And here we come again at a time when one of the most famous characters in the science fiction series dies and regenerates in a different body. Although Doctor Who’s Doctor is a very interesting, comic and intelligent character and although his universe is exciting and mysterious, what gave the series so many seasons was the power of regeneration of the Doctor.
Coming from the planet Gallifrey and being a Time Lord, this power of regeneration at the time of death made it possible for producers to switch actors when they wanted to retire or when they thought the show needed to take a different direction. Although this seems like a simple trick to get rid of the actor (now we see this happen even with Aunt Vivian, Fresh Prince of Bell Air, who changes actress as if nothing had happened), the Sci-Fi aspect made The trick is quite right.
Thus, the event is expected or feared, depending on our attachment to the actor. While such a feature is present since the first season of the series, which begins in 1963, only currently episodes are built based on this power of regeneration. Earlier, the Doctor’s death was more sudden and a little less sentimental. While the audience might be a surprise, the Doctor did not think much about his death because he had the confidence that he would simply go back to another body. In 2008, with producer and writer Steven Moffa and actor David Tennant (known as Doctor Who’s most sentimental doctor), this picture changes and the Doctor for the first time says that even with his immortality, his regeneration is felt as death.
And this revelation is held to this day. And with the Christmas special is no different and brings the farewell of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor who tries to avoid going through the inevitable regeneration. To assist him in accepting his fate, he finds the first version of Doctor (which was itself interpreted by three different actors). As each Doctor has a different style and worldview, even though it is the same person, the episode becomes funny and shows how society has changed over time. For example, the first Doctor, now played by David Bradley, finds the decor of the current Tardis (the Doctor’s Time Machine) exaggerated, criticizes Capaldi’s actions and tools, and treats the friend of the 12th Doctor, Bill Potts, as a child, things that Capaldi desperately tries to forget. The effect, however, is comical.
The episode has its problems. Bill Potts has died and lived so many times that it is difficult to deal with his constant appearance. The fact that we already know that the Doctor will regenerate at the end makes the waiting for the event monotonous. The first Doctor, as funny, does not give us a greater understanding of his personality and does not develop the general plot of Doctor Who. There are, however, emotional and exciting scenes, such as the art of Christmas music winning a war, the difficult philosophical choice between memory and existence, and still the 13th Doctor falling from his Tardis at the end of the episode. Even so, the episode could be more captivating if this was less about the Doctor’s regeneration, and more about how he saves his friends and the universe.
(article translated from the original in portuguese with Google Translate)