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Doctor Who: Twice Upon A Time

It's been almost six months, but the 12th Doctor is finally back for one last adventure, as he tries to fight off another regeneration.  The TARDIS has brought him to the South Pole, where he runs into the 1st Doctor, who is also resisting his own change.  The two of them must postpone their decisions, because someone is interacting with the nearly-dead and periodically freezing time along the way.  Is this a proper send-off for Peter Capaldi?  Let's discuss!

Peter Capaldi December 26 2017

One last adventure.  (pic via

Observations (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)

  • We're starting on a positive note, because Twice Upon a Time was written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay.  This is our favorite writer-director pairing of the Moffatt era, and it's fitting that they should team up for the final story.


  • Love the retro "previously on Doctor Who" intro that uses actual footage from The Tenth Planet (William Hartnell's final story) and shifts seamlessly to David Bradley and the modern program.


  • Thanks for stopping by, Ben and Polly.  That was quick, but anything longer would have been a distraction.


  • Why are #12 and #1 allowed to meet, anyway?  Is this the universe's way of saying we all need the Doctor to get his head right?


  • "We have a choice, either we change and go on, or we die as we are."  That's the story of the Doctor, the story of the show, and the story of life for all of us.  Change can be scary, but we all need to face it.


  • Was never a Mark Gatiss fan, and the preference here would have been for someone else to play the Captain, but we'll let it slide now due to our guess about his identity.


  • The Twelfth Doctor had a terrific opening credits sequence.  Sorry to see that go, but again, see the aforementioned change comment.


  • Is "Ypres 1914" the same field (by which we mean the same set) where #12 fell in the season finale?


  • "Always remember where you parked.  It's going to come up a lot," was funny.


  • Some will be angry about #1's sexism, but it's a reminder of how far the Doctor has progressed in 54 years.  He would not be as beloved today if he had not changed with the times, something which will certainly continue moving forward.


  • Wasn't a Bill Potts fan (the character never seemed to fully connect with the Doctor and was hurt by only getting one season), but her reunion with the Doctor/his subsequent disbelief that she was real, was moving.


  • "The Captain's death must proceed, as history demands."  The Captain should just run away with Clara Oswald and Me instead.


  • I am the Doctor never fails to elicit a visceral reaction.  It's goosebumps and a quicker heartbeat, right from the first note.


  • 1's reactions to #12 are similar to the War Doctor's first impressions of #10 and 11 in The Day of the Doctor.  He must think he loses his marbles as he gets older, but again, it's about embracing the change.


  • "You're looking right at me, and you don't even know I'm here," is a nice callback to Deep Breath when #12 said the same thing to Clara, who was still missing #11.


  • Yeah, we're fine with pretending that #1 never threatened to spank Bill.  There's change, and then there are just some lines that should never be crossed.  Let's never speak of that again...


  • Rusty!  Did not see that coming.  Is Rusty housed in the building (i.e. again, the same set) from "Heaven Sent?"


  • "Naked Dalek?"  Dangerously close to the Doctor threatening to spank Bill, which we're really never going to mention again


  • Loved the answer about the Doctor's reason for leaving Gallifrey.  His rationale, and the answer to his query, were both perfect.  Has any showrunner added more to Doctor Who canon than Moffat?


  • "I don't really know what to do when it isn't an evil plan," was a great reading by Peter Capaldi.  #12 will certainly be missed.  Change is exciting, but one more season with this guy would have been perfect.  He's come so far from Season 8, but it's not meant to be.


  • Wait, Testimony basically means that anyone can be brought back from the dead now.  All sorts of doors just flew open for the show.


  • "What is anyone supposed to be, except a bunch of memories."  It's true for everyone, but particularly the Doctor, given that he periodically undergoes a complete rewriting at the cellular level, except for his memories.


  • Yes!  We were right about the Captain's identity.  Another lovely little touch by Moffat.


  • Love that we're going back to the retro feel for #1's regeneration.


  • "Letting go of the Doctor is so hard," feels like Moffat speaking for himself, Capaldi, the companions, and #12's fans all in one line.


  • Lovely to see Nardole one last time.  Matt Lucas made the most of this character.  It's a shame he also couldn't have stayed around longer.


  • It's terrific that the Doctor's memory of Clara was restored (as it had to be before we close things out here), but that sequence felt choppy.  Did Jenna Coleman film her lines from some remote location at the last minute or something?


  • You can feel the weariness coming from #12's soul when he asks, "Can't I ever have peace?  Can't I rest?"  He indeed seems a man who has dealt with 2000 years of loss.  Maybe this is why Time Lords didn't usually leave Gallifrey, they could just hang out with their friends for thousands of years.  By the way, if no one ever left, wouldn't Gallifrey have some serious population control issues by now?  Let's move on...


  • Of course we couldn't close things out without one last Peter Capaldi speech.  The bit about only children understanding his name was lovely.


  • We started with eyebrows, and we end with eyebrows. 



  • Granted, this only happens once every few hundred years, so maybe the Doctor forgets, but given how much energy is released during a regeneration, but if he's got time to give himself a final pep talk, shouldn't he find a place to park the TARDIS before the transformation happens? 


  • Can't wait to see how that final shot is resolved.


  • Twice Upon a Time is a terrific story filled with warmth, humor, sadness, and optimism.  It's a fitting end for Peter Capaldi, and Steven Moffat closes out his seven year run as boss on a strong note.  Best of luck to both men, as they move on to their next adventures.  Now it's time for a new era to begin, as Chris Chibnall takes over the reins, and Jodie Whittaker assumes the role of the Thirteenth Doctor.   We've got no idea where the show goes next, but we can't wait for the new adventures to begin!

Final Grade: A

On a personal note, it was a blast to write the Doctor Who recaps this year.  Thank you to everyone who read and commented on them.  We hope you'll join us again in 2018!


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