“Twice Upon a Time”, a Doctor Who special episode written by Steven Moffat was the thirteenth Christmas special from the television series and was aired on 25th December 2017. Perhaps the team at Doctor Who decided to take it easy and that no one would notice because of the Christmas cheer, but the episode was bland and lacking in creativity. It was short of an adventure like other Doctor Who episodes, but giving credit where it’s due, it has a deeper and more subliminal meaning to it.
Final episode for characters
This Christmas special is the last appearance of the Twelfth Doctor played by Peter Capaldi. It doesn’t seem coincidental that the episodes “World Enough and Time” and “The Doctor Falls” teased the conclusion of the doctor’s life which ends in “Twice Upon a Time”. The doctor regenerates as Jodie Whittaker, which is the very first female incarnation of the Doctor in the history of the series. It is also the final episode of the Steven Moffat era and the final Doctor Who episode. The main story revolves around the Doctor nearing regeneration and accidentally meeting his younger self who refuses to change. It takes much convincing to assure the Doctors that the universe still needs them.
Lessons from “Twice Upon a Time”
There is a glaring lesson that Steven Moffat riveted into this episode as a kind of sendoff for his great writing career in Doctor Who. The lesson is that the younger a person is, the more seriously they take themselves. But as people get older, everything becomes idyllic and a charade, however good or bad the circumstance is.
This is evidenced by the Doctor’s regeneration and is played out many more times than in any other episode involving multiple Doctors. A few characters made their return to the series such as Pearl Mackie who was featured for only one season. Jenna Coleman also returns as Clara, and the Doctor gets back his memories of her as a final gift. Although Clara’s character was only briefly seen, it is nice to have her back and for the Doctor to get a proper send-off.
Villains lacking in the Christmas special
It is unusual for a Doctor Who episode to lack a “baddie” or a villain character. In this episode, Rusty who appeared in 2014’s Into the Dalek, turned his back on his kind and allies himself with the “good” side in an unusual alliance. The Doctor is paradoxically the villain in this episode since his refusal and resistance to survive brings unwanted consequences to everyone else. Although the universe constantly needs to be saved, which ultimately drains his energy and zeal, the Doctor is the only one who can prevent such a fatal mistake. Steven Moffat factored this in by making it a multi-Doctor story so that the Doctor is able to meet himself and reconsider his options.
Final plot twists
Moffat had a Christmas surprise for the fans and removed the sequence that introduces Jodie Whitaker from all the previews. Apart from the production team and the actors, nobody else knew about it until Christmas Day. Capaldi’s final appearance also draws the audience emotionally since fans will miss him dearly. In a final plot twist, The Captain, played by Gatiss, is exposed as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s relation.