The Day of the Doctor.
I have been anxious with excitement to see this episode for a long time. That excitement doubled when I watched the special trailer at this years San Diego Comic Con, Doctor Who panel.
Matt Smith AND David Tennant together? Bring it on.
I admit, I was worried about this special episode. Could it live up to my expectations? By god, it did.
The episode was chockfull of small tidbits to previous Doctors (the same opening titles and school of the first Doctor Who episode ever, the 5:16pm on the clock which is the exact time the first episode aired, a lovely 12-feet scarf), brief glimpses of upcoming Doctors (I screamed a little upon seeing Peter Capaldi) and a cameo from a very very very popular early Doctor. If you can’t work out who that is, you mustn’t be paying attention to anything in the Doctor Who history. Ever. Really.
This episode centres around John Hurt, who fits in-between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston on the regeneration timeline, and his decision to destroy Gallifrey in the Time War. He procures a weapon, called The Moment that will do this for him. The Moment has a user interface, taking the form of the beloved companion Rose Tyler. Rose Tyler brings John Hurt together with the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors to show him what he will become if he does destroy Gallifrey.
Comedy ensues. Clearly. Particularly between Eleven and Ten, obviously, because they would be so fond of each other.
Eventually they, with the help and tears of Clara, come up with an alternate plan to freeze Gallifrey in a moment of time, preventing it from burning and being destroyed. Like a painting.
This plan not only requires the three of them, but pulls in the other previous Doctors as well. I had the stupidest, biggest grin on my face during that scene. Especially when the council shouted, “No, all THIRTEEN!”, (now counting John Hurt as a Doctor) and cutting to a shot of Peter Capaldi’s intense stare. I still am giddy with excitement when thinking about his takeover. He will be a fantastic Doctor.
Cut to the end of the episode, where I feel a little cheated. I was hoping for a proper cameo by Christopher Eccleston and just as John Hurt was starting his regeneration, the scene cut back to Eleven and Ten.
After, we have a little set-up to the Christmas Special, featuring the demise of Matt Smith’s Doctor. Plus, another heartbreaking rendition of Ten saying “I don’t wanna go.”
Moffat, please, I can’t take that. I’m still getting over David Tennant’s goodbye.
Then, there is the greatest cameo that again made me grin like a fool, sit up straight and clutch my couch cushions. Hello, Tom Baker. You’re still wonderful. Now, listen to what he says here. Carefully.
Eleven: “I never forget a face.”
Four: “I know you don’t. And years to come you might find yourself revisiting a few. But, just the old favourites, eh?
He still has those wild, childlike eyes.
Now, does this suggest the Doctor will again get the chance to choose his regeneration (please see, webisode). Will this break the regeneration limit? Will it assist in explaining the choice of Peter Capaldi and his face, who has previously appeared on Doctor Who? Twice? Are we going to see more Tom Baker? Steven Moffat has the answers.
Now that Gallifrey and the Time Lords are back in action, I would imagine that this will be a large segment of Peter Capaldi’s upcoming adventures as the Doctor. Someone has to find Gallifrey.
Honestly, this very special episode has won my heart and is now one of my absolute favourites. I don’t say this lightly. Don’t get me wrong, I love Doctor Who, but sometimes there are varying differences in episodes. Some work, some don’t. Some are fantastic and some are quite lackluster. But this is bloody brilliant. It’s perfectly paced, there is wonderful banter and hilarity, the Tenth Doctor threatening a rabbit, the recurring joke of marrying Queen Elizabeth 1, the meeting of Ten and Eleven. But the darkness in all three featured Doctor’s is sobering and clear, a great counter to the funny moments.
The episode is extremely well-written and easy to follow considering the story, as penned by showrunner Steven Moffat, does jump and flit around to many timezones and scenarios. It was structurally perfect. The entire episode is incredibly well-acted by absolutely everyone, plus Zygons. Zygons. Awesome! Zygons haven’t been seen on Doctor Who in decades! Yes!
Considering the huge build-up to this episode that has happened all year (pop-up stores, light shows, exhibitions, webisodes), it is a miracle that the episode did manage to deliver on everything and more. It is beautiful. And thrilling. And witty, John Hurt making fun of the “timey-wimey” dialouge? It’s great when a show can poke fun at itself.
The Day of the Doctor is also possibly Nick Hurran’s best directorial of Doctor Who ever. Or at least now, my favourite episode that he has ever directed.
This episode, it is just pure brilliance. Plus, it comes out on DVD and Blu Ray on December 4th. God, there better be a commentary.
So, now, we head to the Christmas Special. To the fields of Trenzalore. I really am going to miss Matt Smith. He will always be my Doctor. My first Doctor. Not counting the Tom Baker reruns that I used to watch as a child with my Dad.
And, of course, we now have a trailer for it. 11 seconds, ironically enough, which you can watch below.
It looks like it is shaping up to be a killer of an episode as well (*bursts into tears*).