Sadly, we’re at the end of Matt Smith’s run on Doctor Who. After the upcoming 50th Anniversary Special, Eleven will regenerate into an as-of-yet-uncast body. Before we get to that point though, I thought we could spend a couple of moments to look back on some of the best moments from Smith’s run on the show.
1. The Doctor Meets Amelia Pond
How can you have a list of best moments without bringing up this Doctor’s first moment? Really, there couldn’t have been a better execution of this scene: The Doctor, with a new body and broken time machine, crashes in adolescent Amelia’s front yard. He raids her fridge and begins to figure out his food preferences in his new form. Then he finishes fixing his TARDIS and ends up disappearing from her life for, like, ten years.
Throughout the scene, Matt Smith immediately demonstrates the type of manic energy he’s going to bring to the role of The Doctor.
2. The Doctor Asks Amy to Trust Him
While trapped in a crashed spaceship, Eleven tells Amy (Karen Gillan) that if their partnership is going to work, she needs to start trusting him. This is a lot to ask, since at the time, she was slowly being taken over by parasitic alien dust. However, it really solidifies their relationship going forward. She is always going to be throwing caution to the wind and trusting this crazy alien when her life is on the line.
To top it off, this moment comes after The Doctor initially wanders off without her, only to come back and almost plead for her trust. Somehow, Eleven manages to sell it.
3. The Doctor Tries to Save Van Gogh
The threat faced in the Van Gogh episode was kind of lame, but the character work put into it was amazing. It all really hinges on Amy’s need to save Van Gogh (Tony Curran) from his eventual suicide. In the end, she really only gives him hope to paint one last time and dedicate his work to her.
The way Smith handles the scene where Amy finds out that Van Gogh still offed himself, even after the duo visited him in his final days to convince him that he’d be beloved one day, is kind of heartbreaking. The Doctor knows what the end result will be – that Van Gogh will still be dead when they return to the present – and his reaction to Amy’s failure is still bittersweet as hell.
4. The Doctor Monologues at Stonehenge
Eleven has had plenty of badass speeches in his time on the show, but this one really tips the scales: The Doctor is trying to keep Earth from being invaded by a multitude of villainous alien races he’s faced in the past.
To keep them away, he stands in the center of Stonehenge and literally monologues to the heavens. To sum it up, he tells them to go the fuck away because he’s fucking awesome and could end them all if he chose to (I’m paraphrasing of course).
The fact that this speech actually gets the bad guys to back off for a bit is pretty impressive.
5. The Doctor Beats The Silence
The Doctor never quite had a villain like The Silence before. An alien race that has a built-in defense mechanism that makes the people who see them instantly forget. They’re super creepy, on top of the fact that they’ve been using their adaption to their advantage – they’ve been controlling the people of Earth for years.
In the end, Eleven tricks one of the aliens into ordering the human race to kill all Silence on sight. This is pretty intense since in the past The Doctor has been pretty pacifistic, to the point that he condemns others for committing genocide.
Turns out, he’s just as capable of it, and it’s a perfect example of just how dark this incarnation of the classic character can get.
6. The Doctor Stops Being an Idol
Throughout their adventures together, The Doctor and Amy Pond had been through a lot. In the end, their emotional journey comes down to this: They’re trapped in a hotel-like prison with a strange beast killing off people using their worst fears.
After some detective work, we learn that the beast is actually using belief systems to kill people. Amy doesn’t believe in a traditional god – she believes in The Doctor. All that trust she’s built up towards him since she was ten has suddenly become a detriment.
The speech that follows is devastating: The Doctor rips apart Amy’s belief for him, to the point that she is able to stop the creature from killing her. In the end, she has moved on from her idolization of Eleven, and it changes their relationship forever (for the good).
7. The Doctor Goes to Christmas Dinner
There isn’t much to this. After a solo adventure, The Doctor is coaxed into attending Christmas dinner with Amy and her husband, Rory (Arthur Darvill) – who he has stopped traveling with. Eleven thinks he doesn’t have a family, but the truth is right in front of him.
Amy has set a place for him at Christmas dinner for the last two years, waiting for him to show up. Finally he does, and the scene that follows is incredibly sweet. There’s hugging and a single tear of joy. Ah, the magic of the holidays.
8. The Doctor Says Goodbye to Amy
It’s been said multiple times: The Doctor doesn’t like endings – and this is a big ‘un. Rory has been sent back in time by a Weeping Angel, and Amy is about to reunite with him. Doing so will separate her from Eleven for the rest of her life.
She says her goodbyes and The Doctor is completely ripped apart inside. The scene that follows is one where he cries, and then boards his TARDIS with fellow time-traveler River Song (Alex Kingston). They discuss the events that transpired, and Smith proves a subtle ability to express longing. He doesn’t want to be alone (and really shouldn’t be, since he’s kind of psychotic), and now he is. And it’s horrifying.
9. The Doctor Gives Clara a TARDIS Key
After a dark period where he wanders alone, The Doctor has found a suitable follow-up to his previous companion, Amy. Clara is smart, capable, and witty as hell. After she’s saved them from the danger they currently face, he allows her entry into the TARDIS.
The reason this scene is so great is because he shows such glee while doing so. Everything is so hopeful. There’s a promise of new beginnings and he knows it.
(Let’s ignore the part where Clara almost immediately falls to her death after this touching moment.)
10. The Doctor Yells at a GodPlanet
Eleven has a new and improved companion in the reincarnated present-day version of Clara. She gets a good idea of his character when he refuses to let an alien society die out when a giant sentient planet doesn’t get its annual choir performance (don’t ask).
The Doctor commences, telling an ultimately futile speech about how long he has lived. It’s a powerful scene, one that proves how devoted he is to the people he tries to save, even when the odds are extremely against him.
11. The Doctor Says Goodbye to River
As it’s already been established, The Doctor doesn’t like endings. He’s already had to part with Amy, and now he has to part with River, his long-distance wife. She’s been dead for a while, but his ability to upload her mind to a virtual reality has allowed her to live on.
While this seems like it would benefit her, it really just proves how rigid The Doctor is when it comes to his failure. Instead of allowing her to “go into the light” he traps her in a 3-D world and doesn’t visit.
We think he’s being selfish by not peeking in on his sort-of-ghost wife, but he’s actually just afraid. In their final moments together, he admits how much a reunion between them would hurt him – and it hurt everyone in the audience just as much.
Do you have a favorite moment that didn’t make it onto the list? Comment below and let us know!