If you haven’t already guessed, I really liked “The Day of the Doctor.” Not having cable service, I downloaded the episode from BBC iPlayer then, after seeing the 3D version in the theater, I watched the download once every day until it expired. So I’ve seen it eight times. It’s gone now, and I can’t watch it again until I get the blu-ray next week. It’s ok, though. The rabidness has worn off.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think about it, though (as demonstrated by my previous post about timelines). I go through the story in my head a lot, not only because I like it, but because there’s so much in it to think about and understand. And I find it’s somewhat like a Sandman book. You can read a Sandman book thirty times and find something new in it each time. “The Day of the Doctor” is not nearly as deep as The Sandman, but I do still find new things.
I’m not sure if today’s new thing is actually deep, or it’s just dumb old me not noticing something painfully obvious to everyone else. Near the end of the episode, when the Doctors decide to change their personal timeline, the War Doctor says,
She didn’t just show me any old future. She showed me exactly the future I needed to see.
When I first viewed the episode, I have to admit I wasn’t really sure what he was referring to. Granted, I was in a movie theater surrounded by three hundred fans during the climax of the episode we had all waited for months for – critical analysis was the furthest thing from my mind. After the next viewing, I thought he was referring to seeing the two future Doctors and realizing that they were great men for doing what they had to do and continuing to strive towards saving the universe. But that wasn’t it either. This future only solidified his determination to fire the Moment.
I won’t go through the rest of the process of revelation. Eventually (yesterday, actually), I realized that the everything in the show was the future that he needed to see. He needed to see all of the following things in order for them to come up with the ultimate solution to the problem.
- The future Doctors regret firing the Moment, and while they still agreed it was the right thing to do at the time, they would do anything to prevent it happening again. Thus, they found a different solution to the same dilemma facing Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, and perhaps it’s possible they could find a different solution to the Last Great Time War.
- The Moment is the only thing that can allow the Doctor to enter and leave the time lock.
- The Zygons froze themselves using the stasis cubes. Can you do that to a planet?
- Same software, different face: Like the different screwdrivers, all of the Doctors are the same man, different face. The War Doctor is the Doctor.
- Same software, different face, part 2: The Doctor is the only person who can get in and out of the time lock, and has thirteen incarnations over which to do the calculations.
Perhaps the Doctor would be clever enough to come up with the solution on his own, but given the time constraint he had, the loss of any one of these ideas could have prevented the solution. Certainly, if you subscribe to the timeline theory I posted yesterday, you could say that the Moment tried to do this during the show’s main timeline but failed because War Doctor did see some or all of this. It took her “second try” to show him the future he needed to see and create the new timeline in which Gallifrey stood.
I find that I like writing that ties things into each other this well – everything in the plot leads the characters where they need to go – while sounding like a simple story on the surface, and I applaud Mr. Moffat for this episode. Thanks for bending my brain in weird directions!