Doctor Who has been around for 50 years on television, and tonight marks the anniversary with a special two-hour long episode officially titled The Day of the Doctor. It stars the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, and the 10th one, David Tenant, as well as the War Doctor, John Hurt. Billie Piper is back as Rose Tyler, and, yes, there will be Daleks, and shape-shifting aliens called Zygons. Queen Elizabeth I will be played by Joanna Page. The episode was written by Stephen Moffat.
The Day of the Doctor began with a policeman walking the beat, and then, we saw a classroom of Coal Hill School where a student delivered the message to his teacher, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), that the Doctor needed her. She was then seen riding her motorcyle, right into the Tardis. The Tardis was transported via helicopter and winch
The woman who ordered the helicopter to pick up the Tardis had no idea that Doctor Who was in it. He ends up hanging onto the bottom of the Tardis for dear life as it’s taken to the National Gallery.
The 11th Doctor is given sealed orders from Queen Elizabeth I. He and Clara go to a museum where they see an oil painting in 3D, one that contains a slice of real time, frozen. The painting shouldn’t be there, It greatly effects the doctor, and he mentions an incarnation he’d rather forget, when he was the War Doctor, ad had committed many violent acts.
Flashback to that time, when a very cool battle straight from a SF movie plays out, full of shooting, flames, people running. One says “Arcadia has fallen! I repeat, Arcadia has fallen!” We see many Daleks, saying “Exterminate!” repeatedly, then “The Doctor is detected!” The Time War is raging, and a War Doctor was needed.
The Daleks then get destroyed in a blast, and part of a wall falls on some of them.
The Forbidden Weapons had been locked away, but now, they are using them against the Daleks. There is one weapon left, one which is an Ultimate Weapon. It is up to one doctor to use this devastating weapon: the War Doctor.
The weapon resembles a larger version of the puzzle box from the HellRaiser movies.
A blonde-haired woman appears, saying she “Knows” the doctor, and that she is Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), and can read the Doctor’s thoughts. She sits on the box, and when the Doctor tells her that it’s a weapon, she says why can’t it be both a chair and a weapon.
“You’re the one who can save us all,” she tells him.
“Every moment in time and space is burning,” the Doctor says. He will use the weapon, and Rose, to end the suffering. “Then that’s your punishment,” Rose tells him. He will burn, and all of the children on the planet Galafrey — where the war is in full force — will burn, also.
The letter from Queen Elizabeth mentions that the intended recipient is her “gentle husband” and the painting will serve as proof that she sent the letter to her. He says he knew Elizabeth I “a long time ago.”
In another flashback, we see the 10th. Doctor (David Tenant) proposing marriage to Queen Elizabeth I, but, when she accepts, he says that the real Queen Elizabeth I wouldn’t agree to marry him. It was a trick by him to detect is she was a shape-shifting Zygon or not. He tells her that she must be a Zygon. However, she isn’t — it’s her horse that’s one. “I need you alive for my wedding day!” she tells him.
They both run, and the Doctor sees a rabbit, who he mistakes as being another Zygon. Then, the Doctor sees two Queen Elizabeth Is, both saying that she’s the real one. The Doctor has to determine which one is telling him the truth.
Back in the present, Clara takes the 11th Doctor Who into a part of the museum which contains paintings and other objects deemed too dangerous for public consumption or display. The Doctor sees a fez on display, and puts it upon his head. He loves wearing fezes. He notices that, in a room full of landscapes, the glass has been broken from the inside. People who were in the paintings no longer are there — they broke out.
A hole opens, the Doctor throw his fez threw it, and jumps after it into the opening. That’s where he meets himself, the 10th Doctor (David Tenant). Both Queen Elizabeth Is kiss the 10th Doctor, who is in the England of a bygone era, and they run in different directions.
Another opening appears, and the War Doctor jumps through. He wonders where the Doctor is, and believes that the two Doctors he sees must be the Doctor’s “companions.”
Soldiers appear, who ask “Which one of you is the Doctor?”
The War Doctor says: “This is your lucky day.”
The two more recent Doctors talk to Clara through a time portal, and have her tell the soldiers that they should let them go.
The Zygon Queen Elizabeth I appears, and she orders the soldiers to arrest the Doctors. The 10th Doctor requests that they be placed into the Tower of London. That’s indeed where they’re taken and incarcerated.
The things from the paintings smashed the statues, and were hiding underneath drop cloths. They are actually Zygons.
The entire Tower is Tardis-proof, we learn. Kate Steart (Jemma Redgrave) and Clara are about to embark on a time-traveling adventure to rescue the Doctors. Except, Kate isn’t really Kate at all — she is a Zygon.
