Doctor Who: ‘The Day of the Doctor’ Recap
I’m pretty positive that everyone has watched the 50th anniversary special already but just in case you haven’t or just want to go over it again to make sure you weren’t dreaming it, here is my recap.
The show starts with an original opening of Doctor Who fading into the present time, with Clara reciting the Marcus Aurelius quote:
Waste no time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
while she is working as a teacher. A fellow teacher comes running into her room worried for her because her “Doctor” left a message for her. She smiles, takes the address, and runs outside to her motorcycle (she’s a pretty kick-ass teacher). Clara drives for a while before noticing the TARDIS just sitting and waiting for her. She smiles wide and starts zooming towards it, honking until the doors open and she drives straight in. The Doctor smiles adorably and pretends to read his book with his Pond glasses on. He yells, “Draft!” and Clara turns to the door, snaps her fingers, and the TARDIS shuts the doors. Clara is definitely in the TARDIS’ good graces. They discuss an adventure, giggle about it, and hug each other like long lost friends. But before this journey happens, the TARDIS is abducted by a helicopter.
The camera moves to a young scientist wearing the infamous 4th Doctor’s scarf. She answers the phone and rushes to bring it to her mother, Kate Stewart, the head of U.N.I.T.. It’s the Doctor on the line and Kate says she is the one bringing the TARDIS in, not knowing he is in it. He falls out of the TARDIS and is pretty much hanging on for his life. Clara just leans against the frame and enjoys the view. They are deposited in front of the museum by orders of Queen Elizabeth the First.
Kate ushers them inside to see the Queen’s credentials, which is a 3D oil painting of the fall of Arcadia in Gallifrey, titled “No More” or “Gallifrey Falls”. The Doctor is angered by this and Clara is confused.
Gif via Now Here This
He reaches for Clara’s hand because the painting represents the last day of the Time War, the day that greatly affected the Doctor. The show takes us to Gallifrey as the war is being fought. Time Lords are running for their lives from the invading Daleks. Things are grim. A soldier spots the TARDIS and the War Doctor comes up to him asking for his gun. He then proceeds to shoot the message, “No More” into a wall. The Daleks are alerted to his presence but don’t have time to do anything before the TARDIS comes smashing into them. An injured Dalek sees the message from the Doctor and asks what the words mean before dying.
The High Council meet to figure out what to do. They discuss the Doctor’s message for the Daleks calling him a fool. But before further discussion, they are notified that the forbidden vaults have been accessed and that the most powerful weapon they have has been taken. The Moment. It’s a galaxy eater that developed a conscience, so the Time Lords couldn’t bear using it for fear of being judged by it. But as we know, the Doctor does use it to end the war and is forever haunted by it.
The scene switches to the TARDIS in a deserted area, with footprints leading away from it. The War Doctor goes into a monologue about using the device because he wants their war to end. He goes into an abandoned hut and sets up the weapon, which looks like a sort of puzzle box. He laments that it doesn’t have a big red button. The War Doctor hears a sound and goes to check on it but a voice tells him that it is nothing but a wolf and he turns to see Rose Tyler! Of course this version of the Doctor doesn’t know who she is though. He yells at her to leave but she stays and starts to question his actions and even makes fun of him. It takes him a few minutes to realize she’s the interface of The Moment.
The Moment: “Oh, look at you. Stuck between a woman and a box. Story of your life, eh Doctor?”
She informs him that she choose this form because it was in his head but she wasn’t sure if it was his past or future. To which he angrily replies that he doesn’t have a future. She’s adamant about it and states she is Rose Tyler, no wait, she’s Bad Wolf. Trust me, I love Rose Tyler, but I’m curious as to why she was the one chosen by The Moment out of all the companions over 50 years?
Gif via Now Here This
They discuss what he is about to do and the War Doctor tells her he has no desire to survive this and The Moment tells him that his punishment for destroying Gallifrey and all of it’s children will be that he has to live. John Hurt’s face during this scene just broke my heart. The terror of his planned actions were truly showing. The Moment offers to show him what his future looks like. A window opens and a fez comes flying through.
The Moment: “Okay, I wasn’t expecting that.”
Oh, that fez just never quits.
Back to the present, the 11th Doctor opens the letter from Queen Elizabeth and tells him he is the curator of the Under Gallery. Kate takes him to the true scene. But before we totally leave this room, one of the workers, McGinlin (sp?), gets a mysterious phone call, asking him to do something.
