whose impact I found actually suffered because of those inconsistencies in the way Amy’s been written in the surrounding episodes. Revealed a very single-minded, morally ambiguous side of the Doctor as well. (Unconnected with…any of that: just as the hyperreal colours and compositions of the Utah lake scenes in “The Impossible Astronaut” looked reminiscent of a Dali painting, the Kindness Centre gardens reminded me of the dreamlike, unsettling proportions of Rene Magritte’s exteriors.)

    So in terms of how the couple stand now it’s probably the right time for them to leave. I can’t see anywhere else for their characters to go if they’re not going to be coordinated properly. Case in point: are they suddenly so shallow or completely unaffected by their experiences that they can be paid off with a house and a sports car? Come on, this is a woman who’s had her entire family blanked out and recalled into existence! She’s been killed and replaced herself, and effectively lost a child! This is a man who’s waited 2000 years in the form of an Auton! He’s mouthed off to a shipful of Cybermen! The Doctor’s made some dubious decisions on behalf of both of them, but “Here, have some sparkly things and see you later” takes the cake. And tries to eat it.

    I’m relieved the River Song business has more or less been resolved. That was beginning to drag, and I couldn’t see her working as a companion to the Doctor either. I’d actually like to have seen Amara Karan as Rita from “The God Complex” on the TARDIS…but unfortunately she’s dead. Shame, that. Her character had real potential, and clearly the Doctor thought so as well.

    Some intriguing possibilities for next season, though I could do with more of the stronger standalone stories and a bit less of the “ominous ongoing story arc” thing.

    • Amy with be back for many of the episodes next season and Rory will return occasionally.

      • How do you know that Rory will only be returning occasionally?

          • thanks! I read that article a while back.. But was just hoping it wasn’t true.. If Amy and Rory aren’t returning for a full season, is the Doctor going to pick up another companion for the time being?? Is River going to become a full time member of the TARDIS team?

      • Yeah, but they won’t be involved as much as they have been, which probably means we’ll end up with even less in the way of personality development or just coherent characterisation. Hope I’m wrong!

        • Let’s just hope they don’t bring back James Corden again. I love him as a person, but I’m not a fan of him on Doctor Who.

          • To be honest I haven’t been too impressed with anything I’ve seen him in…

    • must admit this series has kinda got me wondring whats goin on. Totally
      gobsmacked at some of the episodes and have found myself looking at
      something which to me is not the Doctor that everyone has come to love.
      I understand that every character in any series has to grow and move
      on but this is not what I have grown up knowing the Doctor to be. He is
      suddenly very dark and frightening, this is obviously my opinion and I
      will carry on watching but I can wait for the next installment whereas
      in the past I would be eagerly awaiting it.

    • I agree with the comment about the back-handed way in which Amy and Rory were shoved off the show. Rather sudden, I think. Amy and Rory have more depth of character not to be bribed with a house and a car as a reward for their company. Excuse me? What about jobs? How are they going to support themselves? Awfully crass, it seems. Has the next companion been chosen? Are we changing doctors? No news on that front.
      Some of Moffitt’s loose threads are fine, but we still don’t know about the real reason for the TARDIS’s explosion. These loose threads are somewhat convenient, not clever. “Oh, this happened. No, it did not. Surprise!” That happens an awful lot. The doctor’s death is a prime example. Amy’s replacement with a flesh duplicate is another. If the doctor instantly knows an original from a flesh, what took so long with Amy’s baby?

    • I would like to point out a few things

      1) they weren’t ‘bought off'; they didn’t have a choice. the doctor was going to leave regardless; he gave them a parting gift to live their lives comfortably. there’s also a very clear reason why he left them; it was already decided from episode 1, where he meets them several years later, and he dies.

  10. Here’s my question: in ep1 we see the good Doctor get shot, start regenerating, and then get shot again. If he’s in a robot body and doesn’t get hurt (he says he was barely singed by the burning of the body), then why does he begin to regenerate after the first shots? The robot body can’t do that, and the Doc is safe inside that body. If it’s a fixed point in time, then it was always the Tesselector body that got shot, so why and how does the regen occur? The fact he regen’d was one of the clues that it was the Doc getting shot for real (in Ep1), and then it was completely ignored in the finale. Wibbly wobbly!

