It’s been a beautiful week to be a Whovian.
Not that it isn’t always. But it’s not every week that we get to celebrate the five-decade history of our most precious show. The plans have been in motion and anticipation building in the back of our minds for so long that, by the time the anniversary finally came around, it almost took us by surprise.
Obviously, we still had the wherewithal to plan a little viewing soiree complete with authentic Jammy Dodgers, marshmallow Adipose, “fish fingers and custard” and a whooooooole lotta vodka for five girls. (Check out blog/IRL friend Kelly’s piece on the party over at the TV Mouse!) Emotions were high. Expectations were higher. And, oh my Gallifrey, did “Day of the Doctor” deliver. And so we give you a comprehensive list of all the times we overreacted during Doctor Who‘s 50th Anniversary special.
B. PIPS RETURNS
If you don’t have anything nice to say about Rose Tyler, kindly show yourself out of the HOF door. Kim and I had an insane caps-locky text conversation the morning the BBC announced that Billie and David would be returning for the special. But the elation soon took a turn into fear and even dread. Moffat doesn’t like Rose. He’s called her a “needy girlfriend.” (Continuing his campaign to be named Male Showrunner Feminist of the Year, I see.) When last we left Rose, she was snogging TenToo on a beach, heading towards a happy life in Pete’s World with her half-human Doctor. What if Moffat blew holes in our ship? Or worse, minimized Rose and her importance in the canon?
Those fears were unfounded. Even though Billie wasn’t playing Dame Rose Tyler of the Powell Estate and there was zero interaction between her and Ten, we’re actually quite pleased. Why? Because The Moment chose Bad Wolf Rose as the form to take to appear to the Doctor. Out of any companion from his past or future, THIS is what it chose. And though the misalignment of the time streams mean that the War Doctor won’t remember any of these events once he regenerates into Nine, you cannot convince me that some vague flash isn’t triggered the first time he hears “Bad Wolf” in Series 1. Or could it even be that it’s this latent memory that actually leads him to the basement of Henrick’s that night? I NEED A MINUTE.
Did I mention that Billie was AWESOME? That outfit. That voice. We saw the special again in theaters on Monday night and – with the absence of our own screams – were able to hear her dialogue that much better. It was intense and mysterious and SO Time-Vortex-Rose. RTD must be proud. “You know the sound the TARDIS makes? That wheezing, groaning. That sound brings hope wherever it goes.” It felt good to see Bad Wolf Rose again as a guardian angel for her Time Lord love. “I want you safe, my Doctor.” Sigh. Thank you for respecting our favorite companion, Moffat. A basket of mini-muffins is on its way.
David Tennant’s Entire Being
I love Matt. I love Eccles. There are no flaws in either of their performances and I accept them both 100%. But every single time David Tennant was on screen, my body (and my mouth, as our friend Jaime pointed out), would scream, “MY Doctor.” Everyone has one, and he is mine.
After almost four years, Tennant stepped easily back into character (and into the same suit). And it was just like he never left. He’s still got the face, the sass, the unmistakable body language. And an “Allons-y!” has never sounded more beautiful. His joy is palpable, and I hope this won’t be the last time Ten runs into himself. Speaking of…
Eleven + Ten = BROTP
Screw paradoxes. Can’t these two join forces and travel together forever? Chinny and Sandshoes to the rescue? No? Fine.
If we had to settle for this one glorious buddy-comedy of a special, then at least it gave us plenty of gif-able moments. Ten popping on a fez. Eleven ribbing Ten for being so emo and girl-crazy. Let One Direction try in their entire career to generate the amount of squeals that David and Matt did when they put on their glasses at the same time. As a pair, they were everything we fangirls could have possibly wished for.
The War Doctor Meets His Future Selves
We assumed that John Hurt’s Doctor would be dark and intimidating and no fun at all, really. But despite being the one regeneration that he never speaks of, he’s still the same man. And that man is a cheeky old bastard.
You can imagine how this grizzled warrior-type must feel when he runs into these dreamy, nattily-dressed whippersnappers. And that dialogue was some of the best in what I think is one of Moffat’s finest scripts. “Am I having a mid-life crisis?” Hee.
“No, sir. All thirteen.”
