April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Giggle”

The Doctor faces off against an old foe, the Toymaker.

Here we go.  The episode that would end the Fourteenth Doctor’s run, bring in the Fifteenth, and bring the return of a First Doctor foe, the Toymaker (sometimes called “the Celestial Toymaker”) as played by Watson’s favorite celebrity Neil Patrick Harris.  How would everything go down to bring about yet another new Doctor?

OK, so…this was something that happened.  I’m still mulling over it as I type this up.  The Toymaker was a reality-altering superbeing who loved to play games from his sub-dimension who matched wits with the First Doctor, a bad guy played by actor Michael Gough, the actor who played Alfred in four Batman movies opposite three different Batmans.  Batmen?  Eh, never mind.  I haven’t seen that serial because it’s one of the lost ones.

Regardless, the Toymaker set a trap for the human race to bring out the worst in them as screened through the world’s televisions the minute the entire planet got the Internet.  That does give the Doctor a chance to lecture about all the bad things people are, but arrogance has always been a Doctor trait.  But there’s some time travel, seeing a villain even the Doctor fears while Donna goes through the weird and the evil that she saw, and the Toymaker, well, he has a long list of what happened to female companions Amy, Clara, and Bill, and while the Doctor can add some context to each other their deaths, the Toymaker seems…unimpressed.

So, can the Doctor and Donna, along with UNIT (including a weird alien who is immune to the planet’s insanity, Seventh Doctor companion Mel Bush, and Kate Stewart) stop the Toymaker?

I mean, this is a guy who recites all the things he’s beaten, and that includes the Master, trapped in the Toymaker’s gold tooth (at least until the special ends when some woman’s hand swipes the tooth), and that’s despite the fact that the Toymaker says something about a being even he won’t mess with.  Yes, the guy who said he beat God at a game says there’s someone he fears that hasn’t arrived yet.

But then comes the regeneration.  Everyone knew it was coming.  The Fifteenth Doctor, played by actor Ncuti Gatwa, had to show up eventually.  What’s his deal?


Yeah, the Doctor is hit with an energy weapon that, rather than force a regeneration, instead splits him into two Doctors, with the respective clothes being split between Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor and Gatwa’s Fifteenth.  One got pants and the other got shoes, and so forth.  And they do, working together, manage to defeat the Toymaker while revealing why the Doctor got a previous face back, something only Donna would recognize:  he needs a break.  And since he’s a previous incarnation, he can get that rest and make the Fifteenth Doctor more relaxed as a result.  The defeat of the Toymaker even allows Fifteen to make a copy of the TARDIS for Fourteen so he can, well, relax with Donna’s family for however long it takes for him to finally become, well, not a frazzled guy running from crisis to crisis.  Fifteen can do the universe-saving, all while having the benefit of Fourteen’s long vacation.

It also means David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s respective characters can be summoned for help at theoretically any time.  Oh sure, I wouldn’t expect them to be pulled out that often, probably just for big things or special events–Tennant I know is a busy actor and I suspect Tate is as well–but this regeneration is, well, different.  Like they didn’t have the heart to kill off Tennant’s Doctor a second time (if regeneration is the same as death and that’s debatable), but this may be the most unique form of a multi-Doctor team-up here, and Tennant’s age (he’s obviously older than he was as the Tenth Doctor) even helps a little by making him look like a frazzled guy who needs a break.

As for the Fifteenth Doctor, I didn’t really get enough of a taste to get a feel for the guy.  About all I know is he’s the first male actor of color to play the Doctor, and the character’s got a playful side like, well, a lot of Doctors.  I suspect I’ll find out more when he gets his first full episode, one where he’ll get a companion of his own, in the upcoming Christmas special.

Yup, a Christmas special.  Why not?  That was also Tennant’s first full episode.