Matt Smith as the Doctor in Order: 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor

The penultimate in my series of Reviews of the Matt Smith Doctor Who years

Summary: The Doctor relives the worst day of his existence, will his future selves convince him to do something he will regret forever.

Plot: While planning a day out with Clara the TARDIS is grabbed by Unit for help with a mystery by Royal Command of Queen Elizabeth the first. Upon arriving he is greeted with a Gallfreyian painting of the last day of the time war, he remissness back to his days as the War Doctor (see Night of the Doctor mini episode) on that Day the War Doctor decides he’s had enough of the Time War declaring No More. He steals the ultimate weapons with the intention of destroying Daleks and Time Lords alike to end the war but the weapons has developed a conscience and that conscience appears as Rose Tyler as the Bad Wolf. He suggests he doesn’t want to survive the destruction he is planning she replies that will be his punishment and challenges him to see what destroying Gallfrey will do to his future, what kind of man it will make him, she opens a time rift to the future which promptly produces a Fez…

Meanwhile back in the present the Doctor opens the letter from Elizabeth I which declares a deadly danger has come to her kingdom and when the time is right he is to be made curator to the undergallery. He remembers back to his time as the 10th doctor picnicking with a young Elizabeth where he proposes marriage, after she accepts he produces a machines that goes “ding” and confidently pronounces her a Zygon in disguise right up until his horse converts into a Zygon and chases him them, they are separated and after a dramatic confrontation with a rabbit he finds two Elizabeths. Before he can deduce which is real a time rift opens up and out pops…a fez.

Back in the present the 11th Doctor finds a group of broken statues to be analyzed by his biggest fan in Unit. After he grabs a Fez he spot on display Kate Stewart shows him a group of paintings with glass shattered as if something came out, all these paintings are landscapes but used to have figures in them, as they continue to the next room suddenly a time rift opens, he vaguely remembers it tosses his Fez through and then Leaps through the rift….

landing in front of the 10th doctor and the two Elizabeth the 1sts. After some snappy patter the rift starts getting active and they advise the two Elizabeths to run in opposite directions. He can hear Clara & Kate through the rift and tests it’s two way capacity by throwing his Fez through it. it doesn’t arrive back but seconds later…

…the war doctor appears to the horror of both of them. He is looking for the Doctor and after some snappy patter are confronted by the Queen’s guards. They are in the process of convincing them Clara is a witch about to hex them when an Elizabeth turns up and at the 11th Doctor’s suggestion has them thrown in the Tower where Kate Stewart is…

…meanwhile as Kate Stewart takes Clara to the Black Archive in the tower looking for a message planted by the Doctor. back in the undergallery Osgood discovers that the place is crawling with Zygons barely escaping from her double Clara discovers Kate has been replaced as well but manages to get the code from the planted message and escapes to where the three doctors are using Captain Jack’s vortex manipulator.

In the past the Doctor’s discover the Zygon’s are planning to invade earth by hiding in 3D painting when the time is right and have captured the black tower, Kate Stewart is freed by the Osgood and is determined to destroy the weaponry there before the Zygons can use it to conquer earth. Will the Doctors & Clara be able to stop the Zygon Invasion, the Destruction of London and will these actions cause the War Doctor to finally decide to destroy Gallfrey and end the time war?

———————————–

Writing: Steven Moffat’s story reads like the type of story a Doctor Who fan would write if he wanted a multi Doctor Story. The dialogue is snappy and the interactions between the doctors are clever. The inclusion of Osgood complete with 4th Doctor Scarf is a brilliant stroke as is the inclusion of the curator at the end, however I see no reason why the rest of the doctors couldn’t have been included in the big climax scene as it would not have added much time to the show, nor why they could have not been included in the epilogue, but these are 50th anniversary quibbles and these don’t reflect on the quality of the episode itself which is VERY well done. I particularly like the last ten minutes but I don’t want to spoil it.

Acting: Lots of strong performances, by the regular cast, David Tennant seems to be having a lot of fun, John Hurt is so good that you can believe he has been playing the Doctor forever but the single best performance is Billie Piper who absolutely owns her role. The Curator at the end steals his scene, but that’s just his nature.

Ultimate Anniversary Moment: “No sir Thirteen!”

Memorable Moments: I wasn’t expecting that, you’re basically just a rabbit, I’m not judging you, Timey Wimey?, Breath that could stun a horse, weak and feeble woman, sorry about the Dalek, Bad wolf girl I could kiss you , Who nose.

