Season 7b discussion - SPOILERS

There are a lot of small discussions going on in our community now that 7b is wrapped up. It makes sense to give us a space to speak not simply to individual episodes, but the arc as a whole. This is why I am including Asylum in the arc as really what we are talking about is not simply post Pond Whoverse, but the Clara arc.

synopses from

226 “Asylum of the Daleks”
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are kidnapped by the Daleks, who explain that a planet they use as an asylum for mad Daleks must be destroyed, but to do that its force-field must be disabled. The field has already been ruptured due to the crash-landing of a precocious young woman, Oswin Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) one year previously. The Daleks provide the three with bracelets to protect them against the planet’s defense system. Although they are guided by Oswin, who has hacked into the planet’s systems, the converted remains of Oswin’s crew steal Amy’s bracelet. The Doctor discovers that Oswin has herself been fully converted into a Dalek, yet she still believes herself to be human. She ultimately realises the truth of her situation, but lowers the force-field and the Doctor, Amy, and Rory escape via teleporter before the planet is destroyed by Daleks. The Doctor returns to the Dalek Parliament to find they have no memory of him due to Oswin’s interference.

231 “The Snowmen”
The episode is set in the Victorian era and sees the Doctor brooding with the assistance of Silurian Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny Flint and Sontaran Strax, after the loss of companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams in the previous episode, “The Angels Take Manhattan”. He is forced out of hiding to investigate mysterious, sentient snowmen that are building themselves and meets Clara Oswald, a governess also investigating the snowmen. They discover that the snowmen are being animated by the Great Intelligence with the help of a man named Dr Simeon.

232 “The Bells of Saint John”
The Doctor manages to find another version of Clara in the present day, where Miss Kizlet (Celia Imrie) is unleashing “Spoonheads” into the Wi-Fi to upload people’s souls to a datacloud, claiming to be preserving humanity on behalf of her mysterious client. The Doctor saves Clara from this fate and tricks Miss Kizlet and her employees at The Shard to returning all the souls back to their bodies. It is revealed to the audience that the Great Intelligence (using Walter Simeon’s image) had been behind the scheme to grow stronger by feeding on the souls; he erases all memory of working for him from the employees’ minds, effectively making them innocent of any wrong-doing. The Doctor invites Clara to be his companion, but she requests that he come back the next day; she wants time to think about it.

233 “The Rings of Akhaten”
The Doctor investigates Clara’s past, finding nothing unusual but discovering that her mother died when she was young. Returning to Clara, she requests that she be taken to see “something awesome”. The Doctor takes her to the Rings of Akhaten, planets orbiting a large planet where the local religion believes life began. The society’s currency is items of sentimental value. Clara runs into a young girl named Merry Gejelh (Emilia Jones), who is about to be sacrificed in the Festival of Offerings, which is to appease the Old God. The Doctor and Clara save Merry and discover that the Old God is really a parasite of memories and sentiment that lives inside the large planet. Clara offers it her treasured leaf that caused her parents to meet, and as she points out that there are infinite possibilities to every choice, she defeats the parasite.

234 “Cold War”
The TARDIS lands in a Russian submarine in 1983 and takes off without them. To the Doctor’s surprise, he finds an Ice Warrior, the famed Grand Marshal Skaldak, who had been thawed out of the ice after 5000 years. However, Captain Zhukov is distrustful of both the Doctor and Clara and has Skaldak chained up to prevent further damage to the submarine. Skaldak now considers that humanity as a whole has declared war on the Ice Warriors. The Doctor tries to convince Skaldak that he and Clara are peaceful; however, when Skaldak believes no other Ice Warriors are left, he commits the greatest act of dishonour and exits his armour to begin forensic analysis of human bodies. Skaldak tricks Lieutenant Stepashin into revealing the circumstances of the Cold War, and prepares to start an alternate timeline by firing off a single nuclear missile. However, Clara manages to convince him that it would be wrong to end innocent lives, just as an Ice Warrior ship arrives and retrieves Skaldak.

