Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Day of the Doctor Review

First of all, let me say, that was amazing. The Day of the Doctor has been anticipated for years now, and I think I can safely say that it lived up to its expectations.

This episode is another reminder of rule 1: Moffat lies. He said that he'd never do a Time War story and that there were no classic Doctors involved in the 50th. He also said that Capaldi wouldn't appear until Christmas. All of those proved to be lies. We finally got to see the war in something more than flashbacks. What's more is that we got to see how it all ended, which is what I think a lot of us have wanted to see ever since we heard that it was the Doctor who was responsible for it. Both Tom Baker and Paul McGann made appearances (see Night of the Doctor for McGann) and archive footage was used for all of the classic Doctors. We also got to see our first glimpse of the next Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi.

A lot of people expected Capaldi to make an appearance, however, I think most of them were thinking that we would see the regeneration. Instead, something happened that's never happened before in Doctor Who history. A future Doctor made an appearance before the current Doctor regenerated into him. We didn't see much of Peter (just his eyes, forehead, and one hand), but it was enough to get most of us (myself included) excited for his arrival. I personally didn't anticipate Peter being in the episode, I thought Moffat would stick to his word about him arriving at Christmas. In retrospect, especially considering Jenna's surprise appearance in Asylum, I really should have seen this coming.

We actually got to see the War Doctor regenerate. I thought during that scene we would get a few seconds worth of Christopher Eccleston, but we didn't. I had been hoping for a while that they were pulling a ruse and he would make an appearance. On the other hand, this leaves the door open for another surprise regeneration between Hurt and Eccleston. I doubt the writers will pull the same trick twice, but you never know what they will do in the future.

I for one, was hoping that we would get to see Rose Tyler and Tentoo from the parallel universe. I was thoroughly convinced that Rose was the woman in the shop who gave Clara the Doctor's phone number (with a bit of information from Tentoo). I also thought we would get a repeat of the Bad Wolf omen from Turn Left, which would alert the Doctor that something was up. I wasn't disappointed, though. We finally got to see the long-discussed relationship between the Doctor and Queen Elizabeth I, including the circumstances of their marriage. This does raise interesting questions about whether the Doctor has any claims to the throne. However, given Elizabeth's hatred of him in The Shakespeare Code (which I believe indicates some sort of divorce) and his exile by Victoria, I think it's safe to say he doesn't. I really liked Billie's portrayal of the Moment. She was brilliant, quirky, and just a tiny bit mad. I'm not sure how a galaxy-eating weapon has the power to open up time fissures. I think it might have something to do with the fact that she was in the form of the Bad Wolf. I am beginning to worry, though, that the writers are developing a bit of a sexy wooden box fetish (see The Doctor's Wife).

The director has apparently forgotten that the phone on the TARDIS door is a fake. At least two times (in The Empty Child and The Bells of Saint John) it was stated that it was a pretend phone, as it wasn't actually hooked up to a telephone line. It was only accessible through either an om-com or by dialing a special number than required intricate knowledge of the TARDIS (something only a Time Lord would know). Twice in this episode the Doctor used it as a regular phone. The second time, there was no real reason to since there's a perfectly fine one inside.

I guess we didn't get to see the Doctor and Clara's escape from the Doctor's timeline. They appeared to be trapped there at the end of The Name of the Doctor, since the fissure they jumped through appeared to close. It's just one of those false cliffhanger endings where the writers come up with a quick and easy way out of a situation (in this case by not showing it at all).

The nods to An Unearthly Child at the beginning were brilliant. It was one of those things where if you weren't paying attention for a minute, you would've missed them. All there was was a sign for I.M. Foreman's junkyard (where the TARDIS was originally parked) and a sign saying Coal Hill Secondary School (where Susan attended class). Not only that, but the Chairman of the Governors was none other than Ian Chesterton. This seemed to go against what Sarah Jane said in The Death of the Doctor about there being two professors at Cambridge named Ian and Barbara Chesterton who hadn't aged since the sixties. However, he could have simply had a career change after a more lucrative opportunity showed up.

I always sort of knew that Gallifrey wouldn't be gone forever. I figured that with something that important to the show gone, it was the perfect opportunity for a cliffhanger ending where they bring it back. Especially with the show having the potential to go on for years, some future writer would dare to reverse the consequences of the Time War. This goes with what Steven Moffat said about The Day of the Doctor looking towards the future and reinventing the show. With the Time Lords back, the show is different than it has been for the past eight years. The Doctor can now go seek out his people and return them to the waking universe. This is probably going to tie heavily into Peter's story arc. I feel like he's going to spend series 8 trying to find Gallifrey and bring it back and the rest of his time dealing with the consequences of not being the last Time Lord anymore (another trial anyone?). The brilliant thing about the way Moffat did it, is that is doesn't interfere with the rest of the new series. The Doctor (except for the current one) doesn't remember saving Gallifrey. He thinks it was wiped out at his hand and that he's the last Time Lord, when in reality, they're just in a parallel universe. The current Doctor is the only one who knows this, and he can now deal with that fact.

It appears Moffat decided to advance the Zygon's technology a bit. In Terror of the Zygons, the humans whose identity was being stolen had to be kept in a special booth in order for the Zygons to use their body print. In the event a Zygon was killed, the link was broken and the human was freed from the booth. In this story, it appears the Zygons have enhanced themselves so they can impersonate any human. The only condition is that the human needs to be kept alive, but not in some special chamber. It possible that the chamber was only used to keep the humans in a drugged, unconscious state, rather creating some sort of signal from them.

You can definitely see how much more mature the War Doctor is compared to 10 and 11. He wasn't having any of that silly gobbledegook with "timey-wimey" and "geronimo" and he actually got that the sonic screwdriver, is just that, a screwdriver. I don't know whether it was because the war hardened him or because he was a naturally more mature Doctor, but he had a very no-nonsense attitude towards life. It might also be just that 10 and 11 are simply sillier Doctors.

I'm glad they decided to do epic credits, like they did in Journey's End. I was hoping for a reprise of the series 7.2 theme song with all of the main characters' names squashed in there. Instead we got the first Doctor's theme song and the cast overlaid onto the main picture. At first, I thought something had gone wrong and they were accidentally transmitting the wrong picture. It didn't help that the beginning was black and white. The way the actors' names were overlaid onto the episode itself, rather than the time vortex reminds me of the way movies do it, where they don't actually have an opening sequence like TV shows do. They just have a title card and the actors, producers, and director's names on a non-important sequence, like a landscape or some dark alley. I guess The Day of the Doctor is supposed to be a cinema quality event, seeing as it's 76 minutes long, shot in 3D, and shown in theaters.

1 comment:

  1. "I thought during that scene we would get a few seconds worth of Christopher Eccleston, but we didn't. ... On the other hand, this leaves the door open for another surprise regeneration between Hurt and Eccleston."

    While we didn't get to see the complete regeneration, his face had already started to change before it cut away. And it was definitely Eccleston he was changing into. Here's an image I found of the last frame (or one of the very last frames) of that shot:

    Love your blog, BTW. It's is my first stop for HQ DW promotional images.


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