Day of the Doctor: Review
It’s been quite a journey, but my two and half month binge watch, led me to yesterday and the Day of the Doctor. It all started at the beginning of September; if I rewind: the local Space channel was replaying every episode of the new series every Sunday leading up to the 50th anniversary. I happily set my PVR and was delightfully on my way to be in the know and saved myself hundreds of dollars from Amazon in the process. After years of hearing how good it was, I was finally going to watch Doctor Who . Well that’s not exactly right, I actually had started watching the newest season last year; rewind again to last Christmas and I watched the impossible girl and Matt Smith battle the snowmen. I was a little lost, but I liked the way this guy manically flailed his hands around when he talked and the overall tone of the show was quite agreeable. I knew I had to go back and figure out how we got to this point in the story. I finished watching the rest of the season and discovered that Mr. Smith was now my Doctor. Well that’s not exactly right either; they say your first Doctor is your true Doctor. Rewind again, and I am a kid cowering behind my couch watching Tom Baker confidently thwart anything that gets in his way. So I guess, Tom Baker’s my true Doctor?
That’s the funny thing about Time; it can rewrite your past.
Fast forward to the future, so that lands me squarely on my sectional yesterday afternoon (Nov 23rd 2013), sharing a TV moment with tens of millions of casual acquaintances in 94 countries. We all wanted to see something good, and for the most part we weren’t disappointed.
(From here on end, there will be SPOILERS: these totally mess with the time-stream.)
Now that I’m up to date with my Doctors (new Doctors anyway) I encountered the tour de force that is David Tennant. Not to take anything away from Mr. Smith, but the 10th Doctor was an extremely compelling character to watch. My history is changing once again. He was dark and light in equal measures. To be fair; all the new Doctors carried around this terrible weight of an unspeakable act that helped to define their character. The Doctor was the last of his kind travelling through time and space with blood on his hands. Well, not really anymore. By rewriting his history, they may have taken away the most interesting aspect of his character. The Day of the Doctor expunged the Doctor of this responsibility to end the war by using a most terrible weapon (with the personality of Rose no less). I’m not sure how I feel about this, on the one hand it opens itself up to a whole new story-line: The Doctor in search of the Timelords or The Doctor vs the Timelords, as well it was a clever bit of writing to have millions of fans buy such revisionist mythology. But did the Doctor’s character lose something in the process?
Let me state at this time, no matter what, I’ll follow him wherever he wants to go. The Doctor is nothing, if not multifaceted, and every actor brings something new to the mix. John Hurt added a wonderful patriarchal foil (even though technically he is younger than both of them) to both Smith’s and Tennant’s youthful approach. To watch all three of them together was a sheer delight. They played off one another seamlessly, all the while adding to the mythology of the show, plus it was laugh out loud funny. I’d watch these three again – Star Wars Episode VII anyone, anyone???
Also along the way, we had a Zygon plot that kind of just stopped, let Zygons be Zygons. We also had a cameo by Tom Baker as the Curator, every Doctor coming to save the day, including Peter Capaldi and multiple Tardises! The Day of the Doctor played for the fans of both the new and the old incarnations and illustrated why the show’s been around for fifty years. The Christmas special is right around the corner and then we’ll have to say goodbye to Mr. Smith. Looking back on my own Doctor Who history, Time has jumped around quite a bit and I’ve changed Doctors over the years. I am going to miss Mr. Smith terribly, he traveled with the Ponds and River Song, battled the Silence and had pretty big shoes to fill. For the Time being, he’s my Doctor, unless Mr Capaldi really delivers. In that case, I’ll just rewrite history.