The Day of the Doctor: Shall we discuss the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode?

Was the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who everything you hoped for? I can tell you now that it won’t have satisfied everyone, it might well have pissed some people off, however we loved it. Although I wouldn’t say it was completely sound, a few questions were raised in terms of what exactly this episode would mean in regards to the Doctor’s timeline and mythology, however I can’t say that I wasn’t completely engrossed. And when the audience erupted into applause at the end, I can’t say I didn’t join in. Because at the end of the day, the ‘Day of the Doctor’, it was an episode filled with superb acting, numerous Classic&New-Who references and good fun- and perhaps even some tears. Now be warned, spoilers will follow.

doctorsLet’s just get right into the wibbly wobbly, time wimey points of interest, shall we?

First of all, Rose Tyler’s appearance. “They must’ve told you the Moment had a conscience.” Ah so Rose doesn’t really come back, she’s the interface for the WMD ‘the Moment’. Having been privy to the Doctor’s past and future the sentient WMD picks out a face and body that she feels the Doctor would appreciate. However, the interface doesn’t take Rose Tyler the companion’s form, instead it takes the form of Rose Tyler, Bad Wolf. “I think I’m called…Rose Tyler. No, yes, no sorry… in this form I’m called Bad Wolf.” It’s funny though, when this scene happened- one could construe it as Bad Wolf commenting about kissing the Doctor in general.

However the first time a kiss occurs it is between the Ninth Doctor while Rose is Bad Wolf, when she’s brimming with the time vortex and he kisses her to take it away. Could explain why the Moment thought it apt to use Bad Wolf-Rose as its interface. The Doctor doesn’t know Rose’s face yet and just tells the interface that he’s ready to kamikaze out. “If you have been inside my head, then you know what I’ve seen. Suffering. Every moment in time and space is burning, it must end. I intend to end it the only way I can.”

The Moment warns ‘the War Doctor’ that there will be consequences and he responds that he has no desire to survive what he intends to do. In using the Moment to kill everyone involved in the Time War, Timelords and Daleks alike, he intends to be destroyed along with them. Even before he tries to hit that ‘big red button’ he confesses that he’d done things to warrant him no longer deserving of the Doctor’s title. “I’ve been fighting this war for a long time, I’ve lost the right to be the Doctor.”

However the Moment’s punishment for his actions would be for him to survive the destruction.

The paintings in the gallery, which the Zygons had been skidoo’d into gave the Doctor an idea. In using that skidoo crystal and skidooing the entire planet into a 3D painting, essentially freezing it in time after tricking the Daleks to shoot themselves, the Doctors have altered the course of their own history. No longer is the burning of Gallifrey a fixed point in time and no longer is a fixed point in time an unmovable thing. I don’t want to get into the logistics of it all for fear of falling through a plot-hole.

Tennant, Smith and Hurt really do have great onscreen chemistry. Especially Smith and Tennant, their witty banter really made the episode, I could watch those two interact in anything. Anything.

But Gallifrey is gone, the Doctor is the last of the Timelords! Well he’s under that impression for sure, I suppose their forgetting that they even saved Gallifrey could explain this. It very nearly could have been completely destroyed, if it weren’t for Clara (and the Moment) offering her human perspective on the entire thing. That there’s no need for a Warrior, and anyone could be a hero- what Gallifrey needed was a Doctor. Just like when they needed a human companion to open the door to their cell as it was unlocked and neither of them thought to check it.

When all of the Doctors chimed in I couldn’t help but internally scream from the fangirling.

Thirteen? Moffat said Hurt’s ‘War Doctor’ won’t have any bearing on the Doctor’s regeneration count, as we are all in the mindset that the Doctor only has twelve regenerations before he can regenerate no more. And the War Doctor keeps denying that he is the Doctor, as much as Ten and Eleven do. However, Moffat lies more than the Doctor does. He’s already changed a fixed point in time, in the Doctor’s storyline, changing not just the Doctor’s history but perhaps altering the show’s history, so we can’t really place much trust in Moffat’s words.
However the Doctor will be on his way towards regenerating into his twelfth/thirteenth incarnation this coming Christmas, as Peter Capaldi takes the reins look out for clues as to how the mythology of his regenerations will change in order to accommodate further incarnations. It also means he is no longer making his way towards his death and eventual resting place in Trenzalore- because he’s already been there. Now, he shall find his way back to Gallifrey- never mind that he left the place looking for adventure all those years ago when he ‘borrowed’ a TARDIS with no intention of giving it back.

Honourable Mentions:

– Tom Baker’s cameo. All my feels, first of all the Fourth doctor’s scarf was worn by one of the scientists, but as it turns out Baker’s the curator? Also, he reveals the painting’s true name, “Gallifrey Falls, No More.” So is Baker just a familiar faced curator, offering a nod to the classic who era, or is he the Doctor having regenerated into a past version of himself for sentimental reasons?

– Zygons let bygones be bygones and so on and so on.
– Sexist Moffat strikes again? I have to say, I didn’t like Queen Elizabeth’s ‘weak and feeble’ line not including the bit where she states she has the ‘heart and stomach of a king’. I mean, she’s the monarch that referred to herself as having a lion’s heart. Sure she defeated the Zygon and got a zinger in there about the male species being so arrogant not to realise they’d been duped- but she also points out that the only reason she beat the Zygon posing as her was because it, too, was feeble and weak having taken the body of a woman.
– The round things!
– Timey-Wimey
An Adventure in Time and Space (Written by Mark Gatiss)
I know An Adventure in Time and Space deserves its own post, however for now it will receive this honourable mention. David Bradley was amazing as William Hartnell, The docudrama really did give me a sense of just how much of a groundbreaking show Doctor Who was and is.
As always, no doubt I’ve missed something you feel should have been discussed, drop me a line. Until Christmas, or until the need to talk about Doctor Who arises again.
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2 thoughts on “The Day of the Doctor: Shall we discuss the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode?”

  1. Great episode, great review! Not that I wish to jump to Moffat’s defence, particularly when the issue is sexism, but the ‘weak and feeble woman’ line is a line from a speech Elizabeth really gave: “I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king”. As it happens, Moffat eliminated the good bit in the second half of the line, but the first part was at least historically accurate. As were the Zygons, of course!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah I should have worded that a bit more clearly, I’ve never liked that line and there were so many others he could have ripped from any of her speeches- but if he was going to employ this one he should have used the entire line.

      And yes yes, Zygons and history. Well known fact, that. =]

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