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hail HYDRA | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who blogging: “The Day of the Doctor”

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(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode… or unless you don’t care if it’s spoiled for you. this is a love fest only — all complaints and bitching must come from a place of love / previous: “The Name of the Doctor”)


I’ve been hard on Steven Moffat during his tenure as Doctor Who showrunner, and with, I think, good reason: He appears to value cool ideas over creating a satisfying story to convey those ideas. He has not been kind to his female characters. And he’s constantly painting himself into narrative corners and then skipping out on even attempting to extricate himself. So I was kind of dreading to see what he would do with such an important moment as the show’s half-century mark.

But he got it right with “The Day of the Doctor.” He got it really, really right.

There’s the obvious stuff that needed to be gotten right, and he did that beautifully, from the opening credits

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to having Clara teaching at the same school where Susan Foreman met teachers Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton, who ended up traveling with the Doctor.

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(And Ian is still involved with the school today!) Nice nod to the show’s very first episode, and to showing the world it created in 1963 still continuing. Bringing back Kate Stewart and UNIT was almost a no-brainer, because it’s evidence that things that the Doctor helped set in motion decades earlier on Earth also continue. But the character of Osgood is a stroke of genius on Moffat’s part:

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Of course, we’d previously met UNIT scientific advisor Dr. Malcolm Taylor in “Planet of the Dead” (and we can presume that’s whom Kate is speaking to and about when “Malcolm” is mentioned here a few times), but Osgood takes her love of the Doctor even further, and not just with the scarf, which is hilarious. She practically worships him.

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Twice she invokes the Doctor’s name when she’s in trouble — “The Doctor will save me… The Doctor will save me…” (even if that first time, she saves herself!). The Doctor has fans within UNIT — of course he does, he’s legendary there — but Osgood is a stand-in for us fans on the other side of the screen, too.

And there were other little touches that tie in to the past: “reverse the polarity”; Jack’s vortex manipulator. Even the Zygon story on Earth appears to be part of the same plot that we saw in 1975’s “Terror of the Zygons,” in that they want Earth for themselves. And hints of a potentially expansive storyscape to explore: the Black Archive full of all that dangerous stuff; the rich history of multiple 3D Gallifreyan paintings and how they ended up on Earth; anything with a UNIT led by Kate Stewart.

There’s also the tradition — established with the previous two anniversary episodes, the 10th and the 25th 20th — of bringing multiple Doctors together and, more importantly, having them squabble over and make fun of one another’s idiosyncrasies.

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Moffat got that all right, too. Some of which comes down to making fun of himself, as a writer and the showrunner… as with how he has let the sonic screwdriver get too powerful and become too easy a storytelling cheat:

Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They’re scientific instruments, not water pistols. –the War Doctor
The pointing again. They’re screwdrivers! What are you gonna do, assemble a cabinet at them? –the War Doctor

And then “The Day of the Doctor” gets down to the serious angst-ridden business of having the Doctors genuinely confront one another… or, actually, having the War Doctor confront what he will become if he does the thing we already know he did: push the button that ended the Time War and wiped out the Daleks (almost), but also burned Gallifrey. In one aspect, “The Day of the Doctor” differs from those other multi-Doctor stories in that we have no previous experience of the earliest Doctor here. (Which would have worked just as well had Paul McGann been the Doctor who fought in the Time War, too. I mean no offense to John Hurt, who is generally awesome and particularly fantastic here, but McGann’s Doctor would have been perfect for this story, because he’s lost out there in the past as the Doctor we barely got to see. And it wouldn’t have introduced the regeneration confusion we’re now left with. I suspect this “War Doctor” stuff is one of those cool ideas that Moffat let get away from him.) And he lets us see the Doctors we do know in a new light, as the War Doctor considers what he will become.

Oh! And it rather ingeniously makes us not miss Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor as much as we might have. (Not that I didn’t want him here, of course — it’s just that Moffat invented a good scenario to account for his lack of presence.) His was the PTSD Doctor, and meeting him probably wouldn’t have influenced the War Doctor much one way or the other, because he must surely expect to be immediately traumatized by what he was about to do when The Moment intervenes to show him what his future will be like. So there was little reason for The Moment to bring him into this.

Yet Nine is represented here, in a way, via The Moment, who appropriates the image of Rose Tyler as a way to interface with the War Doctor.

