‘Doctor Who’ Review: ‘The Day of the Doctor’
After endless amounts of hype, speculation, merchandise and misinformation it has finally arrived – the 50th Anniversary Special episode of Doctor Who. Broadcast 50 years to the day as the pilot episode, An Unearthly Child, appeared on BBC the episode was watched by millions of fans worldwide with the promise to reveal more about the Doctor than ever before.
Although Day of the Doctor was promising big events it surprisingly forgoes the major villains of the series to focus on character development. As indicated by the mini-episodes that preceded the broadcast this story takes place during the legendary Time War, which has oft been referenced but never revealed. What we knew going in is that a devastating war between the Time Lords and the Daleks threatened to engulf the entire universe. It fell to the Doctor to take the most drastic action – destroying his home world and his people (plus the Daleks) along with it. An unseen Doctor, played by John Hurt, was the one who was responsible for this action.
This episode begins with the Eleventh Doctor, along with Clara, being summoned by UNIT to the National Gallery where they have a message from Elizabeth I. They observe a 3D image of the fall of Gallifrey and discover that the shape-shifting Zygons have begun infiltrating the human world. The Tenth Doctor also encounters the Zygons whilst inadvertently becoming engaged to Elizabeth I. A tear in time brings the Tenth and Eleventh together, along with the War Doctor. The three versions of the Doctor find themselves on the last day of the Time War, when the weapon that destroys Gallifrey needs to be activated.
The central crux of the conflict revolves around the Doctor having to come to terms with the genocide he caused, and has been carrying the guilt off for hundreds of years. Between the three of them they begin to form a plot that would preserve the people of Gallifrey while destroying the Daleks, but they would not know if they succeeded or not. No punches are pulled, with the Doctor keeping count of all the children he murdered in the destruction of Gallifrey, and the usually affable Eleventh and Tenth resigning themselves to the task.
Fortunately things end on a warm note, with the surprising appearance of all versions of the Doctor to aid in the task – including a glimpse of Peter Capaldi as the next incarnation. The final scene features an even more surprising cameo which, rather than being a gimmick, brings things nicely full circle and is a great tribute for fans. The banter between the three Doctor is certainly the high point of the episode, as is often the case when the Doctors get together.
It’s a poignant episode for the Doctor with a nicely handled character arc for the long established icon. By the end of the story the Doctor has been reinforced in our minds as a great character, not the one who committed genocide to end a war, and that’s the war we want it. He’s still the charming eccentric we love. Great episode.
Hmm. Not sure I agree entirely. Too much padding.
great blog. verry nice
I loved it. It focused purely on character development, and I’ve been missing that for a bit. That could, of course, just have been me having trouble warming up to a new companion. Anyway, I loved this, I thought it was great and a great ode to the show. My only critique is that I would have liked to see just a bit more about companions, since they’ve always been such a huge part of the show, but Clara did a pretty good job covering that. I’m satisfied.
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Reblogged this on delicatedaleks and commented:
Exactly my thoughts, thank you putting it so accurately and elegantly. (:
/fangirls excitedly inside/
Great review! I personally loved the episode and even although I was unsure when Peter Capaldi was cast, when I saw him, even briefly, on the screen I was excited and can’t wait for the next regeneration. I think I am still in the “Who Zone” as I totally rejigged a post I was working on. I suppose you could say I Doctor(Who)ed it!
Waste of time! It was horrible! Billie wasn’t Rose but the stupid Bad Wolf. Pathetic! And the focus on “character development” was really just a serious of quips and quibbles. Give me a break!
And this was hardly a “Anniversary Special”! It WAS (contrary to lies told by most reviewers) a tribute to Moffat from Moffat! Seriously could Moffat be any more in love with himself? RME
The Tenth Doctor had some nice moments here and there. I didn’t like his stealing of the 2nd Dr’s quote. Sorry, David is a very talented actor but he just couldn’t pull it off. It’ll never sound right coming from anyone but the 2nd Dr. And the BS about “All the Dr’s” Shut-up! That was just old film clips used EXCEPT for the new Dr.
Maybe for the 60th Anniversary Doctor Who will have a REAL Doctor Who writer who ACTUALLY KNOWS HOW TO WRITE A PROPER anniversary special and not rely on a bunch of childish gimmicks and badly stolen plots. The people leaving the paintings?! LOL!!!! That was already DONE IN SARAH JANE ADVENTURES! ‘Mona Lisa Revenge’.
And now we (ZZZzzzzzz) will see the 12th Dr trying to save Gallifrey. Ho-Hum! My friend is writing a fanfic 50th anniversary with all of the Dr’s and 99% of the companions. And in her story the way Gallifrey is (sort of) saved is way cooler then anything Moffat will ever come up with! her name there is fanfictionsucks. Her first couple of stories are so-so but with her Series 7 story 4 she really kicks it into high gear. Anyone calling ALL of her stories boring are liars! She is quickly amassing quite a following.
Wow, that really turned into a plug for some random’s fan fiction. I especially like the ‘anyone who thinks her stuff is boring is a liar’ – great endorsement. And throwing in 50 old characters makes it sound so well written. I’m sure this is your ‘friend’ and not you looking for followers. Lame.
I totally agree! Great episode (despite the Zygon plot hole…haha) but a whole lot of fun bonding with my favorite guy :)) John Hurt was immediately lovable as Doc 8.5 and the whole story was a riveting, character-driven plot that changes everything for the Doctor…and for us! Minor grumble that we got Billie Piper but not Rose Tyler 😦 Still, glad to have her and Tennant back and Matt Smith shining before he has to leave. Here’s to 50 years more! GERONIMO!
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