SPOILERS - Doctor Who thoughts
So, I somehow managed to sneak into a screening.. And I’m glad I did.
A great episode for a lot of reasons, a consistent episode, the ‘final fix’ was established nice and early, not a convenient magic thingy revealed five minutes before the end. Time travel was used well as a mechanic of the story, and with just that little bit of trademark messiness in the continuum that simultaneously pisses off science geeks and reminds us that The Doctor is a wizard with a wand, not Spock.
And specifically.. this episode was a beautiful framing of The Doctor’s journey in the last 3 regenerations (or as I like to call them, the ones you see at American conventions, excluding Tom Baker scarves).
Suddenly Christopher Eccleston’s PTSD and spitting hatred for the Daleks works. He’s a war criminal who never got externally punished. Though Davies made it clear that this was part of his character, the full enormity, the bombing of his own side, was not in the fiction, and I’m impressed they had the balls to retcon it in. That mania, that rage, contextualised.
And David Tennant’s doctor, the flakey, distracted, silly doctor, makes sense. This is a doctor avoiding the past. Guilty, but pushing that guilt into a manufactured hero. This is a man avoiding history, and trying to buy back his good name through deeds. Again, given all the more gravity by this episode.
Matt Smith is an interesting one. The wiping of his memory, honestly, kinda didn’t work for me as a device before. It was too easy a reboot, he didn’t suffer for it.
And I wonder if that’s what this episode was for, to truly kick away the vestiges of The Damaged Doctor, to justify a doctor without that pain. Unlike a memory wipe, this was a Doctor fixing a mistake, Sam Becketting a problem. This was how you reboot this character in this universe.
And that’s perhaps why I’m excited. Capaldi will be stepping into the Tardis of a Doctor who’s never been bested. A Doctor with a memory of what can go wrong, but also the memory that given a couple of centuries and a slightly larger than usual effects budget, he can save the world. He is invincible. All that power, and no guilt. The manic energy of Capaldi’s previous performances begin to become understandable casting-wise. This might just be a Doctor that scares us more than the Daleks.
And I really like the sound of that.