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Rose was the one who helped the Doctor recover, at least a little, from the Time War — she must have really loomed large in the Doctor’s (future) memories for The Moment to latch onto her. And although it isn’t really Rose we see here, this is nevertheless a fitting tribute to Rose and to how important she has been in shaping the new series.

The War Doctor doesn’t know this, of course. All he knows is that he’s meeting his future selves whom he likens to children who seem “ashamed of being a grownup.” That stings him… and it stings us, to be asked to see the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors in a less then flattering light. Moffat gives us a Ten who is a cavalier lover, as if he’s mostly just seeking out fun to drown his regrets in. I mean, even if this

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is simply him sussing out an evil Zygon plan, he clearly knows what he’s doing. He’s no novice.

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(Nice view, Doctor.)

He didn’t have to go through with the wedding, either. (Is this his wedding the Tenth Doctor said he was rubbish at? Did he fail to come right back after he said he would? Is that why the older Elizabeth in “The Shakespeare Code” was so angry with him? Argh! We see that it’s the young Elizabeth who writes the letter appointing the Doctor the curator of the Undergallery, but she could have revoked that later is she was still as angry as “The Shakespeare Code” suggests. So did the Doctor make it up with her at some point between 1599 and her death in 1603? Or did the letter get passed down through time in spite of her anger?)

Anyway, Ten isn’t just about romance as a ploy:

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But he is, perhaps, trying to not think too seriously about anything. We saw him like this a lot — he was the flirtiest Doctor ever — and he seems slightly less fun now in this new light.

And then there’s Eleven, who has gone out of his way to pretend he is a different man to the War Doctor, and even to Nine; he doesn’t even remember that he counted all the dead Gallifreyan children! This Doctor, Eleven, doesn’t even have companions who travel with him regularly — Clara has clearly established her own life on Earth — but on whom he just drops in once in a while. It’s like he’s been cutting himself off from the life and the travels he had before. In a way, Moffat’s Eleventh Doctor has gotten painted into his own corner: it doesn’t feel like there’s room for him to keep doing what he’s doing (and make it work as a TV serial, at least).

With the new Doctor — Peter Capaldi, that is — coming in soon and with how Moffat wraps things up here, there’s a wonderful sense of rejuvenation for the show and the central character. Which it was needing. When I saw what was coming here, that somehow the destruction of Gallifrey was going to be averted, I was worried again: Moffat loves his big reset buttons, and resetting the very premise underlying the new series seemed like a really terrible idea. Yet it works. Sending Gallifrey off into a pocket universe, safe but lost, doesn’t negate anything we’ve seen since 2005 and it doesn’t change the Ninth, Tenth, or Eleventh Doctors. It fits in with the Doctor’s modus operandi, which is to always find a better way than violence to solve problems. And — assuming upcoming episodes are written well — it might give the Twelfth new purpose. Not only a quest, to find Gallifrey, but a new hope in himself, that his usual philosophy really can work all the time.

Here’s the thing about that quest, though: The Doctor can’t ever find Gallifrey. He can’t go home: not literally, and not figuratively. That would, it seems, have to be the end of the show. But as a reason to keep going, to keep traveling? Dangling the prospect of finding Gallifrey before him could keep Doctor Who going for another 50 years.

Random thoughts on “The Day of the Doctor”:

• Tom Baker!

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Clearly not the Fourth Doctor, but a hint that this is a future Doctor who was somehow able to choose this face again. (“In years to come you might find yourself revisiting a few” faces.) We knew the regeneration problem would be MacGyvered somehow, and here’s the first hint of that happening… somehow.

• Issues:

1) Who painted “Gallifrey Falls”/“No More” if everyone was dead (or in stasis)? Or does the painting itself imply that Gallifrey was/will be found? (Which doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be the Doctor who finds it.)

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2) How did the Doctors get into the “Gallifrey Falls” painting? They weren’t anywhere near it… and we saw the Zygon was right next to it when it got zapped in. Were they already there when Clara looked at the painting for the first time?

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Were the Doctors in stasis in the painting for a really long time? Or does that even matter?

3) How did the earlier Doctors get involved in putting Gallifrey into stasis? Was The Moment behind that?