    • Maybe it’s special effect or simulation of the whole thing. It simply has to look like he’s regenerating after all.

    • The way I see this bit is as follows.
      In the original Lake scene the Doctor from the future (i.e. not Amy & Rory’s timeline) dies.
      Subsequently the Doctor learns of this Death as Amy tells him in The Rebel Flesh and he finds out more from the Tesselecta
      With this knowledge he has the power to break this fixed point by arriving at the beach in the Tesselecta

      The whole parallel universe/broken time thing caused by River seems to be a bit irrelevant in the Doctor’s grand plan to survive

    • maybe even though it was a fixed point, only a time lord can know such things and so the real idea that everybody believes isn’t getting the doctor killed but the guy who everyone in the universe (including the silence and that crazy lady) thought was the doctor, so what they have been saying about the doctor dying is only true to them, because they really thought the one dying on the beach is the real doctor, and the doctor in the past didn’t know that it wasn’t the real him that died

      and probably when the future doctor who regenerated before getting shot again is a different event than the one that switched with the tesselector body because it didn’t show the tesselector body actually regenerating

      and i wonder if the tesselector body and its crews actually got burned like how River told when the future doctor died.

  11. Not to mention the biggest inconsistency from S4 Silence in the Library episode. When River whispers in his hear (supposedly his real name) and he (the 10th Doctor) says something along the lines of there can only be one way you could know that–now if what River actually whispered in his ear was simply “look into my eye” per the S6 finale, how can the S4 10th Doctor know that has any significance whatsoever and how can there be only one time he could have said that to her? Am I missing something here?

    • I thought about that too. But I think we have to interpret that scene with River and Amy (where they basically tried to resolve some inconsistencies) as meaning that River continues to know the doctor his future. So the doctor must tell river his name in his future.

  12. Simple River learns his name in the future, probably before she encounters the 10th Doctor.

  13. I personally felt a little disappointed by the reveal of the Question. It’s this big, ominous question. It’s been the drive behind the Big Bad of the season – The Question That Must Not Be Answered [sidebar: very much shades of Hitchhiker’s Guide there – the Ultimate Question, if anyone knows the Answer and the Question at the same time, it’ll end the universe, etc] – and it’s……… the same question that gets repeated by someone at least 3 episodes every season. (I guess that falls under “hidden in plain sight”, but still.)
    It’s a freakin’ title drop. What the junk.

  14. The Question was a bit odd. Curious why the Doctor would be running from it though. He knows he he is, right? The good and the bad, though he seems recently to have been a bit hard on himself though not always without reason.

    I’ve never seen the episodes, but I read they were doing something with the Seventh Doctor with hints that he was more than just another Time Lord. Maybe this is a revival of that concept.

  15. Doctor Who?

    Oh so many possibilities of which none will please everyone.

    Is the Doctor more than just an ordinary Time Lord? I think the series from beginning to present has shown us repeatedly that without doubt, this is true.

    So the big bad question is asking who the doctor is. At least seemingly it is. Here is a thought for you whovians to ponder. If the question is asked and is answered to the detriment of the universe. I would think the bigger question is, who is asking and who is answering?

    Remember DT’s final episode. There will be 4 knocks. The whole two part episode had us believing it was the sound in the masters head which was placed there by Rassilon (sp?). When in the end it was Willford in the radiation booth.

    So something tells me this whole question thing will probably play out very similar. Lots of misdirection to keep you form the true ending and resolution of something so basic.

    Either way I will be there to watch how it unfolds.

  16. 1. The audience has assumed that the “one time” the Doctor can tell his name to someone is the Wedding. Did he not whisper something in her ear before he dies in “Let’s Kill Hitler” that was never disclosed?

    2. The title of the show is supposed to be the question that drives it – under the role of showrunner, Russel T. Davied vision of the show made him out to be this God-like figure – Moffat is trying to tone that down and lead up to answers in the 50th anniversary.

