‘Whovian By Design’ Episode 9: ’50th Anniv. Special’ Review

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: Review and Opinions

Warning: Major Spoilers Below

Wow. Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted an episode quite like The Day of the Doctor. The episode not only completely changed the general direction of the Doctor Who franchise, but it also completely altered its tone and scope. Before I review the actual episode I will first go though certain new facts about Doctor Who that we now know because of The Day of the Doctor.

What we know:

  • The War Doctor (John Hurt) is now un-officially the 9th Doctor. This is implied in the end credits of The Day of the Doctor with the translucent face of each Doctor begin shown in the order in which they regenerated, where the War Doctor’s face is shown after the 8th Doctor’s and prior to the “9th’s”. This new fact now makes Christopher Eccleston the 10th Doctor, David Tennant the 11th, and Matt Smith the 12th.

  • Galifrey and the Time-Lords did not perish in the Time War as we were previously told. They are in actuality locked/suspended in a single moment in time due to the events that transpired during The Day of the Doctor.

  • Despite experiencing the events of The Day of the Doctor two separate times in his past, the Doctor only retains memory of said events during his third (Matt Smith’s) experience of it. Other than the obvious reason of allowing the past seven seasons of the show to still make sense, this also implies that the Doctor may have certain adventures that he does not speak of due to his inability to remember them. The memory wipe in this situation is most probably caused by the power of the “Moment.”

  • Series 8 will focus on the Doctor’s renewed search for his home planet Galifrey, this is implied by the ending of the episode.

WHOVIAN-50th-1The “Moment”

Review

The Day of the Doctor is both a showcase of the amazing show-running prowess of Steven Moffat, and the magic that only a show like Doctor Who can share with its audience.

Back when Russell T. Davies was running things, it was not uncommon to get a two or even three-part story line during a season of the show. Now that Steven Moffat has come in, the show has been running much more efficiently. This efficiency is very much apparent in the series’ last season finale, and the most recent The Day of the Doctor 50th anniversary event. In both episodes Moffat has managed to tell two incredibly complex and engaging stories in a very short amount of given time. The Day of the Doctor is probably, and expectedly, the most important episode to date in the series’ fifty-year lifespan. It deals with an event so pivotal in the story of The Doctor, the moment he chose to sacrifice his people to end the Time War. The episode also steers the show in a completely new and unexpected direction that easily makes the upcoming 8th series the most anticipated season since the renewal of the show in 2005.

WHOVIAN-50th-2There’s three of us now”

The episode is an engaging and thoroughly entertaining experience. All three Doctors (Matt Smith, David Tennant, and John Hurt) put in amazing performances, with Matt being his usual brilliant self, David showing us that he’s still got it, and John making the new character of the War Doctor both likeable and worthy of the name of The Doctor. The first of my theories to be debunked was that the majority of the episode would take place on Galifrey, instead we are treated to a variety of different locals such as present day London, Elizabethan England, Galifrey, and the renewed UNIT headquarters. Notable mentions to the performances of Jenna Coleman and Bille Piper, who both played their roles admirably whilst not stealing the limelight from our three protagonists.

The episode’s story touches on a previously taboo period of The Doctor’s life, his role and actions during the Time War, and the ‘Moment’ in which he chose to end it. While small tidbits were given in previous episodes, The Day of the Doctor touches on exciting new ground. The events of the episode radically shift the reality of the show, and give us a clear picture of its new direction.

Verdict

The Day of the Doctor was worth the wait. The episode is simply a wonderful gift to all Doctor Who fans. What was once an unspeakable tragic event in the life of the Doctor has now become a source of renewed happiness. If you love Doctor Who and have yet to see The Day of the Doctor, what in the world are you waiting for?

Extra:

In my Day of the Doctor preview episode I gave my own personal theories on what would happen. Here is a brief rundown on what I got right, and what I got wrong:

  • I guessed that ‘Present Day’ 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara Oswald will encounter ‘Past’ 10th Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose Tyler somewhere between the events of “The Christmas Invasion” and “Doomsday”. Wrong. The 10th Doctor seemed to be traveling alone, he was most likely caught traveling prior to the events of Smith and Jones.

  • I guessed that The Encounter between the 11th and the 10th will be caused by some external force trying to alter the conclusion of the “Last Great Time War.” Right. The external force was the ‘moment,’ and it succeeded.

  • I guessed that The External Force that will bring all three Doctors together will be a returning foe that we have yet to see in Moffat’s Doctor Who. Right and wrong. Twas’ the return of the Zygons, but they had no part in bringing together the three doctors.

  • I guessed that The majority of the Day of the Doctor will take place on Gallifey. Wrong. As explained in the review.

WHOVIAN-50th-3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

___________________________

Follow Franco Romualdez on Twitter:  @francoromualdez

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One thought on “‘Whovian By Design’ Episode 9: ’50th Anniv. Special’ Review

  1. Much like your assessment of The Day of The Doctor, I would agree that the premise of this show was wonderful. It lacked all the biggity-wiggity that I wanted in this 50th special, but at the same time that is all that it really was to me. A special. For the past seven seasons, I have loved almost every minute of Dr. Who and especially the world of Galifrey. The mystery of the Doctor’s home world is at the forefront of this entire story, but I also really never got to see Galifrey. I just saw glimpses of it and broken fractures of what it now is in this new reality. I’m not totally on board with that. This major shift in the show is kind of troublesome for me. I don’t have a legit reason other than I don’t like change to something that works. It seems like a ratings booster thing to do, but who am I to argue with Moffat.

    Regardless! Great review and keep it up. I look forward to the Christmas Special and a new “older” face of The Doctor.

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