• There’s gotta be a story behind this particular broken-chameleon-circuit’ed TARDIS illustrating the cover of a book about quantum mechanics:

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Author encountered the Doctor at some point… and was inspired by his time machine?

• I’m thinking I wanna call this look “timepunk”:

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Whaddaya think?

• Wait. Why is a fez too dangerous for public consumption?

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• The round things! I love the round things!

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There are round(ish) things in the Undergallery:

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Could the Undergallery be inside a TARDIS? Or inside the TARDIS?

• High heels are killers, it’s true, but can they help take over a planet?

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What could these be doing in the Black Archive?

• Of course UNIT keeps tabs on everyone who has ever had any contact with the Doctor:

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Of course they do.

• The Time Lords are very stylish. But that number-eight (or upended infinity) symbol used to be the symbol of only the Prydonians, the Doctor’s academy, not of Gallifrey itself:

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Did the Prydonians somehow take over the whole government?

• Great quotes:

“The ravens are looking a bit sluggish. Tell Malcolm they need new batteries.” — Kate Stewart at the Tower of London

“What’s our cover story for this?” –Kate
“Um, Derren Brown.” –Osgood
“Again?” –Kate
“Oh, we’ve sent him flowers.” –Osgood

“Big red rubbery thing covered in suckers. Surprisingly good kisser.” –the Tenth Doctor, about Zygons (this is before he’d kissed the Zygon-as-Elizabeth, so he’d kissed a Zygon before now)

“Oy, you! Are you science-y?” –the Eleventh Doctor to Osgood

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“Compensating?” –the Tenth Doctor, about the Eleventh’s larger sonic screwdriver
“For what?” –the Eleventh Doctor
“Regeneration. It’s a lottery.” –the Tenth Doctor (zing!)

“Malcolm? I need you to send me one of my father’s incident files codenamed Cromer. Seventies or Eighties, depending on the dating protocol.” –Kate, neatly retconning the dating problem with 70’s UNIT episodes (which sometimes had a character mentioning the date was in the 80s)

“That is not the Queen of England! That is an alien duplicate!” –the Tenth Doctor
“And you can take it from him, he’s really checked.” –the Eleventh Doctor
“Oh, shut up.” –the Tenth Doctor
“Venom sacs in the tongue.” –the Eleventh Doctor
“Seriously, stop it.” –the Tenth Doctor

“The sonic won’t work on that, it’s too primitive.” –the Tenth Doctor to the War Doctor as he sonics the door to their Tower of London cell
“Shall we ask for a better quality of door so we can escape?” –the Eleventh Doctor

“Think about it: Americans with the ability to rewrite history? You’ve seen their movies…” –Kate (or, really, Zygon-duplicate Kate, which means Zygons watch Hollywood movies, maybe, or else that was just from Kate’s memories; I prefer the former)

“Alien technology plus human stupidity. Trust me, it’s unbeatable.” –the Eleventh Doctor

(next: “The Time of the Doctor”)

Region 1
release date:

Dec 10 2013

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Region 2
release date:

Dec 2 2013

Amazon UK
posted in:
tv buzz
  • feelinglistless

    The shoes are River Song’s from The Time of Angels, I think.

  • Melissa Cheran

    I believe those are River Song’s red shoes from The Time of Angels – which in my mind would make them dangerous.

  • Melissa Cheran

    I like the theory that the undergallery ‘is’ the retired Doctor’s TARDIS. Kind of like Professor Chronotis’ rooms at the college. they don’t “feel” like a TARDIS because they aren’t meant to, they are incognito. I think my favorite quote is when the War Doctor asks 11 if he can speak without flapping his hands about and he answers “Yes! No!”

  • Bri

    And the bits with Elizabeth, as well as thinking of Riversong…well, can’t help but think someone is going to call the Doctor a time-traveling bigamist/polygamist.

  • lescarr

    The Christian Louboutin Bianca Platform Pumps are alien tech? No wonder they’re expensive.

  • Jennie Sloan

    The shoes are River’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrqX5cGp_3o

    I loved nearly everything about it and agree with pretty much all you said.

    I still think Nine is a massive omission and have never been angrier at Eccleston. They did a great job of ignoring it as much as possible and it worked just fine without him but oh, what a missed opportunity. Besides, then it could have been called “The Four Doctors”! Oh well, more Tennant for us, not a problem.

