The Name of the Doctor

STORYLINE

In London 1893, Madame Vastra interrogates a prisoner locked away in a dark cell. He claims to know something of the Doctor and his most guarded secret. A secret he claims is discovered.

Disturbed by what the prisoner has related, Vastra returns to her residence and informs Jenny that they need to perform a conference call. Apparently this involves both of them taking a sleeping potion and falling asleep, only to reappear together sitting at a table in a dream world. Strax joins them in the dream moments later after having a sparring partner knock him cold with a shovel.

Back in her role as nanny, Clara is attempting another souflle. As she does so, she discovers that a mysterious letter has arrived from madame Vastra, a letter that asks her to light a sleep inducing candle. Vastra wisely has laced the letter with a sleeping potion just in case Clara doesn't light the candle, and before she knows it, Clara is asleep. Like the others, Clara appears in the dreamworld. Seconds later, River Song arrives at the table.

After a few introductions, Vastra shares the information given to her by the odd prisoner. It appears to be coordinates to what the prisoner claims is the Doctor's greatest secret. They all agree the Doctor has many secrets, and nobody knows all of them. River admits that she knows the Doctor's true name, and Clara realizes that River must b very important to the Doctor.

Meanwhile back in the real world, someone has snuck into Vastra'a house and has approached the sleeping figures of Jenny and Vastra. Too late Jenny realizes in the dreamworld that she has just been murdered in real life. The sleeping group is being attacked and they all force themselves to wake up. Unfortunately, they are all surrounded by the toothy, eyeless faces of the Whisper Men when they do awaken.

Clara, however, is brought to consciousness by the sound of the Doctor's voice, but not before she is left with one last fading message from the Great Intelligence. "Tell the Doctor he must come to Trenzalore if he wants to see his friends again."

Clara quickly relates the details of her meeting to the Doctor and the final message appears to disturb the Doctor greatly. It seems Trenzalore is the location of the Doctor's final resting place, the place where his body is buried. 

Normally a Time Lord must never visit the location of their grave, but the Doctor is determined that he must go there to rescue his friends. The TARDIS resists making the trip, but the Doctor pretty much forces her to make a rough landing on the planet Trenzalore.

Trenzalore appears to be a very desolate place as the Doctor and Clara step out from the TARDIS. In the distance they spot the remains of what looks like the TARDIS. This TARDIS, however, is gigantic and the Doctor explains that this is the TARDIS of the future and his death has caused a disruption in her transcendental dimension circuitry. Where else would the Doctor be buried, so the pair now make their way to the massive police box.

Along the way, River suddenly appears before Clara. The two are apparently still linked thanks to the conference call, but only Clara can see or hear River. Oblivious to the real River's presence, the Doctor does notice a nearby tombstone with her name on it, a tombstone that shouldn't be there. As the Whisper Men begin approaching, the pair search for some avenue of escape. Through Clara, River relates to the Doctor that her tombstone might actually be a secret entrance to a shortcut to the Doctor's tomb. The two narrowly outpace the whispering creatures who pursue them into the catacombs beneath the ground.

Meanwhile, Vastra and Strax wake up on the same desolate planet with Jenny's apparently dead body next to them. Fortunately, with his medical skills, Strax is able to return Jenny to life. A moment later, the Great intelligence and his Whisper Men now approach. The chatty villain explains how he has managed to survive the death of his previous host by using the whisper men as disposable host bodies.

As the Doctor and Clara are pursued through the catacombs, Clara begins to be affected the energies released by the TARDIS. She is now experiencing visions of things that have happened in now defunct timelines. Things that have been erased from her memories, things like the Doctor telling her about her multiple lifetimes and deaths and how confusing that has been for the Doctor.

The Great Intelligence is now holding Vastra, Jenny and Strax before the entrance to the Doctor's tomb. He just needs the right key to get in, a key he believes is the Doctor's real name. Good thing for him, the Doctor and Clara have also just emerged from the catacombs to this very door.

 It doesn't take long for the Great Intelligence to use the threat of death against the Doctor's friends in order to persuade him to reveal his name. The Whisper Men begin causing pain, and the Doctor is desperate for the damage being done to his friends to stop. However, before he can actually reveal his name, the door mysteriously opens. Seems the door will respond to River's voice, and in her unseen state she has used the Doctor's name. Not knowing exactly why the doors have opened, everyone enters what remains of the TARDIS' interior.

On display in the center of the console room is a bright blue column of light with many thorny vines encircling it. The column is what remains of the Doctor. It is essentially a timeline of every moment in the Doctor's many lives and a record of every time he breached the timestream. To the Doctor's horror, the Great intelligence steps into the column of light. His intention is to destroy the doctor by spreading himself through every bit of the Doctor's lifetimes and destroying every moment bit by bit. The Doctor falls to the floor writhing in pain as his life is systematically rewritten.

Clara begins putting two and two together, and she realizes that all of the stories of her previous lives and deaths are now beginning to make sense. In order for her to save the Doctor, she must step into his timeline to fix what the Great Intelligence has broken. River warns her that she will be split into multiple versions of herself, but the real her will die. Clara makes the sacrifice anyway. Time and time again she saves the Doctor throughout his multiple regenerations and soon his timeline is restored.

The Doctor, however, isn't satisfied, and he is determined to rescue his impossible girl. River tries to warn him not to what he is thinking of doing, but she believes he can't hear her. Turns out, however, that he has been able to see and hear River all along. He was simply trying to avoid a painful situation for himself.

Now that his deception is revealed, he is now able to say a proper goodbye to River and she is able to move on. Before she goes, however, she does make a point that if Clara and here are mentally linked, and if Clara is really dead, then why is River still there.

With that knowledge, the Doctor steps into his own timeline and tries to find Clara within a dreamlike world. She is surrounded by ghostlike instances of his previous selves and is confused about where she is. To help her, the Doctor sends her a leaf from her own past to give her something real to hold onto until he is able to guide her back to him.

But before they can both return to reality, they both spot a shadowy figure standing nearby. The Doctor tells Clara it is a version of himself that didn't uphold the name of the Doctor. He is a version the Doctor is ashamed of. His greatest secret. A regeneration that made a terrible mistake...

The Name of the Doctor