Good God, was the “The Day of The Doctor” what anyone expected? (Besides it being awesome. Because it was awesome.)
I’ve now watched it 3 times and I’m no more prepared to articulate my feelings than I was last night. Because so many things just happened. I’ve always preferred Russell Davies work on Doctor Who to Stephen Moffats, because it’s always just a little less bonkers.
If that’s the way to describe it. I immediately went on Netflix and watched “Rose” afterwards, and it’s hard to believe that this is supposed to be the same show, because it shares almost nothing in common with “The Day of The Doctor” except for Billie Piper.
So let’s start with Billie Piper. She was fantastic. She always is. I’m a big fan of how she always seems game to deliver these seriously cryptic lines and cry far more than any other character. (Seriously, did anyone cry as much as Rose? Maybe Jack, at the end of Children of Earth, but that’s a totally different animal.) But I was always happy that she got a happy ending, tucked away in her parallel world with her Doctor clone. I like thinking that they fought with their world’s Torchwood, settled in a nice little suburb and had babies. (I’m very conventional that way, that’s how I want things to go for everyone.)
So when we found out that Piper was coming back, I was worried that it would disrupt Rose’s happily ever after. It didn’t, because Rose didn’t come back, not as such. When The War Doctor, played by William Hurt found the weapon that he had to use to destroy both Gallifrey and The Daleks, it turns out The Interface or The Moment has a consciousness. It plucks Rose from the Doctor’s time stream, even though this Doctor has yet to meet Rose Tyler, The Bad Wolf.
The Moment haunts the entire episode, a sort of Christmas Carol type ghost, guiding the War Doctor through meeting his two future incarnations.
We see 11 first and foremost. He summons Clara and asks if she wants to go on a generic adventure. She’s excited. They get picked up by U.N.I.T., and I know it shows what a dilletante I am, that I was disappointed their U.N.I.T. mission was commanded by Kate Lefbridge-Stewart instead of Martha Jones. (Was Martha even with U.N.I.T. by the end? I know she and Mickey got married…) But see, having only watched the new series, I have no knowledge of The Brigadeer, except that he does in fact exist…
Anyway, The U.N.I.T. mission were orders passed down from Queen Elizabeth I, basically if anything ever went wrong in the secret gallery of “dangerous” art beneath The National Gallery.
I initially assumed that “dangerous” art meant a large collection of weeping angel statues that had eyeballs on them at all times. But it was actually well, much more than that, involving a shape shifting race that forced themselves into the paintings in hopes of invading Earth at a later time.
When Clara, (because this is what companions do!) asks if the Doctor knew Queen Elizabeth, he responds, “Yes a long time ago!” We flash back to England in 1542 and see the 10th Doctor (Yay!) courting The Virgin Queen. They go on a picnic, and he proposes and she accepts. He claims that this is proof that she’s an alien impostor. But she isn’t, and it’s only proof that no woman is safe from falling in love with David Tennant.
When I was watching the episode last night I was also whipping up a sick batch of chicken and bacon macaroni and cheese, (It was awesome) but I dropped the wooden spoon I was using to make the sauce and jumped up and down squeeing like, well, like the 10th Doctor was back.
I’m sorry, I just like him best.
Anyway, the two doctors are quickly united and 10 makes a small penis joke about 11, and all is right with the world. Then The War Doctor shows up and while all of the levity isn’t gone, things get a good deal darker.
After being imprisoned in The Tower of London, the three Doctors argue for a while about behaving like a grown up. A new favorite moment comes when 11 talks about a “timey wimey” situation and The War Doctor is disgusted with the colloquialism, and 10 claims he has no idea what this person is talking about. In fact 11’s general not giving a fuckedness (I can’t think of a better way to describe it) annoys both of his predecessors, and I have to admit is sort of what has always bugged me about him.
Anyway, they stop the invasion (Hooray!) but that’s not the big story. I mean, it would have probably been enough. But The War Doctor has to decide whether to destroy Gallifrey or not, and after seeing how great his regenerations are (awww) he decides, that yes, he must do this. The other two Doctors join him to press the button.
The rhetoric that they use to explain why this must happen will be familiar to most Americans. See, I find the whole concept of the post time war Doctor fascinating, and 100% get why the new series is the one that really caught fire in the States. We committed that unspeakable crime to end World War II. We’ve spent the past 70 or so years trying to justify it, trying to understand how we let it happen and ultimately running from it. That something so quintessentially British could speak to one of the deepest darkest parts of the American collective psyche is fascinating to be.
But maybe I’m being culturally biased here and Brits also feel guilty about the bomb.
I somehow doubt it though.
Anyway, Clara’s the voice of reason, explaining that The War Doctor is The Warrior and 10 is The Hero (Hell Yeah!) but 11 is The Doctor. So, he comes up with a solution to save Gallifrey.
That’s right, the Doctors save Gallifrey.
They do this by some improbable time travel magic that involves uniting all 13 (yeah, we get our first peak at 12) Tardises and freezing the planet in a pocket universe. That universe is lost, so they can’t know if it worked, but now there’s hope rather than despair.
The only reason why I’m not crazy about this solution (I love happy endings!) is that it basically destroys the 9th Doctor’s entire characterization.
I kind of liked how in order to deal with having committed double genocide, 9 was just a massive dick to everyone but Rose. And even to Rose sometimes. It’s slightly fixed when we learn because of more Time Travel Magic, only 11 will remember that this happened. (Or something? Seriously 3 viewings and I’m still not positive what happened.)
After The War Doctor leaves, and 11 warns 10 about Transilore, he settles in with Clara, who says the curator of the museum was looking for him.
The Curator is The 4th Doctor…sort of! Either way, they have a cryptic conversation, and learn that the painting that started the whole adventure, which was believed to have to titles Either, “No More,” or “Gallifrey Falls,” it turns out is meant to be, “Gallifrey Falls, No More.”
The Doctor has a new mission statement for his new incarnation. He’s got to find his home. He has to find Gallifrey.
The internet is going a little nuts over this revelation. After all, we’ve had eight years of fighting for redemption. But well, there’s something to be said for changing things up. I’m really looking forward to the Doctor having a mission statement again.