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Recap / Doctor Who S33 E13 "The Name of the Doctor"

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"Welcome to the final resting place of the cruel tyrant. Of the slaughterer of the ten billion and the vessel of the final darkness. Welcome to the tomb of the Doctor!"
The Great Intelligence

The one that permanently broke the numbering system.

Written by Steven Moffat.

Prequel: "She Said, He Said". Clara and the Doctor tell the viewer about how mysterious they find one another, and how they discovered one another's true identity when they went to the fields of Trenzalore... Watch it on YouTube.


Clara's scattered across time and space, from Gallifrey to Earth, seeing the Doctor — all Doctors — move around her. She confronts the First Doctor and Susan when they're about to steal the TARDIS, spots the Sixth while he walks past her, tries to get the attention of the Third as he's driving by in Bessie, follows the Fourth as he's walking through corridors on Gallifrey, rushes after the Second while he's having an adventure with the Eighth, watches the Fifth as he's trapped inside the Matrix, tries to rescue the Seventh while he's dangling from a cliff on Ice World, watches the Tenth Doctor in the Library, and confronts the Eleventh when he's temporarily retiring in 19th century London. None of them, except the First and the Eleventh, ever properly notice her.

Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax (who's spending the weekend in Glasgow because... he just really likes Glasgow) arrange a dreamscape séance across space and time, conferring about the danger the Doctor is in — something is intruding into his reality and will require the secret he'd take to his grave, on the fields of Trenzalore. Also attending the "conference" are Clara (summoned to the dreamscape through a soporific-coated letter sent many years before her time by Vastra) and River Song. More precisely, River Song's Virtual Ghost, still living on as a fragment of memory in the Library. As Clara and River meet for the first time, Jenny realises with horror that she left the door open back in reality, and promptly gets herself almost killed by the once again assumed physical body of the Great Intelligence (still Richard E. Grant!) and his legion of "Whispermen".

Clara breaks free of the trance and finds the Doctor stumbling blindfolded through her house, trying to babysit Angie and Artie, who have in fact tricked him and gone to the cinema. As soon as she mentions the séance and Trenzalore, the Doctor properly breaks down and begins to silently cry. He explains that the Exact Words meant that it's not his secret that is at Trenzalore, but his grave. The TARDIS is just as reluctant as the Doctor is to go there, and with good reason: not just because it's really bad for the web of time to do that sort of thing, but also because it's her grave as well. The TARDIS is so reluctant to go to Trenzalore that she tries to blow herself up to avoid landing there. The Doctor shuts her down completely and forces her to fall down onto the planet... the fall of the Eleventh.

The TARDIS' future self stands as a giant atop the catacombs, Not Quite Dead, with her dimensional transcendence having spilled out to her exterior. The fields of Trenzalore have merged with her body and show her memories as gravestones, and her tunnels reach down far underneath the ground. River, who's kept her psychic connection to Clara from the séance open, joins them there as a spectre — appearing real to Clara, but unseen by the Doctor.

As Clara and the Doctor navigate through the underground catacombs, she quite violently remembers the Doctor telling her how she dies, twice. The Doctor notes that it's really not the appropriate moment to have that conversation, especially since she shouldn't even logically have memories of it. Once they reach the centre of the tomb, the Great Intelligence is waiting for them, along with Vastra, Strax and Jenny (who was saved from the brink of death by Strax).

The Great Intelligence reveals that Trenzalore is where the Doctor died, during a minor skirmish that was nothing compared to any of his other battles — but it was enough to finally kill him permanently. Both the Great Intelligence and the Doctor know that only his name can open the tomb, but the Doctor refuses to say it, even when the Whispermen are about to murder his friends. It's River who does eventually say it, unheard by anyone. The tomb opens and reveals the Doctor's corpse in the very core of the decaying TARDIS — a mass of light representing every scar the Doctor ever left in the web of time with his travels. The Great Intelligence steps inside it, and begins to work his way through the Doctor's life, erasing the Doctor's actions throughout time and space. Soon enough, the stars start going out. Jenny vanishes (to Vastra's great distress) since she was never saved by the Doctor, and Strax, who never bettered his life, becomes a more unhinged Sontaran than we've seen, and begins to attack Vastra, forcing her to vaporize him. Clara realizes what she has to do in order to save reality and follows the Great Intelligence inside, scattering herself across time and space along with him. Everywhere the Great Intelligence tried to stop the Doctor, a reborn version of Clara would be there, native to that time period, to preserve the timeline. Like River, she'd be nothing more than a copy, but she'd have a chance to keep reality safe.