Apologies to anyone in a half-mile radius of our viewing party because we LOST OUR DAMN MINDS when Capaldi showed up onscreen. Any qualms anyone had about the decision to cast him should have been blown TO TINY PIECES by this split-second preview. That’s our Doctor, you guys. And I can’t wait to meet him.
The Easter Egg Hunt
Modern and Classic Who references were everywhere and we’ll probably find new ones every time we watch it. Spotting each one was a little thrill, from River’s shoes, to the sign from “An Unearthly Child,” to Jack’s vortex manipulator to the machine that goes “ding” when there’s stuff. We FINALLY know why Elizabeth I has a vendetta against the Doctor. And Four’s scarf couldn’t have landed on more worthy shoulders than Osgood, the heroic and science-y asthmatic who represented the entire fandom. For as much grief as we give Moffat, he made US a character in the 50th Anniversary. And an incredibly important one too. Aw. Deep down, he loves us. He really loves us.
That Moment Where Ten’s Hearts Pounded Right Out of His Chest
This Ten/Rose close-call was our second loudest reaction of the day. How could we not when David’s face was doing the thing? Look at him. He has literally forgotten everything else that’s going on (you know, the pending genocide) and only cares where and how and from whom the War Doctor got those words. And just like that, the moment passed.
OH YOU BET IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.
May we also point out that, while Ten’s hair was relatively (and disappointingly) flat throughout the rest of “Day of the Doctor,” he has a noteworthy “hair boner” (copyright Kim Rogers) only when he’s sharing the frame with Rose? And don’t you dare say that the height and placement of David’s hair is not significant, because it is the most reliable barometer of Ten’s emotional state that we have. You know this is true.
The Doctor Forgives Himself
I don’t want to say that I spend a lot of time thinking about Steven Moffat’s balls, but he sure must have some big ones to completely flip the script on the show’s mythology. In Modern Who, the Doctor’s entire character and thereby the plot of the show is built on the foundation of his guilt over destroying the Time Lords with the Daleks on the last day of the Time War. Though “Day of the Doctor” didn’t change anything for Nine or Ten (who are still miserable, womp womp), it DOES rescue Gallifrey from certain doom and set Eleven (and Twelve, I’m sure) on a mission to find it. And it gave the Doctor the opportunity to forgive himself for what he did when he couldn’t find another solution. Freezing Gallifrey could ONLY have worked with every regeneration working together, so there’s no reason to hold the War Doctor’s actions against him any more.
And let’s not forget Clara’s role in this momentous decision. The “Impossible Girl” finally got a little character and it’s looking really good on her. What she did wasn’t mystical or alien or fantastic. She simply empathized with her Doctor. She couldn’t stand to watch him push the button, knowing how it would break him. In as unbiased a way as I can, I’ll say that she reminded me so much of Series 1 Rose in that scene. I’m so glad her mystery is solved and we can get to know Clara Oswald as a person.
Yes, yes, we all know that Eccleston has vowed never to return to Doctor Who. But I wasn’t going to give up hope of seeing him until the very end of the closing credits. When the War Doctor started to regenerate, all five of us watching together stood up, held hands, and screamed at the top of our lungs like we were trying to conjure him. Were fangirl powers worth the strength of our love for Nine, he probably would have appeared in the middle of that very room. Alas, he did not. Maybe he’ll get over his issues by the 75th.
Ten’s Last Words – Again
Our theater was relatively quiet until this scene, when all the “aw”s broke loose. How could we forget that seeing Ten again meant we’d also have to say goodbye to him again?
Tom Baker Melts Your Cold, Dead Heart
The fourth Doctor returned to Doctor Who for the first time ever as “The Curator” (hmmm….) and shared a scene with Matt Smith that could not possibly have been more sentimental or affecting. I’m jealous of young fans who watched with their parents, who I’m sure feel the same way about Baker as we do about Tennant. He is the ORIGINAL Mad Man with a Box (look at those eyes, still!) and again,Moffat hit it out of the park with this scene. It was a gorgeous tribute to the show’s history and I can imagine that there wasn’t a dry eye on the set when it was filmed.
Happiest of birthdays, Doctor Who, from Head Over Feels. We wouldn’t exist without you. Here’s to 50 more years of space and time.