What can I say? Fantastic!
Here’s to 50 brilliant, crazy, happy, sad and fun years in the making. My dad tells me stories about how he watched Doctor Who when he was a kid and then saw he pick it up in 2005. The longest running sci-fi television show turns 50 years old today. And I am a proud Whovian.
***** WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW! *****
After watching the 50th anniversary special of the longest running sci-fi television show ever on SPACE in Canada, I mind was immediate satisfied but with a lot to ponder.
My predictions going into the anniversary special were that the Meta-crisis Doctor and Rose, who are trapped in another universe would somehow find their way out to stop Hurt from destroying Gallifrey. And somewhere near the end of the show, we’d see meta-crisis Tennant die as he cannot regenerate and this would put an end to that mystery.
It turns out that I could not have been more wrong.
Instead, we got the real and full return of the Tenth Doctor David Tennant. More specifically, the Tenth that has just come before “The End of Time Part 1”, where he mentions getting married to Queen Elizabeth I. The anniversary special saw that wedding come to pass.
It was also not Rose Tyler at all. It was the “moment”, the user interface of the red button planet destroying device taking on a form of someone the Doctor knew. In this case, it was the Bad Wolf. This works out nicely because when Hurt regenerates into Eccleston, it is possible that he still remembers the image of Rose and seeks her out. Much like how Matt Smith remembered the face of Clara and searched for her in the “Snowmen” episode.
But talk about disappointments, and there were very few. For me, the big one was the absence of the Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston. He was my favourite incarnation. Badass, charming and witty all at the same time. But it was well known that he would absolutely not be part of the show anymore. However, I guess was just hoping that he would spend 10 seconds to complete the Hurt regeneration scene with a good old “fantastic” line. Never happened as the camera cut away from Hurt’s face. I could only see his eyes and ears begin to change. I guess that’s the best we will get for that.
This leads to some important questions regarding regenerations.
“Paul McGann turns into John Hurt so they’re not the same incarnation. He used up another regeneration and I expect he’ll be in trouble shortly – you can’t break rules laid down in the Deadly Assassin,” he teased.
So this means that all the Doctors are properly numbered, Eccleston is nine, Tennant is ten, Smith is eleven and Capaldi is twelve. However, those are the number of the Doctors. Moffat confirms that Hurt, although not a numbered Doctor, still counts as a regeneration used up by the Time Lord. That means that when Smith regenerates into Capaldi in the upcoming Christmas special, he will be using his final regeneration cycle. Are there ways around this? Possibly and probably. Remember when River Song gave up her “remaining lives” to save the Doctor? She was on her third incarnation meaning that she could have given him another nine? Or how about when the Sisterhood of Karn gave McGann the elixir that triggered the “War Doctor”? Did that give him infinite lives? Or how about when Capaldi goes to rescue Gallifrey? Will the Time Lords reward him with another set of twelve regenerations? Who knows…Who knows? *taps nose*
I thought John Hurt’s incarnation of the War Doctor was brilliant and perfect. He wasn’t an “evil” version of the Doctor, but a lonely and somewhat a bitter version after all the fighting and hardship he’s seen. He was serious, but still humorous. I loved when he kept making fun of Tennant and Smith’s Doctor and he seemed somewhat horrified that he will eventually become them one day. But he was correct, they have a screw driver and not a pistol. Why do they keep pointing it at their enemies? Are they trying to assemble a cabinet in front of them or what? Gold.
Seeing all of the Doctors in their TARDIS’ fixing a planet into a frozen slice of time was amazing. But seeing a future Doctor make his debut even before he regenerates was nuts. Personally, I am looking forwards to Peter Capaldi portraying the Time Lord. I think that he will be the “explorer” Doctor as he tries to find and rescue Gallifrey. It’s shown that Hurt wields a red sonic, but will Capaldi’s as well? I ask because we for a fact that a future Doctor gives his red sonic to River Song so that she can save the folks in the library in episode “Forest of the Dead” and “Silence in the Library”.
I believe that the curator played by Tom Baker in the National Museum at the end of the episode was indeed the Forth Doctor. Or a version of him from the Doctor’s future where he “retires”. This implies that he has many more lives to come and will eventually visit some of his old faces?
And with The Night of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor episodes, Steven Moffat has finally filled in the gaps between the classic and modern era Doctor Who shows. With Gallifrey saved and not destroyed, the Doctor doesn’t have a terrifying past to run away from anymore. But a home to run forwards to.
For all of their efforts, the Doctor Who team was awarded a Guinness world record for having the largest global simulcast ever. Congrats!
And to top it all off, the BBC immediately released a 10 second teaser for the Christmas special, in which we will see the last episode starting Matt Smith.