And so it comes, Whovians. The end of another Doctor’s era, and the beginning of another. Since I was drawn into this show almost 7 years ago now, I’ve seen two Doctors come and go in my time. Peter Capaldi was the first one that I got to witness his entire run on first hand though without binge watching, and, I must admit he really grew on me as the show went on. But before we get into the regeneration let’s discuss this final adventure, and his only real multi Doctor story, “Twice Upon A Time”.
After the events of the season finale a few months ago (in our time) but mere seconds after in his time, The Doctor finds himself in the Arctic, wanting to end the cycle of regeneration and just die. He also finds his prior self, the First Doctor (David Bradley- Game of Thrones, An Adventure In Space and Time) wanting to do the same thing and not regenerate, which, if he does, would cause a huge time paradox, as everything The Doctor has done over the years, centuries, and millennia would be undone.
It’s this that brings up the attention of The Testimony, mysterious time traveling beings from the far future, and also brings in time misplaced World War I Captain played by Mark Gattiss, whom is the Doctors’ companion for this adventure, along with a returning BIll Potts, the Doctor’s most recent companion, who sacrificed herself in the season finale.
I absolutely loved this episode. It was a smaller story in scope, than some past Christmas specials, but it was a very big episode in terms of The Doctor’s history. Now, from here on out we are going to be getting into spoilers territory, so consider yourself warned, if you haven’t seen it yet.
I loved the opening bit that brings us right to the First Doctor’s final moments, great recreation of the set and characters, though there was some wonky cgi transition between Peter Hartnell’s performance and David Bradley. I also loved David Bradley in the role, which he first did in a meta fashion while playing Peter Hartnell in the film about the origins of the show, An Adventure In Space and Time for the 50th anniversary a few years back.
He brings that first incarnation of the character back to life with all his crotchety glory, and I loved the interactions between himself and Capaldi, and the rest of the cast, in manners very telling of the time period when the show was first made compared to today’s cultures. He’s the grandfather of the franchise, who means well, but he just doesn’t quite get that he can’t say things that he used to.
I loved it as well when we got that hint of the “I am The Doctor” in the score as we got the highlights of The Doctors past/future from Testimony. I was hoping for a Matt Smith cameo admittedly, but that may have been a bit much considering the story was very much contained about the 12th and the 1st Doctor and any others would have been overkill.
I wasn’t entirely surprised at the end when The Captain was revealed to be of the Lethbridge-Stewart clan who have played a role in the Doctor’s past/future over the years. In fact, until I saw otherwise I was assuming he was filling in for the role of the Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart this time out as the original actor who played the show in the classic series has since passed away.
The twist near the end was a welcome touch, that it wasn’t an evil plot, just a way so that the dead can live on through their memories. As well as that they brought back Clara (Jenna Coleman) and her memory to The Doctor one last time, I hated that bit where he had forgotten her, as important as she was to the mythos of the character. And we got one final companions reunion with Bill, Nardole (Matt Lucas- Alice In Wonderland) and The Doctor. Their time was short on the show, but it made an impact for sure.
Now with all that being said, on to the regeneration and the next chapter in the life of The Doctor. I loved how it was handled, a great farewell speech from 12, that was sad but it wasn’t, as with Doctors it isn’t dying that happens to him/them, it’s just moving on to the next thing, the next adventure. And ever since they announced that the next Doctor would be a woman, played by Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch) I’ve been waiting for the day to see it happen.
We leave off with a brilliant cliffhanger, The Doctor, impressed with her new self, shortly after being ejected from her TARDIS, which has exploded and caught fire as it happens when the regeneration happens onboard from time to time. How will she get out of this mess? I can’t wait to find out, and to see the next chapter in the ongoing saga that is Doctor Who.
Doctor Who: Twice Upon A Time- A+