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.
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 still 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.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.