I didn’t understand much of anything that happened in the Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor, Matt Smith’s final episode as Dr. Who. I didn’t understand the story, I didn’t understand why he was carrying around a Cyberman head, I didn’t understand why the crack was back, I didn’t understand why there was a town called Christmas or why The Doctor was stuck there, I didn’t understand where the Church of the Holy Whatever with the soldiers came from, nothing, zip, zilch. It seemed like a completely random jumble of people, places, and concepts. Was any of that in the last half-season anywhere? I sure don’t remember it. I guess I wasn’t paying nearly enough attention.
Also I’m a little confused over how they calculated this to be Dr. Who’s thirteenth regeneration. By my count* it was his twelfth, counting John Hurt between 8 and 9, unless there’s another one in the lore that I don’t know about, which is entirely possible. I was a bit surprised to see them deal with his limited number of regenerations at all. Of course they resolved it in typical Dr. Who problem-solving fashion, which basically involves hand-waving and magic, but at least they acknowledged it instead of just ignoring it.
The best (and frankly the only meaningful) part of the episode was the touching farewell in the last five minutes or so. I’ve never particularly liked Matt Smith as the Doctor but it was still sad to see him go. It was a nice touch to bring back young Amy and older Amy for a moment.
I couldn’t tell what we’re going to get with Peter Capaldi since we only saw him as The Doctor for about five seconds. I’m hoping for a bit more gravitas, though. (Also, it seems like he should consider not regenerating on the TARDIS – this will be the third time in a row that he crashes the thing after regenerating.)
* 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, 5-6, 6-7, 7-8, 8-W, W-9, 9-10, 10-11, 11-12 = twelve regenerations, right?