As we say goodbye to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor and get ready to embrace Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth, we think it is important to look back at the best moments from the career of our silly, bow-tie wearing, fez loving, fish fingers and custard eating Doctor. As The Doctor himself said, we all must keep changing. Plus, we can’t be too sad. Soon enough, we’ll have a brand new Doctor to get to know and love. But before we do that, let’s look back at Mr. River Song’s best moments.
11.The Beast Below (S5E2)
“What if you were really old, and really kind and lonely, your whole race dead. What couldn’t you do then? If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn’t just stand there and watch children cry.” – Amy Pond
In terms of the transition between the 10th and 11th Doctor, this episode is complex. It is evident here that the 11th Doctor is still finding his own way. He has a terrifying rage in this episode that resembles some of the anger sometimes displayed by David Tennant’s 10th Doctor. But it is his new companion, Amy Pond, who manages to show him the light. After the confrontation between Amy and the Doctor over what is best, his anger begins to melt away, and revealed is the quirky, strange, kind, and wise Eleventh Doctor that we’ve grown to love. Amy just needed to remind him. And star whale, of course, stands in as a perfect metaphor for the Doctor. Amy’s speech connecting the two of them transcends the personality of all of the Doctors.
10. The Wedding of River Song (S6E13)
“Then you may kiss the bride” – River Song
The universe is crumbling, all of space and time is becoming distorted, and the Doctor is on the brink of death. But of course, this can’t be the end. The fun of this episode is watching Eleven work his magic on the universe and start problem solving. Of course his biggest problem in this episode is that the woman who loves him, River Song, is in the process of destroying all of time and space because of her rejection of a fixed point in time. Simply put, she refuses to kill the man she loves.
So what is the Doctor to do? Well, with some typical 11th Doctor maneuvering he manages to marry River, save the universe, return time to its correct orientation…all without breaking a sweat (ok, maybe a small sweat).
This episode really showcases Eleven’s quick thinking and clever nature. And of course, it answers some questions about his relationship with River Song, all while raising even more questions. Remember, the Doctor lies.
9. Vincent and The Doctor (S5E10)
“I wouldn’t say that. The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and…bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things” – The Doctor
“Vincent and The Doctor” is always a tear jerker. What happens when even a time-traveling alien can’t prevent the one of the greatest artists in the world from committing suicide? Eleven is wise enough to know this isn’t the way that human beings work. In his hundreds and hundreds (maybe even thousands) of years of experience, he has learned that human beings are incredibly strange, beautiful, and complex. In this episode his compassion and wisdom shines through. He finds himself taking care of Amy after she realizes that she couldn’t stop Van Gogh from taking his life. Eleven’s compassion, care, and perhaps even humanity are apparent in this heart-wrenching episode and his relationship with Amy is made even stronger.
8. The Doctor’s Wife (S6E4)
“Do you ever wonder why I chose you all those years ago” – Idris/TARDIS
“I chose you. You were unlocked.” – The Doctor
“Of course I was. I wanted to see the Universe so I stole a Time Lord and ran away. And you were the only one mad enough” – Idris/TARDIS
For Whovians, this episode was a dream come true. Who wouldn’t want to see the Doctor finally get the chance to sit down and have a chat with his TARDIS. Or is it with her Time Lord? Either way watching the two of them bicker like an old married couple is hilarious. This episode is aptly named. If The Doctor were ever truly committed to any one entity it would be The TARDIS.
“The Doctor’s Wife” is also wonderful because we get a glimpse at the complicated and long relationship between our favorite Mad Man and his box, and we get a look at the personality of The TARDIS and all her quirkiness. Seeing these two together is just delightful and it’s one of the best written episodes (hello, Neil Gaiman!) of the 11th Doctor’s run.
7. The Angels Take Manhattan (S7E5)
“Oh I always rip out the last page of a book. Then it doesn’t have to end. I hate endings!”
Ah, the episode where the 11th Doctor is forced to say goodbye to his very first companion: Amy Pond. When he meets Amy when she is just a little girl his whole world is blown. After she, as an adult, travels with him, he is changed forever. Amy is there to remind him how beautiful humanity really is. And the two of them become something of best friends over time. And yet her relationship with Eleven is complicated by her relationship with Rory. Throughout their time together, Amy is constantly having an internal struggle between living a life of adventure with the Doctor or settling down with Rory. In this episode she finally chooses to be with Rory.
Eleven is deeply scarred by losing Amy. He becomes something of a hermit after this and falls into a deep depression. It isn’t until he meets Clara that the clouds begin to lift. And yet, he continues to wear Amy’s glasses. Her impact is profound and it seems that she is always watching over him. Even if just symbolically.
