Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special ‘The Day of The Doctor’: Zygons ate the birthday cake

Source: BBC
The Power of Three

Doctor Who has turned 50. One of the longest running franchises still around today. Yes there have been times where The Doctor was not seen on Television, but even then there were books, and comics, and audio dramas carrying on the memory until the good doctor returned to the silver screen.

Saturday was kind of a big deal for a number of reasons and there is SOOO much to talk about. Like Tom Baker’s cameo for example, or bringing back the Zygons, giant shape shifting tentacle monsters that whisper angrily at people. But to keep things short, two big points stand out for me. The Doctor’s themselves, and the implications of the story line moving forward.

Source: BBC Tom Baker, what are you doing in this episode? I don't mind, but what are you doing?

Source: BBC
Tom Baker, I don’t Know why you’re here, but thanks for stopping by.

The three Doctors in the special were fantastic together. They had such chemistry and uber acting props to all of them. You have three very different men, all playing the same character at three very different times in his life. John Hurt is 73 and is playing the youngest Doctor at the age of 900ish, honestly the Doctor has no clue how old he is, Matt Smith is 31 and is playing the oldest at around 1200, and David Tennant is right there in the middle both the actor at 42 and his character. So right off the bat you’re getting Hurt calling the other two childish, Smith calls Hurt Grandpa, the obvious jokes, but then it changes. Smith starts sounding like the adult, Tennant the teenager, and Hurt the child. Clara at one point notes that in his eyes he looks so much younger than the other two. It was a slow and gradual shift and it was fascinating to see Hurt grow to look up to and even idolize his future selves as if older brothers. In fact he decides to kill all the Time Lords in part to insure he becomes those men.

Source: BBC They're screwdrivers, what are you going to do, assemble a cabinet at them!?

Source: BBC
Best Quote of the episode: “They’re screwdrivers, what are you going to do, assemble a cabinet at them!?”

But that’s not what he does. This is one of the weirdest parts about the special and I’m not sure how I feel about it. The show tells us the Doctor kills all the Time Lords. He time locked the Last Great Time War, pushing it out of sync with the rest of the universe and then lets it all burn using a device called ‘The Moment.’ At one point the Time Lords actually try to escape the time lock before their destruction in order to obliterate all of space and time. It turns out after centuries, or perhaps longer, of warfare they have become evil, thus supporting his decision to kill them all. The Doctor stops them and forces them back to Gallifrey. He essentially sentences them to death, again. Yet now in a bizarre retconing we find that is not what he did at all. Instead he trapped them in some sort of time stasis field… thingy. So they are alive, and he can save them. The weird thing about all this is that it doesn’t contradict anything that’s been said before. It’s incredible. I’m not familiar with a retcon that blatantly contradicts a statement like; ‘I killed them all’ and dose not destroy all continuity. Yet Moffat pulled it off! The Doctors form the past forget what they actually did, believing instead that they did kill them and so his character doesn’t change. The Daleks and the Time Lords are still erased from the galaxy; in fact this new evidence even explains how the Daleks keep escaping the time war. And even still when Timothy Dalton and his fellow Time Lords are trying to escape their Time Lock they are referring to the time status the Doctor put them in and that’s why the span of one session of the council for them was who knows how many years for the Doctor. It doesn’t change a thing, it blows my mind! Yet it may cause some problems later.

Source: BBC The War Doctor regenerates into the 9th Doctor, My Doctor

Source: BBC
The War Doctor regenerates into the 9th Doctor, my Doctor, thus closing the last regeneration gap

For me it’s one of those things where, I don’t want it. I don’t want the Time Lords to survive, I don’t want the Doctor’s war crimes to be expunged, but, since they were going to do it anyway, this is the best possible way they could have. It impressed me, and depending on where they go from here, I’m ok with it. The Doctor’s new quest seems to be to find Gallifrey and restore it. This is the problem as I foresee it. During the time leading up to and including the 6th Doctor they really started to over use the Time Lords. There was no mystery about them anymore. So with Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor they spent a lot of time trying to rekindle that mystery with secret pasts and such. Then when the restart rolls around they just kill them all off, brilliant. It’s not a good idea to have the Time Lords common place. It diminishes the role of Doctor. If the Doctor is just one of billions of Time Lords, subject under their laws, with family and relatives and war buddies whom he won’t outlive. Then what makes him special? Why does he hang out with humans? Pervious Doctors actually had someone to answer to. He’s been on trial, he’s been exiled, punished, and so on. It destroys the mystique that has come to exemplify the franchise since the reboot; the tragic hero answering to no one but his conscience, always outliving his friends and comrades, and always ending up alone. Also The Time Lords are no longer benevolent. They do want to destroy all of time and they are really mad that The Doctor stopped them. These are things Steven Moffat is going to have consider moving forward.

Source: BBC Peter Capaldi's first appearance as the Doctor, extreme close up of angry eyes!

Source: BBC
Peter Capaldi’s first appearance as the Doctor: extreme close up of angry eyes!

In closing, the quest for Gallifrey could prove to be a fantastic adventure for the next Doctor, Peter Capaldi who takes up the mantle later this year on the Christmas special, but depending on how it’s approached I could be very disappointed. Don’t let me down guys. Here’s hoping this next season kicks ass because last season… had a few problems.

 

 

 

Paul Choate

was born with a remote control in his hand. He’s a Trekkie and an avid fan of comics as well as equally nerdy fare. When he’s not watching television on the couch he’s working on his new webcomic. Follow him on Tumblr and check out his website: wheatunryemedia.com

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  • Eric Pharand

    It’s entertaining. I would prefer the doctors destroying Gallifrey together but searching for Gallifrey is a good plot going forward. A UNIT series might be good with characters like Stewart and Osgood.

  • Anna Schmidt Meum

    I really like the idea of bringing Gallifrey back. And in terms of The Doctor now being ‘just another Timelord’ that isn’t true considering he is the one who used all of his lives to save them. And I agree that he shouldn’t be ordinary – part of what makes the character is that he is Other – different, alienated, a runaway, a rebel. I doubt Moffat will change that.