Perhaps not the anniversary episode everyone was expecting. Less of an adventure and more of an inner view into the psyche of the Doctor and what makes him. I was thrilled to finally see ‘The Time War’ on screen at last although I had almost thought they might be saving it one day for a movie…
David Tennant and Matt Smith onscreen together is magic in a bottle. They work so great together. John Hurt might seem like a third wheel since this is the first time we’ve met him but he pulls off an older, war weary Doctor quite well. What I find funny is how he berates the other two Doctors for acting like children. At first I thought it’s like a grandfather complaining to children to grow up. But the way I see it is that this Doctor is a few hundred years younger and is more of embarrassed Teenager at the immaturity of his older parents. Timey Wimey indeed.
So the Doctor’s ultimate decision to destroy both his greatest enemy and his own people never took place. Or it did but was re-written because of the children. Yes, I agree that the Doctor is someone who would always find a way out of his darkest days, even to cheat his own death time and time again but this was one thing where he failed. Something that defined him in this 21st Century Doctor Who series in as much as him stealing a Tardis and running away from Gallifrey defined the Doctor of the 20th Century series.
So how do I feel about the Doctor been able to undo a mistake in his past? Storywise I have no problem with it. He’s the Doctor, he always finds a way to save the day. But to me personally I always felt that because the character made a mistake and had to live with it for the rest of his lives made him far more relateable to a 21st century audience.
One of Sci-fi’s strongest points is that it is often an allegory for our world which we live in. Doctor Who has certainly never shied away from that. We’ve all made mistakes in our past, the wrong choices. Governments have made the wrong choices for us. Mad men, good men and simple men have made choices which they believed were right but ultimately very wrong. Not being able to change the past is what makes us who we are. The fixed point in time, the day Gallifrey burned, was the Doctors. In some ways he is a hero I can relate to less now, while heroes are what we ideally aspire to be, it’s the times that we fail when we look to them not to save us but to show us that they have bad days too and see that they are also aspiring to be better than they can be.
Clearly this is Steven Moffats era the one where “Everybody lives”. Fairy tales don’t have a place for genocide. I’m glad Gallifrey is back though and think it’s been a long time coming. Doctor Who is coming into it’s 8th Season next year with the new series having been on our screens for almost 9 years. That’s a good run for any show. I do think the pieces are falling in place for an eventual ending where all the Toys will be placed back in the box. Though I don’t see this happening for some years yet. Geronimo.
Things to geek out about with this episode. Everything. Every Zygon dripping second of it. To name a few, Time War, flying spider-daleks, Peter Capaldi’s eyes with an intense stare and his W shaped lines on the forehead, seeing the other Tardises (Tardi?) together in an effort to save Gallifrey. The biggest geek out moment and most emotional was Tom Baker. The voice of the man could almost bring you to tears and seeing him again was a great tribute to 50 years of Doctor Who and the next 50 years where….”Who knows” what might happen. Beautiful and absolutely fantastic.
It’s not the greatest episode of Doctor Who but it is certainly one that is touching, very fitting for the 50th Anniversary and hits all the buttons it needed to. Except the big red one….
Favorite Quote: “Who Knows….” – The Curator