Yay!!! The day finally arrived, it is here. We have gotten to see the story that we have been waiting for since May. The simulcast of the event was such an incredible feat, but at the same time the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who – or any show for that matter – seems a worthy time to do it. Especially when that show is still going strong. So my quickie reaction is I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It gives us a unique perspective on the life of the Doctor and on the one part of the Doctor’s life we have heard referenced, but not seen – and that is the Time War. It takes us into the mindset of the Doctor during the worst time of his life. There is a lot of timey-wimey going on, and a look at who the Doctor was compared to who he has become. It is an episode that you need to pay attention to because they pack it full of information.
If you did not get to see the episode then you are missing out and should stop reading now. There are going to be spoilers and then more spoilers, it is almost impossible to talk about this episode without spoilers. After the jump just remember as River Song, almost always, says, “Spoilers”.
Going in to the episode most of us knew that we were going to have three Doctors, but we were not sure of how or why they ended up meeting up. The reason they end up meeting up is so wonderful because the machine, the Moment, that the War Doctor is going to use to end the Time War is actually sentient. So she appears as the Bad Wolf version of Rose Tyler and part of her interaction with the War Doctor is talking to him about what he is planning on doing. Eventually the War Doctor mentions that he will not want to live after this is done, so The Moment tells him that will be his punishment. This is brilliant because really living with the guilt of destroying your entire race would be harder than dying. The Moment then offers to let the War Doctor see the man he will become.
This is where the Eleventh and Tenth Doctor come in to play, which ties in nicely to an entirely different situation that is happening. The interaction between the three Doctors is such a great time. The war weary one, the one who regrets, and the one who forgets all together trying to reconcile each other. It is amazing to see because they are all the same person, but due to the fact that they are at different points in their times they still have very different reactions. It is great especially because the War Doctor has to be an adult and is very weary of the whole situation, so when he sees his future self saying things like timey-wimey, geronimo, allonsy, etc, he seems fairly confused by the situation. Their interactions are such a great reference to the history of the Doctor. As well as the time that he will not reference.
End of the Time War
So for me the episode was great and has so much going on, but the greatest part of the episode is the end of the Time War. We get to the moment where the War Doctor is about to use The Moment. He sees that his regret of this moment actually allows him to save others and is accepting that this version of himself will hold that burden. Then the other Doctors show up because they at first do not see another way to solve the problem either and accept that they did what they did to save others. Then Clara says that while she knew that the Doctor had been the one who had destroyed his race, that she never imagined it as her Doctor. This makes the Eleventh pause for just a second, which is where Clara asks him about what was the promise he made when he called himself Doctor. This gets at the heart of the problem with the Doctor condoning the act to destroy everything because he has often said there is always another way.
The solution to the problem though is so brilliant. I went in believing that we were just accepting that there is no other way. The situation has become such a problem that the only way to end the war is to destroy both the Daleks and Gallifrey. Then the solution comes because while they are existing now in the same location due to the interference of The Moment they are each still their original distance along their timeline. So if the War Doctor starts his sonic screwdriver starting to calculate something then the Eleventh’s screwdriver has been trying to calculate for 400 years.
Now this is where it becomes brilliant for the 50th Anniversary because they bring in all of the known iterations of the Doctor including the twelfth, Peter Capaldi. They use a device to put Gallifrey locked away from Space and Time into a painting, in the end giving Gallifrey hope. The problem is that the Doctor has no idea if he is successful and due to all the timelines crossing he will end up having no memory of these events. This means that this is how it originally happened, but the Doctor thought he destroyed Gallifrey instead of saving it. At the very end we are told that the painting of Gallifrey being attacked is called Gallifrey Falls No More, implying that somewhere out there Gallifrey exists.
There is so much that this special brought out, but one of the important things is that Gallifrey is out there somewhere frozen, locked away and waiting. The question is, is finding Gallifrey going to be a part of the Christmas Special or is it going to be the next season of Doctor Who? Is the first story of Peter Capaldi going to be about finding the lost painting of Gallifrey? We do not know much yet, but I am excited to see where the show goes. The references throughout the show are numerous and I will need to re-watch to catch them all. The ending with all the Doctors and seeing them all lined up is such a great reminder of where this show has been and where it is going.