I don’t really want to write this but I feel compelled to.
Day of the Doctor sucks. It’s a nostalgic feel good episode that really pisses on the canon established by the new series in a disgraceful way for the sake of forcing a happy ending where none should exist. But it can also be extremely fun and entertaining. David Tennant, Matt Smith, and John Hurt have amazing chemistry together and when they’re on-screen I couldn’t help smiling. But lets dig balls deep into spoilers.
Speaking of spoilers, lets discuss the idea of them for a moment. One of my personal and professional flaws is that I often assume everyone is as well-informed as I am. So when I let something slip people get righteously pissed off and cry out SPOILERTH!!
Fuck you. Sincerely.
But seriously, discussing this episode with people/troglodytes from now on is going to be difficult because it buttfucks the numbering system that is our best way of differentiating the Doctors. From now on, people are going to cry SPOILERETH because someone will say Oh I loved Christopher Eccleston as the 9th Doctor the most then some wiseass will say, well he’s actually the 10th Doctor and some genetic defective will take umbrage at the mere discussion of John Hurt’s existence as a spoilerth. This is an argument I’m not going to have on either side. For reasons that I intend to spell out, I’m not arguing about Doctor Who ever again. I may review for my own amusement, but I’m not going to defend it. I’m not carrying water for this series.
John Hurt is the 9th Doctor. The Daleks have Gallifrey on the brink of destruction. The Doctor is going to activate a weapon called the Galaxy Annihilator or something that is sentient and projects a ghost of Billie Piper that only John Hurt can see. Work with me here people. The Galaxy Fucker is going to destroy the Time Lords and the Daleks together. For the past 7 seasons, the Doctor’s character has been defined by this moment. He killed the Time Lords and is wracked with guilt. But this episode decides to entirely change the reasons behind that decision. At the end of Season 5, David Tennant’s doctor reveals the truth about ending the war. The Time Lords, his people, led by Timothy Dalton, were planning to do some kind of Final Fantasy 8 style time compression, destroy the universe, and become gods. In his own words, the Time Lords went insane. They had to be stopped. This frames it differently. In this episode, Gallifrey is under siege. The Daleks have the Time Lords cold. The war is over and the only way to save the universe from the Daleks is to kill them, with the Time Lords as collateral damage. The apologist in me says, well the Time Lords from season 5, that was Rassilon and the High Council or something. There is still a planet full of innocents that the Doctor wiped out. But, that’s not it. Because the episode ends with the Doctors, all of them, using their TARDIS magic to move Gallifrey in time or something so that the Daleks who have encircled the planet shoot each other instead of Gallifrey.
This is really really stupid. First of all, space is big. Really big. Mind boggingly big. You might think its a long walk to the chemist but space…wow! So the idea that the Daleks have formed such a perfect circular firing squad around the planet as to be guaranteed to kill each other is so fucking stupid. Then, even if that was the case, it completely ignores the reasoning of Season 5. The Doctor killed the Time Lords because the Time Lords were the real threat. This episode says the Doctor killed the Daleks because they were the real threat, the Time Lords were just in the way. So the episode ends with Gallifrey saved and out there in space waiting for the Doctor to find it.
Then you have the episode’s subplot. Shapeshifting aliens are using the United Kingdom’s secret stockpile of alien technology to conquer Earth. Stay with me people. The British government’s person triggers a nuclear bomb that will destroy the aliens, but will also destroy London. Much like the episode Cold Blood, the Doctors force the aliens and humans to work out a compromise. Except, then they shift back to Gallifrey to discuss the fate of the Time Lords and come up with the TARDIS magic idea.
Except, we never go back to the aliens and London about to be destroyed. Even if they work out a deal, London is literally 5 seconds from destruction. Did someone have to cut the green wire? Is everyone okay? They literally forgot to resolve that plot.
I’ll try to add more to this later, but that’s the story. Gallifrey is saved, happy endings for everyone. Its amazingly fast paced. And although it is amazing to behold the episode and the acting, it is goddamn terrible if you think about it at all. So try not to.