They are taken to a room where there is a painting of Elizabeth the First with the 10th Doctor. The show then takes us to England 1562, where the 10th Doctor and Elizabeth come riding out of the TARDIS on a horse. They flirt it up on a picnic, and out of nowhere, the 10th Doctor proposes to her! She screams, “Of course I will!,” which let’s be honest, any woman (or man) would. He says it was a trick because because the real Elizabeth wouldn’t say yes. He thinks she’s a Zygon and proves it by putting a ding-ing machine in her face.
Image via Doctor Who TV
The Queen is obviously annoyed by this. But while the Doctor goes on about Zygons (shape-shifting aliens that are red with suckers all over them), the horse behind them turns into one. Oops, the Doctor misidentified the alien.
The Doctor:”I’m going to be King…”
He makes her run, while he goes searching for it. He runs into a bunny, and thinking it’s a Zygon, goes into a speech about how he should fear the Doctor.
Gifs via BBC America
Of course, he quickly realizes that it’s just a bunny. Elizabeth screams for him and he finds her laying on the ground. But then another Elizabeth comes and they start bickering. A time fissure opens and a fez comes through.
In the present, Kate takes the Doctor and Clara to the Under Gallery. Of course the Doctor examines the stone dust under their feet. He has the scarf girl analyze the dust. While walking through the museum, the Doctor spots a fez and steals it.
Clara: “Some day, you could just walk past a fez.
The Doctor: “Never going to happen.”
In the next room, they find the paintings are missing their figures and have been smashed from the inside. Somethings have gotten out of the paintings. A time fissure opens and the Doctor remembers that he was a part of it because of the fez. He jumps in screaming, “Geronimo!” and lands in front of the 10th Doctor (and the two annoying Elizabeth’s)! The 10th Doctor is wearing the fez and it’s pretty hilarious because it just looks so odd on him.
Image via Who-Natic
I guess I only accept the 11th Doctor wearing it. The 10th Doctor is confused, until they pull out their sonic screwdrivers. And then have a macho battle.
10th Doctor: “Compensating?”
11th Doctor: “For what?!”
10th Doctor: “Regeneration. It’s a lottery.”
11th Doctor: “Oh, he’s cool. Isn’t he cool? I’m the Doctor, oops, I’m wearing sand shoes!”
The 10th Doctor asks what he is doing in his timeline. The 11th Doctor starts talking to the Elizabeth’s until 10 tells him one of them is a Zygon, to which 11 goes,
“Eeeww. Listen, I’m not judging you.”
They inspect the time fissure together, and have a cute moment where they compliment each other on their glasses. 10 then tells the Elizabeth’s to run away from each other. Both kiss him before leaving and 11 makes a quip about how 10 just kissed a Zygon. Clara starts speaking to them through the hole. 11 throws the fez in to see if he can come back through but it doesn’t go to her. It ends up going to the first place we saw it, with the War Doctor. He picks it up.
In the museum, Kate leaves to make a call and a Zygon is spotted behind her.
The Doctors start arguing over what happens next since 11 should remember this but of course he doesn’t. They keep bickering until the War Doctor shows up with the fez. They recognize him immediately but the War Doctor doesn’t know his future regenerations and politely asks for the Doctor.
10: “Well, you’re certainly in the right place.”
War Doctor:” Oh, are you his companions? They get younger every time.”
The War Doctor asks again for the Doctor and 10 and 11 take out their sonic screwdrivers, which makes the War Doctor drop his jaw in disbelief. He even asks if he is having a mid-life crisis! He then goes on to scold them like children.
War Doctor: “They’re screwdrivers! What are you going to do? Build a cabinet!”
Soldiers come upon them and the Doctors tell them the fissure is witchcraft. Clara tries to help out by being the wicked witch but fails. She asks what’s going on and 11 tells her it is a “timey-wimey” thing.
War Doctor: “Timey-Wimey?”
10: “I have no idea where he picks that stuff up.”
Hah. Don’t be embarrassed, 10! The Queen arrives, just one, and 10 screams that it isn’t the real queen. 11 makes a snide remark that he should know, since he’s checked with the smooches. But 11 let’s them take them to the Tower of London because that’s where Clara is at the moment. He gets excited and asks if there will be wi-fi there. War Doctor scolds again asking if 11 can speak without flapping his hands about. He isn’t too fond of his regenerations and their youthful ways. 11 demands to be locked up with his conspirators: Sand Shoes and Granddad. They both scoff at the names but War Doctor agrees that 10 is wearing Sand Shoes.