    Ten seems firmly in Time Lord Victorious mode, post Waters of Mars, which allows us to add this to the (near) end of his days and puts him in devil-may-care mode for the craziness in this special.

    So glad that Moffat is signaling he can throw out the immaturity and do something different….and that he can provide resolution to a storyline. I’m ready.

  • lescarr

    It was rather marvellous to see all of them together, or rather all of him together, split over different periods/regenerations. The whimsy and the despair all rather make sense with John Hurt grounding them in a past experience.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    Okay, they’re River’s shoes. But they’re still just shoes, right?

  • Dave Merrill

    Ok my one big question about the episode. Gallifrey didn’t burn. It was “time locked” which seems very similar to what The Doctors did so how is this different and why isnt Rassilon there trying to destroy all of reality? I really need to rewatch End of Time to refresh my mind on details

  • Gordon McAlpin

    I *adore* John Hurt, but I have to agree with you about how making the War Doctor Paul McGann would have been a bit more streamlined, story-wise. Ah well. Still, I loved those lines about the sonic screwdriver, too.

  • lescarr

    And her lipstick’s just lipstick? Who knows what she’s packing!

  • lescarr

    I’m sure that elements of the story had to be created to manage around contingencies; perhaps Paul McGann’s availability was not compatible with the filming schedules.

  • Vardulon

    While it’s fun to imagine the Doctor kissing a Zygon, #10 actually
    said the ‘surprisingly good kissers’ line while he still thought the
    real Elizabeth was a fake, so it’s that recent kiss he was referring to.

  • Kitty

    Ten DID go through with the wedding; Elizabeth made him marry her before they left again.

  • Karl Morton IV

    I wondered about the retired TARDIS thing too, but didn’t get far enough to express it as well as this. I really like this idea. :)

  • teenygozer

    Click their heels together 3 times and say, “There’s no place like home”, and you’ll see what happens!

  • Drave

    So far my favorite insane theory is that the Bad Wolf interface for the Moment isn’t what it says it is, but is actually Rose from during the time she absorbed the Time Vortex.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    Good point.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    So then how did the Doctors get to the Undergallery?

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    I know he did — but he didn’t have to. He could have weaseled out of it in some way. He’s good at stuff like that.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    Same difference, though, right? As far as the events depicted here are concerned. Or am I missing something.

  • Maria Niku

    Hi there. New here but a big fan (a surprise huh?).

    Just wondering about Gallifrey burning, which Dave Merrill also mentioned. In End of Time Gallifrey has been in a time lock, you’ve the mad Time Lords, and in the end they’re sent back to wherever.

    I assume the events of this story happen for Ten before End of Time, so he wouldn’t yet remember the time locking. But they would be after that for 11th? So is the assumption here that 11 has forgotten the time locking and therefore thinks Gallifrey burned? Or does he think that Gallifrey burned after the Time Lords were sent back, rather than just ending up back in the time lock?

  • Drave

    Yeah, it doesn’t make much narrative difference, but it’s a fun thing to say to people complaining that Rose didn’t actually appear in the special.

  • Jonathan Roth

    I have a similar problem.

    Possible theory: The Doctor believed the Moment destroyed them all, and time locked the events to prevent it from being undone. The Moment instead helped him come up with the multiple doctor plan to save Gallifrey, which he wouldn’t be able to remember because of the timey-wimey.

    That would mean that the council either foresaw the Doctor’s use of the Moment, and tried to escape before they were all burned (which may be what the general is referring to when he says the council’s plans had failed), or tried to escape from the pocket dimension they were put in afterwards.

    My problem is that multiple times, it’s been established that the Time Lords had become so terrible in the war that they needed to be stopped as much as the Daleks did. The last day of the Time War itself looked more like a conventional invasion with lasers, rather than a reality-warping nightmare of broken timelines, mad paradoxes, time zombies and universe-smashing weapons.

    I felt like they papered over that.

    So unless all the council was responsible for the bulk of the horrors, and the Master whacked them all in his final revenge, Lost Gallifrey is as big a threat as the Daleks are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1186107134 MarkyD

    I really enjoyed the episode(movie! It WAS 2 hours long). Especially the interplay between the doctors.

