Day Of The Doctor – a review (spoilers ahead)

This blog is about the Day of the Doctor episode.  There are spoliers so if you haven’t seen the episode please go and watch it before reading on.  I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone!





So, now the dust is settling after the geekiest week of my life.  And what a week it was.  With all the build up to the most important episode in the history of Doctor Who, with the wonderful docu-drama, Adventures In Space And Time, with the highly entertaining spoof, Five(ish) Doctors Rebooted,  and of course with the episode itself, it’s been quite a week for Whovians.

I actually watched the episode twice today.  I think you have to.  The first time you watch it you’re all awash with excitement so you miss details.  The second time of watching, you’re not quite so emotional so you pick up things you miss the first time.

I loved the episode overall.  It was huge. It was bold.  It was cinemtaic.  It was hugely entertaining.  But one thing did bother me as I started to digest what I’d seen.  If everything changed, would I still want to watch episodes from the earlier seasons?  After all, what relevance do they have now.  Gallifrey falls no more.  The Doctor didn’t destroy his home planet.  So that renders the previous seasons meaningless.  Right?

Wrong.  I picked it up on the second viewing.  Hurt’s Doctor comments to Smith’s Doctor that when he goes back to his own timeline, he won’t remember that he saved Gallifrey instead of destroying it.  Which means Ecclestone’s Doctor won’t be aware that he didn’t destroy his homeworld.  He’ll go around talking about it, believing he did it, but we’ll know the truth.  That somehow seems more tragic when you think about it.  Imagine carrying around all that guilt for something you didn’t even do.  But in essence, as far as Ecclestone’s concerned, nothing has changed.  Ecclestone carries all the guilt and anger.  Tennant starts to wonder as he’ll be aware they tried to save Gallifrey.  And Smith finds out for sure. 

Time travel.  It’s a complicated business.  It’s probably a good thing it’s not possible to go backwards and forwards in time.  Or as far as we currently know, it isn’t.  But imagine what the world would be like if we could freely roam around in time.  History would be constantly changing.  How messed up would that be?  One of the things I like about Moffat is he does like to explore big ideas.  Sometimes I think his ideas are bigger than he can perhaps handle, but Doctor Who sure isn’t dull with him at the helm.  Frustrating, yes.  Dull, no.  I can follow his logic in this story.  Imagine if you’d done something so terrible that the guilt would be a huge weight on your shoulders for the rest of your life.  If someone came up with a way you can change that who wouldn’t take a risk.  Never mind that the Timelords have their rules about interfering in timelines.  Especially your own.  If you could undo your actions, ease that burden of guilt, you’d do whatever it takes.  I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the Doctor destroying Gallifrey anyway.  It goes so far against everything the Doctor has ever stood for.  The man who abhors violence, who won’t even carry a gun despite the constant dangers he faces, commits mass genocide.  On his own people, no less.  I just couldn’t see it.  I didn’t want to see it.  So I was happy to see that he was able to undo his most terrible act.  And who knows what repurcussions will result from this.  It was heavily inferred that the Timelords were changed by the Time War.  That they’d become almost as bad as the Daleks.  So when Gallifrey is finally found and released from being frozen in time, it remains to be seen whether they will be benevolent or hostile.  Time will tell.

But with the emergence of John Hurt’s War Doctor, other problems arise.  Like the numbering of the Doctors.  We’re all geeks really, right?  It’s not just me?  We like to know the order they run in. You’ll notice I used the names rather than numbers for the Doctors.  That’s because there’s some confusion now of the exact order.  We were calling Hurt’s Doctor eight and a half because he didn’t count.  He was the abomination. The Oncoming Storm.  Destroyer of Worlds.  Except…well, he isn’t, now.  It looks like he’s got his Doctor status back.  So shouldn’t he count as Doctor nine?  I wonder if there will be some official statement to that effect in the coming days.  Imagine the consternation among people who make a living over this sort of detail.  People who write books in which the Doctors are all neatly labelled and numbered.  I can imagine Moffat had a big grin on his face as he wrote this story….

So for the story itself…wasn’t it fun?  Zygons.  THREE Doctors, lots of wibbly wobbly timey wimey, and then the surprise at the end.  Tom Baker!  That was a huge treat for me.  Tom has always been my Doctor.  He was my first.  And you never forget your first Doctor.  I should know. I have a t-shirt that says it!  That was a lovely touch at the end.  And then there was that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimse of Peter Capaldi.  Well, his eyes anyway.  And doesn’t he look ferocious?  I think it’s going to be very interesting to see how he plays the role.

The only problem I have with the story is how abruptly we switch tracks.  One minute we’re in a story with Zygons, the next we’re off to the Time War.  It doesn’t really seem the Zygons storyline has been fully resolved.  When we last saw them they were deep in negotiations.  Maybe we’re just supposed to infer it all went well.  Or maybe we’ll return to them at Christmas….

Ahh, Christmas.  So much still to come.  The fall of the Eleventh.  Or is it the Twelth now?  Damn you, Moffat! *Shakes fist*  And, of course, that first glimpse of our new Doctor, Peter Capaldi  Let the good times roll!.


3 thoughts on “Day Of The Doctor – a review (spoilers ahead)

  1. Like your logic over the change in the Doctor’s timeline. Why should Matt Smith remember the number of children on Gallifrey he killed when he knows he didn’t kill any of them?

    And I too loved seeing Tom Baker as the Doctor one more time. Tearful moment!

    • Yes, Tom Baker was a wonderful nod to us long-time fans. It’s a shame Tom ruined the surprise slightly by saying in a recent interview that he would play a part, but he didn’t say he would appear as he is now.

      I hadn’t even considered that bit about Smith forgetting how many children died. I thought it was odd and unlike him. Good point.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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