What to say about the Christmas special that saw the departure of Matt Smith's Doctor and the arrival of Peter Capaldi's Doctor? Hmm...
First off, one of the things that impressed me the most was that Steven Moffat succeeded in wrapping up the Matt Smith period of Doctor Who. Practically every major plot point left unresolved over the past four years was touched upon, whether it formed a crucial part of the story – as with the cracks in time – or was only addressed in passing – the motives behind the Silence's first attempt on the Doctor's life. I liked the way that it tied up the loose ends that have existed throughout Matt Smith's time in the role, and it even had an acknowledgement of "The Five Doctors" in it. Really neat.
Of central importance, Matt Smith stole the show. This was one of his finest, possibly his best, story - as is fitting for his swan song. He's always been a brilliant comic, and is marvellously funny in the opening scenes, bantering away with his cybernetic pet Handles, but he totally delivers when the story digs into deeper, darker territory. The actor's version of the Doctor has always come across to me as a bit of an old man trapped in a young man's body, and with Matt Smith portraying an old man version of his character under heavy prosthetics for a large part of the episode, he pulled off this "older" Doctor really well.
The regeneration scene is a beautiful sequence of events near the end. I found it to be a very nice, low key ending to the life and times of Matt Smith's exuberant Doctor. Compared to David Tennant's overblown, emotional energetic departure, this was understated and quite beautiful and touching, and I really liked it. Some nice surprises in it as well.
What else to say?
I think "The Time of the Doctor" was a bit of a case of the parts being greater than the whole or whatever that phrase is. There are some stand-out moments in this story, rather than being a great episode in total. A terrific end to Matt Smith's time as the Doctor, and with only a few threads left for the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, to deal with.
So long, Matt Smith, and thanks for portraying the Doctor. You gave us some memorable moments in the role.
And welcome, Peter Capaldi. Can't wait to see what you bring to the role.