Ok, to elaborate a bit more on my wordless reaction post/gif earlier.
I liked the episode in itself well enough. The Classic stuff was AMAZING. (I saw .3 seconds of Eight!) I like the Victorian team well enough, and it was nice to see more of the actual emotional connection between Vastra and Jenny. The dream time travel was an interesting touch.
It was nice to see River get a proper goodbye, and I was actually moved by that scene - despite in general being somewhat disturbed by their relationship, and angry with how the Doctor treats her. In that scene, I suddenly really believed he cared for her. I haven’t really earlier.
Richard E Grant is still the amazingest ever, and it’s great to watch him and his cheese. Matt’s acting is superb as always. It’s also nice to have Clara get some answers, and make some choices while more or less fully informed.
Now… Clara getting written into every moment of Doctor history ever, is…. Ehhhhhhhhh. Narratively interesting. On a meta level, however, it just strikes me as Moffat wanting to put his sticky fingers into ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, like being control of Eleven isn’t enough for him, he needs to have a hand in absolutely everything, when Who has always been a collaborative effort. It just feels ARROGANT and appropriating. And thus it rubs me entirely the wrong way. Especially the idea of being there when One runs away (though I appreciated a look at the blank TARDISes).
Same goes a bit for the Doctor’s grave. It’s… It makes sense. Yet it’s one of the great unknowns that I’d prefer had stayed unknown. But ok, fine. Auuughh, the TARDIS though, the poor TARDIS, still there, slowly dying. Augh. (Though the placement of his timeline thing makes perfect sense - of course it would be there in the TARDIS, the place he’s most connected to.)
It also had that underwhelming feeling you get when you build up to something so intensely for three seasons and can’t possibly live up to it.
And then… You know what? I like the idea of describing your chosen name as promise, and having the Time War him break the promise. The problem I’m having here is the casting. WHY oh WHY would you do a different Doctor when Paul McGann has said he’d like to do it?
McGann has always been the Doctor who went through the war. And apparently Moffat asked Eccleston and he declined, so the part was made for John Hurt instead? But WHY? That makes no sense! Nine was newly regenerated when he met Rose. It’d be Eight. Was McGann even asked?
So yeah. The plot itself? Great. I’d be positively giddy at the thought of seeing Time War Eight, having been driven to such extremes, after he breaks the promise. But this? Having Eight be denied his role in the war? It’s disrespectful and painful and terrible. It offends me to my core. Eight being my favourite might be related to this, but even if he wasn’t.
When I watch the 50th, I will probably try to completely block out any such thoughts and just focus on Ten running around and bickering with Eleven. Hrm.