Doctor Who #917: The Last Day

"Welcome to Arcadia, the safest place on Gallifrey."
TECHNICAL SPECS: This mini-episode can be found on The Day of the Doctor DVD. First webcast Nov.21 2013.

IN THIS ONE... The Daleks attack Arcadia.

REVIEW: In this scene from the Time War, Time Lord soldiers speak directly to camera, or really, to a rookie's head-cam, the rookie who first spots a Dalek in the sky. We're at the Fall of Arcadia, referenced in older episodes. It basically plays and looks like a cut-scene from a video game, and I don't mean that as a compliment. We're given exposition that reminded me of the beginning of Halo, our POV graphics are video gamey, and the Dalek invasion's CG isn't as sharp as what we're used to. I'm surprised we weren't immediately sold a video game with this stuff in it.

Worse, I think, is that The Last Day has no real impact on what's to come. We'll see the Doctor at Arcadia in The Day of the Doctor, sure, but the mysteries laid into these few minutes aren't resolved. The hard drive placed in soldiers' brains makes them see hallucinations that feel like premonitions, and why shouldn't time warriors see the future or alternate presents? But that's just a throwaway freak-out moment in the end. Or what about the words that makes the head-cam cut out so that families and friends who get your memories get the sensitive bits redacted out? The Doctor's name perhaps? If so, it's just Moffat being cheeky, because there's no reason the Time Lords would consider this a secret, is there? So when the episode isn't irrelevant, it's frustrating.

- Apart from the moment of recognition when the word "Arcadia" is mentioned, there's nothing here worth watching. In fact, if it hadn't been released the way it was, as part of the roll-out leading up to the Anniversary, I would probably have just considered it a "prequel" scene and thrown it into the Additional Material section of Day.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

Well said. Poor CG, no impact or need for it. Plus all the complaints (which I voiced on Night of the Doctor) about this portrayal of 'the fall of Arcadia' being so much less imaginitive and epic and haunting than the performance Tennant gave them. He was not describing 'the day they landed on Gallifrey when we thought we were safe, and someday I may even come to terms with that.' He was describing something epic, something painful, filled with loss of innocent life- something that, even after destroying Gallifrey, still haunted him on a near equal level. A true attrocity, a total failure with disastrous consequence.

Whatever he was performing, whatever those lines pertained to, it wasn't THIS.


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