Let’s just get this out of the way first: “The Day of the Doctor” was a damn great tale of Doctor Who. I mean, seriously. This historic episode has three Doctors sonic-ing a Dalek to oblivion as Murray Gold’s “I Am The Doctor” bombastically triumphant theme trumpets in the background. How cheesy-cool was that?
After 50 years of evil aliens, alternate histories, deadly plagues, ghosts, beasts, and just about everything else under the sun, the fact that we can still get an episode of Who that excites, thrills, and surprises is – to quote the Ninth Doctor – fantastic.
Somehow, this was a classic Who tale (an alien threat, clever timey-wimey feints, disaster averted) but I still didn’t see it coming. A more-than-fair share of criticism has been tossed in Stephen Moffat’s direction during his tenure as executive producer, but that’s a win in my book.
Anything could happen! For instance, a Fez.
“Surprises” is the key word here, I think. That was the dominant word in my head after watching it twice today. I had many theories bumbling around in my head (and heard many more being tossed around.) I knew 95% of it would be bunk, but I was truly surprised how this one went.
We knew we’d see the return of fan favorite David Tennant, and we had heard that Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler was in tow. The logical conclusion? The Doctor and Rose from that alternate dimension would somehow make their way back to this dimension again. Totally wrong.
With Rose Tyler and Clara Oswald in the same story, we must have some great companion talk. Nope, they never interacted once. It wasn’t even Rose, really.
The War Doctor (John Hurt) is supposed to be the worst of all Doctors — the one who so failed the name “Doctor” that he isn’t even counted among the eleven. So, we must see the fierce warrior he chose to be; the Doctor unchained, if you will. Negative, Ghost Rider. If anything, the War Doctor’s weariness of a war long fought made him even more unsure of himself.
So what did we have? Moments of brilliant levity. Moments of strength and grandeur. Moments of reflection and poignance. A classic Who enemy that hasn’t been seen in decades. All packaged up into one fantastic 76 minute mega-episode (mini-movie?)
Hit the jump for the full recap and review of this historic episode of Doctor Who!