6. The Name of the Doctor (S7E13)
“I don’t know where I am. It’s like I’m breaking into a million pieces and there is only thing I remember: I have to save the Doctor. He always looks different. I always know it’s him. Sometimes I think everywhere at once, running ever second just to find him. Just to save him. But he never hears me. Almost never. I blew into this world on a leaf. I’m still blowing. I don’t think I’ll ever land. I’m Clara Oswald. I’m the impossible girl. I was born to save the Doctor.” – Clara
“The Name of the Doctor” is the episode where we discover the answers to a great deal of mysteries and get a chance to see the 11th Doctor in a fully actualized way. He finally resolves his relationship with River Song (maybe?) and we discover that he does, indeed, have feelings for her during their last (maybe?) goodbye. Of course, it also manages to raise more questions about the 11th Doctor. Afterall, what is Trenzalore? What will happen when Silence Falls? And of course, we find out exactly how Clara Oswald ends up in his life. Mystery solved! The impossible girl is suddenly possible.
5. The Lodger (S5E11)
“I can stay?” – The Doctor
“Yeah, you’re weird and you can cook. It’s good enough for me” – Craig
This episode is where we meet one of the best companions in all of Doctor Who: Craig Owens. Why Craig? Because Craig is so terribly ordinary. He’s just a totally average guy who happens to have a strange encounter with an alien from Gallifrey…and watching the two of them interact is hilarious.
We also get to see Eleven try out being human. He tries playing football, having roommates, getting a job, and cooking…all of which he does in his own totally strange way. Seeing him fake being a human being shows the audience exactly what the Doctor thinks of all of us. And (of course) he manages to save the day from aliens. But seeing him interact with a person who is not totally entranced with him is incredibly fun.
4. Nightmare in Silver (S7E12)
“Your move! But before you take it, just so you know, sacrificing my queen was the best possible move I could’ve made. The Time Lords invented chess. It’s our game. And if you don’t avoid my trap, it gives me mate in three moves” – The Doctor
“Nightmare in Silver” (another Neil Gaiman-penned episode) shows a rather nuanced view of the 11th Doctor. We get to see a chess battle between The Doctor and the Cybermen, and it’s the first time in a long time that the Cybermen have actually seemed like a terrifying force. And we get to see The 11th Doctor play mental circles around the Cybermen. And of course, the Doctor lies. It is also fun to see Eleven interact with one of his oldest villains, especially given that the Cybermen are far more sophisticated in this episode than in former incarnations.
3. The Eleventh Hour (S5E1)
“’Course you’re not! You’re not afraid of anything. Box falls out of the sky, man falls out of box, man eats fish custard. And look at you, just sitting there. So you know what I think” – The Doctor
“What?” – Amy
“Must be a hell of a scary crack in your wall” – The Doctor
The day The 11th Doctor crashed into the yard of a strange little red head who is just concerned about a scary crack in her wall and it changed both of their worlds forever. And so begins the relationship between the 11th Doctor and Amelia Pond. The two would grow to be best friends. She becomes the girl who waited and she waits for Eleven after he disappears. Finally they are reunited when she is an adult…and the rest is history!
2.Closing Time (S6E12)
“What are you doing here anyway?” – Craig
“Yes, he likes that, Alfie. Though personally he prefers to be called Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All” – The Doctor
“Sorry, what?” – Craig
“That’s what he calls himself” – The Doctor
“Closing Time” marks Eleven’s second encounter with Craig. He is in the process of saying goodbye to all of his former friends, companions, and allies, and so he ends up at Craig Owens house. Some time has gone by and Craig has been left alone with his baby. Seeing Eleven and Craig interact with baby Alfie (aka Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All) is hilarious. It is also a nice reminder that the Doctor is, himself, a father and a grandfather. Eleven helps babysit in the way only he could. This is also the episode that reminds us exactly why The Doctor felt bonded to Craig. Craig shows himself to be full of compassion, kindness, and intense bravery. The Doctor may care about saving the universe, but the most important thing to Craig is his family.
1. The Power of Three (S7E4)
“So that was the year of the slow invasion. When the Earth got cubed and the Doctor came to stay. It was also when we realized something the Sharki never understood. What cubed really means. The Power of Three” – Amy
The Power of Three. The year The Doctor came to stay. With Craig, The Doctor got to play at being human. In this episode he has to settle down for the slow invasion. Seeing him get cabin fever in less than a few days is delightful. How would you feel standing still if you could fly throughout time and space? Probably pretty cramped. But finally he relaxes. Eleven begins to experience Amy and Rory in their natural settings. He is shocked to discover that Rory and Amy have jobs and entire lives outside of him. He never understood exactly why Amy and Rory would want to stay. And then he begins to understand…and in understanding he begins to truly appreciate them. It is in this moment that Amy and the Doctor can truly be best friends. The power of three hearts.