The Twelfth Doctor’s Regeneration As The First Female Doctor
Oh, Sorry, Spoilers…
The Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston told Rose she was absolutely fantastic right before he regenerated and proclaimed, he was too. When David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor regenerated, he said, “I don’t want to go”. It broke my heart. Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor’s final words were, “I will always remember when the Doctor was me.” That was like a wink to all Matt Smith fans. Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor ends his days as the current Doctor with, “Doctor, I let you go.” Those are truly epic final words.
In the previous episode The Doctor Falls, Twelve was mortally injured by Cybermen while at the same time The Master/Missy commits murder/suicide. The Doctor needs to regenerate or die, making this Christmas special about Twelve’s regeneration.
This is the first time I have ever looked forward to seeing a new Doctor regenerate instead of dreading it. Granted, there has only been three regenerations that I’ve experienced before Capaldi, but in each case I truly didn’t want to see them go. This time around, not so much. I gather I had enough of an angry, self-righteous Doctor and needed something less serious from my favorite science fiction television series about a 1,000 plus year old, two-hearted alien called Time Lords who travels through time and space in a T.A.R.D.I.S. that looks like a police call box that is bigger on the inside than its outside.
I realize I’m being facetious for many Whovians, especially for the ones who love Peter Capaldi the most, but for me, it was about time! I liked Peter Capaldi as the Doctor but the episodes were just too dark, even for me. He just bummed me out all the time. I just wasn’t enjoying the show anymore. Also, I’ve come to realize that the companions play a very big part of whether I continue to like the Doctor or not.
In this special, Twelve is in the South Pole, and teams up with his former self, the First Doctor, played by none other than Walder Frey… Actually, the actor’s name is David Bradley and he looks very much like the very first, classic Doctor Who. The South Pole is where it all started. Where the first Doctor regenerates. Suddenly, time stops with both Doctors refusing to face their regeneration.
A British Captain from WWI appears asking for a “Doctor” and delivers the much needed “are you kidding me” comic relief moment. The other “funny” parts are when the original Doctor spews out politically incorrect, socially inappropriate, and sexist remarks. I assume this is to “prepare” us, the “fragile” audience, for a new “female” Doctor and probably to shed more light on what’s going on in Hollywood today with sexual harassment.
The Doctors and the Captain are transported to a ship of enchanted glass people calling themselves Testimony. They offer the Doctor one last chance to speak to “her” if they turn the human over to them. The “human” referring to the Captain. That’s when Bill Potts appears. Twelve is happy to see her, but doesn’t believe she’s real because he’s such a cynic. He is having none of that. He makes a declaration that this Bill Potts is an impostor or a duplicate because Bill Potts sacrificed herself the the Cybermen to save people she didn’t know.
I thought I had seen the last of those stupid Sonic Sunglasses several episodes ago but I was wrong. Twelve throws them on to make his assessment of Testimony. Luckily, the first Doctor thinks they are ridiculous too. He tells Twelve to take them off. That made me smile. Seeing as he was to die anyway, the Captain, offers to take Bill’s place so she can live, but Bill doesn’t let that happen. She forces the Doctor to serve the pleasure of the human race.
The Doctor decides escape is the plan. As they escape he discloses his every intention to the presumed enemy. In classic villainous expositions Testimony explains when any living thing dies, they take what they need from the dying. After harvesting what they need they return them to their moment of death to… die. The reason why the Captain showed up is because the Doctors’ refusal to accept their regeneration caused some type of time rift or anomaly returning the Captain to a time he didn’t belong.
We learn later that Twelve was correct after all. Bill Potts was a mere memory. The Testimony Organization is from the future and they harvest memories of the drying to preserve them. They called it Heaven on New Earth.
The Doctor still doesn’t believe that the memories of the past are real and Bill Potts’ preserved memories are not really her. To prove it, Testimony projects to him Clara and Nardole. It turns out Testimony wasn’t harboring an evil plan and the Doctor doesn’t know what to do with it. Clara says her goodbyes and the Doctor realizes his memories of her are what’s important and is what keeps her alive… proving Testimony’s point.
Now to more serious matter. We reflect on why the Doctors are so reluctant to regenerate and would even consider dying. The first Doctor explains for him, it’s fear. Twelve, being so angry, says he’s just too tired to go on and why doesn’t he have a choice. Testimony tells him that he has a choice. He just has to choose. His last words, “Doctor, I let you go.”
Alas, Thirteen! We finally get her, the new Doctor and the first thing that comes out of her mouth is “Oh, Brilliant!”
I am so looking forward to this upcoming season with the NEW DOCTOR WHO.