Well folks that’s it- the Chibbers era of Doctor Who is over. And despite leaving the show with more loopholes than Moffat has created in his entire writing career, I think he went out with a bang. As I watched the show, I was writing small notes, so here’s my take on The Power of the Doctor.
Nods to the past
Before I start, I should state that I am an absolute sucker for nostalgia. I love anything that links back to classic who or times of my childhood. And seeing as this episode was in honour of the BBC’s 100th birthday, including nods to Who throughout the years was only right. But there were some bits that stood out for me more so than others.
Having Ace and Tegan back was great. I am a big fan of the 5th doctor so Tegan is a character I’m quite familiar with. It was quite clear that Janet Fielding hasn’t acted in a while but the joy of seeing her work with Ace and Kate more than made up for that. And as always, I just love Ace’s jacket. The way Yaz interacted with the two OGs was a direct reference to series two’s School Reunion. I really loved that and found it humorous but a few of my friends felt it was a bit of a rip-off.
That small mention of Adric from the 5th Doctor almost made me want to cry. And I was definitely glad to see Graham back. I was even more pleased to see that Bradley Walsh has finally put his foot down and refused to wear any Hammer’s memorabilia. When I noted this and typed #coyg into my Doctor Who discord chat, I confused a lot of nerds. But that was honestly my biggest pet peeve of the entire Chibbers era.
However, I think my favourite moment throughout the entire episode was ‘Croydon’. You cannot do a Doctor Who reunion episode without Sarah Jane Smith. And with Elisabeth Sladen sadly no longer with us, having Yaz ‘accidentally’ drop everyone off in Croydon was the perfect subtle nod to one the most loved characters in all of Doctor Who. Only true fans will completely get it but it doesn’t mess up the plot or cause confusion if you don’t. I feel like Tegan having an adopted son may also have been a nod to Sarah Jane but I can’t confirm that.
I’ve always been a fan of Sacha Dhawan. I think he is probably my favourite Master. And I love how Chibbers has included nods to classic Masters in his character. It’s always cool to see him use tissue compression.
I won’t deny, knowing that the Master was in this episode, it was clear as soon as I saw Tegan’s mini cyberman that it was a piece of the Master’s work. However, seeing as not everyone had met up yet, I thought maybe the Doctor had sent it as a warning. I also thought the Russian doll part was a bit confusing.
The way that the Master interacted with each of the companions was great. I loved his little dig towards Kate Lethbridge-Stewart as any mention of the Brigadier always brings a smile to my face. And the references back to times he’s met the other two were pretty neat as well.
Now, having past Doctor’s return is always nice and I think doing it as a manifestation of the Doctor’s subconscious was a clever way to do it without ripping up the cannon even more. However, there is one point that needs to be addressed. Where was Tom Baker? The only logical answer is that he was too weak to participate. We know he has no issue with Doctor Who or anyone involved. So as a fan it is concerning. Is he really too sick to put on a robe and sit in front of a green screen for a few minutes?
And now that we know what we do about the next doctor, why not get Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi along too? If offered the right deal, maybe Christopher Eccleston would have even agreed, though it is highly unlikely.
To conclude this ‘past’ section, I’m going to quickly touch on the Master’s ‘Doctor’ outfit. There are evident nods to all of the classic Doctors plus 13’s coat and 10’s tie. But no hint of 9 or 11. The trousers could be 12’s but also just 1 and 2’s. Personally, I find this really annoying, like do it all or none at all. Was it all manifestations of the Doctor so far or just a jumble of some? Did it have a meaning? Either way, I’m irritated because I’ve definitely overthought it already.
What actually happened last night
Essentially, this bit is just a general review of the episode up until the last scene.
The first 20 minutes were an absolute ramble. It felt like Chibbers was trying to fit in every storyline he never got to tell into one episode. I wasn’t sure that it would all come together but somehow it did. Yes, he has left a massive hole for RTD to fill in by not explaining Flux but, all in all, I think this was a pretty good farewell.
I am very annoyed on behalf of John Bishop. Dan was completely and utterly dismissed. He has always been a third wheel, never really had any on-screen time with the Doctor and character-wise, all we got was that he was Liverpudlian, liked football and was in love with a woman who worked at a museum. It’s honestly an absolute shambles and I feel really hard done by as Dan could have been a great companion.
However, I was glad, that even after Dan left, for no reason whatsoever, there wasn’t any sign of romance between the Doctor and Yaz. Personally, I never saw it and felt that Chibbers added it in just to please the fans who did. Their final moments together showed a level of closeness but not one that suggested anything more than just two very close friends saying goodbye.
There’s been a lot of speculation on the next doctor, a topic I’ll go into in more detail in the next section. So 13 regenerating into the Master was definitely a clever plot twist. I wish we’d seen more of Vinder and got to hear the answer to the Doctor’s question about his fam, as he was also a character with great potential. All in all, it was very good.
A sneak-peak of the future
Now to the exciting bit. I’d heard speculations that David Tennant was going to be the 14th Doctor but didn’t expect it to actually happen. I am a massive DT fan. As a teenager, I memorised his website, listened to every radio sitcom and drama he ever acted in and illegally streamed his previous TV shows. But I’m still unsure how I feel about him returning as the Doctor.
I guess I’m just scared it’ll ruin something great. Between 2006 and 2010 when DT was the Doctor, I really relied on the show. It was my one escape from the hell of school and ill health. It is a series of shows that still brings me joy and peace whenever I need it. I don’t want that to be tainted in any way.
I have literally been counting down the days to RTD’s return. I’m so excited to see what comes next. I have no doubt whatsoever that David Tennant will play the role fantastically, whether it is an exact replica of 10 or a new character altogether. I’m also sure that RTD has written some brilliant plotlines. I just don’t quite see how it is going to work. And with Donna Noble, the undeniably best companion of the New Who era, returning too I just don’t want the perfection of series 4 to be ruined. I guess right now I’m still processing it.
Before I move on to my conclusion, I just want to say I really enjoyed DT’s ‘What, what, what?’ line. That was a great nod back to the past and an even better nod to what’s still to come with Donna. But how did his clothes regenerate? That has never happened before and is just annoying.
So, overall how do I rate The Power of the Doctor? Well, I’d probably give it a 7.5 out of 10.
Chibbers loses 2 points for the way he slaughtered Dan’s dignity but regains one for bringing back Graham in the way he did. He then loses half for shipping Graham with Ace. The first 20 minutes, as I said, were a mess but he somehow cleaned it all up very nicely, so no point changes there. The regeneration of clothes along with all the massive plot holes he left behind remove another two. But all the brilliant and not over-the-top nods to the past regain one.
I definitely enjoyed this finale of Jody Whittaker’s time as the Doctor. I’m super excited to see what comes next and just wish I didn’t have to wait 13 months for it.
I normally start my, please follow section with something about reading more like this, but that won’t happen for a while. So, just please subscribe. All you need to do is fill out the form at the bottom of the page (on mobile the form is off-screen to the side, something I plan on fixing soon). It merely means an automated email each time I upload a new post, nothing else. And if you want to respond, do so on the actual post (comments are also at the bottom of the page) rather than where you see it shared. It builds traffic etc. and helps me out.