Jenny and Strax are restored almost immediately, and the stars come back on cue, but the Doctor can't cope well with losing his companion. He confronts River (whom he can see just fine — he could always see her just fine). River asks him why he never sought her out after he preserved her memory at the Library, and he explains that it would simply hurt him too much. After a tremendously Big Damn Kiss instigated by the Doctor for once (since nobody else in this room could see River, God knows how that looked), the Doctor finally, for the first time, bids River a proper goodbye. Not a farewell, just a goodbye. He jumps into his own mess of tangled time scars after Clara.

Clara's going absolutely insane from seeing all Doctors run around her in the surreal, barren mindscape in which her final "real" consciousness ends up. The Doctor rushes towards her and clings to her, and all is well again...

Until they see the unbelievable: there is another individual among the previous ten Doctors that have been seen in action. Unlike the rest of the echoes of the Doctor, this one is standing eerily still, with his body cloaked in shadows and his head slouched downward in a position of regret. And the Doctor is terrified of him.

The Doctor tries to urge Clara to leave his timestream and not question the origins of the figure in front of them, desperately masking that person's identity. But she's already seen the one thing no one should have ever had access to inside the Doctor's memories. His biggest secret isn't his name, it's him (played by Sir John Hurt). A incarnation who committed an act so horrifying, he had to give up the name of "the Doctor".



