Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Suzanne says… that was quite unexpected

If you haven’t watched the Christmas special already, then you might want to skip reading this article and save it for later, when you have watched Twice Upon a Time. Yes, there are spoilers ahead!

It’s over. While some people spend December eating the daily chocolate they find in their Advent Calendar, Whovians spend it expecting 25th December, enjoying any teasing treat they can get. Or not.

In my case, I chose to stop reading every interview that was published about Twice Upon a Time and I decided to enjoy the episode as spoilers free as I could manage. And trust me when I say that it was a rather difficult job. Temptation was everywhere and once in a while I would indulge myself in looking at one or two pictures taken on the set… So I consider that I watched the Christmas episode with a fairly candid eye, knowing as little as possible about what was going to happen.

Since reviews are popping everywhere, I’m not going to write another one about the episode but I’m going to focus on the very last minutes of Twice Upon a Time instead…

Some of you might remember that I wasn’t too excited about seeing the Doctor regenerate into a woman. In fact I wasn’t looking forward to it so I didn’t set my hopes too high when I watched the episode. The Twelfth Doctor’s final speech brought tears in my eyes and when he finally regenerated, I held my breath for what was coming next. I was quite surprised when I realised that it could actually work, that I could enjoy the Thirteen Doctor. Jodie’s first seconds as the new Doctor were so convincing that I revised my opinion on the spot.

And then, everything went suddenly wrong. Sure the cloister bell is a strong warning of danger and one could expect something to happen. I just didn’t expect the Doctor being thrown out of her own TARDIS right after her regeneration. It really felt as if the TARDIS was expelling the Doctor because he turned into a she, and I first suspected Moffat to express a dislike for the idea of a female doctor. But then I learned that Moffat had nothing to do with that scene (remember when I said that I refrain from reading any news about the episode; my ignorance showed at that moment) and that it was Chibnall’s idea all along. This got me even more confused. Why would the man who brought the first female Doctor on screen write such a scene? Viewers like me who enjoy interpreting and looking for multiple meanings in TV shows and movies probably wonder that too. Surely he had to realise that having the TARDIS spit the Doctor out, especially in the way it was filmed, might suggest something negative about the new Doctor...
Sure, this explains why the 13th Doctor will get a new TARDIS (since the current one’s interior is on fire, something actually not uncommon, hello Eleven!) and we might even get a round of the Doctor being stranded on Earth (hello, Three!). Still, I can’t shake a feeling of disappointment when I think about Thirteenth’s debuts, even more since I remembered why the scene seemed so familiar to me. In Death in Heaven, the Twelfth Doctor falls out a plane and there are some similarities with Jodie’s scene (both episodes being directed by Rachel Talalay, this might explain the similarities in the way in the filming). Only in Death in Heaven, the Doctor is saved by the TARDIS. Now that it’s the way round with 13, I can’t help but wondering like Missy did if the Doctor is just going to “squish”…
I simply hope that what I consider a disappointing and clumsy entrance for a historical character is going to turn into great stories!