Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Day of the Doctor

WARNING: The following section contains spoilers!

Yesterday was the much anticipated 50th anniversary of the world famous BBC drama Doctor Who. The previous episode, released in May, ended with Clara and Eleven inside his (The Doctor's) personal timeline, and we saw The Doctor's biggest secret - a previously unknown regeneration that turned away from the name "The Doctor", the one who killed the Daleks and the whole of Gallifrey. As the season ended with this surprise and then the BBC released hardly any insights into what the 50th anniversary episode would contain, there was quite a bit of speculation as to how this past regeneration would fit into the timeline. Further news that David Tennant was resuming his role as Ten and Billie Piper was returning as well really set off the internet rumours. 

The episode ended up having an absolutely brilliant storyline - not as amazing as "The End of Time" from season 4, in my opinion, but still good in its own way. The first 15-20 minutes of "The Day of the Doctor" seem a bit random; the storyline jumps between 3 different plotlines that all seem random and unrelated, although they do show pieces of The Doctor's history that Whovians have always been curious about (The Time War and Ten's relationship with Queen Elizabeth I), but as the episode goes on we see how they all fit together. There were plenty of Ten & Eleven moments with loads of humour mixed with the more serious overtone, and 8.5 (the secret regeneration) even fit perfectly in the funny bits despite his characteristic solemnness. I nearly screamed of excitement at the "All twelve of them? No, all thirteen!" moment when we saw a brief glimpse of Capaldi as Twelve, as well as when Tom Baker (who played Four) cameos as the museum curator (Headcanon: he gave the dorky science girl his scarf). And of course, Ten's heartbreaking last words are still "I don't want to go." (cue teary eyes). 

There were a few things I wasn't happy about:
1. I did not at all like how Moffat fashioned Queen Elizabeth I. In history, she is famous for never marrying and staying an independent monarch. In this episode, she seemed like a silly, lovesick woman whose only goal was to marry The Doctor. Her character served little actual purpose and I really wish that, since we had been wondering about their relationship for several years now, he would have done a more satisfactory job of explaining it.
2. I understand having Billie Piper play the interface as Bad Wolf, but I (among many others) was hoping for more Ten x Rose moments. Even though I knew it was very unlikely that she would return as Rose Tyler, there was a perfect moment when they were all in the shed together and 8.5 mentions "the Bad Wolf girl" and Ten looks at him and says, "...what Bad Wolf girl?" that they could have made use of instead of just skipping over it. Moffat said he didn't want Billie as Rose because that was Russell T. Davies' character, which is understandable, but it was a little frustrating to have a perfect moment and then not use it.
3. I don't like how Moffat keeps changing a lot of old storylines. I understand wanting to make it happy by keeping Gallifrey stored in a painting, but at the same time, the destroying of Gallifrey is part of The Doctor - it makes him who he is forever afterwards. They made it so that Nine and Ten are still the same, but I wish Moffat would stop messing with important previous Who history.

Otherwise, I thought it was a good episode and I loved seeing all the characters again. Six months didn't seem that long to wait while I was going through it, but now I'm on a Doctor Who kick again and I want more episodes all the time again... help. Until Christmas, Allons-y! Geronimo!

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