It's hard to cram 50 years of history, adventure, and characters into the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, "The Day of the Doctor" has come.
Today we saw a number throwbacks to old Doctor Who like Matt Smith's cheeky "nice scarf" to a girl wearing a Tom Baker/Fourth Doctor colorful scarf. There is also an appearance by the daughter of "The Brigadier," the founder of the alien-fighting organization UNIT who showed up in the stories of the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Doctor. Finally, we saw an appearance by an the Fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker.
Here is a recap of the episode, including the surprising and awesome moments from tonights episode.
Here we go:
1. Battle Scenes From the Fall of Acadia & a Timelord War Room
The episode begins with the Doctor being called in to look at a painting in London's National Gallery, a painting called "The Fall of Arcadia" which should not be on Earth. Instantly we are swept into something Doctor Who does not do very often as a show, epic battle scene.
In the past we see the "War Doctor" played by John Hurt, leaving the Daleks a warning. "No More." Shortly after that he breaks into the vaults below a a Timelord war room to steal an epic weapon called the "Moment" and warns both Timelords and Daleks to stop fighting, or have the "Moment" used against them.
2. The "Moment" Epic Weapon's Interface is Rose/Bad Wolf
When the War Doctor returns to the place where he's stored the "Moment" we see…Rose! Apparently she is the interface for the "Moment." She understands that she's Rose Tyler, but quickly corrects herself, she is Bad Wolf now. The War Doctor plans on using her to destroy Gallifrey in order to save the universe from the Time War.
Finally, a time fissure opens up and a fez falls through.
3. Elizabeth I Needs a Favor from Her 'Husband' the Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor
…and now we have all three doctors in the same story. Elizabeth I needs her "husband", the Eleventh Doctor to help. She sends a painting of the 'Fall of Gallifrey' where the War Doctor is currently fighting to the Twelfth Doctor, and something in the museum is causing a "time fissure" that brings all three of these Doctors together.
4. The Banter Between the Three Doctors is Amazing
The Banter between these three is just wonderful. They riff on John Hurt for being old, on David Tennant for being nerdy and having bad shoes, and Matt Smith for being incapable of speaking without "flapping his hands about."
Watching the whole episode is worth it just for the scene when the three Doctors are chatting in the jail cell below the Tower of London.
5. The Zygons Got to the Future Hiding in Time Lord Paintings
The Zygons have returned for the first time since Doctor Who episodes in 1975. They hid in on Earth from the time of Queen Elizabeth I until the present day by hiding in Timelord paintings which are, needless to say, bigger on the inside.
The Zygons are shape shifting and use their skills to get into the secret UNIT vaults to unearth alien technology.
6. The Doctors Almost Help the War Doctor Destroy Gallifrey
Wanting to come to grips with the decision they made in a previous life, the three doctors join together to destroy both Gallifrey and the Daleks. That is when they come up with the best plan of the Doctor's life.
7. They Freeze Gallifrey in a Single Moment of Time
With hundreds of years and 13 lives to think about what they could have done with Gallifrey, the gang decides to freeze the planet in a single moment in hide it away so that Gallifrey could have hope and one day be restored.
8. Peter Capaldi's Face? The 13th Doctor Makes an Appearance
During the mandatory scene where the camera pans over all of the doctors faces, someone says "all twelve of them," only to be quickly corrected, "thirteen!."
The upper half of a face quickly flashes on the screen and, to the observant eye, it appeared to be the upcoming thirteenth Doctor Peter Capaldi. Either that or they were referring to the War Doctor?
9. David Tennant Says 'I Don't Want to Go' Again
One of the saddest moments of the entire show has been when David Tennant had to say goodbye after his prolonged tenure as the Doctor. His final pitiful words, "I don't want to go," got relived tonight.You can watch a clip of that above to refresh your memory.
Just before Tennant steps into the TARDIS, he has to say goodbye to the role he has always loved.
It's a real shame that Rose never got to interact with David Tennant's Doctor. The two of them together make one of the best Doctor/companion relationships in the history of the show. We did however, get one glassy-eyed stare when Tennant realized who the "Bad Wolf Girl" really is.
10. The Fourth Doctor Returns
In the final moments of the episode, just as the Doctor is pontificating on how much he would enjoy being a curator, the actual curator joins him and its…Tom Baker! The Fourth and most famous of the Doctors.
A Note on Matt Smith
This episode really did feel like Matt Smith's penultimate appearance as The Doctor. At the end he talks about retiring and going home. He even joins the rest of the regenerated doctors at the end of the episode. It's quite sad, as it always is when a Doctor moves on, but Smith is a particularly iconic doctor.