A while before I saw the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who, the Day of the Doctor, I posted a list of “expectations” for the story. (See the original post here). This wasn’t my wishlist – it was just my predictions, based on advanced press and previews, etc. Now the episode is history. How did I do at predicting what we’d see? (Spoilers, for sure)
My Prediction: An Original Title Sequence, and that it’d look great in 3D
Was I right?: Sort of. The episode opened with what was basically the original opening title sequence, from 1963. However, at the end of the story, we got what was more or less a new closing title sequence. The 3D was lost on it a little bit because I was distracted by all of the words.
My Prediction: A regeneration – specifically, John Hurt into Christopher Eccleston
Was I right? Yes! John Hurt regenerates, or at least, begins to regenerate. It happens a bit abruptly – the War Doctor suffers no particular trauma or injury. But it was fitting for the character. The Doctor who was born for war ends his life in peace. We only got half of the regeneration, due to Eccleston’s non-appearance and I guess how much work special effecting him into the scene would have been.
Prediction: Billie Piper’s role as Rose Tyler will be a bit of a let-down
Was I right? In some of the details, yes. Billie Piper doesn’t actually play Rose, but a holographic image of Rose as the Bad Wolf taken from the War Doctor’s future. She does serve as a plot-moving device (on several different levels), but the situation that she is guiding us through is so momentous that I didn’t mind. In fact, I’d say I enjoyed her in this part more than I would have if we really had to deal with Rose as a character as well.
Prediction: A surprise familiar face turning up someplace
Was I right? Yes! Tom Baker turns up as…well, we’ll leave that for fan theories to work out. But even though he’s so much older, he still has it, and his scene with Matt Smith is very good. Now, I had read a headline previously that indicated that Baker would be making an appearance, so I don’t take full credit for this – but come on, we knew someone would show up. And if we count archival footage, than we can include all the rest of the Doctors in this list as well.
Prediction: The Daleks will exterminate somebody
Was I right?: Surprisingly, not really. Sure, the Daleks were blasting Arcadia to pieces, and no doubt the “reality” of it was that lots of Time Lords were killed. They even chanted their iconic “Exterminate!” phrase. But did we ever actually see the Daleks directly shoot fleeing Time Lord and have them keel over in screaming agony? No, I don’t think so. And frankly, that was fine with me.
Prediction: The Moment, but not all that other stuff
Was I right? Basically, yes! Except that we did see the fall of Arcadia, mentioned in Doomsday. But that’s not one of the things I referred to. And all the things I did mention (the Skaro Degradations, the Nightmare Child, the Horde of Travesties, the Could’ve Been King with his Army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres) didn’t even get the name-check.
Prediction: Nothing to do with the Silence, the Great Intelligence, or related business
Was I right? Yes! We had a bit of a conversation about Trenzalore, but that’s it. Whatever happened immediately after the end of The Name of the Doctor is left up to our imagination.
Prediction: The 12th Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi
Was I right? Yes! At first I thought the Curator that Clara refers to might have turned out to be Capaldi’s Doctor come to deliver some portentous omens. That turned out not to be the case, but Capaldi’s Doctor did make a very brief appearance in the climactic scene alongside all of his predecessors.
Prediction: Lots of cool moments that don’t quite make sense
Was I right? I guess your mileage may vary, but for me, no I wasn’t. There were cool moments, though not as many as I would have liked. And for the most part, they all made sense, or at least didn’t require so much head-scratching as I’d have guessed.
Prediction: Plenty of visuals designed to maximize the 3D
Was I right?: A bit obvious, really, but basically yes. All those scenes of the war, the glass breaking, the sonic screwdrivers pointing, etc. But it wasn’t anything annoying – it just became part of the tone of the episode, the “bigness” of it.
Prediction: The Return of Gallifrey and / or the Time Lords
Was I right?: These two go together, but yes, I was right, at least in the general concept. The Doctor not only comes to a place of peace over what he has done, but he also finds out that instead of destroying his people on the last day of the Time War, he actually saved them. They didn’t “return” because they are still hidden out there, but he knows they are there, and as long as the show continues, he will surely find them.