Paintings. When pressed on last night’s Jonathan Ross show on ITV, Matt Smith revealed that one word tidbit on what to expect from the upcoming season of Doctor Who. Paintings could refer to any number of events that could take place, such as Clara and the Doctor taking an art class or a vacation to an alien art gallery. He did clarify that viewers will understand the meaning behind that spoiler after they’ve seen the season. That slight explanation would suggest that perhaps paintings will play a role similar to the cracks in series five. Different paintings could appear in the background of certain scenes in each episode or one single painting could recur in two or three episodes before having a major impact on the finale. One of the most likely theories is that the paintings will be connected to Vincent Van Gogh.
It wouldn’t be the first time that The Doctor and the painter have met as they previously defeated an invisible foe in the episode Vincent and the Doctor. Reactions to that episode were mixed, with the plot and the ending receiving the most criticism. However, most people praised Tony Curran’s convincing role as the painter so it’s easy to imagine that Steven Moffat would be eager for him to return. The penultimate episode in that season, The Pandorica Opens, revealed that Van Gogh actually painted a previously unseen picture of the TARDIS exploding. The series has never explained how Van Gogh realistically came to know of the TARDIS exploding. Even time being reshaped at the end of The Big Bang doesn’t really explain how Van Gogh would have come to know of the event. It seems much more likely that the Doctor and Vincent met one more time before his passing.
Perhaps Van Gogh actually had a whole stash of hidden paintings foretelling events that were yet to come in the Doctor’s life. Or maybe there are a number of clues already featured in the paintings that Van Gogh previously created and those paintings will appear throughout the season, subconsciously hinting at some overarching evil. It is possible also that Vincent Van Gogh has nothing to do with the paintings that Matt Smith mentioned but it seems odd that, given this chance to explore more of Van Gogh’s character and bring back Curran, they would instead go in another direction. That said, it would be interesting and fun to see the Doctor meeting Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali.
One thing that seems certain about the paintings spoiler is that it will be unlikely to explain who Clara Oswin Oswald is and why she had appeared in two different time periods and die in both. While it’s a good bet that this won’t be like Rory’s near comical repeated deaths, the story will mostly likely be played out over the course of a couple of seasons as the Amy Pond/ River Song relationship was. From River Song’s first appearance, it took about two seasons (or half of series four, series five and half of series six to be precise) before River was revealed to be the daughter of Amy and Rory.
Moffat seems to have a fondness for these types of storylines where something is built up over a long period of time. Russell T Davis definitely foreshadowed his stories, using arc words like Bad Wolf but the scale of his build up was never quite as epic as Moffat’s. The cracks only appeared in series four but had repercussions throughout series five. The Silence of series five were forewarned of throughout series four. Moffat revels in creating large sprawling stories that cover more than one season. After the Amy/River story, it would have been refreshing to take a step away from the overarching stories for one season or at least to have a companion that wasn’t explicitly tied to it.
Last night’s episode of The Jonathan Ross Show also revealed a sneak peek of the first episode of Clara’s run as a companion, The Bells of Saint John, which concerns some kind of evil in the Wi-Fi. Here’s a video of the Matt Smith interview that includes the clip from the first episode:
The preview doesn’t show much of the who or why but what’s more interesting is the dynamic that it showed between The Doctor and Clara. In a review of The Showmen, I expressed a concern that viewers would have to go through a third introduction to Clara. As fascinating a character as she is, three introductions would be broaching the edge of redundancy. The Asylum of the Daleks demonstrated a lot of Clara’s character and The Snowmen already showed her first face to face meeting with the Doctor. Thankfully, the sneak peek alleviated some of my concern. The scene seemed to be extracted from early in the episode and it moved quickly from Clara’s awe of the TARDIS innards to a plummeting plane affected by the Wi-Fi monster. If there is any more of an introduction to Clara it will likely be relegated to the cold open but personally, I’m glad that they don’t seem to be lingering on Clara’s reintegration into the Doctor’s world.
Although Matt Smith was only able to unveil one little spoiler about the upcoming series, there’s a lot that can be extrapolated from that single word, such as Moffat sticking to a overarching story format or the possible return of Tony Curran. I was already highly anticipating the new series of Doctor Who and finally moving on from Amy and Rory but this has certainly increased my curiosity.
And now something non- Doctor Who related. A friend of mine is leading a team of eight young people to Romania to experience living in poverty and injustice. They will be out there for about ten days but even a short time as that requires money for materials, food and transport. If anyone would like to support him then please follow this link and simply donate whatever you can. There is no contribution too small. Thank you.