Doctor Who Review: The Warrior, The Hero and The Doctor

at .  Updated at . Comments

It was difficult to imagine how three Doctors were going to fit into the story, but Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 15 exceeded my expectations in every way. 

"The Day of the Doctor" is certainly no exaggeration. The world is literally abuzz with Doctor Who today, and the episode delivered a beautifully executed story that should change the course of the story going forward. It answered questions and created new ones. 

Even Google got in on the fun, as their Google Doodle depicts The Doctors, and the smaller one beside the search features the Daleks and an entire game with The Doctor and the Daleks (that I was unable to finish!).

It's amazing to think that the entire world was watching the episode at the same time, whether in a movie theater or at home, in the United States or in the United Kingdom or Poland or Australia. It also aired commercial free, and came in at a lovely one hour, twenty four minutes in length. 

Day of the Doctor Photo

Doctor Who is, generally, a quotable series. Today it was off the charts. Granted, the extra time allowed for more dialog, but the chemistry between The Doctors - The Tenth, The Eleventh and The Warrior (Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt) was magical. When John Hurt was revealed as this enigmatic Warrior Doctor who was at the helm during The Last Great Time War, I imagined a darker Doctor; instead we received him pre-decision and he was darling.

I urge you to visit the Doctor Who quotes section because all of the best were captured. Be sure to add your favorites if I missed them. Here is a sampling of the chemistry between the three men:

Warrior Doctor: Are you capable of speaking without flapping your hands about?
The Doctor: Yes. No. I demand to be incarcerated in the Tower immediately with my co-conspirators Sandshoes and Granddad.
Warrior Doctor: Granddad?
The 10th Doctor: They're not sand shoes.
Warrior Doctor: Yes they are.

Rose was there, as the conscience of the moment when the Warrior Doctor decides to put an end to Gallifrey. Of course, she considers herself the Bad Wolf and not Rose at all, which was fitting considering the enormity of the choice he was about to make. 

It was too bad Warrior Doctor was the only one who could see Bad Wolf, as a reunion between her and The 10th Doctor would have been nice, but there was their one brief second when he stood in front of her and made the connection between who the Warrior Doctor had been discussion things with and his Rose.

There was so much emotion from the show. I laughed out loud and cried - and in equal amounts - which is always a good sign. Clara and Rose manipulated the Doctors to rethink their singular focus of destruction to work together to find another way to deal with the worst moment in their lives, the one that made them into the man who regrets and the man who forgets.

With this episode, the numbering convention of the Doctors was thrown completely out of whack. With the introduction of the Warrior Doctor, questions started popping up. Then there was a webisode that introduced the 8th Doctor and somewhere in the middle of all of that, Steven Moffat said that Tennant was sill 10 and Smith 11, which would make Capaldi 12. 

Low and behold, Peter Capaldi made a cameo appearance on the Special and called himself 13! First of all, that was nice of them to include The Doctor - who has yet to generate - into the salvation of Gallifrey, thereby truly stretching the limits of the space time theories to the nth degree, but it threw a wrench into who is Who and when - didn't it? Eek! How confusing!

The trio of Doctors together chose to take a route other than pushing the big, red button leading to the destruction of Gallifrey. Accordingly, the persona of The Doctor when we next meet him should be significantly changed, shouldn't it? Will our Doctor continue to be burdened with the weight of the decision or will knowing his world is out there and that he can make it his mission to find it make him a lighter Doctor?

It saddens me to think we only have one episode with a freer Doctor in the form of Matt Smith, because we've had so many darker visions of him, while he plays delightful so well. However, there is no denying that the lifted burden is also the perfect time for The Doctor to transition and regenerate. 

I was giddy when Tom Baker showed up as the curator and mentioned to The Doctor that he may see more familiar faces as time goes by. He was MY Doctor! Wouldn't it be lovely if this 50th Anniversary Special was the beginning of something new in the Whoverse, and in times of trouble past Doctors might band together to lend a helping hand to The Doctor who currently holds the title? 

In anticipation of this anniversary, there have been discussions popping up about who was the best Doctor Who showrunner and who did what better. At this moment in time, I'm happy Moffat was at the helm. He did justice to a long-running favorite by paying homage to the past and opening up a new future of what will hopefully be a show generations in the future will continue to love.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (164 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


This was a great episode. Right up with the best of them. The cast is amazing too.


