Originally we had planned on going to the cinema screening of the Anniversary episode in Stockholm, but in the end we decided not to and instead watched it at home yesterday evening. The episode was brilliant, though it felt a little rushed and I can't help but wonder if it would've been even greater had it been 90 minutes long instead of only 75.
[SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED IT AND INTEND TO - DON'T READ FURTHER!]
The day before we watched the episode I saw the two mini webisodes on YouTube. "The Last Day" and "The Night of the Doctor". I thought "The Last Day" was sort of insipid until I realised it portrayed the fall of Arcadia from a somewhat interesting angle. I thought "The Night of the Doctor" was brilliant. It gave Paul McGann a speaking role in the 50th Anniversary, which I think he absolutely deserves, and it tells us where in the chronology of incarnations the Mystery Doctor fits, and why he came to be.
Then there was the main episode. It started off like any other episode. Strange things happening and U.N.I.T. is involved. Doctor and Clara go to check it out. The painting Gallifrey Falls brings us to the Mystery Doctor/The War Doctor in Gallifrey during the Time War. He steals The Moment, a box-shaped machine of destruction that has developed a consciousness. It takes the shape of Rose Tyler in the form of Bad Wolf. Telling the War Doctor that she chose a form from his future. Then the fez comes through. Back to 11th and Clara and we find out the Doctor was married to Elizabeth I when he was 10th. Some kind of hole in the space-time-continuuum opens (I don't think these were ever explained or did I miss something?) 11th throws his fez in and it lands by the feet of 10th back in the 16th century, where Zygons have recently attacked. (Woo! Creature from Classic!). 11th remember the fez landing by his feet in the present day and jumps through to the 16th century. 10th and 11th meet. 11th tries to throw the fez back to Clara, but it disappears - that's the fez that turned up with the War Doctor. Suddenly the War Doctor shows up in the 16th century with 10th and 11th (thanks to The Moment). Hilarious to have the three Doctors meeting! :D After a whole lot of Zygons in the past and in the present Clara uses Jack Harkness' vortex manipulator to time-travel to the Doctors and they realise the Zygons were invading the present from the past via paintings. Sure I can buy that if you explain it so prettily.
But then they're off. The War Doctor goes back to Gallifrey to do what he has to do. 10th and 11th go there too. They make up a plan to save Gallifrey instead of burning it and putting it in time lock, and at the same time destroy the Daleks. They get all the incarnations of the Doctor (including Peter Capaldi!) and all of their Tardises and save the entire planet in a separate universe stopped in a single moment in time. The Daleks not expecting this shoot each other instead of the planet. The three Doctors go back to 11th's present and after a dialogue telling us that only 11th will remember what really happened to Gallifrey both War Doctor and 10th are off. Clara tells 11th that an old man was looking for him and enters the Tardis. The Doctor observes the painting of Gallifrey Falls as the old man approaches. The old man is Tom Baker a.k.a 4th Doctor! :D 11th finds out that the painting's real name is Gallifrey Falls No More and thereby receieves an affirmation that they did manage to save Gallifrey. Woo! The final scene with Hartnell in the middle and all the other incarnations in a half-circle around him gave me goosebumps and it was the perfect ending.
Answers to some complaints:
Moffat destroyed canon by adding the War Doctor!
I disagree. There's a huge hole between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston. Moffat used that to his advantage. Some say the War Doctor wasn't necessary and that Paul McGann easily could've played his role and been the Doctor to burn Gallifrey. I disagree. The Doctor knew what he had to do and he also knew that to do that he'd need and incarnation with less saviour instincts and other attributes that could help him make the hard decision. What happened on Carn explains all this. Also there has been hints towards the War Doctor ever since the episode with 11th in the hotel with their worst fears and the minotaur. It's not something Moffat thought of on the spot. It's been there for a while.
Moffat destroyed the Survivor's Guilt of 9th, 10th and 11th!
No, he didn't! It's said in the episode that neither 10th nor 8,5th (War Doctor) will remember any of it since their timestreams were completely humble-jumble. The only one it happened in the right order for was 11th and he will from now on know and remember what really happened to Gallifrey. But 8,5th won't remember so 9th will still think he burned Gallifrey, as will 10th and 11th up until now.
Dalek Caan was destroyed when he picked up the other Daleks from the time lock! How could 10th and 11th go to Gallifrey?!
This is also explained in the episode, but only so subtly. The Moment (the machine of destruction whose consciousness took the shape of Bad Wolf Rose Tyler) allowed 10th and 11th to come through. The machine created an exception at that precise moment for those two. It's explained in the episode. Pay attention!
But if Gallifrey is saved then how can The End of Time still happen?! Wouldn't Rassilon still be a danger to the universe?!
Rassilon wanted to evolve the Time Lords into incorporeal beings. The way I see it is that this was only a speculated option during the Time War. But after Gallifrey was put into time lock Rassilon had lots of time on his hands to convince the other time locked Time Lords that this was the right thing to do and tried to bring them out of the time lock to put his plan into action. Now hold on cause this is where it gets timey-wimey! The End of Time still happened. Cause this was in the 10th's time line. Saving Gallifrey was in 11th's time line. Which means it hadn't happened yet! In The End of Time 8,5th had still burned Gallifrey cause 11th hadn't come around to save it yet! And now that they've saved Gallifrey Rassilon won't have the time he had in the time lock. Cause the way I understand it in the time lock Gallifrey existed out of time, while the three Doctors froze Gallifrey in one moment to save it. To me this means that now no time at all passes on Gallifrey, while in the time lock it did. Timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly stuff.
Then some complaints of my own:
I hate that Billie Piper didn't play Rose. I hate that she was The Moment's consciousness in the shape of Bad Wolf. I hate that 10th couldn't see her and I felt so sad for him when he heard "Bad Wolf" but couldn't see her :(
What happened to the Zygons? They just feel like an excuse for the three Doctors to meet. They didn't stop the Zygon invasion? They made everyone in the Black Archive forget who was human and who was Zygon and they managed to stop the destruction of London... And then what? The Zygons are still there, aren't they?
We still have no explanation why Elizabeth I was pissed off at 10th in the Shakespeare episode. My guess is that he didn't come back to her after this whole thing with the three Doctors. But we still don't know for sure. When I heard that Elizabeth I was going to be in the 50th Anniversary I thought we'd finally know!
And then some fangirling:
10th and 11th together! OMG! :3 LOVE IT! ♥♥♥ And the War Doctor's comments about both of their behaviours are just hilarious! And then 10th saying "I don't want to go" before entering his Tardis and disappearing! 10th, I love you! ♥♥♥
I love that we got a picture of every incarnation of the Doctor when they saved Gallifrey, includiing Peter Capaldi! ♥ I love that he got a part in the 50th althought he hasn't officially entered the series yet! :D I loved that the U.N.I.T. girl wore the 4th's scarf and I love the cameo appearance of 4th Doctor Tom Baker in the end ♥ I loved the half-circle in the end ♥ I screamed out loud when I saw Capaldi's brow and I screamed out loud again when I saw Tom Baker. I love that they gave Tom Baker a speaking role in the 50th ♥♥♥
I loved how Paul McGann in the mini webisode said the names of several of Classic Who companions. They all got their small part as well. I would've loved a picture of Sarah Jane as well though, since she couldn't be there for the 50th, although she has been such a huge part of the whoniverse.
But I really enjoyed this episode and I thought it was a fitting anniversary.
On a side note. The War Doctor asked 11th if he could talk without waving his hands around. I'm more interested to know if Elizabeth I can talk without wiggling her eyebrows.
This is now my new desktop background