    I still think by cancelling the destruction of Gallifrey and the daleks, that the subsequent Doctors behavior wouldn’t be quite the same as we’ve seen since #9. He’s been this haunted dude for all these years, and now he has one less (BIG) reason to be so. It kind of changes a lot of what we’ve watched, doesn’t it?
    I really didn’t think they would go through with it. I figured at the last moment something would happen, and history would take it’s previously locked course. Weird.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Subsequent Doctors don’t know that they didn’t destroy Gallifrey. That bit about the “time streams [being] out of sync” was the hand wave so that everything about the 9th and 10th Doctors’ stories could be left intact. It’s only from now on that the Doctor has reason to believe Gallifrey can be recovered.

    Interestingly, I think it works in the series to date anyway. It explains why the Doctor has alternately described what he did as either destroying Gallifrey or time-locking it. It also helps to explain why some people remember the Time Lords, while others only remember the Doctor, and still others don’t know about any of them.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Either way, it was a nice way to : a) get Billy Piper involved without having to bring Rose back from the alternate dimension (yet again); and b) to wrap up the Bad Wolf plot thread that’s being left hanging since “Journey’s End”.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I think it’s not so much as they papered over it as decided not to rehash the events of “The End of Time”. It’s long been established that the Time War had gotten out of hand. The Moment gave the Doctor the opportunity to put a stop to all of it, for all time, but at great cost. I also think it’s legitimate to say that the Doctor remembers the end of the Time War both ways: one version where he obliterates the Daleks and the Time Lords, and another where he time locks Gallifrey and gets the Daleks to destroy themselves. This works on a lot of levels. I mentioned a few above, but also it explains why some Daleks managed to survive when no other Time Lords did and why Dalek Caan went insane breaking through the Time Lock (it was the paradox of both versions, not just the Time Lock itself).

  • Silvia

    Well, till death do us part. Ten maries Elizabeth, Ten dies. Eleven maries River Song. Fine for me. ;-)

  • Drave

    He corrupted his own timeline by changing something he clearly remembered doing. This created a paradox that the universe fixed by resetting the memories of the previous Doctors, so they remember it the original way. 11 will remember it from the current point in his timeline and onward, because this is the point at which knowing what really happened no longer causes a paradox, and 12 will remember it because he didn’t regenerate until after 11 regained the knowledge.

  • Jonathan Roth

    My problem is with Ten. In “The End of Time” the prospect of Gallifrey returning is horrifying enough to him that he picks up a gun. That’s even before the idea that Gallifrey might return in Earth/s Orbit, or that the Master might be able to take over Gallifrey.

    That should be the mindset of Ten in this episode, which is happening not long before the Events of “The End of Time”.

    Sure enough, Rassilon immediately declares he’s going to blow up the universe, even though the Time War was over and Gallifrey safe.

    Ten and War had to know that. 11 might remember that the Master stopped it from happening in Ten’s future, but there’s no acknowledgement of that at all in the episode.

    I just feel there should have been a little more of that tension, recognizing the dark turn his people had taken (more than a throwaway line about all the forbidden weapons being used already), rather than all the visuals pointing to a people who are merely losing.

    I don’t have a problem with the actual solution they implemented. I just wish they added a little weight to the idea that the doctor doesn’t just need to find his people again, but to help redeem them.

  • Jonathan Roth

    With my gripe below, I just wanted to say how much I loved this special otherwise. For all the reasons above.

    Favorite line for me was where Ten was threatening the rabbit.

  • NorthernStar

    As much as I enjoyed the sheer spectacle of two Doctors, Tennant’s return and the brilliance of watching it in the cinema in 3D, I found some parts unsettling. The subversion of the end of the Time War robs the show of much of its dark texture. It was excellent world building and its themes – loss and destruction and terrorism – were very much 21st century (and were repeated in Reboot Star Trek as Spock loses his world)
    So now Gallifrey is lost and presumably 12 will be searching for it. Will Dr Who work as a “Quest” narrative? Or is its discovery just a set up for the next big celebration?

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    My problem is that multiple times, it’s been established that the Time Lords had become so terrible in the war that they needed to be stopped as much as the Daleks did.

    More potential angst for the Doctor! He finds Gallifrey but then has to struggle with whether he should actually let it out of stasis. 60th anniversary special!

