Doctor Who “Twice Upon A Time” Christmas Special
One of the great holiday traditions in recent years has been watching the Doctor Who Christmas special. More often than not it serves as springboard for the upcoming season. This latest special, “Twice Upon A Time” continues that tradition in a more significant way. This episode we say goodbye to Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and say hello to Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. But before that could happen, there’s an episode and a crisis to get through and it would take the first and original Doctor (David Bradley) to lend a helping hand. Warning, spoilers ahead…
So much of this special was coming to terms with one’s own mortality. It’s actually quite poignant. Facing down one’s own mortality is sobering for us all. We know with each passing day, our time on this earth draws to an end but the when, generally speaking, remains an unknown. The First Doctor refuses to regenerate when he discovers the Twelfth Doctor in a similar state. Their meeting causes time to freeze. Moments later they meet a confused and injured British Captain (Mark Gatiss) from World War I. Together they encounter a glass figure with knowledge of what is going on around them. They are later taken to a large ship where they come across Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie). There is great symbolism here as each one are either dead or dying. Each facing their own inevitable end. They learn that to gain their freedom, they must return the injured captain to the exact time he was supposed to die. The Twelfth Doctor refuses and seeks an alternative way to gain their freedom.
The four board the First Doctor’s TARDIS where it’s uncovered by a rogue Dalek that the spaceship with the glass figures is called the Testimony that was created on New Earth. The purpose of the Testimony is to take people out of their timeline at the moment of their death to archive their memories. Showrunner Steven Moffat gives future writers and new showrunner Chris Chibnall a means to bring back characters that otherwise should be dead. Knowing this, the Twelfth Doctor now realizes that Bill is not his “real” Bill but an avatar with all Bill’s memories intact.
Upon learning that the Captain is the Doctor’s close friend the Brigadier. They decide to return him back to his timeline but moments after he was supposed to die and during a Christmas truce between British and German troops. Now that the timeline has been restored both Doctors although still reluctant, are ready to regenerate. The Twelfth Doctor returns to his TARDIS and before the regeneration takes place, he offers his next incarnation some advice. When the regeneration is completed the Thirteenth Doctor sees her reflection on the console but before she could fully react, the TARDIS becomes out of control and The Doctor falls out of it. As she falls to the earth below, she observes the TARDIS exploding. Fade to black.
Now that Capaldi is no longer the Doctor, I admit that he didn’t begin as my favorite. As an actor, he is excellent, if not underrated. I think the material he was given to start his run was some of Moffat’s least compelling. As the series continued and nearly 40 episodes later, Capaldi did find his groove and Moffat tailored his writing to fit Capaldi. What I’ve always appreciated about each regenerated Doctor is how uniquely different they are to one another. As I look back, I’m thankful for Capaldi’s turn as the good Doctor and I look forward to seeing how Jodie Whittaker does with the role and puts her own personal spin and mark on it.
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight