After the events of The Night of the Doctor, I was eagerly awaiting The Day of the Doctor. I watched it four times that night: the first time it was shown, the second time with the added commentary from Tennant and Smith, the DVR-ed first time, the DVR-ed second time. I kept noticing things each time I watched. And now that I know more 20th century (Classic) Who, it just makes it better.
It started off a little slow, but it improved quickly. The story started off like the usual Eleven/Clara story. But then it turned into the amazing and well-written multi-Doctor story that we’d been waiting for. They remembered to include the important parts of a good multi-Doctor story: slowly remembering what happened (mostly on Eleven’s part), the three apparently separate stories quickly becoming one, and forgetting the events of the day as they go their separate ways (with the exception of Eleven).
One thing that I felt was really well done was the references to previous events. The way the whole thing started off to begin with. Using the original opening title, fading to the I.M. Foreman sign, and panning to Coal Hill School. Brilliant! Fantastic, even. The head of the War Council referring to the High Council’s plans failing gives us a time reference to The End of Time. Kate calling Malcolm about the file and not being sure when it would have been dated. And of course, the Tenth Doctor/Queen Elizabeth relationship. It really makes the scene from The Shakespeare Code make so much sense, and funnier.
Of course it wouldn’t be an anniversary special without honoring the past. But I feel it could have been done much better. Granted, the choice of using the Zygons as the alien baddie was a great choice. They hadn’t appeared in Doctor Who since its return, and they did a great job making them even creepier. Also, Tom Baker’s appearance near the end was brilliant. It makes sense that Clara wouldn’t recognize him because of his advanced age, which just made it even better. Or Clara did recognize him and just didn’t let on. She is a good liar as we have learned. But anyway. Tom Baker was his brilliant self. Now that I’ve seen more of him as the Doctor, I can appreciate his moments on screen even more. It would seem his face was not the only thing that the Doctor decided to revisit.
But there is one thing that could have been done so much better: the Doctors contacting the War Council. They had already established in Time Crash that older Doctors in the presence of younger regenerations would cause the younger ones to appear older than they were. They really should and could have had Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy revise their roles for a little bit. We already know what the Eighth Doctor looked like before getting involved in the war, so Paul McGann wouldn’t look out of place. They might have even gotten Eccleston for a few minutes. But the Classic Doctors could have been better represented by the actors instead of clips.
The three companions were well written, though. When I first heard that Billie Piper was going to be in it, I was a little torn. Part of me wanted to see a Ten/Rose story, but the other part didn’t. I think she was brilliant at the Moment. Especially the whole “No more” bit. They also did a great job of giving a little homage to Rose when Ten is standing in front of her. For just that quick moment his hair was more like his usual self’s. Osgood was an amazing and brilliant addition to the series. I was looking forward to seeing more of her. Then there’s Clara. As the season had gone by, I was starting to really like her. Then I saw my favorite scene of her’s up to that point: talking with the War Doctor. That entire part is just brilliant.
Well, I’ve gone on quite a bit. I guess I’ll just make this a two-parter then.