[Oh, SPOILERS like you wouldn't believe (Sweetie). It's two days before I get to have a drink with the only other surviving Whovian in the group and I got to get this stuff out so here we are.]
Good few years since we've had one of these isn't it? A Doctor Who season finale with a happy ending, I mean. No one's dead, everyone gets out with their minds and souls more or less intact (yeah, the Doctor is lying about forgetting Clara, I'm certain).
And what a happy ending! I love that Clara and Lady Me get to swan off in their very own TARDIS to have adventures. This is the first time since Rose (arguably since Romana) that it felt like a companion has “graduated” to become their own sort of hero. Tumblr has already named them The Immortal Space Girlfriends. I expect epic fan fiction within the week and a Big Finish box set announced within a year (please, please, please...).
And speaking of Clara: that moment in the cloisters when she finds out how long the Doctor was trapped in the confession dial. You can see it in her eyes, she's ready to burn Gallifrey to the ground for what the Time Lords did to him.
Yay! Canon acknowledgement that Rassilon is actually the Rassilon and not just some schmuck using the name. (I have this head canon that the Kro'Ka is somewhere on Gallifrey during the Time War and is definitely piloting the shuttle when Rassilon goes into exile here). Oh, and I like this new Rassilon, pity there was no chance to have him meet Lady Me.
Lady Me got a “Winter Is Coming” joke. Cheeky Moff. Whilst we're on the subject, as good as she is in the show I'm starting to think that Maisie Williams is a little bit wasted on Game Of Thrones.
Speaking of the Moff writing cheeky women, that moment when the Sisterhood of Karn just wandering into the High Concil chamber and Ohila very nearly literally says “We heard the Doctor's come back, we brought popcorn and we're going to watch him fuck your shit up” was glorious. For the venomous looks between Ohila and Rassilon alone I almost want to accept that whole Other / Pythia business from the New Adventures since the context makes it all the sweeter. “Hey, Rass, remember when you exiled us for being too superstitious? Well, now we're going to sit back and watch your precious rationalist civilisation burn to ashes!”.
The General's regeneration. It doesn't get more undeniable than this: on screen, right in front of us we see a Time Lord change gender and ethnicity. Not off-screen like the Master or a joking aside like the Corsair, right in front of us. Plus an off-hand mention that that body (the General's tenth or eleventh, a line from The Five Doctors of all things makes it questionable) was their only male one. So, yeah, the sinister Moffat agenda to one day give us a Doctor who is something other than a white male has reached it's logical endgame (since it is very, very unlikely that he will be part of casting the part a third time). Plus, they emerge from their regeneration with eyeliner and without all that post-regenerative fannying about the series insists on for the Doctor. If there's one part of this masterplan I want more than a female Doctor or a Doctor of colour it is DROPPING THAT POST-REGENERATIVE TRAUMA BULLSHIT FOREVERMORE!
Shabogans. I don't care what anyone says, those people are the barn are Outsiders and we still don't actually know what the Shabogans are outside of Terrance Dicks being a bit classist in The Eight Doctors.
Anyone else read that line about the President's daughter to mean Susan and that the Doctor's son/daughter was Lord President?
My reaction to Clara's survival was, I shit ye not, “Well, now Jane Austen doesn't have to mourn her.”. Jane should definitely be at least a semi-regular in the Immortal Space Girlfriends audios. Rigsy, too.
The Cloister Wraiths were such a fantastically creepy thing. I'd love to see (or hear) them make another appearance down the line.
New sonic screwdriver. I'll admit, I never hated the sonic sunglasses but I will always prefer the screwdriver out of sheer, unbridled nostalgia and fannishness.
I love the acknowledgement that some day Clara will return to Trap Street to die and she isn't scared. That was a wonderful note to end things on. Ditto Lady Me's description of the death of stars as both sad and beautiful.
Better yet, the acknowledgement that what was done to Donna Noble was a horrifically immoral act that stripped away her consent and materially killed the person she was? That I have been waiting for ever since it happened. It was one thing with Jamie and Zoe when that was done without their consent by the uncaring technocrat Time Lords but to see the Doctor rob his best friend of her very sense of self was... awful in a way I don't think anyone making it really considered. To have the show express that after so long was a genuinely moving moment for me.
Aside from Christmas specials this is it until 2017 and it is a fantastic note to leave “proper” Doctor Who on. I honestly think this is my favourite Moffat finale and possibly the best of the series as I'm aware my feelings about Rose's departure are still complex and perhaps not entirely tied to the story's actual quality.