  • '80s Hair: Strax and Clara both comment on River's enormous hair. Sontarans being hairless, Strax calls her the one with the "gigantic head". Certain versions of Clara also show hairstyles comparable to past companions', some in the '70s others in the '80s.
  • All There in the Manual: The Doctor's Lives and Times, a book comprised of documents written by and about the Doctor and released as part of the 50th anniversary, tied into this episode by photoshopping Clara into various photos. One even shows her as a Movellan.
  • And Another Thing...: River does this when revealing that Clara couldn't possibly be dead.
    River: Oh, there's one more thing.
    The Doctor: Isn't there always?
  • Arc Words:
    • "Trenzalore" goes back as far as "The Wedding of River Song".
    • "Run you clever boy, and remember [me]." Caused by Clara saying this before jumping into the time stream. Also "soufflé girl".
    • "Doctor Who!?"
    • "I don't know where I am!"
  • Apocalypse How: By undoing every bit of good the Doctor has ever done, the Great Intelligence dooms the universe, and one by one the stars go out.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Great Intelligence invades the Doctor's timeline to destroy every good thing he ever did. Clara follows suit, spreading into her various incarnations across his timeline. The Doctor jumps right in after them so he can pull Clara out once her job's done, but it seems the Intelligence is left behind to ascend.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: While it later turns out there's actually a rather simple explanation for the gigantic size of the Doctor's tomb, nonetheless, it's in keeping in with his earlier comments that the size of the gravestones on Trenzalore is indicative of someone's position and rank. Presumably the people that erected the graves felt it somewhat fitting that the Doctor's tomb should tower over them all!
  • Author Appeal: Steven Moffat really likes John Hurt.
  • Bar Brawl: Strax's idea of a weekend off is to tear a pub apart with a Violent Glaswegian. he's on a First-Name Basis with.
  • Batman Gambit: The Great Intelligence is banking on the fact that the Doctor's friends mean so much to him that he will visit his own grave to save them.
  • Big Bad: The Great Intelligence.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Between the Doctor and River.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Averted with the Doctor's tomb, the wrecked TARDIS. Apparently as TARDISes die, "size leaking" occurs, causing the exterior size to match the inside.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Clara is repeatedly referred to as being "blown" into this world. Guess what "soufflé" means in French?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Clarence first recites the "Whispermen" poem, when he reaches the line "and looks at you" he looks directly into the camera. The character is revealed to be facing a wall in the next shot, so it's not as if he's addressing anyone in front of him.
  • Bridal Carry: The Doctor gives one to Clara after she passes out from the exhaustion of travelling through his time stream.
  • Bury Your Gays: It looks twice like this has happened to Jenny, but it's subverted when she gets revived from both deaths and is still alive at the end of the episode.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returning characters for the last episode in the series include River Song, Madame Vastra, Strax, Jenny Flint, the Great Intelligence, all the previous Doctors, the planet Gallifrey and Bessie the car. Bessie in particular hasn't been seen on screen since 1989.
  • But Thou Must!: The letter sent to Clara by Vastra tells her to use the soporific candle that comes with it, but then tells her the letter is laced with the soporific anyway.
  • Call-Back: Several previous events are discussed:
  • Captain Obvious: "The Doctor will take his biggest secret to his grave."
    Clara: What is it? What's his biggest secret?
    Jenny: We don't know. It's a secret.
  • Celebrity Paradox: John Hurt exists as an actor in the Whoniverse, his role in Alien being briefly mentioned in Torchwood.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: This isn't the first time the leaf was a plot point. It's still the most important leaf in human history.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Strax: Madame, boys, combat formation; they are unarmed.
    Jenny: So are we!
    Strax: Do not divulge our military secrets!
  • Comical Overreacting: Strax, upon waking up in an unknown place.
    Strax: This base is surrounded! Lay down your weapons and your deaths will be merciful! This planet is now property of the Sontaran Empire! Surrender your women and intellectuals!
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The episode references multiple previous episodes in single scenes and lines.
  • Continuity Nod: A few background references are made to individual previous events.
  • Continuity Snarl: Did the Doctor steal that particular TARDIS because she was the one that was unlocked, or because Clara told him to? Given the Great Intelligence's temporal meddling, this snarl is one in-universe. It may be that the Doctor originally picked the correct TARDIS, but the Great Intelligence locked her doors, nearly forcing the Doctor to pick another, until Clara stepped in. She pointed him to the one TARDIS in the vault that happened to have her security mechanisms disabled, saving him the time he'd have needed to get in the one operational. Presumably, this meant the difference between successfully fleeing the planet and getting caught.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Vastra sent Clara a letter containing a candle that would release a special soporific when burned (which stays potent for over 100 years) so she could participate in the conference call. Knowing that Clara wouldn't light it, she also coated the letter itself with the soporific. Makes one wonder why she bothered sending the candle in the first place.