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    It WAS 2 hours long

    Nah, only 75 minutes. Which does count as feature length, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1186107134 MarkyD

    I sat down and watched it from 6 to 8. I know the run time was less, but it took 2 hours to get it all out. I wasn’t expecting that!
    I wasn’t seeing it that way. I figured it all changed from the moment of the war on. hence changing pretty much everything about the doctor.
    Whatever. My brain hurts with all this timey whimey stuff.

  • tinwatchman

    I’m kinda wondering what the hell happened to the Doctor and Clara after “Name of the Doctor.” Guess they got out of it somehow, huh?

  • tinwatchman

    And re: the high heels — they can if they grant access to Oz. (Army of flying monkeys, just to start with…)

  • Drave

    Nah. As I mentioned above, the Doctor created a paradox by changing his own timeline. As 11 said in an earlier episode this season, paradoxes by and large resolve themselves. This one resolved itself by reasserting the memories from the original timeline, because the new memories would have interfered with the changes to events.

  • daniel one

    The Black Archive sounds like something from Warehouse 13, but I absolutely LOVED everything else about this special. Not to mention Tom Baker’s appearance at / near the end.

  • Jem

    Overall I enjoyed this much much more than anything from Stephen Moffat’s pen since The Eleventh Hour. Mr Moffat is a very very clever man – having his cake and eating it too. By mocking his own tropes (hyperactive hand-flapping 11, even the Queen of England is just a woman obsessed with leading some poor bloke to the altar, baby talky-walky and even a Big Red Button) he both continues the need he has in his writing to inject that ironic almost smug humour while also winking to us that he has grown tired of some of his baggage. It leaves the door open to having a real seachange for the next doctor (whatever number he is now).
    The Good:
    - Billie Piper knocked it out of the park. What a clever way of having Rose back but not getting tangled in Ten’s story
    - John Hurt has a good line in snark but was also the most compassionate and human of the three doctors
    - Allowing Tom Baker to do his best Tom Baker
    - Fantastic opening sequence
    - All of the doctors together (Shame that with this budget though that the stand ins from the back view were so poor)
    The Bad:
    - Dragged in the middle I thought
    - Clara remains a problem for me. Although perfectly good in this, I still can’t fathom her character. She is already the most special-est companion evuh by saving every doctor evuh; she can give or take travelling with the doctor as she is now a philosophy?history? teacher; she has the power to close the TARDIS by clicking her fingers and now she has also saved Gallifrey through her magic tears (once again). I just don’t know where else the character can go with the new doctor unless she is retconned. At least she will be able to get rid of the exasperated little mother sighs when shaking her head at 11s latest zany hijinks. They can’t go down that route with Capaldi.
    - I think this also painted 10 as a slightly creepy gigolo willing to have a bit of a ‘snog” with a Zygon when not puffing himself up as a blow hard full of show-offy rhetoric. This was really undercut I thought by some of 10s most emblematic words being used as throw away jokes. While I understand that by hand waving, 9 and 10 will still think they ‘”killed them all, it does affect how Ï now look at them. Added to the way 10 was mostly presented in the DoTD it seems to me to diminish how 10 was presented in the RTD era.
    - not sure all of the plot holds together but I can live with that for a special event like this.
    I think the afterglow on this might wear off on later viewings and of course it will depend on how 11 or is it 12? bows out.

  • Marshall Myers

    When the War Doctor starts to regenerate, just before the camera switches scenes you can see the upper part of his face morph into a resemblance of 9.

  • Anthony

    Way I see it, Ten from “The End of Time” has a mindset of “We cannot let the Time Lords loose! They’re as bad as the Daleks and they’re about to burn reality to ascend into higher beings!” Hence, gun. But Ten from “Day of the Doctor” is more like, “Hey, we’re saving the Time Lords, but we’re keeping them sealed up in a pocket universe where they can’t hurt anyone else either. I’m good with that!”

  • Maria Niku

    This. With, perhaps, the way he’d been after “Waters of Mars” and before “End of Time”, trying his damnest to escape the final reckoning that the Ood predicted, by way of looking for fun. The way he shows up at the Ood planet with the straw cowboy hat, the lei and the shades, going on about good queen Bess whose nickname is no longer…

    As an aside, I noted in “End of Time” Ten says his age is 906 and in “Day of the Doctor” 903. Not that it should be taken very seriously when the Doctor says something about his age.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Right. All I wanted was a little narrative pipe between those two.

