Wow! I don’t even know where to start—that was amazing! Steven Moffat has given every Doctor Who fans all over the world one amazing gift after the other this year, culminating in The Day of the Doctor. And what a day it was. I said before that all eleven Doctors probably wouldn’t appear in this story, but clearly I was thinking too small: there weren’t eleven Doctors; there were thirteen. (Or maybe there were fourteen—the Curator Doctor, but! those eyes! The Next Doctor is so close!) Fortunately, Steven Moffat don’t think like me, or most other people.
Of course, the story rightly only focuses on a handful of Doctors, the War Doctor, the Tenth Doctor, and the Eleventh Doctor, although I’m not sure that numbering scheme still applies, regardless of of what the Grand Moff says. At any rate, he certainly lived up to his promise to change the narrative, and the shape of things to come is clear: Gallifrey falls no more, while also keeping the last seven series intact.
It wouldn’t be good story telling, however, if Gallifrey were suddenly back, so the search for Gallifrey will be a driving factor in series eight and possibly beyond, as the Doctor tries to find his way home. I don’t think this will be an easy journey for him, however, but for the Doctor’s sake, let’s hope it doesn’t take another four hundred years.
David Tennant and Billie Piper deserve a special mention here. David returns as the Tenth Doctor effortlessly, but we all assumed that he would be traveling with Rose. He’s not; Rose is long gone, and yet Bad Wolf remains. Billie’s performance as the self-fulfilling prophecy is haunting, and her first words on screen— “Don’t worry; it’s just a wolf”—sent shivers down my spine. That said, its a little bit sad not to see Ten and Rose back together one more time, but at least now we understand why Queen Elizabeth was so annoyed with “that pernicious Doctor” in The Shakespeare Code: he never came back after their wedding (!).
Finally: John Hurt. The War Doctor truly could not have been played by anyone else, but I’m not certain he deserves to be called the War Doctor. In this moment, he is no one other than the Doctor. I am left wanting to see more of this Doctor’s adventures and travails during the Last Great Time War, everything that lead from Karn to that fateful moment right at the end in the TARDIS, as he begins his regeneration.
The Day of the Doctor is by far the best Doctor Who story since the end of series six, and certainly the best anniversary special since The Three Doctors, and it opens up the future perfectly. My guess is that the Time Lords will eventually reward the Doctor with a new set of regenerations (one of whom looks conspicuously like the Fourth Doctor—let’s just hope the Curator doesn’t fall off a radio telescope, eh?).
Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Christopher Eccleston, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell, Jenna Coleman, Billie Piper, and everyone who has been a part of Doctor Who over the last fifty years, thank you! Its been incredible and a hell of a lot of fun, and to Peter Capaldi: good luck! I’m more excited about Doctor Who now than I’ve been in a long time, and I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.
Daniel is the owner and Managing Editor of Time and The – !. He's been a fan of Doctor Who since watching Tom Baker regenerate into Peter Davison on his local PBS station as a kid. He launched Time and The – ! in 2011 after having the bright (?) idea to watch every Doctor Who story from the beginning and blog about it. (Yeah, he's way behind.)