  • Creepy Cemetery: The decrepit, overgrown graveyard on Trenzalore where the Whispermen take the Doctor's friends.
  • Dead All Along: River is talking from the Library.
    River: Yeah, probably should have mentioned that. Never the right time.
  • Death Glare: When Clara reveals that the Doctor never mentioned that he'd been married to River, or even that River was a woman, River gives a glare that cuts across time and space that just screams how, if the Doctor were present, she would kill him. Again.
  • Death Seeker: The Great Intelligence, as implied through several of its lines.
  • Disney Death: Jenny dies having her heart stopped by the Whispermen, only for Strax to easily jumpstart it again and save her.
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    • The Doctor tries to dissuade the Great Intelligence from entering the Negative Space Wedgie by telling him that it will destroy him. The Great Intelligence counters that it will outright kill him, but it will also destroy the Doctor.
    • When Clara and the Doctor confront his hidden incarnation, the Doctor confirms that yes, the man is him, but no, that man is not the Doctor due to having committed an act so horrific that he is not allowed to use the name.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending: After the DVDs accidentally got released to about 200 American online consumers a week before the episode was broadcast, The BBC said this. Moffat, as an incentive for those so blessed to not reveal any secrets, promised that he would release an exclusive video with Matt Smith and David Tennant if the reveal went unspoiled until after the episode was broadcast. The fans behaved. Even TV Tropes got in on the action by posting a message at the top of this page:
    NOTE: Some warehouse in America goofed and shipped the Season 7b DVD set early. We are aware of this and ask any lucky tropers not to add any spoilers from the DVD set! per the BBC's appeal to the internet.
  • Dramatic Unmask: The Great Intelligence pulls off his face, revealing that there's nothing beneath.
  • Double Meaning:
    Strax: The heart is a relatively simple thing.
    Vastra: [cradling Jenny] I have not found it to be so.
  • Exact Words:
    • As the Doctor explains: the Matt Smith incarnation is the Eleventh Doctor. The John Hurt incarnation has lost all right to that name.
    • Lampshaded by the Doctor when he berates Clara for not getting what the killer at the start was saying, when he said "There is one secret the Doctor will take to the grave... it is discovered." As in, the grave.
    • The title is an example as well: It doesn't refer to the Doctor's name, as many expected, but rather to the name "The Doctor" and what it means to use it.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Clara has heard a bit about River from the Doctor before the séance, but thought that Professor Song was male. It's possible she had no idea about River and the Doctor's relationship (as implied later in the episode when she expresses surprise at learning the Doctor and River were married) and assumed "Professor Song" was just a professor the Doctor knew.
  • Expy: The Whispermen were obviously inspired by Slenderman.
  • Eyeless Face: The Whispermen only have mouths on their otherwise featureless, creepy faces.
  • Fake Shemp: Previous Doctors are portrayed through a mix of stock footage and barely-glimpsed body doubles in their Iconic Outfit.
  • Fantastic Racism: As the universe crumbles, Strax tries to kill Vastra, as when the Doctor's life begins to be unwritten, he loses the Character Development that the Doctor provoked.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Great Intelligence doesn't plan to just kill the Doctor, though that is going to happen. Instead, the plan is to systemically undo every last bit of good he's ever done throughout his lifetime by rewriting his victories into defeats.
  • Food Slap: River makes Strax wake up from the séance by tossing the contents of her champagne glass in his face.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The prequel is implied to be set after the events of the main episode, making "The Name of the Doctor" a flashback to events that have already occurred.
    • As the Doctor himself admits, at some point in the future he will die and be entombed on Trenzalore. It's implied that the TARDIS will likewise not survive this final battle.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Great Intelligence mentions the Valeyard. This is the first clue that the tomb at Trenzalore isn't Eleven's final fate - if it were, the Valeyard would never come to pass.
    • Back in "The Beast Below", the Eleventh Doctor stated that if he killed the Star Whale, he'd no longer be able to call himself the Doctor. Hinting at a regeneration who gave up the name of the Doctor for a similar act.
    • In "Hide", Clara asks the Doctor if everyone he meets is just a ghost to him, since everyone's already dead from his perspective as a time traveler. His reluctance to answer in that episode was because of her impossible nature, but as this episode reveals, not in the least because he sees himself as a ghost as well for that reason.
    • The Doctor says he always imagined himself retiring one day, and taking up something like watercolours or beekeeping. Or perhaps becoming a museum curator?
