If you haven’t watched it yet then bloody well stop reading this gobbledygook and watch it!
I’m just barely recovering from the goosebumps and the hyperventilating, and I don’t always break out into a full-on fanboy fit. But this is a notable exception.
That’s right, after 17 years, we’ve finally seen the return and regeneration of Paul McGann!
First of all, I want to say that I’m so glad that The Night of the Doctor was separate from the actual 50th Anniversary episode because this was Paul’s gig. It’s not going to get buried in the mix of what’s going to be a spectacularly bombastic celebration, it was its own mini-celebration of Paul’s contribution to the show and Moffat made his Big Finish Adventures canon. Do you have any idea how many doors this opens for the show? Do you?
My heart skipped a beat when I heard his voice. Skipped a beat again when I saw the Sisters of Karn again. Awe, amazement and complete disbelief passed right through me in a second that they’d actually done this and managed to keep it secret. I was about 2 or 3 years old when the TV Movie was released, but I grew up watching Classic Who and McGann was just as much a part of that to me as any of the other Doctors were.
I love how Eight had to choose between dying as an honest man and destroying the universe, or regenerating and turning into someone he’d despise to save it. Not only that, he dies saving a total stranger, with no “IT’S NOT FAIR, WHY ME!?” hooplah. He’s The Doctor, and he knows he has to try his best to do good.
He could’ve been a coward and let himself die to stay out of the Time War, but instead, the Doctor made the brave choice and decided to regenerate. He decided to become someone that he knew he’d hate to be able to save the universe. Because as much as the Doctor wants to save people, sometimes in order to accomplish that it means doing something wrong, something you could never forgive yourself for – and this meant the deaths of billions. And that’s why he decided to completely forget that regeneration after the War Doctor regenerated, beautifully poetic.
I couldn’t help but notice how Eight’s final words were “physician, heal thyself”. Bittersweet little biblical throwback to how he assumed a Christ-like posture in the TV Movie when he regenerated.
And then, John Hurt appears. The War Doctor, as he is now officially named. No longer the Doctor, the ‘good man’ he was before when he ran away from Gallifrey to explore the universe and save people, he’s the Warrior now and suddenly the Eleventh Doctor’s comments at the end of The Name of the Doctor make a lot more sense!
Roll on The Day of the Doctor!