The Night of the Doctor

The Night of the Doctor

The only way this could possibly be more perfect were if it had come at the end of five more seasons’ worth of Paul McGann as the Doctor. More proof, if anyone needed it, that we were robbed when the TV Movie was all we ever had of the Eighth Doctor onscreen.

When I heard there was a mini-episode prequel to the 50th Anniversary special, this was pretty much exactly what I was expecting (as were lots of other fans). So we now know how the Eighth Doctor regenerates, and where John Hurt fits into the sequence, and we can pretty much guess what the awful thing he did that precluded him from being “the Doctor” was. It’s the obvious, and I have no problem with that. Some people would say the Time War is a story that shouldn’t ever be told. I don’t think there are any stories that shouldn’t be told…I just think they should be told well, and this gives me great hope that we can expect this one to be told very well indeed. I can’t wait.


  1. Jeffrey Lampert · November 14, 2013

    I squeed heavily the second I heard McGann’s voice. Glad those rumors were true. I didn’t expect the Sisterhood of Karn to show up (though maybe it explains the soothsayer during The End of Time), but if we’re going to reference The Brain of Morbius, I wonder if the Moff would care to explain the supposed pre-Hartnell Doctors (seems like, given the events in this minisode, it almost writes itself. Then again, if the Time Lords can give the Master a new set of regenerations during The Five Doctors, and Romana can change her appearance at will…oh never mind; I think I’ll start quoting the MST3K Opening Theme mantra 🙂 ).

    The only thing I don’t like about this is that implies that, rather than forcing the Doctor to make an agonizing decision, he’s “tricked” into changing his personality into that of a Warrior. It feels less organic, like there’s a hand of the author involved instead of the character falling into it on his own.

    I imagine there would be no 8 1/2th Doctor if Eccleston had agreed to come back. OTOH, this has been a very fun bit of WTF and speculation, plus it’s John Frickin’ Hurt, so we may have gotten the better end of the deal, even though I happen to think Nine is better than Ten by a longshot, and that’s not a knock against Tennant (well, alright, maybe a little. Tennant doesn’t do gutwrenching pathos nearly as well as Eccleston or Matt Smith – just take Smith’s response to Tennant in the trailer when Tennant tries to get him to tell his future – “No, you really don’t” – and listen to the *pain* in that voice)

    I love love love the fact they’re calling 8 1/2 the War Doctor. Reference to the characters in Troughton’s last serial? (and, of course, the obligatory “You’re redecorated” callback, which Tennant delivers wonderfully, and I love Smith’s reaction shot).

    What’s up with Rose’s outfit, not to mention her eyes glowing in one of the trailers. And where are Rose and Ten in their timeline? Presumably, since we see Queen Bess is in this one, it’s late in Tennant’s run (since he references it to the Ood in The End of Time, so it’s one of his post-Waters of Mars trips), which also means it’s not the Meta-Crisis Doctor.

    And which one of our main characters is going to end up being a Zygon? It’s got to happen at some point.

    • encyclops · November 14, 2013

      This reminded me of all the things I like about “The Brain of Morbius,” and all the stories I should have dropped off my “favorites” posts to get that one on the list. Oh well, I knew the risks when I started. Maybe this reference is part of Moffat saying, “yeah, I haven’t forgotten about those,” but I also think that might be all he does with them. Probably for the best. Did you catch the “man or woman” line? People who get mad at him for casting another dude are probably forgetting he’s the first and only Doctor Who writer actually to show a male Time Lord becoming a female one onscreen (spoof or no spoof).

      I don’t know that he’s tricked; that’s what he asks for, and it’s a response to the realization/decision that he has to DO something and not just protest that he’s not part of the war. Ohila predicted that’s what he’d want, but she didn’t put the idea in his head.

      I can’t imagine what the story would have been if Eccleston had done it. I guess they would have toned down the “lost incarnation” idea; you can erase Hurt, but you can’t erase Eccleston, and in a way this feels more momentous. That said, Eccleston seems more warlike than Hurt. I associate John Hurt with tortured wraiths like Kane in Alien and Winston in 1984; he’s not the first persona I’d pick as a Warrior. That’s the trouble with regeneration, though; even with Sacred Flame Elixir, you never quite know what you’re going to get.

      “War Doctor” is OK, largely because of the “War Games” resonance, though it sounds a little clumsy to me. I thought they were going to call him the Warrior. (“The Medic”? “The Field Surgeon”?) It’s hardly “Doctor no more” if that’s still part of his title. But I’m fine with it. Did you dig the “young” face in the reflection? Nice touch. I wonder if they’ll do something similar to show an Eccleston regeneration, and if the resolution is that the War Doctor regenerates into the Ninth, or that the War Doctor becomes a sort of excised loop and in “real” history McGann will then regenerate into Eccleston.

      I’m still not 100% convinced Eccleston won’t make a cameo at the end. Hoping hoping hoping.

      I think Billie Piper’s playing Bad Wolf, at least some of the time. The Zygon? Oooh, who knows? Maybe Queen Bess herself?

  2. Jeffrey Lampert · November 14, 2013

    Neil Gaiman referenced the Corsair being both genders, but nothing beats Joanna Lumley with the sonic screwdriver.