The Doctor suggests using their Sonic Screwdrivers to break out; but, that would take centuries, so would be impractical.
The War Doctor asks one of the other Doctors if he knew how many children were on Galafrey. “2.4 billion,” says the 10th Doctor to the War Doctor.
“I don’t know who either one of you are,” he says. Rose tells him that they are him, in the future. She says: “It’s the same screwdriver, the same software,” just 400 years in the future.
The War Doctor says that the four centuries needed are over, since the two future Doctors still had the calculations going on in thier screwdrivers.
The door had never been locked. The real Queen Elizabeth and Clara shows the Doctors how the England now is different.
“The Zygons are invading the future from the past,” Clara says.The 10th Doctor insults her, saying that he can recognize by her “bad breath” and other ways that she is really a Zygon — only, she isn’t, she’s the real Queen, and she reminds the Doctor of his promise to marry her, which he does.
At the National Gallery, Kate and tell the Zygons about safety protocols that are in place where all of London will be destroyed, to save England. The Zygons don’t believe her. Kate communicates with the Doctors, and they try to talk her out of blowing up London. They can’t land in the National Gallery, as it’s Tardis-proof.
We see the Doctors fighting against the Daleks during the Time War, then, they all three stroll into the room hwere the countdown is going on at the National Gallery.
“Any second now,” the Doctors tell them, they will negotiate a treaty, stopping the bomb from going off. The Doctors seal the humans and Zygons in the room.
Clara talks to the War Doctor, hwo tells her that he wouldn’t do what the 11th Doctor said he did, killing so many people on Galafrey. But, he does just that, of course — he tells blonde-haired Rose (who only he can see) that he’s “ready.” Then, he disappears from the chair he’d been sitting in, presumably to go back into time, and use the weapon he’d found to end the Time War. Rose is the weapon, the “Moment Interface.” Well, Rose is a projection of the Moment Interface, actually.
She asks the War Doctor if he’s “sure” he is ready. She tells him that the other men were him, and he tells her “no.” He doesn’t believe a athat time that he’s a “great man,” like the other Doctors. But, he will become one, and soon.
The other Doctors appear, and they watch as the War Doctor is about to use the weapon. They know what a difficult decision it was to make, but that there was noo other way, and they all place their hands upon the button to use the weapon. It was the only way to save billions of lives, though many people would be killed — the entire universe would have gone up in flames.
However, Doctor Who number 11 changes his mind. He uses the Sonic Screwdriver to lower the button down, so that the weapon was never used. The idea that the 11th Doctor Who came up with was to save Galafrey frozen in a moment of time, forever, “in a painting.” It would look as if the Daleks destroyed Galafrey in their crossfire, as the planet would have disappeared; but, in reality, the planet would still be safe, as would be the lives of everyone on it.
Meanwhile, back on Galafrey, the war is raging on — the three Doctors relate their plan to fly their three Tardises around their atmosphere, and position them at different points around Galafrey. They will freeze the planet in a “single moment of time.” Though they would be frozen in a single moment of time, they would still have “hope.”
The Daleks increase their fire power, as the three Doctors put their plan into motion, ensuring that Galafrey “stands.”
The War Doctor says that they may never know for sure if they succeeded, but if they didn’t, they at least failed “doing the right thing.”
The War Doctor enters his Tardis, and then he leaves in it.
Doctor Who (Matt Smith)) tells the 10th Doctor that he saw where they were buried. Doctor Who (David Tenant) then leaves in his Tardis. Clara tells the 11th Doctor that there was a man looking for him one with grey hair, who was the curator of the museum. Then, she enters the Tardis.
The curator (Tom Baker — the fourth Doctor Who) shows him the painting, and tells him it’s called “Galafrey Falls — No More.”
The curator tells him that it’s up to him what he should do, if he should go in search of Galafrey or not –is the curator Doctor who in the future? “Who knows?” the curator tells him — or, is it “Who knows.”
“At last, I know where I’m going,” Doctor Who thinks to himself –“Home.” (That’s not the full quote)
John Hurt was incredible in this episode; he really helped make it the spectacular episode that it is, IMHO, though the 1oth and 11th Doctors, Clara, Kate, and Rose, as well as Queen Elizabeth I, all added a lot to the episode, as well.
I am a Doctor Who fan; but, I really have only seen all of the season where Tom Baker was Doctor Who, though I have seen several episodes where David Tenant and Matt Smith have played the role, and I have really liked watching them. So, I hope that this recap/review of Doctor Who The 50th Anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor, has not been filled with too many errors.
Written by: Douglas Cobb