This exciting episode, also known as ‘The Day of the Doctor’, celebrates 50 years of everyone’s favourite Time Lord, giving us the intense, fast-paced action we’ve all become accustomed to, while also paying homage to some of the classic aspects of the old episodes. The one off episode fills the gap between the adventures of the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) and the start of the modern Doctor Who franchise, which began with the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), thus connecting the two eras of Doctor Who.
Right from the start, you know this episode of Doctor Who is going to be different. It opens with the very first title sequence ever made, then reveals Coal Hill School where the Doctor’s first ever companion, Susan Foreman, attended. The scene then transitions into colour, and we see Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), the latest companion, is now teaching there. She rushes off to aid the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) as he investigates the disappearance of the figures in paintings at the National Gallery, assisted by UNIT, an organisation who have appeared in many past episodes. Meanwhile, the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) is trying to find a shape-shifting Zygon, who he thinks is posing as Queen Elizabeth I. If that isn’t enough, the mysterious War Doctor (John Hurt) is planning to detonate The Moment, a sentient weapon of mass destruction that will destroy the Daleks and the Time Lords to end the Time War. However, The Moment, who appears as past-companion Rose Tyler, tries to convince the War Doctor not to detonate. By bringing all three Doctors together he can see what his future will be like if he goes through with his plan. From then, we have a typical Doctor Who episode with three times the plot, three times the jokes, and three times the Doctor, which leads up to the toughest decision the Doctor has ever faced: whether to sacrifice an entire world to save the universe or not.
I must say, as a major Doctor Who fan I really enjoyed this episode. It was complicated enough to keep the plot interesting and unpredictable, but also simple enough to follow without getting lost. The interaction between Matt Smith and David Tennant was also delightful to watch. As two quirky characters they were able to keep viewers entertained in their joined jokes, but also managed to keep themselves separate as certain aspects of the Doctor. Even though he’s no longer the Doctor, David Tennant still knows how to do a brilliant, brooding stare.
I was disappointed, however, that Billie Piper was not playing the character of Rose Tyler. Of course, Rose’s presence would have opened up a barrel of complicated questions as to how she can be there, but it would have been nice to see her alongside the Doctor again, especially now there’s three of them! I’m sadly still not fond of Clara as an assistant. Her character tries to be impulsive and confident to combat the Doctor’s wit, but this just makes her too similar to the Doctor himself. But then again there is some brilliant acting from her towards the end of the episode when she finally becomes serious. If only the writers for Doctor Who made female characters serious more often instead of always using them as jokes. Queen Elizabeth I (Joanna Page), for example, spent most of the episode having her feminine qualities insulted.
Of course, this pales in relevance when compared to the exciting climax. Steven Moffat has given us some of the best Doctor Who episodes (namely ‘Blink’ and ‘The Empty Child’), and he doesn’t disappoint us this time round. I won’t tell you what happens (spoilers, as the Eleventh Doctor would say) but it was brilliant being able to see all the old Doctors. We were even treated to a brief glimpse of the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi). And for all you Fourth Doctor fans, there’s a surprise for you at the end!
Not only does the 50th anniversary special give us an enjoyable episode, it has also provided the next series with an exciting direction. This is a relief as I felt that the last series was in danger of going stale at times, but it seems like (hopefully) this new series will be different! When Peter Capaldi takes over the TARDIS keys, he’s not only getting the coolest acting job in the world, he’s taking on a fresh, new approach to Doctor Who, one which will hopefully continue to incorporate everyone’s favourite bits from the old episodes. Just when you thought the Doctor had been everywhere, he gets given his most exciting destination yet.