Random Timey Wimey Thoughts…
One Whovian Relives ‘Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor’
After so long a wait, the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is here – The Day of the Doctor has come and gone, but will never be forgotten by Whovians in a long time. The big episode, written by Steven Moffat, has sent ripples through the fan community – with hugely positive reviews floating around the place.
Positive reviews for an anniversary episode of Doctor Who – now THAT must be a first. The previous anniversary specials – The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, Silver Nemesis – are great in retrospect, from a nostalgic point of view; though all seemed to suffer from some unenthusiastic initial reactions from fans and critics alike – as well as cast and crew, too.
Not so for The Day of the Doctor, which aired globally on November 23, 2013. Mind you, this is not really a review, more a collection of random timey wimey thoughts in reaction to the new episode and its significance in the history of Doctor Who.
And bear in mind, in the words of River Song: Spoilers! They ARE below, so consider yourself alerted.
Moffat had many surprises in store for fans with this out-of-the-ordinary episode – and while the more obvious ones that fans are reacting to were already floating around the web, the best surprise was in the writing efforts that tied up countless loose ends in the Doctor Who chronicle. We see the Time War for the first time ever – although alluded to heavily in the form of the High Council’s nefarious plans in The End Of Time… In The Day Of The Doctor, we finally see a major battle: The Fall of Arcadia.
The Queen Elizabeth I arc was first brought to light in the Shakespeare episode of Series 3, The Shakespeare Code, when the monarch’s appearance highlighted she already met the Doctor, though he hadn’t met her. It’s referenced again in The End of Time, which for the David Tennant Doctor, is his next adventure after the events of The Day of the Doctor.
In spite of this, Moffat also made some other revelations that were more implied than anything else – leading to a lot of speculation by fans. The interface of The Moment taking the form of the Bad Wolf (aka Rose Tyler played by Billie Piper) implies much about Rose Tyler.
While the Doctors will only have some memories of The Day of the Doctor (as it is in principle before their timeline, except for Matt Smith, who is living this moment at the correct point in his timeline), it’s possible that the Christopher Eccleston Doctor remembers the name Rose Tyler, and the image of the Bad Wolf, so he tracks her down… very much in the same way Matt Smith’s Doctor tracks down the impossible girl known as Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman).
There’s also an aesthetic element to The Day of the Doctor that is pleasing to fans – it serves to bridge a gap between Classic Doctor Who and modern Doctor Who. The imagery of the exterior and interior of the John Hurt Doctor’s TARDIS serves as a visual reminder of this, taking elements from the classic era (“the round things!”) and the modern era (the coral columns from 10’s TARDIS).
In many ways, Steven Moffat is closing the book on the Time War era of Doctor Who, also but inaugurating the new crusade for the Time Lord at the same time. The ongoing Time War arc has dominated Doctor Who since 2005 (indeed, some may say earlier – it was the Time Lords who sent Tom Baker’s Doctor to Skaro in Genesis of the Daleks to destroy them before their creation) and it does feel time to advance and progress forward into a new era.
The new adventure: to search for the vanished Gallifrey, and bring back the return of the Time Lords also may hint to elements of Series 8. During the 1970s, an entire season of Doctor Who was dedicated to The Key To Time – a series of adventures that stood well alone, but were connected by an ongoing McGuffin chase, making the Tom Baker Doctor and the Lalla Ward Romana search for the parts of the Key to Time.
This may be where Moffat is going for Series 8. The new goal is for the Peter Capaldi Doctor to search for Gallifrey and bring back the return of the Time Lords. This could be the overarching quest of the next season, very much in the same flavor as The Key To Time. It would be a new flavor for the Doctor Who series, but also a nice change of pace to the standalone adventure approach to Series 7 – an effort that many fans weren’t too happy with.
But I’m getting away from myself. Let’s talk about those spoilers.
First of all: the first appearance of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. This was a surprise to many, but something I’d predicted on the TARDISblend a long while back. And though it was only a cameo, it was absolutely superb.
Second of all: the appearance of Tom Baker as (ostensibly the final incarnation of) the Doctor – now renamed as the Curator. After all, Queen Elizabeth I charged the Doctor as the curator of the undergallery in the episode, right? Presumably, this means that the Doctor one day retires and actually has a little more control over his regenerations than previously hinted at. It also implies that the Doctor does not die at Trenzalore after all. Or does he?
And finally, the appearance not only of Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, and Tom Baker as the Doctor – but the appearance of ALL the Doctors, with the assistance of a little jiggery-pokery known as CGI and voiceovers during the final battle of the Time War was AMAZING. This was epic as well as it was a pleasant surprise.
There is so much more one could say about The Day of the Doctor – and they will in the next TARDISblend – but more importantly, this episode of Doctor Who is imaginably the most memorable for many fans, and will be debated for years to come.