    I still thought the movie was incredible, and I loved it immensely, but that one little disconnect bothers me more than it probably should.

  • Jurgan

    Well, I liked the episode, but it’s certainly a big shift. I don’t know, it seems like it’s a little too easy that he was able to save Gallifrey and undo the guilt he’s been carrying for seven years. The trauma over being unable to save anyone was part of his DNA, and knowing that he actually did save everyone… I don’t know, I guess I do like that he was able to take a third option. There have been plenty of time the Doctor appeared to be in a no-win scenario and found a way out, and I guess this is just a larger version of that idea. The show is about change and renewal, so if they want to change to a new status quo, I’ll give it a shot. Which brings me to:

    “Dangling the prospect of finding Gallifrey before him could keep Doctor Who going for another 50 years.”

    NO! No, no, no, no, no! Please don’t let this become a “doomed to fail” story. I absolutely hate when a show has a premise that can never be achieved. It always leads to endless teasing and contrived setbacks to keep things the same. I don’t want to see season after season end with the Doctor having the key to unlocking Gallifrey in his hand and then a Cyberman destroying it or whatever. It’s boring to see the same tease over and over again. It’s like those sitcoms where they drag out a potential romantic relationship for years, neither willing to go through with it nor close the door entirely. Have him search for Gallifrey for a year or two, then have it come back and the Doctor be in conflict with the corrupt Time Lords and overthrow Rassilon or whatever. I don’t know, I’m not very familiar with Classic Who, but I think there are tons of stories to be done with conflicts between the Doctor and the Time Lords. There’s only one story in “so close- I almost save Gallifrey this time!” and I don’t think I can watch it for years on end.

  • bronxbee

    so agree on all the bad…

  • Goldie

    Tom and Lorenzo (tomandlorenzo.com) figured out that all three Doctors are at the end of their journey. We saw The War Doctor start to regenerate as soon as he left, we know the next adventure will be Eleven’s last and at the start of Ten’s last adventure, he mentions that he just married the Queen of England.

  • EvilZygonRabbit

    Actually, Moffat has specifically promised that he won’t do a series of “Ooh, we almost found it that time!” moments (thank heaven). See here: http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/moffat-talks-doctors-search-for-gallifrey-56196.htm.

  • bronxbee

    moffat often… i don’t want to say *lies* but forgets previous promises, storylines and character arcs.

  • JimandCathleen

    I think TDOTD fairly isolates the madness to the High Council.

  • Pedro C.

    Question: Did you see “The Night of the Doctor” mini-episode/prologue?
    I’m just asking because you mentioned some ‘regeneration confusion’ and I was wondering if some of that may be dispelled by watching it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It was a “Doctor Who Thing of the Day” earlier in the month:

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2013/11/doctor-thing-night-doctor-minisode.html

    All “Night of the Doctor” clears up is when, in his timeline, the Doctor was the War Doctor – specifically between his 8th (McGann) and 9th (Eccleston) incarnations – and which incarnation actually fought the Great Time War – none of them that we knew of, it turns out.

    The more I think about it, the more I believe this was an excellent choice. It allows for the event of the Time War to be explained without having to justify a wholesale retcon of the 8th Doctor as he appears in the books and audio stories.

    The current confusion has more to do with exactly how many times the Doctor can regenerate. Because the Sisters of Karn effectively interrupted either the Doctor’s death or regeneration into a 9th incarnation. So, does the regeneration to the War Doctor “count” against the traditional 12 regen limit?

    My pet theory: the Sisters, either inadvertently or deliberately, “reset” the Doctor’s regenerations. He’s about to undergo his fourth of fifth regeneration (Smith to Capaldi), with 7 or 8 more to go.

  • Pedro C.

    Oh, OK! I think there’s an article around stating that Moffat spoke about the next Christmas episode and said that it’s going to be revealed that the 11th Doctor is in reality the last regeneration, since the War Doctor does count and 10th spent an extra regeneration without changing his face when all the Doctor-Donna thing happened.
    Of course we will have to wait to see how they resolve this issue then. ;)

  • Jim Mann

    And does the regeneration from 2 to 3 count? He didn’t die and regenerate: the Time Lords forced him to change, in punishment for his meddling in the War Games.

