Thursday, 14 November 2013
Doctor Who: The Night of the Doctor
"I'm the Doctor. But probably not the one you were expecting."
I'm not usually in the business of reviewing minisodes. Usually, they're inconsequential, previews and the like, not usually considered canon by those who care about such things.
This one's different. It's been on the I-player and YouTube for just a few hours, but already there has been enough squeeing to burst the heavens. Prepare for more squeeing, because this is an amazing seven minutes. Oh Moffat, you do spoil us.
The first shock is to see Paul McGann's Doctor, rescuing a woman called Cass from a crashing spaceship, as is his wont. But, as soon as she realises he has a TARDIS she recoils, refuses his help, and they both plunge to their doom. The dialogue here is stunning; the Doctor admits to being a member of that notorious race the Time Lords but, to Cass, they are indistinguishable from the Daleks, both races hated for their Time War and the collateral damage it causes. The Doctor has tried to remain aloof, an individual, but his refusal to take part on the war has not prevented him from dying in it.
Except, fortunately, this is Karn, and the Doctor is able to be briefly kept alive by the Sisterhood and their Elixir. Wonderfully, Maren is back, once again played by Cynthia Grenville. (Edit: no she isn't. I got carried away there!!!)
The Sisterhood know that the Time War will ultimately destroy the universe, and they desperately urge the Doctor to involve himself in it for the universe's sake, offering him use of the elixir to choose his body (one of the choices given is "Man or woman?", interestingly). The Doctor's usual quips fall flat and he is persuaded (rather too quickly, perhaps; a small criticism, but given the running time I will be more than forgiving) that there isn't any need for a Doctor anymore.
So he decides to become a warrior. And there's a possible suggestion that his upcoming incarnation will be known as the Warrior, not the Doctor. Be that as it may, he regenerates (new style) into some I, Clavdivs-vintage stock footage of a young John Hurt, and it's all rather well done.
And, if all that isn't enough, all of McGann's Big Finish companions get name checked.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm still buzzing, and I'm off to watch it again...