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: All the past Doctors show up, but Eight only appears for a split-second before Two at the very beginning, and Ten is watched by Clara at the Library. Apparently, this brief sequence is inexplicably omitted from the iTunes version of the episode, though audio of that Doctor is still heard elsewhere in the episode, at least.
    • Also, while the room is spinning just before Jenny and Vastra go into the séance, the Whispermen can be seen outside the window.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Well, saucepan anyway. Archie's weapon of choice when fighting Strax.
  • Have We Met Yet?: River Song has even more knowledge of the Doctor's future, even after dying, as this version of River is the Virtual Ghost now residing in the largest Library in the universe.
    River: Spoilers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Attempted by Clara by jumping into the Doctor's timeline to save him from the Great Intelligence. The Doctor is having none of it and goes in to pull her out.
  • Hollywood Torches: The catacombs have torches made from Dalek eyestalks!
  • How We Got Here: The episode begins with Clara falling through a portal. These are the Doctor's time scars as she hunts down every instance of the Great Intelligence's meddling, which happens more than a half hour into the episode.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Strax complains about River's "huge head".
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The mysterious figure at the end of the episode, later revealed to be called the War Doctor, committed an act for the greater good that was so heinous it went against everything the Doctor tries to be.
    War Doctor: What I did, I did without choice.
    Eleventh Doctor: (softly) I know.
    War Doctor: In the name of peace and sanity.
    Eleventh Doctor: (angrily) But not in the name of the Doctor.
  • I Know Your True Name:
    • The Great Intelligence spends the episode trying to figure this out to destroy the Doctor because the name's power is to open the tomb that leads to his corpse/timeline scar thing. The Doctor, upon confronting his forgotten incarnation, claims that it's the name you give yourself that has power.
      The Doctor: My name — my real name — that is not the point. The name I chose is the Doctor. It's like a promise you make. He's the one who broke the promise.
    • River once again demonstrates that she knows the Doctor's name, though we do not hear.
    • Zigzagged with Clara. Although the episode reveals that she remembers information she heard in "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS", even though the timeline was reset, one key piece of information that does not survive that she obtained in that episode was the Doctor's name.
  • I Lied: Like Rory and River previously, the Doctor pretends to Clara she won't get hurt by something that immediately stings her.
  • Idiot Ball: The Doctor gets duped by Angie and Artie into playing blind man's bluff so they can ditch him and go to the pictures while he's blindfolded.
  • Intangibility: The Great Intelligence/Whispermen. You can't hurt them, but they can shove their hands in your internal organs.
  • Internal Homage:
    • The episode references a lot of ideas from the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels Alien Bodies, Unnatural History and The Room with No Doors. The link to Unnatural History, in which the Doctor's lifeline becomes a scar woven through space and time, which the villain — dressed as a Victorian undertaker — is going to attempt to use to rewrite his life, until the Doctor's companion (who he's met before in a different version) saves the day by leaping into it at the cost of her own existence, is the strongest.
    • The Sixth Doctor did, in fact, once have an adventure on a space station with a woman named Oswin.
    • There are also similarities to the comic Time and Time Again by Paul Cornell to celebrate the 30th anniversary, where the Black Guardian alters the Doctor's timeline so he never leaves Gallifrey, meaning Earth is the battleground for many alien races, forcing the Seventh Doctor, Ace, and Benny have to move back along the Doctor's timestream to recover the segments of the Key to Time, meeting all the previous Doctors in the process.
    • This isn't the first time that the Doctor was determined to save a brunette female companion of his, giving her a Bridal Carry after she fell unconscious. It was already done once nearly thirty years ago, with the Fifth Doctor and Peri.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: The Whisper Men. As they're completely intangible, nothing the heroes do can hurt or slow them down, and they very nearly kill the Doctor's friends several times over the course of the episode.
  • Invisible to Normals: River's Virtual Ghost cannot be seen by anybody but Clara on account of them still being linked by the dream conference call. Then the Doctor reveals that he's been able to see her the whole time.
  • I See Dead People: The Doctor can see River Song as a Virtual Ghost.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: This is the best way to describe what happens to Clara after she has saved the Doctor's life at every turn from the Great Intelligence. The Doctor only vaguely describes where she ends up as being a representation of himself.
  • Kick the Dog: The Great Intelligence murders Jenny (she gets better) for no other reason than to unnverse the Paternoster Gang and make sure they take him seriously before the Doctor shows up.
  • Luminescent Blush: Strax notes that Vastra has gone a darker green on introducing Clara to River.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: The Great Intelligence's plan to Retgone the Doctor.
