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?

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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?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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

My review of Steven Moffat’s surprise Doctor Who episode with Paul McGann

Summary: The prospect of his death won’t make the Doctor fight the Time war but what about someone else’s?

Plot:   A young gunnery officer send out a distress signal as she is crashing, the ship indicates she needs a doctor and to her surprise the 8th doctor appears. On hearing she saved all the others on the ship he invites her aboard leading her to the back of the ship to the TARDIS. When she realizes the Doctor is a Time Lord she closes the door refusing to go with him. His protests that he has nothing to do with the time war do not move her as she compares them unfavorably to the Daleks. Will the Doctor be able to save her or will her ship continue to plunge toward the planet Karn and what will the sisterhood have in store with them?

Writing:   Stephen Moffat has created a gem, he brings out the best of the 8th Doctor while illustrating just how far the time lords have fallen. It’s one of the tightest written pieces he has ever done.

Acting:   Paul McGann soars in only his second television appearance. reminding all what they are missing if they haven’t been getting the big finish episodes. Emma Campbell-Jones is completely believable as Cass and Clare Higgins as great as you might expect from an award winning actress.

Memorable Moments: everyone else was screaming, Who can tel the difference, bring me knitting, the Big Finish Companions become Canon

Oddities:  The suggestion is that regeneration almost totally random but Romana was able to shop bodies at will.

Pet Peeves:  Why couldn’t the doctor simply open the TARDIS door and dive in or materialize the TARDIS around the ship?

Great Quote(s):

8th Doctor:Well look at the bright side at least I’m not a Dalek

Cass:Who can tell the difference anymore?

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Ohila:We restored you to life but it’s a temporary measure, you have a little under four minutes.
8th Doctor:4 minutes? That’s ages. What if I get board or need a Television or a couple of books. Anyone for Chess? Bring me Knitting!

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8th Doctor:You’re the sisterhood of Karn. Keepers of the flame of utter boredom
Ohila:Eternal life.
8th Doctor:That’s the one.

Final Verdict: 5 Stars you don’t get much better than this.

It would be unfair to rank this with the Matt Smith episodes because Moffat didn’t have to stretch it to a full episode but if I was to rank it, for the season, it would be 2nd in the season and 3rd overall in the Matt Smith era.

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

Ranking in Matt Smith Era to this point (top 10 shown)

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

While the rest of the net focuses on the President’s lame attempt to be king by changing law by fiat (unconstitutional) and shift blame for his failures to the Insurance industry (unscrupulous) or the attempts of pro abortion groups to use feminists as suckers (uncomplicated) at DaTechGuy Blog we want to focus on what really matters: How the Doctor Who Mini Episode was received?

We’ve already established it made my day as for everyone else, the reactions were fast and furious but Entertainment Weekly really nailed the priorities of Dr. Who fans concerning this:

Are you a fan of Doctor Who? Then you need to stop what you’re doing  — be it driving a car, flying a plane, or talking about how you didn’t sexually harass a member of your mayoral staff — and watch the just-released video below, which contains a big surprise and sets up the forthcoming 50th anniversary special show, which debuts November 23.

Sydney Morning Herald:

The internet exploded overnight with the release of an epic Doctor Who mini-episode that revealed key details about the character’s past and saw the return of a beloved actor.

The Metro found 10 amazing things:

Love the frock coat, love the waistcoat, love the necktie (neckties are cool) and the S-belt too. The shirt bears a slight resemblance to Patrick Troughton’s scruffy attire and is plain filthy – but then there is a war going on. The eighth Doctor is a long way off from the immaculate Edwardian gentleman from Doctor Who: The Movie – and that’s no bad thing.

And check out the screwdriver too, like Pertwee’s and a lot like Tom Baker’s. When will it be in the shops?

That’s actually the image from the last Dr. Who audio mini series

Den of Geek:

McGann nails it, basically, and the fact that he never got a full series seems even more of a shame.

More please, will go the cry, though realistically it’s unlikely to happen. Screw realism though. Love Big Finish as we do, there’s just something about seeing him on television that is indescribably exciting.

Comic book.com

yes, what appears to be a major revelation about the nature of John Hurt’s character in Day of the Doctor can be found below. Check it out at your own risk, although this is apparently the way the BBC and Stephen Moffat have elected to reveal.

The Mirror:

There’s one surprise that nothing can beat. The Eighth Doctor’s glorious reappearance. Having previously only appeared in 1996’s TV Movie, it seemed that Paul McGann’s Doctor would be forever consigned to DVD replays when the series was revived without him in 2005. But here he is… And what an entrance. Moffat didn’t just pick up from the movie, he couldn’t. In a short amount of time he gave us an Eighth Doctor with history.

Older of face, shorter of hair and far more practical of togs, the dashing Time Lord was back with a tonne of baggage. The main revelation amongst the jaw-dropping surprise? The Doctor became involved in the Great Time War at a fairly late stage. It’s amazing he managed to dodge the Time Lords for so long, but it means that he gets the best of both worlds. Here the Eighth Doctor gets to be the dashing hero, sharp-tongued wit as well as catalyst for the 50th Special all in one go.

The Atlantic Wire:

One other interesting element of “The Night of the Doctor” is that it seems to canonize a major part of the show’s fan-built universe. Doctor Who, like other big, geeky properties such as Star Wars, has a very large expanded world via both official and unlicensed comics, novels, and audio plays. Much of this added content formed in the years the show was off the air between 1989 and 2005 (not counting McGann’s movie). In “The Night of the Doctor,” the Doctor mentions the names of companions from the Big Finish audio stories. So, it would seem that Big Finish’s work—created by a third party, not the BBC—is now fair game for the TV series. Fans should be geeked at the possibilities afforded to the show by access to these worlds. They should also be geeked about the fact that for its most momentous episode ever, Doctor Who might just be as cunning and inventive as its protagonist.

As a big finish fan that’s huge for me.

The Telegraph:

McGann’s reprisal of the role follows Colin Baker statement that he, Sylvester McCoy and McGann were not “deemed worthy of inclusion” in the 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor.

a bit if misdirection there but not a lie.

Buzzfeed quotes the biggest misdirection of all:

So he wasn’t technically lying when he said this.

 

I was a bit dismayed, a bit gutted, but [the older Doctors] are not in it. There are all kinds of rumours doing the rounds. One gets tired of trying to refute things on Twitter and the like, but – take it from me – I’m not in it.

Wired:

There are more clues to both the 50th anniversary episode and the larger Doctor Who mythology hidden within the episode — note how the Time Lords are perceived, and how scared Cass is of the Doctor — but for now, consider the episode an unexpected early birthday present from the BBC to the Doctor. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see more such things between now and the November 23 global simulcast of “The Day of the Doctor.”

While there were some who saw an agenda everyone as a rule loved what was on the screen we have to head back to the Den of Geek for the best observation of the day:

The Eighth Doctor’s decision in The Night of the Doctor fits cleverly with the events of his Big Finish arc (and that seems to be the one that Moffat has settled on, which makes sense over the comics and the books because Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor series is ongoing). Indeed, I know a fair few people who are going to be crying over this, because it is really tragic. You can still see traces of ‘These shoes! They fit perfectly!’ in McGann’s performance. If you don’t know the Eighth Doctor backstory, I’d imagine it’s still a moving scene.

Remember that voice of the Daleks Nick Briggs is the boss at Big Finish I’m wondering in the back of my head if Briggs made sure the direction of the character headed where Moffat wanted it to go.
Anyways it’s an episode worth watching over and over and if you still haven’t seen it, here it is again:

After all you can’t have too much of a quality product.