Arthur’s Afterthoughts: The Day of the Doctor
Well if it isn’t you guys again……Hey there all my lovely Whovians!! I hope you all had a chance to catch the 50th anniversary special this weekend, as it was freaking awesome. How awesome? Shall we just say that at the start of the special, Arthur had two boners and two sonics. The logistics don’t even make sense to the point where reality started bending and my brain started exploding. It was amazing. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read C-Mart’s look at the special, go check it out now, as this one will be a sort of companion piece…..see what I did there?
The day of the Doctor brought together 3 versions of our favorite space and time traveling Timelord, and it gave us the opportunity to see how well these incarnations would work together, and to put it in short, they work so goddamn well. David Tennant returns to his Tenth Doctor while Matt Smith continues his travels as the Eleventh Doctor, and they are both joined by series newcomer John Hurt as the War Doctor. The War Doctor, as we found out last week with the mini episode Night of the Doctor, is a regenerated Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, who seriously needs his own series now that we got a glimpse of how awesome he was. He chose to regenerate in order to stop the time war, and chose the path of a warrior, hence the name War Doctor. The War Doctor is essentially everything the Doctor never wanted to be, because it was him that stopped the time war, by essentially killing everything and everyone. Definitely not something the Doctor would like to keep inside of himself. He buried it deep, and now he has to deal with it.
To say that I was excited for the return of David Tennant is a bit lax. I was freaking pumped. I am a huge Matt Smith fan, but David will always be my Doctor, and getting the chance to see them on screen together for the first time, was simply something I needed to witness in real time, not a while down the road or anything, I needed it live. The interactions between 10 and 11, with the War Doctor thrown in as well, are simply wonderful. They play so well off of each other that it’s a wonder the screen didn’t blow up with that much charisma attached to it. I am not going to go too far into the story of the episode, as C-Mart touched upon that already, but more take a look at the implications of what happened, and what that means for us down the road. I really want to, because it is essential to fully understand what I am saying, but spoiling things for you is not something I want to do either. However, in short, this special is all about the Time War, and how the Doctor (War Doctor) had to use this final weapon of sorts owned by the Time Lords, which is also sentient and played by Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler in the series, but plays specifically the Bad Wolf here. Completely not what I , or I think anyone, was expecting from her.
We were all ready to see Rose, and we didn’t get that, but it worked better in my opinion. I read an interview stating how Moffat didn’t want to bring Rose Tyler back, as that story has ended, but wanted to include Billie Piper in the story. I think they did a fantastic job of that, and seeing David’s face when John Hurt said Bad Wolf, was heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time. Good on ya guys, you made me want to cry again, and if my tear ducts weren’t sacrificed to the blood gods years ago, I probably would. On a side note, I want to just say how amazing John Hurt is , and you really feel for the old man version of the Doctor, as he just seems so pained and distraught. He did very well in capturing the sense of this Doctor being torn apart and hurting that he had to do what he had to do, and the look on his face, the change in his voice and inflections after realizing what the three of them were going to do, was just so uplifting and amazing that I had to mention it.
Speaking of faces, we got to see some amazing ones here and really get a taste of what proper fan service really is. 3 Doctors? Check. Bad Wolf Billie? Check. Surprise guest at the end that had me screaming? Better believe it!! We also got to see two things that I feel are of super importance to modern Who fans. Example one, we got to see John Hurt regenerate, although not fully. We never knew what happened to form the Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, but now we kind of do, for the most part. Also, in a scene that Lady Harkness had to calm me down after, we got to see the fire in the eyes that is going to be our Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi.
Guys…..I cannot even tell you how excited that got me. Yes, it will be one of the saddest days ever next month during the Christmas special, but seeing those eyes, even for two seconds, had me feeling chills. Just the sound of his voice, and the look in his eyes, screamed fire and vengeance to me in a way that made me pretty excited to see him finally take the screen. I was so stoked to see that, and just seeing it for two seconds was enough to drive me near crazy. Once again, good on ya guys for making that nice little touch mean something more than just a sneak preview. You made it known that he is aware of what is going on, and he is remembering what happened. How awesome is that? He also said something of absolute importance in that two second clip, which in regards to all “12” versions of him, including the War Doctor, gaining their resolve, he says the 13 of us…..not the 12. Hmmmm do I sense something big happening later on? Something that may acknowledge that John Hurt is officially being recognized now as an incarnation? Or is it merely just a way to play with us until Capaldi officially takes over? Or could it be something to do with future regenerations, and that this may be his last? We don’t know enough yet to make any assumptions, but we can definitely make some pretty solid theories concerning this. I know I already have my own, and I am assuming a lot of you have some pretty tasty nuggets beating around your brains.
I immediately wanted to watch the special again right after it finished, just to be able to reabsorb everything that was just thrown at us in that 2 hour special. It may not have totally seemed like it, but we were given quite a bit of information concerning the Doctor and his past, and we even saw that David Tennant knew about Trenzelor, which kind of blew my mind. I know the Doctor has known about it for a while, but Trenzelor is a Matt Smith location, and the fact that 10 knew about it, made it that much more crushing to me. They also acknowledged that 10 and 11 are far more alike than we previously thought, but his slightly harder and more steely demeanor is a stark contrast to the 11th’s style. I loved it because we get those dynamics, and I am sure Moffat has been working on it for years. It just came together a little too well to think that he didn’t plan this whole thing 10 years ago. It is just simply not possible. The War Doctor is tired, yet still fiery in his approach. The Tenth Doctor still remembers what it was like to “press the button” so to speak, and is carrying that feeling with him at all times, and the 12th Doctor has moved beyond, but he will never forget it. Seeing all of those differing personalities of one man, is just too perfect to not witness. Imagine being able to speak and interact with yourself at different points in your life, all around a single hardship that may have cost the lives of countless people, and see how each of your psyches is taking it? We will never be able to see that in real life, but we can see it in the Doctor’s life, even though it may cause a paradox to form. That’s a risk we are all willing to take. We also now know why the Ninth Doctor was that loveable prick. That was before all of this came to be, and he was living with that decision super fresh in his mind and heart. It would be enough to make any centuries old being a little bitter. Sometimes though, all it takes is for a big, bad wolf to point us in the right direction, and things will fall into place….even if we don’t expect them to.
I honestly had so much fun watching the 50th anniversary special, that I am slightly bummed that I will most likely not be alive to witness the 100 year special. I can only imagine the sort of awesomeness that is going to be unleashed at that point. Will we see the 27th Doctor regenerate into the 28th? Time can only tell, and with all of the information that was given to us by the mini webisodes and the special itself, we may never know how things are going to play out. Who knows? With the Paul McGann mini episode, we now know that you can somewhat choose what regeneration you want, and this could easily play out in the future of the series. We could potentially see all kinds of versions of the Doctor, and with the way things played out in the 50th, I am sure that this series will go on for a long time. Here’s to you Doctor! Happy 50th Anniversary you glorious bastard!!!
PS: I apologize if this seems slightly like a ramble, but I was still riding high on Doctor euphoria that I couldn’t contain myself. Hope you enjoyed it!
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