  • Mental Time Travel: The "Conference Call" between Strax, Vastra, Jenny, Clara and River takes advantage of the timeless nature of dreams.
  • Me's a Crowd: The Great Intelligence's Whispermen are all creepy-looking copies of his Dr. Simeon form, down to wearing the exact same Victorian suits. The Great Intelligence can move between them as he sees fit, causing them to morph into his normal Simeon form.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Clara, the Doctor's current companion meets and works alongside River Song, the Doctor's former companion and deceased wife. At one point, Clara asks the Doctor if River is an "ex", which the Doctor confirms until referring to River as his wife, which startles Clara.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Immediately after the Big Damn Kiss, the Doctor remembers he's the only one in the room who can see River. "God knows what that looked like." Cue the Paternoster Gang staring at him in confusion.
    • Earlier in the séance scene, Jenny starts crying because she forgot to lock the door and she had died, a very dramatic scene which ends with River ejecting Vastra from her trance. The next scene, the Doctor is blindfolded playing blind man's buff with the kids, who have run off.
    • Strax is a master of this throughout the episode. While everyone else is panicking, he's often woefully oblivious to their peril and continues to spout his usual brand of one-liner threats.
      Strax: Don't worry sir, I've got them on the run!
    • The joyful moment of triumph when the Doctor manages to find Clara and rescue her from being completely lost within his timestream is undercut seconds later when the Doctor is forced to confront his forgotten incarnation, who apparently did something so horrific that the Doctor refuses to consider him a Doctor.
  • Mythology Gag: The "Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor" Wham Shot is an exaggerated version of the credits David Tennant and Matt Smith respectively had at the end of "The Parting of the Ways" and "The End of Time".
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Doctor's corpse, a swirling confluence of temporal energy representing every moment of his life.
  • No Body Left Behind: The Doctor's tomb doesn't have his body, but a swirling vortex of energy representing his entire timeline.
    The Doctor: Bodies are boring. I've had loads of them.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: The Clara who appears to save the Seventh Doctor in "Dragonfire" looks like she's stepped right out of the late 1980s, despite this serial being set at some point in the future. Deliberate, as her outfit evokes the fashion on Iceworld.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The episode is called "The Name of the Doctor". We never learn his name, though we learn some of the significance behind choosing to call himself "the Doctor". The title turns out to refer not to the Doctor's name itself, but to actions done in the Doctor's name.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • One of the events in the Doctor's life that Clara appears in seems to be an unseen adventure the Sixth Doctor had aboard a spaceship that looks just like the neon TARDIS corridors. There's also a time where the Eighth Doctor and the Second Doctor appear to have been in the same place at the same time, although it's unknown whether it was for the same adventure or not.
    • When the Doctor and Vastra first met Jenny, he saved her life. No further details are given.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Occurs in tragic fashion during the conference call, by Vastra to Jenny when the latter realizes that she hadn't locked the door... and she's being murdered.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • In what appears to be a palm tree-laden beach of contemporary Earth, Clara witnesses the Eighth Doctor and the Second Doctor having an adventure at the same time. Whether the two Doctors were working together or not is left ambiguous. Specifically, Eight runs past Clara from left to right, and then Two runs past Clara a few seconds later from right to left.
    • We only glimpse a couple of moments where a Clara echo is actually shown affecting the Doctor's behaviour. All the thousands upon thousands of actions the many Claras took to undo the Great Intelligence's interference take place off-screen.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Great Intelligence is willing to let all of existence be destroyed just to undo the Doctor's victories and have some revenge.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Normally unflappable Clara gets scared. Full-on near-panic crying scared.
    • When the Doctor finds out he has to go to Trenzalore, he begins to cry, as in approaching full-out bawling.
    • What the Doctor apparently thinks of the War Doctor, who did something so terribly out of character that he has, in effect, become an Unperson to his various other incarnations.
    • Strax is transformed into an psychopathic Sontaran warrior who attempts to murder Vastra for being "racially impure", when the Doctor's timeline starts to be rewritten and his influence removed from the universe.
    • When she thinks Jenny is dead, the usually reserved and cultured Vastra threatens to cut Strax up; Strax, in turn, pushes Vastra to the ground. This is even more startlingly than the previous example with Strax because there is no actual timeline change to cause it, it's just Vastra being worried for her wife.
  • Open Sesame: The door to the Doctor's tomb is opened when someone states his true name.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Whether it's technically a case of Future Me Scares Me or I Hate Past Me, the War Doctor is implied to be an incarnation of the Doctor that did something so heinous the other incarnations simply refuse to speak about him.
