There’s this interesting thread right now on Reddit’s /r/gallifrey subreddit where we were asked to rank all the Doctor Who series finales since 2010. Check out the discussion, it’s great. I haven’t contributed to the thread myself because I needed time to collect my thoughts on the series finales. Also, I haven’t seen most of the episodes in ages.
Now that I’ve had time to think about it, here’s what I thought of all the Doctor Who series finales. Of course, if you’re not caught up with Doctor Who, I’ll have to warn you: THERE ARE SPOILERS.
Here are the Doctor Who series finales, ranked from best to worst:
- Face The Raven/Heaven Sent/Hell Bent – I still can’t get over how perfect this three-part finale was. We’ve seen the Doctor put through the gauntlet lots of times in the revived series, but never on this level – losing a companion, and before he can even process Clara dying, he was suddenly kept prisoner for billions of years, dying over and over again until he manages to punch through a wall of material harder than diamond. Let’s not even forget that he manages to overthrow the Lord President of Gallifrey and subsequently escape by stealing a TARDIS all over again. Of course, having Clara wiped from his memory is another level of heartbreaking as well. This trilogy is an absolute masterpiece.
- The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang – Man, wasn’t Moffat bristling with ideas here? He managed to stretch a single Dalek chase into the bulk of an episode, and somehow this story with just the main cast and shot mostly in a single location turns into one of the most epic endings in all of Who. This is still, well, now demoted to my second-favorite series (mainly because series 9 is just so strong), and this finale is one of the biggest reasons why.
- Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways – The game show parodies from the Bad Wolf did not age well, to be honest. Thank goodness we just have the Daleks in full force, totally brutal, and forcing Eccleston’s Doctor, fresh off the trauma of the Time War, to confront his actions and reaffirm that he’d rather be a coward, anytime. Such a satisfying ending, and we still have one of the best regenerations ever.
- Dark Water/Death in Heaven – In many ways, this finale suffers from the same excesses that plagued Moffat’s writing from the latter part of Matt Smith’s run – it was bloated and full of ideas that were never fully explored, but I really enjoyed the exploration of death and Peter Capaldi’s attempts to steer the Doctor into a more stripped-down direction. Plus, Missy elevates these episodes so, so, so, much.
- The Name of the Doctor – We probably could’ve gotten more out of it if Matt Smith did not injure his leg, but I enjoyed this. Sure, I felt that the Clara reveal could have been better, but the montage of her echoes encountering the different Doctors was well-done. My biggest complaint is that it served as a lead-up to The Day of the Doctor, which hurt the episode as a series finale. But hey, we got the War Doctor reveal, which gave me shivers.
- Utopia/The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords – The harrowing Master trilogy of series 3 was great. I loved everything about this – yes, especially Martha, who I feel has received undeserved hatred from the fandom – right until the Super Saiyan Jesus Doctor part. David Tennant’s 10th Doctor giving his forgiveness to the Master was a great idea. Too bad we had to see the entire world praying to him for it to happen.
- The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End – I would rank this higher due to Donna’s exit, which is the most heartbreaking exit ever. But I felt that the whole premise of the finale was hokey, Tennant’s fake regeneration was a cop-out, and Daleks as the big baddie of the series has finally worn out its welcome at this point. Thank goodness Doctor-Donna and all the fun she brought really made up for it.
- Army of Ghosts/Doomsday – I did not like Rose at all. She’s probably my least favorite New Who companion. But boy did they give her an exit. This is RTD at the top of his game in hurting our feelings, giving us the second-best heartbreaking companion exit of his run. Too bad her exit was the only memorable thing about this finale.
- The Wedding of River Song – Setting up the whole finale in an alternate universe, for me, really took away all the urgency it was trying to establish. If there was one episode that deserved to be a two-parter for it to fully explore the ideas it presented, it would be this one. It felt rushed and haphazard, and the actual wedding did not feel like it carried real weight – so the Doctor wed River so she’d stop being a petulant child and save the universe? I did not enjoy thinking about that. But hey, the Tessalecta twist was great. I honestly never saw that one coming.
So that’s what I thought of all the Doctor Who series finales so far. Do you agree with my rankings? Let’s talk about it in the comments!