For the midseason finale of DOCTOR WHO, show-runner Steven Moffat returned to the idea of the Doctor as larger-than-life symbol; an icon known throughout the universe – for better or worse. In Moffat’s mind, the Time Lord is more than just a Gallifreyan who goes around meddling in the business of others; he stands for Something. To fans of the show here on Earth, the Doctor is the ultimate hero, but out there, in the universe at large, he is force of nature open to interpretation. The Daleks call him “Ka Faraq Gatri,” the Draconians refer to him as “Karshtakavaar,” and many other races know him simply as “the Oncoming Storm.” This is one of those stories that could tip balance of his memory.
In last season’s big two-part finale, “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang,” we saw the Doctor branded a goblin and trickster by his enemies – everyone from the Daleks to the Cybermen to the Sontarans and Zygons. Moffat hits that theme again in this story, as Col. Manton’s speech echoes the talk of the Time Lord as a malevolent figure. Meanwhile, the mysterious River Song is concerned with the Doctor’s legacy as a Force for Good. She suggests that the concept of a “doctor” as a wise man and a healer comes from the Time Lord; but “doctor” also means “great warrior” to some cultures. She was concerned that his legend has the potential to go either way – and he is right now at the crossroads, the tipping point where his legacy will be determined. He is already a hobgoblin to the would-be conquerors of the universe – the question is, can he still be a savior to the downtrodden masses, or will he be seduced by his own power and influence?