  • Red Herring: The Doctor's greatest secret. It isn't his name, but the existence of an additional incarnation who committed a deed so terrible that he can no longer be called "the Doctor".
  • Retcon:
  • The Reveal: The episode finally solves the mysteries of the Doctor's greatest secret and the true nature of Clara, the impossible girl.
    • Clara's reincarnations are a result of her scattering herself across the Doctor's timeline to protect him.
    • The Doctor's greatest secret is a regeneration that he never speaks of, one that performed an act that goes against everything the Doctor stands for. But we never actually hear the Doctor's actual name, despite the episode's title.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The Great Intelligence will gladly destroy itself in order to obtain revenge on the Doctor. This of course contradicts the Intelligence's character as shown in "The Web of Fear", where it claimed "revenge is a very human emotion." Evidently, the Doctor's wounded its pride enough for it to reconsider.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Whispermen speak entirely in couplets. The rhymes are as follows:
    • "The trap is set. The Doctor's friends / Will travel where the Doctor ends." When Jenny and Vastra fall into the trance.
    • "This man must fall as all men must. / The fate of all is always dust." As the Doctor and Clara are cornered at River Song's grave.
    • "The man who lies will lie no more / When this man lies at Trenzalore." As the Doctor and Clara fall into River Song's grave.
    • "The girl who died, he tried to save. / She'll die again within his grave." As Clara and the Doctor run through the corridors of the destroyed TARDIS.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: As the Doctor's timeline is torn asunder, all those he's affected suffer the consequences. Vastra, strangely, keeps her memory, but perhaps the ripples simply hadn't got to her yet, as she is chronologically older than everyone else by several million years. Clara and River are also unaffected, but being in the TARDIS tomb probably had something to do with that. After Clara enters the Doctor's timestream and defeats the Great Intelligence, Strax can be heard apologizing to Vastra for his time ripple-effected behaviour, which he appears to remember.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Great Intelligence is willing to let all of space and time be destroyed if it means he can get revenge on the Doctor.
  • Rule of Three: This is the third time this exchange has taken place, after River did it to Amy and Rory did it to his dad.
    The Doctor: Hold still, this won't hurt a bit. [hooks Clara up to the TARDIS' telepathic circuits]
    Clara: Ouch!
    The Doctor: I lied.
  • Running Gag: Strax still can't tell genders apart. He manages to not get a single one right in this episode, even thinking River is a man. The closest he gets is when he calls Vastra "Madame".
  • Samus Is a Girl: Clara assumed Professor Song was a man before meeting her.
  • Scenery Gorn: The TARDIS "tomb", an oversized version of the phone box camouflage that has "leaked" into the surrounding environment.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Clara goes to set the Doctor's victories back to victories after the Great Intelligence set them to defeats. In other words, she sets right again.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: When the Whispermen come for Strax, Archie, the man he was fighting in a humorous scene, is gone.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slipping a Mickey: Madame Vastra knows that Clara is unlikely to light a strange candle just because a 120-year-old letter asks her to. She makes sure that Clara participates in the Conference Call by treating the letter paper with the same knockout drug the candle is made of. Clara stays conscious just long enough to reach that part of the letter, and then passes out on cue.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Technically, every version of Clara is said to be a unique individual, but linked to the Doctor. So if every echo seen is a different person, then the "Clara" seen guiding the First Doctor to the proper TARDIS may be the smallest role with the biggest impact of all, as her actions basically made the entire franchise happen.
  • Sorry That I'm Dying: Jenny tearfully apologizes to Vastra that she has just been murdered.
  • Spooky Sťance: A mental time travel conference call involving dead people.
  • Stable Time Loop: The Doctor started looking for Clara because he met two copies of her in different time periods. When he finally does find her, it leads up to the events of this episode, where Clara spreads herself throughout the Doctor's timeline to save him, creating the other versions of herself which would lead him to find her.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: As the result of an attempted Ret-Gone, this begins to happen, since the Doctor prevented it before.
  • Stepford Smiler: River has a rather fixed expression when Clara says the Doctor never really talked about her. At first this seems like the usual companion jealousy, but it's later revealed that River believes the Doctor doesn't return her feelings.
  • Stock Footage: If it's not done with a Fake Shemp, it's this.
  • Supernaturally Marked Grave: The TARDIS itself, thanks to a size leak.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The time rift composed of the Doctor's entire timeline is a swirl of light.
