We’ve known the episode titles for most of the back half of Doctor Who’s seventh season for a while now, but the season finale has remained cloaked in a veil of secrecy…until now. The newly announced title is packed with possibilities, and in and of itself could be considered a spoiler. As such, we’re keeping the reveal and all our speculation down below this goofy picture of the Doctor and a mop. Spoilers, sweetie!
“The Name of the Doctor.” That’s the title for season seven’s concluding episode, and as I hinted, it’s potentially huge. Long-time Whovians know that “Doctor Who” has been something of a running joke in the series, usually asked immediately after the time lord introduces himself. Showrunner Steven Moffat has been hinting for a while now that he had much bigger plans for “Doctor Who.” The fourth-season two-parter “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” revealed that River Song knows the Doctor’s true name, placing her in a very exclusive club indeed. That would have been an important reveal in and of itself, but Moffat obviously had more foreshadowing in mind with that reveal than just demonstrating how much the Doctor would come to trust River.
That master plan was teased a lot last season, when the season’s “big bads,” the Silence, were revealed to be following a prophecy: “On the Fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked — a question that must never be answered: ‘Doctor Who?’” Could that mean, as the title suggests, that we will finally learn the Doctor’s true name after all this time?
Honestly, I’m betting no. And quite frankly, I’ll be disappointed if we do. The Doctor should always be merely the Doctor, and his real name should remain a mystery, like the contents of Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase or how the Joker got those scars. That being said, answering the question “Doctor Who?” could instead mean we’ll learn some secret or previously unknown aspect of the time lord. You can bet it’ll be something major, but if it all comes down to the Doctor’s name, there’s no way whatever Moffat has come up with will live up to the 50 years’ worth of not knowing.
There are a few other tidbits we know about “The Name of the Doctor.” It’s set partly in Victorian Scotland, it will see the return of River Song, it will reveal that someone has been kidnapping the Doctor’s friends, and we’ll meet a new race of baddies, the so-called “Whispermen.” Moffat also told Radio Times that “There’s going to be a revelation. I’m not teasing. I’m not wrong-footing you – you’re about to learn something about the Doctor that you never knew before. And I think you’re in for a shock.”
Given how much of a big deal this season has made of the mystery of Clara — “the only mystery worth solving” — can we presume that that mystery will somehow tie in to the Silence’s prophecy and the question of “Doctor Who?” Either way, “The Name of the Doctor” should be interesting.