47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #37: Best Episode Title

Welcome to Day 36 of my 47-day series about the revival version of Doctor Who (2005-present). I’ve come up with 47 topics / questions to answer, all of them basically positive and upbeat about the program. Each day (or as often as I can actually write these–so far so good!) I’ll pick one of them at random (using this convenient random number generator) and then write up an answer.

Why 47? It’s my favorite number.
Why Doctor Who? It’s my favorite show.
Why the modern day Doctor Who only? Simply because I remember it better.
Why only positive stuff? Because really, I write enough snark.

So, today, we spin the Random Number Generator, and it lands on 27 (hey…yesterday was #26!), which means today’s topic is

“Best Episode Title”

Of course this is a bit random.  And hard to judge, apart from the quality of the episode itself.  For example, I think “The Empty Child” is a pretty good title, but maybe I wouldn’t if the episode had been terrible.  Maybe I’d think “Closing Time” was a great title if the episode wasn’t terrible.

Some episodes have gimmicky titles, like The Shakespeare Code or Mummy on the Orient Express.  Some have straightforward titles, like Rise of the Cybermen or The Doctor’s Daughter.  Some have fun titles, like Let’s Kill Hitler or Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.  Some have poetic titles, like A Good Man Goes to War or The Girl Who Waited.  And some have stupid titles, like The Rings of Akhaten (seriously, you shouldn’t, as a habit, put words in a title that nobody has ever heard of before).

Some titles work on multiple levels, like The Eleventh Hour, or find their way into the episode in unusual ways, like The Bells of St. John.  My favorite, after consideration, is a title that achieves both of these

“The Name of the Doctor”

On the surface, The Name of the Doctor is a title that justifies itself simply by making River’s knowledge of the Doctor’s real name into a minor plot point.  The name needs to be said in order to enter the remains of the TARDIS, and of course River does so off-camera.  But then in the final scene, the title takes on a new and all together more substantial meaning.

Clara is lost in the Doctor’s timestream, having rescued the Doctor through all of his incarnations.  As the Doctor saves her in return, she sees a shadowy figure standing off to the side, and wonders who it is.  The Doctor says that’s himself, but she doesn’t recognize him, and she’s seen all the Doctor’s faces.  The Doctor replies, coldy,

I said he was me.  I never said he was the Doctor.

Clara is confused, and the Doctor goes on.

Look, my name, my real name, that is not the point.  The name I chose is the Doctor.  The name you choose, it’s like, it’s like a promise you make.  He’s the one who broke the promise.

The figure speaks, in John Hurt’s gravelly voice.

What I did, I did without choice…in the name of peace and sanity.

And that’s when it comes, the best title drop the series has ever had.  Matt Smith spits out  bitterly

But not in the name of the Doctor.

Click here for a master list for this series.

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