Kate realizes what 11 is up to and they go to her office.
The Doctors are all locked up and start discussing their situation. 10 starts to question the War Doctor because him and Chinny (11) were surprised but the War Doctor wasn’t. As he is being questioned, The Moment pops up behind 10 and even though he can’t see her, it’s still a powerful moment.
The U.N.I.T. scientists, Osgood and McGinlin are attacked by a bunch of Zygons. Osgood cowers in the corner, muttering that the Doctor will save her. The Zygon takes her inhaler and starts making fun of her. But Osgood fights back and runs away.
Meanwhile, Kate takes Clara to the Black Archives. A facility that wipes the minds of anyone who goes in and doesn’t allow the TARDIS to come in because the Doctor wouldn’t approve of what is stored in there. Clara questions why she was allowed and Kate tells her she has the highest privilege from her previous visits. Clara is confused and looks at a wall full of pictures of his known associates.
Kate walks up to a red room, where Capt. Jack Harkness’ Vortex manipulator is on display. It was bequeathed to U.N.I.T. after one of his deaths. Kate states that the Doctor knows they have it and would leave them a message to allow them to use it just this once. Zygon Scarf girl shows up unnoticed. Kate gets the code left by the Doctor in the Tower sent to her via picture message but gets distracted once Clara questions why the scientists are in the facility with them. Kate says they disposed of the humans earlier than expected and turns into a Zygon, which is pretty nasty. Clara grabs the phone and Capt. Jack’s manipulator and sends herself back in time. She’s a smart one.
Back in the past, they try figuring out how to open the door, while 11 is scratching away the coordinates. 10 unknowingly walks past The Moment, and she makes a face like she wants to say something to him. The War Doctor decides to converse with them to pass the time and asks why they have to talk like children. Are they ashamed of being grown up? 10 and 11 make somber faces. War Doctor notices this and calls them out on it. They bring up the genocide of the Time Lords and The Moment tells the War Doctor that that is their history because they don’t know any different. The War Doctor can still change things. He asks them if they remember how many children were on Gallifrey that day. 11 states he doesn’t remember and asks what would be the point. 10 says, “2.47 billion” and starts to flip out on 11 for forgetting. 11 says he moved on, which 10 can’t fathom. The Moment calls them The Man Who Regrets and The Man Who Forgets. He has to make his decision soon, so she helps him out and tells him that they all have the same screwdriver with the same software, just 400 years in difference. The calculations the War Doctor’s screwdriver started would finish with the 11th Doctor’s. Clara comes bursting in through the unlocked door before they can do anything about it.
Clara: “Wait a minute? 3 of you in one room and none of you thought to try the door?”
The Queen thought it would be interesting to see what they would do and then takes them to see what is going to happen to their world.
In the museum, Osgood looks through the Queen’s portrait, as the face has been smashed out. She then descends to the Under Gallery and finds Kate strung up by Zygon guts. She gets her free and they go to the Black Archive.
The Queen takes the Doctors and Clara to the Zygon lair and tells them that their world was destroyed during the Time Wars and they were going to take Earth but were waiting for better comforts. She then shows them a Zygon using a stasis cube to be transported into a photo where they would until the right time before leaving. The stasis cube is a Time Lord art, suspended animation.
The 10th Doctor then offends the Queen because he thinks she is a Zygon. It’s the human Elizabeth and 10 tries to backtrack his statements. She killed her Zygon twin and pretended to be a Zygon. But before she lets everyone go, she makes the Doctor keep his promise and marry her before leaving to save her kingdom. Clara is excited by this but the Doctors are kind of just want to get it over with. 10 runs into his TARDIS, which 11 calls his grunge phase but the TARDIS starts freaking out because of 3 Doctors. Clara tells them they have to go to the Black Archives, which makes all 3 Doctors turn and look at her.
