I hate spoilers! I sometimes think that movie previews show too many spoilers sometimes, so please, DO NOT READ THIS POST IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS! The fiftieth anniversary special for Doctor Who aired tonight, and I am going to discuss in detail stuff that will definitely be spoilers if you haven’t seen the episode.
You have been warned.
Okay, so I feel like I can start talking about it now, I think I’ve given enough warning. I watched The Day of the Doctor today with some friends. We had a little Doctor Who party, complete with way too much food, and we even watched the episode through twice. The first time to just enjoy pretty much silently, and the second we were able to discuss and question and comment.
It was a good time.
So this is a show about an alien who looks like a human, but changes his face and personality occasionally instead of dying, and travels through both space and time in a blue telephone box that is bigger on the inside. Suspension of disbelief is necessary. With Doctor Who, once you’ve accepted the corny special effects, and the TARDIS, the narrative of the show usually succeeds in keeping your disbelief suspended.
Of course, time travel creates paradoxes, and other little question marks pop up. With the fiftieth anniversary, we all were hoping for a tightly wrapped virtually leak-proof plot. Let me say right now that I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and I will watch it again.
So here are some things I loved, some things I maybe didn’t love, some things that made me go “Hmmmm” And some disbelief suspension strategies. In no particular order.
Oh, yeah… Spoilers!
So right off the bat, the special effects Hello! Budget! Yowza! The show was beautifully done with the 3D paintings, and the footage of the Time War. Sure, the things fighting the Galifreyans didn’t look like Daleks but they were pretty cool.
The Tardis carried by hellicopter over London, sure, we questioned why The Doctor used the phone on the outside instead of his cellphone, but I don’t think he’s used his cellphone once with Clara as his companion. (If he has and I’m wrong, please let me know. But please do so nicely.) But it definitely was an entrance, and apparently a pretty big deal in London while they were shooting it. So it’s good by me.
The chick in the super long Tom Baker scarf…
I don’t know why she’s wearing the Fourth Doctor’s scarf. I asked my friends while we were watching it the second time through, and something was said about her being the grand daughter of a companion or something, but I still didn’t get it.
But it was super cool seeing Tom Baker at the end and him kind of hinting that The Doctor would be seeing some more “old faces” in the near future. I’m wondering about the how’s and why’s of that. How is Baker the curator of that museum if he regenerated when he was much much younger into the Fifth Doctor.
It was great seeing Billie Piper again, and the way she played the conscience of the weapon was so different from her portrayal that it made me happy. I was sad that she never interacted with David Tennant, but I’m actually really glad that they didn’t try to revisit the Rose/Doctor storyline. Having the conscience of the machine basically mastermind the meeting of these three doctors, I thought was great. I also like that we got to see how Ten “Got Married! – That was a mistake – Good Queen Bess…” (End of Time-Part One 2009). It makes that throw away line so much better, and also sets up where in The Doctor’s timeline this event happens, though surprisingly doesn’t explain further why the queen might want him beheaded in The Shakespeare Code (2007).
Now… That leads me nicely into some Wibbley Wobbley Timey Wimey stuff. The End of Time is David Tennant’s last adventure as The Doctor, and in that episode there are political officials on Gallifrey attempting to use The Master to escape being timelocked just moments before their destruction by the Daleks. Sure, Ten goes back to his timeline and has forgotten about removing Gallifrey from the time war with all the other Doctor’s help, but Eleven should be aware of the outcome of Ten’s experience with the Master and with Gallifrey appearing over the earth and then disappearing back into the time lock when the “white point star” is shot. Yeah, that’s all End Of Time stuff… So is this a plot hole in the special? The officials from Gallifrey were acting just prior to the annihilation of their planet and acting out of desperation, but this happened before the fate of Gallifrey was decided and presumably before the three Doctors moved the planet, but still along the same timeline.
Bigger hunh. How does Eleven remember the fez and meeting with Ten and Elizabeth, but not clearly and then later seem to remember nothing? I think it’s a ripple effect. When they meet up with the “hidden Doctor” on Gallifrey and decide whether or not to blow up the planet from the moment they get there until they are back in their respective TARDISs after visiting the Gallifreyan painting their memories are blank and it ripples out backward from there getting less and less fuzzy the further they get from that experience.
The subplot with the shape shifters was well… a sub plot. Clara getting the vortex manipulator was because the shape shifter wanted to appease her long enough to get her alone to copy her. She admitted to getting “too into character” and that’s what happened when she told the guy to give her the code to get it working and therefore gave Clara a means to escape.
The “hidden Doctor” makes a comment about the other two not wanting to accept growing up and that that is why they say things like Timey Wimey. It’s a quick little statement, but if you look at the ages of Hidden, Nine, Ten and Eleven they all get younger, like he wants to distance himself from the maturity of having to accept what he has done. And Twelve is older. This excites me!
I am disappointed that Christopher Ecclestone couldn’t take off his sour pants to make even as much as a cameo in the special. He was the actor who restarted the series. And it would have been nice for the fans if he’d just given a little nod. I know that since he left the show after one season he hasn’t done anything Whovian since… But I had held out a pea sized amount of hope and yeah.
Well, this rundown is long, and I hope that you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing and reflecting. Doctor Who is one of my favourite shows for it’s blending of sci-fi and fantasy and I’m glad I got to share the fiftieth anniversary with some like-minded people.