I always cry when a Doctor leaves, regardless of the episode. It is, after all, the end of an era. Their final speeches are always related to their actual stint playing the iconic role, and it’s their way of saying goodbye. Eccleston saying he was brilliant, Tennant acknowledging he didn’t want to go, Smith asserting he would always remember when he played the Doctor, and now self-proclaimed Who fan Capaldi letting go of the character he’s played for the past three years.
But if we compare it to Smith’s final episode, Capaldi’s was better in every possible way. Sure, Smith’s farewell speech left me a mess, but I don’t even remember what was supposed to be happening the hour prior to that. Capaldi’s episode, on the other hand, had everything you could possibly want.
It shows that Moffat has learned his lesson. ‘Twice Upon a Time’ doesn’t have a complicated story to follow, but a character arc, so to speak. It is nostalgia in its purest form, what with the return of David Bradley as the First Doctor (I also cried with An Adventure in Space and Time, of course). It ties nicely the regenerations of the First and Twelfth Doctors, without needing much else.
Did we need complicated timey wimey storylines? No. We just needed the return of Bill Potts (such a shame we won’t get more Pearl Mackie) to give the Doctor a false sense of danger, only to eventually find out that the real danger to himself is, well, himself. There is no big bad, no threat, other than him not wanting to regenerate. Moffat gives us a tearful lesson on how, when all is lost, we have to hold on to our memories, because they are what define us.
Which was, I must add, a nice way of bringing Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald back. I knew we couldn’t end Capaldi’s era with him not remembering who Clara had been. For practical purposes, I know the only way for him to move forward was to forget who Clara was, because otherwise he’d been obsessed, so to have him remember her at the very last minute was a lovely touch. I love Jenna Coleman, and I am a fan of Victoria, but I get why her character needed to leave for the show to evolve, so that the Doctor could have a less toxic dynamic with someone else -something he achieved with Bill. Also, Clara’s return was when I started to cry. I don’t understand: former companions always show up right before a regeneration, I never see it coming, and I always cry. Always.
And continuing with the nostalgia theme, to have an extra character that apparently has nothing to do with anyone, only to find out he is the father of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, damn it Moffat, you know how to get to us -the return of Nardole was also a cute touch, since everyone from Capaldi’s era was coming back to say goodbye.
I have enjoyed Capaldi’s stint as the Doctor. Sure, the writing at first was a bit faulty, but he always gave his best, and that showed. I will miss his cross eyebrows. And I am more than ready for the Thirteen Doctor. Don’t rush to judge when you haven’t even seen a single episode starring Jodie Whittaker yet. Don’t forget that we are all sad when a Doctor leaves, but as soon as the next one starts, we love them just the same. And don’t forget either that the Doctor doesn’t have to stop being a role model for you and others, just because he/she doesn’t have a penis anymore.
Hate is always foolish, love is always wise.
Notes from the Chamber of the Dead
-This episode was rated high for me from the moment Twelve made a Mary Berry joke at the expense of the First Doctor.
-And also from the moment I realised we’d spent the first fifteen minutes just swimming among meta jokes.
-“It is protected!” “Protected by whom?” “Oh, it IS early days.”
-“But, it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!” “You know, I thought it probably was. I’m glad it’s not just me.”
-“Always remember where you parked. It’s going to come up a lot.”
-The Captain’s face when the Doctor calls his Great War World War One. The chills.
-“I become you?” “There’s a few false starts, but you get there in the end.” “But I assumed I’d get…younger.” “I am younger!”
-In line with the quote above, I love how Twelve kept trying to stop the FD from making outdated comments, although I think the best one by far was the “bottom” one to Bill.
-“Have you had some of this?” “You know, I may have snuck a glass at some point in the last 1,500 years…”
-“This place could do with a little dusting. Obviously, Polly isn’t around anymore.” “Please, please, please stop saying things like that.”
-You also have to love the First Doctor rolling his eyes at everything Twelve says.
–The Doctors are shown what their live has been “What…what was that?” “To be fair, they cut out all the jokes.”
-Was that the Doomsday theme when the Doctors are talking about refusing the regeneration? Goosebumps.
-In line with all the things from Capaldi’s era, we got good old Rusty back!
-“Oh, it’s not an evil plan. I don’t really know what to do when it isn’t an evil plan.”
-“Letting go of the Doctor is so, so hard, isn’t it?”