*Editor’s Note: Spoilers Ahead, Proceed With Caution. – Chuck the editor monkey*
Let’s just be clear, this is not a review. I’m sure I could find flaws in the episode. I choose not to because of the joy it brought me. This is just the things percolating in my head after multiple viewings.
I should admit I fell asleep on viewing one, but having just completely the “move from hell” I don’t blame the show. It was all me. Viewing two had me entranced and sobbing by the end. Viewing three I was grinning like an idiot until the crying started again.
Warning – spoilers abound!
I loved that it completely bridged the old series – movie – new series divides. We finally had 8’s regeneration scene in the mini-episode, Day of the Doctor and at the end the War Doctor (or true 9) began his regeneration into official 9 (or true 10 the numbering is a little nuts now). That’s the easy part.
Where it’s more complicated is in the full circle thing it did. By the end of the original series, the Doctor was getting darker and darker as a character. We weren’t quite sure who he was anymore (I should note 7 is easily my favorite Doctor, along with 2). In the series of books that followed he grew even more amoral. His relationship with Ace was a train wreck to put it mildly. The ends always justified the means for him but we weren’t always sure what ends he was seeking to achieve.
The television movie with Paul McGann where we were introduced to 8 was simply a regeneration story so it didn’t add much to the mythos but I’ve been told the books with 8 went even further into making the Doctor a darker character destined to become a destroyer of worlds.
When the new series started it seemed fairly light in tone but part of his history was that he had committed genocide against his own race and the Daleks as well. For the greater good of course, but still. This hung on him like a heavy cloak and formed the things he did in the show. It actually made him more of a hero than before because he had so much he wanted to atone for. When David Tennant’s 10 came around he was charming, heroic and sexy, something no Doctor had been before. Yet he still bore this burden as did Matt Smith’s 11 after him.
Image courtesy of doctor-who-companion.tumblr.com
Initially after watching The Day of the Doctor I assumed we were going to be told why it came to this but no it took it one step further…it fixed it. Once the three Doctors were together it felt like the old show, The Three Doctors, The Two Doctors and The Five Doctors had the same sort of slapstick feel to them. That was a tribute in and of itself but put three Doctors together and there is nothing they cannot do. They find a way to not destroy Gallifrey and it’s inhabitants. It may not work but it is definitely more hopeful than just blowing them up.
The Doctors prior to Matt Smith’s 11 won’t remember what happened so it won’t cause anything to change in the events the series depicts but it will change everything for him. Now he has a new mission, a hopeful one, to find his people and restore his world. We’ve come full circle back to a hopeful, less morose Doctor but one who has lived those events as well so the lessons are still learned. It’s an interesting twist. As is the note at the end mentioned by the Curator, played by Tom Baker, who says he may “revisit old favorites” when the Doctor mentions knowing his face. Will we be extending the regenerations past 12? This special puts the War Doctor firmly in 8th place which means new Doctor Peter Capaldi is lucky number 13 not 12.
I’m one of those increasingly rare fans who watched the show when I was a kid so bringing the two series together into one whole made me feel all fuzzy inside. I love all the Doctors, old and new and I’m sure I’ll fall for the new one as well, after the getting acquainted period (small shameless plug, having issues with accepting a new Doctor? Read my old Pink Raygun post for comfort) it’s the way it is after regenerations after all. It’s nice to know though that all roads from Doctor number 1 lead us to here Doctor number 13. Let’s hope they find a way to get over that 12 regenerations limit thing.