I have many of the same issues with series seven as I did with six. Splitting the series in half just doesn’t work for me, and the gap between the two halves was even worse. However, it doesn’t bother me as much because the two halves are independent of each other. The first half is a set off for Amy and Rory, and the second introduces Clara as the new companion.
I really loved Amy and Rory as companions, but they very much had run their course. I really like the majority of their sent off, especially how it introduces the mystery of Clara who had been announced as the new companion and then had seemingly been killed off by the Daleks in the first episode of the new series, ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. It was a subtle mystery and a lot less complex than the story arc of the previous series. The first half also included fun episodes like ‘Dinosaurs in Space’; what’s not to love about that.
The send-off episode, ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ is beautifully written and portrayed. It is awful to see the Doctor’s heart breaking, but it was the only way for Amy and Rory to be able to live their normal lives together away from the Doctor, by being somewhere that he couldn’t save them from. It was the best send off for the two characters and I love that they kept them together, and that even love for the Doctor couldn’t keep them apart.
And then with the Christmas special, The Snowman, the mystery of who Clara begins and then the with the second half of the series I felt that a whole new series of Doctor Who had started, confusing me to the point I have had to double check that Clara did become the companion in series seven and not in eight, which is what it felt like. I absolutely love the second half of the seventh series as the injection of a new companion refreshed the show.
The mystery of the companion was a great story arc and simple enough to follow, and the use of a classic Doctor Who villain, The Great Intelligence, who was an antagonist of Patrick Troughton’s Doctor was great, and really shows the love and geekiness of the show’s head writer.
I think ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ is a bit of a no-brainer as it was a great way for two beloved characters to exit the show.
‘The Bells of Saint John’ and ‘The Name of the Doctor’ are two truly great episodes. The former is a classic introduce the new companion to the crazy life of the Doctor, and the latter a great show of the Doctor’s friend coming together to try and save his life. The answer to the mystery of who Clara is as well is brilliant and harks back to the days of Rose saving the Doctor.
Another great episode is ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’. I love the episodes where you get to see more of the TARDIS and it is a great bonding episode for the Doctor and Clara.