235 “Hide”
Thinking empathic psychic Emma Grayling may be able to shed some light on Clara’s unique existence, the Doctor goes to 1974, where Emma and her future husband Prof. Alec Palmer are investigating a ghost known as the Witch of the Well. The Doctor borrows Alec’s camera and uses the TARDIS to take pictures of the mansion’s location throughout time. Thanks to this, the Doctor learns it’s not a ghost in the pictures, but a time traveler named Hila Tukurian who got stuck in a pocket dimension; she’s running from a hideous creature. The Doctor quickly constructs a device that amplifies Emma’s psychic abilities, allowing him to create a portal to the pocket dimension. However, Emma cannot keep the portal open long enough for the Doctor to escape. Clara manages to persuade the TARDIS to briefly fly through and collect the Doctor, who hangs on to the exterior and is dragged back to reality. Emma feels a strange connection with Hila; the Doctor explains she’s a descendant of Emma and Alec. However, while rambling on about love, the Doctor realises another creature was inside the mansion and its mate was the creature in the pocket dimension; he quickly returns to save it.

236 “Journey to the Centre of the T.A.R.D.I.S.”
The TARDIS is picked up by an intergalactic salvage crew, accidentally knocking Clara into the depths of the TARDIS. Needing help to rescue her, the Doctor promises the Van Baalen brothers (Ashley Walters), (Mark Oliver), (Jahvel Hall) the salvage of a lifetime. To ensure cooperation, the Doctor locks everyone in and sets the self-destruct to go off in 30 minutes. In the meantime, Clara has been running from a molten creature and discovers the TARDIS library, where she finds The History of the Last Great Time War and sees something surprising in it. Reunited, everyone races to the engine room, and the Doctor reveals the molten zombies are echoes of their future selves; they were reduced to that state by staying too long in the room housing the Eye of Harmony. The Doctor and Clara arrive in the engine room, where he confronts her about her other lives; Clara honestly has no clue about her other lives, making the Doctor happy to know she’s not the one responsible. Clara asks the Doctor why he goes by that name, having seen his true name in the book; however, the Doctor tells her it’s something that must never be said. Creating a device to rewrite the moment the TARDIS was assaulted by the Van Baalens’ ship, the Doctor uses a time fissure to pass to his past self; using it sends the TARDIS to a different location just as the Van Baalens’ detected it.

237 “The Crimson Horror”
n 1893, Silurian Madame Vastra, her human wife Jenny Flint, and their Sontaran butler Strax investigate “The Crimson Horror”, a mysterious cause of death in which victims are found with red skin. Superstition states that the retina retains the image last seen by the person (an “optogram”), and they are shocked to find that the latest victim had seen the Doctor. They travel to Yorkshire, where Jenny infiltrates Sweetville, a community led by Mrs Gillyflower and the rarely seen Mr Sweet. Mrs Gillyflower preaches about the coming apocalypse to encourage people to come, using her blind daughter Ada being beaten by her late husband as an example of their doomed society.

238 “Nightmare in Silver”
The Doctor decides to take the children to Hedgewick’s World Of Wonders; however, it has long been abandoned since the Cyber-wars. Seeing strange insects, the Doctor decides to stay. Cybermites, the upgraded versions of Cybermats, graft a cybernetic piece to the Doctor’s head, giving him a split personality, Mr. Clever, the Cyber-Planner; they agree to play chess to win complete dominance over their shared mind. In the meantime, the Cybermen, now faster and sleeker than ever, capture Artie and Angie, putting them under their mind control. Mr. Clever makes the Doctor sacrifice his queen piece to free the children. The Doctor makes a half-bluff, saying he can win in three moves: getting a neural shock device, amplifying it with the sonic screwdriver, and frying the headpiece. Now free, the Doctor quickly sees there’s no way to stop the Cybermen unless they blow up the planet; Porridge, someone who worked with Wibbly to con customers, is revealed to be the missing Emperor by Angie. Porridge voice-activates a bomb, getting everyone and the TARDIS teleported to an imperial ship. Clara rejects an offer of marriage from Porridge and the Doctor returns everyone home. The TARDIS also gifts Angie with a new mobile as hers was still on the planet.

239 “The Name of the Doctor”
Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax are captured by the Whisper Men and brought to Trenzalore. The Doctor knows that this is the one place he must never go, but determines to rescue his friends. The Great Intelligence plots to open the Doctor’s tomb using his name, and corrupt his personal timeline. The mystery of Clara Oswald is finally solved, leading to the discovery of the Doctor’s own secret.