    3. Of course the Tesselecta can simulate regeneration special effects. The observed event that was written down in history and made a “fixed point” was that the Doctor died. To all intents and purposes to everyone except the Pond family (and Dorium the Head) he has. The fixed point was ALWAYS that it was the Tesselecta with the Doctor inside that died – we as the audience just didn’t know that when we saw it the first time around in the season opener.

    4. It was the Silence who caused the TARDIS to blow up in season 5, for it is their religious order who use the phrase “Silence Will Fall” which is what we heard over the TARDIS speakers. All part of their attempt to keep him from reaching Trenzalore and from asking/answering the question.

    All these answers are either specifically addressed or strongly implied by what unfolds. This is storytelling – trusting that eventually the writers will make sense of things. Too much spoonfeeding of answers in other television and too much expecting every episode or season to nicely and neatly tie things up seems to have dulled many viewers brains. Certainly LOST teased people with untidy endings and then dissapointed many people who felt they had wasted 6 years of their life. Doctor Who has never done that for me. And for the tiny questions that don’t get answered – that’s what imagination is for. Thank goodness Doctor Who is a show that stimulates it.

  17. I love this show… But maybe I missed something… Since the silence are always forgotten once they are no longer viewed (unless you have the Eyepatch), wouldn’t the silence know that the Doctor is alive after the Utah astronaut incident? As they are pretty much everywhere. It really doesn’t matter to me as this show is amazing! I do hope they bring back Amelia as I think she is great for bringing out the various emotions from the doctor in each episode. (River does well also, but more in a sarcastic way). Anyway, I can’t wait for season 7. I hope that they include more Daleks and hopefully the finality of the silence. And if Matt Smith ever reads this…. You rock! I know you wanna hit Hollywood, but I think you were born for this role… You bring out every part of the doctor that people wanna see…. The sarcasm, wittiness, anger, fear and sense of emotion that keeps the viewer glued to their screen. Thank you!

    • Any instance the Silence see of him after his “death” will be assumed to be an earlier one – as long as he is “dead”, he will never go to Trenzalore, which is what they are trying to keep him from doing. Of course, we know better – and Trenzalore awaits…

  18. Does no one remember what started this whole adventure? The Doctor looked into time as a child’s right of passage, which inspired some timelords, drove some mad, and made our Doctor run. Whatever he saw, whatever he learned, he’s spent the better part of a millennium, and all of time running away from it at full sprint. Oh the possibilities! What if he saw himself? His destiny? The man time meant him to be, and it scared him; horrified him! Let’s not forget that all the other timelords we’ve been introduced to have been warmongering, power-hungry, arrogant, murderous, meanie-heads. Could you imagine what a timelord like the Doctor could do to the universe had he followed the path that the rest of his race did? I bet a timelord like that could end the universe.

    • “I bet a timelord like that could end the universe.”

      …or, create the universe 😉

      …spoilers… 😉

      • Spoilers:

        The Doctor’s real name is Tommy Westphall…


  19. I don’t think he’s dead and that it was the teselecta on the beach. But what are those eyepatches all about do they help you remember the silence? I think the question relates to the Doctor’s name but it’s not like we’d EVER find that out as it would just ruin the name of the show, but we do know the Eleventh Doctor’s final story has something to do with the fields of Trenzalore. But that’s only what I think, the actual story could be completely different…

    • The eye patches in laymens terms as explained in the episode were external harddrives that stored the memories of what you’ve seen. Since the brain will immediately forget about the silence once you turn away, the eye patch holds that memory so that you would never forget. There are no more lies now, at the fields of Trenzalore the 11th will fall. That is like Tennant’s when he knocks 3 times, it took i think 2 series to get there but that is a truth now.

  20. i personally found this whole season hard to guess ! every episode had a different outcome and i loved the ending of this one so sososososo much :)

  21. I really hope we get more standalone stories and less season-long arcs in the future. Moffat keeps saying that he’ll surprise us and shake-up our long-helf views of the show, but he never really lives up to that hype–and besides, I don’t really have my view of the show shook-up that much, I just want to see entertaining stories. It’s not that you can’t tell entertaining stories in the context of a season-long arc, it’s just that format tends to lead to trying to be truly epic. And you can’t be truly epic consistantly, episode after episode.

  22. why dose it have to end it was soooo sad i was almost about to turn it off