Well, was it worth the wait and the build up? Yes. It was fantastic. There will be those who want to pull the plot holes to pieces and question so many parts of the cameos and chronology of the Doctor, but they need to stop and sit back for a moment as we see the show for what it is. Fifty years ago it was put on for families to enjoy – for kids to find amazing and scary and adults to enjoy too. It achieved that without question. If we were to get over critical on any TV show you’d find flaws and errors coming out of every episode and those people need to get life. I love the show but I’m never going to sit and write and angry letter (or blog) because of a line that said something that contradicted another thing said 47 episodes earlier. Especially Sci-Fi!
So why did it work? Well Moffat did a great job of using the “Timey Wimey” element of the show to reconnect different versions of the Doctor without it seeming completely implausible. And the combination of Smith & Tennant was brilliant, but the episode belonged to John Hurt’s Doctor. He was always going to be a big presence on set and you were attracted to him in every scene he appeared in, but the great use of comedy – self-deprecating and in-jokes stopped this being a naval gazing special for fans only. It was almost a simple Sci-Fi standard of “if you could go back in time…” and they used it well to allow the show to continue on a new footing for the next fifty years.
I’m going to avoid too many spoilers as some will still have not seen it, but I thought the balance between all the elements was perfect. Rose didn’t overshadow the episode as she could have because of the role she was playing and Tennant’s Doctor not being able to interact with her stopped it being an awkward episode for the other characters. The Moff also avoided the “Let’s squeeze in every baddie and every Doctor” requests that had seen the Five Doctors become just a fan satisfaction episode – this was about more than the fans; it was about the show and the Doctor’s future. It gives it the shot in the arm that I has been missing this last couple of years and the search for Gallifrey now means the Lonely Traveller has a new purpose.
So what have we learned that could be in the future for the Doctor?
- With the Paul McGann special and the possible return of Gallifrey there are a few options to allow the Doctor to go beyond the 13 incarnations.
- We know that Peter Capaldi is the 13th Doctor as Hurt becomes the 9th, Eccleston 10th, Tennant 11th and Smith 12th. His last life?
- With the Time War now put to bed it allows the old characters and monsters to return as they won’t have been killed off as they would have been.
- The Time Lords will now view the Doctor differently as he saved them rather than tried to kill them – the Timelords we meet in “End of Time” will not be the same ones that exist now
- Does the return of Tom Baker mean he can revisit old generations? Could that open the door for McGann or Tennant to return in the future?
- Trenzalore can be re-written as the Time War was – and I predict we may have that resolved in the Christmas Special or not long after as it can’t hang around too long.
Overall I think the crew – especially the special effects team – deserve all the plaudits that come their way. The Battle on Gallifrey was as good as I’ve seen Sci-Fi done on TV. I saw it in 3D on my TV last night and then took Jake in to see it in the Cinema in 3D today and I was impressed how well it held up on the big screen. Very impressive writing from Moffat. The humour he injected was perfect and he needs to remember that in future episodes and not get bogged down in the “Dark” stories and characters – the show has always had light and shade and this was a great example of how good a writer Steven can be. More please.
Happy Birthday Doctor – hope I see you reach your 100th Birthday.