Why Bringing Back Gallifrey is Wrong
Guest contributor Ivy McNab is against restoring the Doctor’s home planet.
While I do not dislike The Day of the Doctor, I dislike the decision to bring back Gallifrey. Being a Nu-Who viewer, I can only know so much about how Gallifrey was before the Time War. However, what I have heard is that the Time Lords could be more villainous than friendly. Pair that with the flimsy plot of bringing Gallifrey back (The War Doctor and Ten just forget what happened, seriously?), and I think it was unnecessary.
The Plot Up To Day
What made Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor so brilliant was that he was damaged by the Time War and, to a certain extent, unforgiving and cold. This hatred, in particular towards the Daleks, was what made the episode ‘Dalek’ a favourite amongst the fandom. This hatred was caused by the Time War and his decision to kill all his people.
David Tennant, while more calm and funny, had a dark, war-ravaged part of him still and this helped to shape him. When faced with his people in The End of Time, he takes a disliking to them. True, this is because they are in the Time War and if they were to get out then they would bring the Time War to Earth and cause mass destruction. However, it is clear that the idea of the Time Lords returning is not a good one for Ten.
Matt Smith was not terribly affected by the Time War and appeared to have made peace with himself surrounding his decision. He has rebuilt himself, so to speak, and is the same Doctor as before the Time War (although vastly different to 7 and 8). He is concerned with solving mysteries, first the crack in time and then Clara, which, coincidentally, both lead him to the Time Lords. He is, ironically, the most involved with the Time Lords, although is the least aware of it. Name is an excellent set up for their return, and the inclusion of John Hurt was a master-stroke.
The Day of the Doctor
I loved John Hurt in Day and thought he acted wonderfully, as did Matt Smith and David Tennant. The decision to bring back Gallifrey is one that seemed to fit in with the character of the War Doctor.
However, would Ten, knowing that he had made the universe a safer place by destroying Gallifrey, want the Time Lords to return? I question whether that is in his character. He – or rather, the War Doctor – destroyed Gallifrey for a reason, albeit to end the Time War. For that all to be undone? I don’t think Ten would support that. For all his hurting and hatred to have been for nothing? I don’t know if he would like that. I certainly don’t.
With Eleven, it could go either way. He hadn’t spoken about the Time Lords much, but I think if it was a best-case scenario, and the Daleks could just evaporate, then he would jump at the chance to do bring back Gallifrey. It’s a much more complicated situation, though, and one which was excellently addressed in The Time of the Doctor. I personally think that Eleven would’ve destroyed Gallifrey, though, if not for Clara.
Clara is one of those people that tries to make you a better person. Usually, she succeeds. Eleven has grown more sympathetic and human with Clara by his side, and many villains have been defeated with her wise words. This time, she also succeeds and does what she thinks is right to stop Eleven making a decision he could regret. However, the Doctor has been around for far longer than Clara and in theory knows what is moral and what is immoral. Clara, by telling the Doctor that he is better than that and can save the Time Lords, convinces him that his own judgement is wrong and she, an inexperienced human, is right and knows in that exact situation what is moral. It should be a decision for the Doctor to make, not Clara. It is the Doctor’s race, not Clara’s. Sometimes the right decision is not always the one that saves lives and the one that saves the people you love, but the one that restores peace and possibly saves the universe. The reasons he destroyed Gallifrey in the first place still stand. Even though Gallifrey is in a pocket universe, let out it could destroy everything.
Possible Future For Gallifrey
Gallifrey has already been used as a plot device, to give Eleven a new set of regenerations and to end the crack in time/silence arc. I feel, though, that as filming of Series 8 has not, so far, suggested a return of Gallifrey, it was used solely as a flimsy way of escaping the ’13 regenerations’ problem. I realise that Gallifrey would be an interesting addition to stories here and there in the future but I don’t think it will. It’s supposed to be this big game-changer but I believe it won’t be. Either Gallifrey will feature heavily in Series 8 or not at all. I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of Gallifrey once in a while but knowing Steven Moffat, Gallifrey will be overused.
For me, bringing back Gallifrey is not “in the name of the Doctor”. I think what happened in the Time War was just and was a great plot device in the Eccleston era. Bringing it back tarnishes that and watching past episodes won’t feel as real and as compelling now. While I thought the way they addressed it in Day was brilliant, and I don’t want to take away from Day as a very fitting anniversary episode, I just think that to bring back Gallifrey was a little too out of character, and I can’t see what benefits it brings for the future. I appreciate that my view could be considered unpopular but I wonder if others feel the same? Let me know in the comments.