TV Reviews

Doctor Who (2005) Season 10 Episode 13: Twice Upon a Time Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: The Twelfth Doctor, still refusing to change, goes on a last adventure with the First Doctor. (IMDB)

Writer: Rachel Talalay

Director: Steven Moffat

Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: 60mins

Some places have this as the start of Season 11 but until Peter Capaldi is no longer the Doctor than this will be part of my Season 10 reviews.

The last episode ended with the current Doctor meeting the first Doctor but how did he get here? The first Doctor and his companions were at the South Pole (but they seemed to disappear for whatever reason). He was on the verge of regenerating for the first time so he didn’t quite understand what was happening. Ironically, the current Doctor was there as well and he was fighting his regeneration.

Their first meeting was fun to watch as the first Doctor saw how things have changed but this took a break when a WWI Captain (Mark Gatiss) appeared. The presence of both Doctors pulled the Captain out of his timeline and brought him to them. Of course they needed another human character to be impressed by the Tardis. The first Doctor was not impressed with the new Tardis and how unkempt it was.

The fact that the first Doctor was exactly who he was back then thus not knowing anything that was going on now added an interesting perspective to the episode. This was most evident when they were reunited with Bill (they were both from different times so they did not understand each other). The Tardis was pulled in by an alien ship of glass-looking people called Testimony who wanted the Captain in exchange for Bill. The Doctor was definitely happy to see Bill but he couldn’t help but be skeptical of if it really was her despite Bill’s claims otherwise.

Testimony harvest something from people before their exact moment of death. They needed to return the Captain to his moment of death. Hearing all of this, the Captain offered himself but Bill was unwilling to allow the exchange. Wanting to save everyone, the Doctor orchestrated their escape but the ship kept his Tardis, forcing them to enter the first Doctor’s Tardis.

In order to understand who or what they were facing, they needed more information that the new old Tardis was unable to provide so they were forced to travel to the center of the universe where something coincidentally wants to kill him. The Doctors then took time to chat about each other’s regenerations. Meanwhile, the Captain confided in Bill with his feelings about his upcoming death. He thought he was ready to die but now he wasn’t.

The database the Doctor was looking for was actually the Dalek he saved a long time ago. The Doctor convinced it to help and with the information he found, he learned that Testimony were not bad at all. They were simply making avatars out of the memories of dead people to give them voices. While that was happening, Bill asked the first Doctor some questions about himself before it was revealed that she was Testimony.

Bill revealed herself to the Doctor, claiming that she was real as she was made up of Bill’s memories (but did she die?). The Doctors then took the Captain back to his time, in the position where he was about to die. Fortunately for him, when time was unfrozen, everyone lived because of a Christmas time armistice that the Doctor triggered by changing the time frame.

After this, the first Doctor was ready to regenerate (and we all know how that turned out). More Testimony as the Doctor’s memories of Bill, Nardole, and Clara appeared to convince him to not die and regenerate. Then, the Doctor entered the Tardis for the last time, saying goodbye to the Tardis and giving advice to his future self before finally regenerating into a female (Jodie Whittaker).

When she attempted to activate the Tardis, causing it to go haywire and forcing her out of it before exploding.

Overall, this was a good episode and a fitting end to Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the Doctor by letting him go out on his own terms. He and the first Doctor were fun to watch together but the story connecting the beginning and the end was not the strongest. The episode would definitely not have worked without the great performances from Capaldi and David Bradley as the first Doctor. The episode ended with a cliffhanger so it will be interesting to see what will happen with the new Doctor once she comes back some time next year.

Score: 8/10

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