The Zygons are excited by this room. So many goodies. The humans start a countdown for a nuclear weapon that will destroy not only the Black Archives but London, to keep the world safe from aliens. The Doctor sends a call to Kate telling her to switch off the countdown. 10 tells her it’s a decision she would not be able to live with. They can’t do anything about it though because the TARDIS can’t land in the Black Archives. The War Doctor comes up with a brilliant idea. They can transport themselves into the painting using the stasis. The painting that they made McGinlin move early in the episode. The Doctors are transported into the war, use their screwdrivers to attack a Dalek, which hurtles through the painting and sends glass flying everywhere in the Black Archives. The Doctors come walking out like badasses. Clara says they’re showing off.
Gif via BBC America
They share with Kate their regrets for killing their race to save the universe. And then use the memory wipe to confuse them so they won’t know if they are they originals or the Zygons. Both Kate’s scream, “Cancel the detonation!”
The start working together to share the planet. And Osgood and her Zygon twin share a moment.
Clara goes to examine the companion wall before sitting to talk with the War Doctor. She knows the War Doctor hasn’t made the decision yet and urges him to not hit the button because her Doctor regrets it. The Moment appears and takes the War Doctor back to his time.
Image via Who-Natic
In the hut, the War Doctor stares at the weapon that has opened up to look like a rose. The War Doctor and The Moment talk, and he admits 10 and 11 are extraordinary. Before he presses the button, The Moment says the wheezing sound of the TARDIS brings hope to everyone and TARDIS’ appear. 10, 11, and Clara step out and The Moment tells them they are clever boys.
GIf via Now Here This
They go up to the War Doctor and go to press the button with him so he wouldn’t have to go through it alone. He thanks them.
Clara shakes her head in the background and 11 asks her why. She can’t imagine him doing this. The Moment projects what is happening to them and Clara is stupefied that the Doctors would let these people burn. She calls them the Warrior, the Hero, and Old Idiot and urges 11 to be a Doctor.
Clara: “You told me the name you chose was a promise. What was the promise?”
10: “Never cruel or cowardly.”
War Doctor: “Never give up. Never give in.”
While this is going on, images of Gallifreyans surviving are showing. And once they finish reciting their promise, 10 asks if 11 is thinking what he thinks he is going to do. Change history. 11 changes his mind and makes the button go back down. The War Doctor catches on and then so does 11! The War Doctor screams out that she showed him the future he needed to see and 11 asks who he is talking about.
War Doctor: “Oh, Bad Wolf girl, I could kiss you!”
The Moment (as 10 stands in front of her): “Yeah, that’s going to happen.”
10: “Did you just say Bad Wolf?”
Clara ruins this moment by asking what the plan is. They put Gallifrey into a stasis, and let the Daleks kill each other with their own crossfire.
The Doctors send a message to the High Council telling them of their plan. They’ve been planning this for years. All the Doctors start transmitting in to help!
Gif via Now Here This
Even the 12th Doctor or should we say 13th Doctor since that’s when his eyes are revealed after someone screams that all 13 Doctors are helping? The High Council allows the Doctor to go through with his plan.
War Doctor: “Oh, for God’s sake! Gallifrey Stands!”
Back at the museum, they share tea and hope their plan worked. 10 asks what the painting is actually called and 11 says it’s either, “No More” or “Gallifrey Falls.” The War Doctor leaves them knowing he won’t remember this and he’ll live his life thinking he burned Gallifrey. He gets into his TARDIS and starts the regeneration process into 9, but we don’t get to see him actually turn into 9.
10 wants to know where they are going since he won’t remember anyway. 11 reveals that they are going to Trenzalore. 10 doesn’t believe and tells 11 that he’s glad his future is in good hands. He kisses Clara’s hands and states they need a new destination because, “I don’t want to go.” Oh, the feels! Gah! 11, “He always says that.”
Gif via Now Here This
Clara leaves him alone but lets him know the curator is looking for him before she goes. 11 talks to himself and says he could retire and become the curator of this place, when a voice tells him that he might. It’s Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor)!
He tells 11 that the title of the painting is actually, “Gallifrey Falls, No More.” Basically telling him that Gallifrey is still out there. They have a cute little Doctor convo and 4 tells him, “Who knows.”
The special ends with the Doctor talking about his dreams and about going home as he walks out of the TARDIS and into a line of all the other Doctors surrounding him.
Gifs via BBC America
This episode had so much to it that I’m still trying to process it a day later! So much action, so many emotions, so many laughs! How did you feel Whovians? Favorite moments? Things you didn’t like? Let me know!