Hmm. I guess I hyped myself up too much. The word I would use to describe that is....ambitious. Maybe great, but I don't have a "This is the best episode ever!" feeling about it.
I think part of the problem is that there was too much packed into the 42 minutes. This could've improved if they gave it breathing room. Maybe 60 minutes to alleviate the rushed feeling. By the time the Great Intelligence is done pontificating, there's like 14 minutes of the episode left; not much time for a payoff and resolution, so everything has to be super rushed.
I don't know...I guess I should watch it again. Clara saving him doesn't feel like a sacrifice because she doesn't have enough time to ponder what it means, and she's in the time stream for like 2 seconds (although it's cool seeing her with the old footage). I thought it was going to be like the end of The End of Time.
It just felt....truncated. I saw tears on Clara's face but I didn't have time to feel the emotion of her making this sacrifice to save him. I think a lot was left on the cutting room floor with this one.
I really liked it, but I agree with you. There was just so much happening that it didn't really stop to take the time to let everything sink in. This would have been a really great two part episode, expanding it to not be so rushed at the end.
So is John Hurt the last incarnate of the Doctor? Is he a forgotten Doctor? I'm not sure how I feel about the ending (Maybe need to see it again) but I do know I am looking forward November. One worry I had was the 50th anniversary show would be nothing but fanwanks (In the same vain as, say, Time Crash) but it sounds like it will be advancing the story and maybe even be an epiloge to Season 7. I do agree though, now that we know the mystery of Clara, I hope we can get some growth to this character now. Coleman was amazing in this episode, probably along the lines of Asylum, so I really hope that continues through the special and into Season 8.
Great episode, but I gave it a grade below Excellent because it felt rushed at the end.