Really cool moment: The Daleks on detecting the Doctor stop killing time lords En Masse to go after him…very bad move

Oddities: Shouldn’t the time lords only be acquainted with Doctors one through War doctor (8 1/2) How do they recognize the ones after him?

Pet Peeves: If the Daleks are that obsessed with the Doctor couldn’t he have led them away from Gallfrey simply by showing up elsewhere? How does the Doctor’s interaction with the General in Arcadia effect the actions of Rassilon & the high counsel. How would the Zygons know about what happened to the Sycorax?

Great Quote(s):

War Doctor: Don’t sit on that!
The (Bad Wolf) Moment: Why not?
War Doctor: Because it’s not a chair, it’s the most dangerous weapon in the universe.
The (Bad Wolf) Moment: Why can’t it be both?

********************************************
10th Doctor: It was the horse. I’m going to be King. Run!

******************************************
10th Doctor: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Oh, very clever. Whatever you’ve got planned, forget it. I’m the Doctor. I’m nine hundred and four years old. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I am the Oncoming Storm, the Bringer of Darkness, and you are basically just a rabbit, aren’t you? Okay, carry on. Just a general warning.

*******************************************

10th Doctor: What are you doing here? I’m busy.
11th Doctor: Oh, busy. I see. Is that what we’re calling it, eh? Eh? Hello, ladies.
10th Doctor: Don’t start.
11th Doctor: Listen, what you get up to in the privacy of your own regeneration is your business.
10th Doctor: One of them is a Zygon.
11th Doctor: Urgh. I’m not judging you.

*************************************************

War Doctor: You’re me? Both of you?
10th Doctor: Yep.
War Doctor: Even that one?
11th Doctor: Yes!
War Doctor: You’re my future selves?
10th & 11th Doctor: Yes!
War Doctor: Am I having a midlife crisis? Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They’re scientific instruments, not water pistols.

**************************************************
Clara: Hang on. Three of you in one cell, and none of you thought to try the door?

**************************************************

10th Doctor: Ow! The desktop is glitching.
War Doctor: Three of us from different time zones. It’s trying to compensate.
11th Doctor: Hey, look. The round things.
10th Doctor: I love the round things.
11th Doctor: What are the round things?
10th Doctor: No idea.

*************************************************

11th Doctor: Alien technology plus human stupidity. Trust me, it’s unbeatable.

***************
11th Doctor: Hello, hello, Gallifrey High Command, this is the Doctor speaking.
10th Doctor: Hello! Also the Doctor. Can you hear me?
War Doctor: Also the Doctor, standing ready.
GENERAL: Dear God, three of them. All my worst nightmares at once.

**************************************
General: I didn’t know when I was well off. All twelve of them!
12th Doctor: No, sir. All thirteen!

****************************************************************

11th Doctor: I could be a curator. I’d be great at curating. I’d be the Great Curator. I could retire and do that. I could retire and be the curator of this place.
Curator (elderly 4th Doctor): You know, I really think you might.
11th Doctor: I never forget a face.
Curator (elderly 4th Doctor): I know you don’t. And in years to come, you might find yourself revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?

Final Verdict: 5 Stars, could it have been a better 50th anniversary episode? Yes. Was it not as good as the fiveish Doctors? Yes. but is it a spectacular story in it’s own right? Without a question.

Ranking of Season 1st of 16 Frankly if it wasn’t the BEST episode of the season it would be a failure.

1. The Day of the Doctor
2. The Bells of St. John
3. The Crimson Horror
4. The Power of three
5. The Name of the Doctor
6. The Snowmen
7. Nightmare in Silver
8. The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
9. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
10. Journey to the Centre of the Tardis
11. Cold War
12. A Town Called Mercy
13. Asylum of the Daleks
14. The Rings of Akhaten
15. Hide
16. The Angels Take Manhattan

Ranking in Matt Smith Era to this point (top 10 shown) 1st but again if a multi doctor story that’s the 50th anniversary isn’t the best of the era it would almost be a failure

1. Day of the Doctor
2. The Bells of St. John
3. Let’s Kill Hitler
4. The Girl who waited
5. The Doctor’s Wife
6. The Pandorica Opens
7. A Good Man Goes to War
8. The Eleventh Hour
9. The Big Bang
10. The Crimson Horror