March 21, 2013

Doctor Who: The Five Doctors

I wrote about the tenth anniversary, multiple-Doctor episode "The Three Doctors," so I might as well discuss the twentieth anniversary, multiple-Doctor episode "The Five Doctors."  "The Five Doctors" is like a gift to Whovians from the producers of the show.  It's the ultimate fan episode.  It's filled with Gallifrey and old companions and classic villains and Time Lords and each of the five Doctors who had been part of Doctor Who to that point.  This might be my favorite episode of all time.  That being said, if one doesn't know anything about Doctor Who, this probably isn't the episode with which to start.

Hey, that's not William Hartnell!
The above photo features, from left to right: the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), the second Doctor (Patrick Troughton), the fifth Doctor (Peter Davison), and the first Doctor (Richard Hurndall).  WAIT.  Every Whovian knows that William Hartnell played the first Doctor.  Sadly, Hartnell passed away long before "The Five Doctors" was made.  Hurndall is no Hartnell, but he does an adequate job filling in for him here.  One other issue needs to be addressed.  There are only four Doctors in the photo.  "The Five Doctors" is mostly the four Doctors shown above.  Tom Baker, the actor who played the fourth Doctor, didn't want to be in the special.  They ended up using footage from a different episode that had been shot but never aired to show that he was stuck in a time vortex and couldn't join his other selves.

Someone is taking the different regenerations of the Doctor out of their timestreams and dropping them in the Death Zone on Gallifrey.  They are giving him friends and companions to help him and providing enemies to make things interesting.  The Master shows up, too.  Each Doctor decides that the answer to why they have been brought there lies in the Dark Tower.  The Dark Tower holds the tomb of Rassilon.  Yes, nuWhovians, in classic Who, Rassilon has been dead for a long time.  Ancient Time Lords misused their powers and kidnapped other beings to fight each other in the Death Zone.  Rassilon put an end to that.  In classic Who, Rassilon is known as the most powerful Time Lord in their history.  The second Doctor sings a little song for the Brigadier as they make their way to the tower.  "Who unto Rassilon's tower will go, must choose above, between, below!"  I guess it is entertaining to me, but not to the Brigadier.  The Brig asks the Doctor if he is in pain after the Doctor starts singing.

I've mentioned before that some of my favorite episodes are those with Gallifrey and the Time Lords.  I like the new series, but I think my biggest problem with the reboot is that Gallifrey and the Time Lords have been eliminated.  Their episodes in classic Who are always such fun.  I downright love this episode.  I've seen it more times than any other.  I won't say any more about the plot, other than that it hinges on this: "To lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose."  Oh, Rassilon.  You were one smart cookie.

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