Last night, Doctor Who fans around the world were treated to a special 50th Anniversary episode of the show, containing not just one doctor, but three, played by Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt. The episode, as well as putting these three together, revealed a lot about the Time War, and even connected the show’s present to its past, bringing in the doctors from the past to save the day.
It’s a nicely constructed episode, giving us a little bit of a glimpse into each of the three doctor’s lives, before drawing them all together. We see Matt Smith’s doctor being taken in by U.N.I.T, to investigate pieces of art where the glass has shattered. We see John Hurt’s War Doctor, on the verge of activating the weapon that will end the Time War. And we see David Tennant, wooing the Queen of England before discovering an alien presence on their picnic.
Something beyond their control brings the three doctors together, and while trying to work it out, and find out a way to get out of the Tower of London, the three must confront their past and future choices. There are some strong moments here. Tennant and Smith work brilliantly on-screen together, and adding Hurt into the mix really brings up the dynamic, especially when he questions if they ever counted the number of children on Gallifrey, and when he asks why they look at him as they do. Hurt is answered by a girl only he can see, a girl he calls, towards the end, The Bad Wolf Girl.
The episode was full of nods and winks to long-term fans and new fans alike, and there’s a lot I probably missed, not having seen any of the older episodes (except the first one. But watching more is on my to do list!). I know it had its flaws, but they’ve all been pointed out by other bloggers and to be honest, the flaws were very much overshadowed by the rest of the show to me. The paintings were wonderfully done and now I really want to see it in 3D. The battle in and around Gallifrey was awesome, and there were some very nice special effects used.
I should mention that last week, I went to the Doctor Who Experience. It’s taken me way too long to go, especially as I literally live about fifteen minutes away. But a very good friend came to visit for my birthday, and both being Doctor Who fans, we decided to go. Just in time, too, as I think they may be updating/revamping it now, so a good excuse for me to try to go again. Anyway. As part of the experience you do get to stand in the middle of a Dalek ‘invasion’ of sorts, and honestly…it got kind of creepy, with them screaming for the doctor and then (again) some nice special effects recreating a battle. I mention it because the battle in Gallifrey in a little way reminded me of that, which was sort of awesome.
It would have been nice to have seen more companions, outside of just Clara. Not that she’s not good. She actually fills out the role nicely, acting almost like the doctor’s conscience as he moves towards the destruction of Gallifrey. And even with everything else that’s going on, that’s what the episode seems to be mostly about. It pulls us towards the defining moment, for all three doctors, and adds in a lot of suspense, a lot of tense moments, especially towards the end.
And, oh, the ending. Enough to make any Doctor Who fan squeal with joy. Especially with the addition of…
Every other known doctor. Yep, they all – including Peter Capaldi – make an appearance, flying their Tardis’ towards Gallifrey to ensure it isn’t destroyed. And there’s a lot of timey wimey stuff involved, with the doctor’s each realising that they are not going to remember meeting each other, or that they saved Gallifrey. After all, if they remembered, it would make the whole series, since it’s re-launch, a little…off. Instead, the saving of Gallifrey is done in a way that fits in with the rest of the show, still making it possible.
And, I cannot say this enough, I really want to see a spin-off series with John Hurt just being the doctor in the Time War. It’d be awesome!
Personally, I loved this episode, and thought it really was a great way to celebrate fifty years of the show.