  • Tap on the Head: To participate in the Conference Call, Strax asks a Violent Glaswegian to knock him out. He starts off by telling the (very burly) Glaswegian that the metal pot he was holding wouldn't be enough, and after giving him a spade, still says it could take a while.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Clara dies a third time, but gets brought back again.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Vastra, Strax and Jenny, and even the rest of the universe, all react at different rates to the Great Intelligence's interference in the past for complicated temporal reasons that are not explained.
  • Title Drop:
    • The Great Intelligence drops the show name while threatening the Doctor.
      The Great Intelligence: Doctor Who? Doctor! Who!? DOCTOR WHO!?
    • The Doctor himself drops the episode title at the end.
      War Doctor: What I did, I did without choice... in the name of peace and sanity...
      Eleventh Doctor: ... But not in the name of the Doctor.
  • Touch the Intangible: When River's astral projection is ranting at the Doctor, she assumes that he can't see or hear her. Then she goes to slap him and he catches her hand.
  • True Companions: The Doctor feels this way about Strax, Jenny and Vastra. They became his makeshift family after he lost the Ponds, cared for him while he was in self-exile, and welcomed him into their lives without needing to question him.
  • The Unreveal:
    • While some mysteries are at least arguably resolved, the Doctor's name is not one of them, as River says it off-screen. There is also no explanation for the question of the Doctor's name being the "oldest in the universe", how it is hidden in plain sight, nor it is explained how River knows his name.note  It's also not entirely settled as to whether the Silence still have anything to do with Trenzalore, or why "Silence must fall". It should be noted, however, that this episode is in fact the first part of a trilogy that also includes "The Day of the Doctor" and "The Time of the Doctor", and many of these answers are revealed in the latter.
    • The "conference call", never before seen before or since is never fully explained. Such as how a woman sleeping in 2013 could be brought into it, and how River, who at this point in her existence is little more than data in a 51st-century library, could also take part.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Upon learning that the kids tricked him, the Doctor refers to them as "those little... Daleks".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Doctor doesn't see anything odd about Clara "taking a nap" in the middle of the floor.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Archie, a Glasgow bar patron who Strax spends his free time brawling with for fun.
  • Virtual Ghost: River, a digital "echo" saved on the computer of the largest library in the universe.
  • Walking Spoiler: Knowing much of anything about the mysterious figure at the end of the episode gives away The Reveal that John Hurt is the Doctor.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Series producer Steven Moffat asserted that the episode will "change the course of Who forever". An accurate description, given the episode reveals the existence of a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor, as well as implying that some manifestation of Clara was present throughout the previous lives of the Doctor and is in fact credited with the Doctor stealing the TARDIS we all know.
    • The season-long question of what's up with Clara is finally solved. She split herself thousands of times across the Doctor's timeline to save him from the Great Intelligence.
    • The Doctor's darkest secret is revealed. There was a lost regeneration of the Doctor, one who did something the other Doctors considers unforgivable.
    • We find out where and how the Doctor and the TARDIS will one day die.note 
  • Wham Line:
    • The lines at the end of "She Said, He Said" prequel implying it takes place after the main episode.
      The Doctor/Clara: ... I found out on the day we went to Trenzalore.
    • Jenny near the start of the episode.
      Jenny: I think I've been murdered.
    • The reveal of the War Doctor.
      Clara: But... I never saw that one.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The giant TARDIS on the fields of Trenzalore.
      The Doctor: What else would they bury me in?
    • The shadowy figure that suddenly appears just as the Doctor saves Clara.
      Clara: But... I never saw that one.
    • Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor. (Also counts as a Wham Line.)
    • The First Doctor shows up just as he and Susan (who's only seen from afar) are stealing the TARDIS.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Clarence's execution was still on hold when Vastra and company were kidnapped. His final fate is never shown. While Vastra implies she'll have Clarence hanged when he isn't needed, the Whisper Men tell him in the prequel that he will get his pardon and live a long (if troubled) life.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: "What kind of idiot would steal a faulty TARDIS?" says one of the workers monitoring surveillance footage of said TARDIS being stolen.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: The Great Intelligence explains to Vastra, Jenny and Strax that the Doctor died in a great battle, though one that was really a relatively minor skirmish compared to the likes of the Time War, on Trenzalore at a time when he had become so old that he couldn't take the strain any longer.
  • Write Back to the Future: Madame Vastra, needing to draw Clara into a psychic conference, writes a letter to her and arranges for it to be delivered on April 10, 2013. The letter is impregnated with a drug to knock her out.
  • The X of Y: "The Name of the Doctor" is the 121st of the series — being 112.