Entertaining. I would prefer the doctors destroying Gallifrey together but searching for Gallifrey is a good plot going forward. A UNIT series might be good with characters like Stewart and Osgood.


I thought it was a fanastic 50th anniversary episode. Not sure if anyone outside the UK got to see the tv extras, cos they were a treat.

@ uklass

What extras did you guys get? BBC America had Doctor Who all weekend and lots of extras, and we even had the Graham Norton show (although I believe we get a tame version - pfft!). Share! :-)


The war doctor denied being the doctor after the choice. maybe that is why he was not counted.They said Ecelson would not be in this one but he was in it at least 3 times. probally stock footage. We saw him come in on regeneration. I am curious about the new doctor too they showed him frowning and wonder how he will get along with clara.
Last 2 doctors marrried. ha


Hurt showed just how good a Dr Who could be, if they'd drop the amateur hour silly-willy-ness.

@ Fudgefase

And even better, he remained extremely humorous and entertaining without having to be silly. His portrayal was so amazingly spot-on. It gave me great hope for Capaldi.


In the episode they say "It's 13 of them" not that Capaldi is 13. Will the fans call him 12? Since Moffat calls Hurt the War Doctor and not 8.5 I'm assuming so. In reply to the writer's critique of someone else's criticism, a good review looks beyond fangirl squeeing and "feelings". The episode was filled with lots of moments that were, in my opinion, rubbish. The helicopter claw machine carrying the Tardis? Moffat's "See How Clever I Am" moment of putting the name of the painting together (which was not particularly clever and rather obvious to anyone who pays attention to his writing style)? Air trenches? To be honest, the more I think about it, the worse it seems. The short Peter Davison wrote and directed (The Five-ish Doctors) was a much better 50th anniversary tribute. Day of the Doctor fell short as an episode and as a tribute. If they'd cut 15 minutes it might have made it as an episode. If they'd done less fan pandering with the fez it would have improved. The tacked on Tom Baker moment was for the fans, but it was terrible for the story. But people will talk about how excited they were to see Tom and Ten (who was marvelous) and Billie Piper even though they lost out on a great moment by having her only visible to Hurt (Imagine if Ten could see her and know it wasn't Rose or even Bad Wolf? Oh the angst!) People who like Plot Device, er, sorry, Clara will like how she opens a door. And in 25 years people will cringe about it, but still say they have fond memories of seeing it because of how it made them feel versus how good it actually was just like we do with "The Five Doctors" from 1983.

Melissa jean van leer

Fantastic with David and Matt Smith and John Hurt and good special anniversary and ending on special anniversary of Doctor who 50th Anniversary and Matt Smith talk four doctor Tom Barker


Lot of nice moments but seeing Capaldi was wonderful, panning on the Brigadier's photo for that extended moment and even more so was Tom Baker appearing at the end. The use of Rose as the image for The Moment worked well and Tennant didn't miss a beat (the machine that goes ding, the rabbit, etc) - he's still my Doctor for the new series. Plus, we saw the beginnings of the regeneration from Hurt to CE (the best they could do in the situation). Only gripe was the overly long Gallifrey scenes in the beginning (they were just as enjoyable as the minisode released earlier - boring). Well, with still have Night of the Doctor which was superb and the very hilarious Doctor Who Five(ish) reboot.


sorry for multiple postings. None showed, so I reposted - then all showed, all at once. oops...


Thanks for the well written review. I always turn to TV fanatic first, to glean other thoughts after great shows, and was reminded by you of the lovely heart wrench of the almost-but-not-quite connection between Rose and David Tennant's doctor, cleverly brought in when the Conscience of the Moment explained she wanted to be a familiar face from the Warrior Doctor's past [or wait, was it the future? - she muses]. Her Oops musing was delightful and allowed the character in...
Altogether lovely, with 'hope' as the perfect defining kernel, going forward.
Thanks again for a great and thought-provoking review.

Tags: ,

Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 15 Quotes

Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame. Whatever the cost.

Warrior Doctor

Oh the pointing again. They're screwdrivers! What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet at them?

Warrior Doctor