Before we get on to reviewing last night’s terrific episode, another thought:
“An ancient clade of wizards whose eternal, endless chanting keeps the dreaded devourer from awakening and ending us all… until a Time Lord interferes, and silence falls.”
“The Rings of Akhaten” or “Logopolis”?
The difference being, “Logopolis” doesn’t pull its punches and people die. Sure, the eponymous planet is destroyed in both stories, [oops, spoilers] but the difference could not be more stark between the hideous visceral dissolution of Logopolis, visibly aging to dust along with its population, and the planet-god disappearing up its own swansong.
People criticise Christopher H Bidmead for his approach to the series, yet for me the “science fairy-tale” of “Logopolis” is far more successful than anything Moffat has produced, because – like a proper fairy-tale – it is about something.
Entropy is inevitable, and arguably essential for a Universe with free will, and the Doctor does not defeat the “big bad” in the end. At best he lights a candle against the oncoming dark – the CVE in Cassiopeia that will give the Universe just a little more life. His real victory is when he dies… and regenerates and becomes younger, turning the processes of entropy on their heads in defiance of the rule that “change and decay” are synonymous and represent a further step away from Godliness. The Doctor’s Fall brings us freedom from tyranny under the Master. He brings us hope.
Put it this way: all those limitless potentials of Clara’s magic leaf… they are meaningless in a Universe imploding under the weight of total entropy… they only happen because of what the Doctor did here.