  • Judy

    ” I think this also painted 10 as a slightly creepy gigolo … some of 10s most emblematic words being used as throw away jokes… the way 10 was mostly presented in the DoTD it seems to me to diminish how 10 was presented in the RTD era.”
    Although I enjoyed DoTD, I completely agree with the above observation. 10 was a real hero doctor, and this struck me as Moffat feeling competitive with RTD and trying to undo RTD’s tenure. I was sorry DT went along with the snarking up of 10.

  • J.T. Dawgzone

    Comments like this are why I love Doctor Who despite its flaws :D

  • Robert Lipsett

    the heels looked like the heels that river song was wearing when she jumped out of an airlock and into the tardis is deep space. it was during an episode that involved the angels. I am confused that the sonic screw driver can not open primitive doors. it has always been used on normal locks. I just saw the doctor use it on a primitive lock in blood of the wolf with billie piper. there is no reason why a device that can turn screws could not turn tumblers in a lock. The only time the doctors screwdriver could not unlock doors was when they were dead locked

  • Prankster36

    You could argue that–as opposed to the “time lock” which presumably left them frozen at the exact moment that Gallifrey was destroyed–being zapped off to another dimension, time would continue to pass, so the Doctor could be returning there after millions or billions of subjective years had passed. It could be a very different Gallifrey that comes out of limbo, if it ever does.

  • Prankster36

    Definitely agree about McGann. It’s pretty obvious John Hurt was a stand-in for Eccleston (but man, what an understudy!) but it is hard to avoid wishing they’d got McGann to play the role. It would have been tighter, narratively, and as “Night of the Doctor” proved, McGann is pretty amazing.

    It actually sounds like Moffat wants to deal with the fact that the next regeneration is now, technically, the Doctor’s last (12 regenerations, 13 Doctors) during Capaldi’s run, so it was necessary to retcon in another Doctor to get to that point. We already know that there are any number of “outs” for regeneration, so it’s not going to feel like cheating when he gets more, but having that hanging over his head could make for some good drama. Actually, since Time Lords can apparently “steal” each other’s regenerations (and I guess possibly pass them on from one to another in a more consensual way) that gives the next Doctor an added motivation to track them down.

    , just putting this out there: please, I beg of you, let’s not start smugly saying “Eleven? Do you mean Tennant or Smith, because TECHNICALLY Tennant was the Eleventh Doctor, because the 50th anniversary special–” WE’RE NOT RENUMBERING. John Hurt doesn’t count as one of the Doctors, they explicitly said that, and anyway the numbers refer to runs of the show as much as they do incarnations of the Doctor. Nitpicking this particular point has the potential to make Whovians absolutely *unbearable* in the coming years, so let’s just drop it, OK?

  • Danielm80

    As soon as everyone stops saying, “He’s not called Doctor Who. He’s called The Doctor!” we can work on the numbering issue.

  • Kathy_A

    A bit late, but I was just rewatching the episode over the weekend. IIRC, we see the War Doctor pick up the glass ball thing that the Zygon pressed when he was sent into the painting by LizOne when he says that they don’t need to use the time vortex thing that Clara has to get to the Black Archive. The first time we see into “Gallifrey Falls/No More,” we only see one Doctor behind the explosion, but when they arrive into the painting when it’s at the Archive, we see all three of them.

    Speaking of LizOne, as soon as I saw her ride out of the TARDIS, I remembered LizTen telling the Doctor in “The Beast Below” about what she’s heard about him in the family stories: “And the Virgin Queen? You bad boy!” (paraphrasing here).

  • me

    considering Moffat himself says he’s been lying his arse off for what seems like forever, I think you can safely say that rule 1 is that the Doctor and Moffat lie.

  • Alley

    Yeah! Those were River’s high heels! And my friend and I also saw Captain Jack Harkness’s gun, and the magnetic clamp from “Doomsday”.

  • Doctor80

    I just realised today that the fez is in a constant time loop. 11 sees it in the undergallery, throws it into the time whirlpool, forgot it’s name, it lands in 1562 and Elizabeth 1 has it displayed in the undergallery for 11 to throw etc.

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