Why the Doctor Saved Gallifrey

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Guest contributor Justin Cook addresses the common complaints over the return of Gallifrey.


In the aftermath of the shocking events of The Day of the Doctor, many fans have called into question Steven Moffat’s decision to resurrect Gallifrey. I, for one, thought the move was absolutely brilliant. I’d like to address a few of the most common complaints I’ve heard and read regarding the move and give a fresh viewpoint on things.

“It undoes the flaws of the Doctor and makes him too perfect of a person!”

day-of-the-doctor-tv-trailer-(26)-claraThis is probably the most common complaint I’ve seen. To the people who say it, I ask you to watch the scene where the three Doctors are about to activate the Moment and remove Clara from it. Without her objection, the Doctors push the button and wipe out Gallifrey. They are completely ready to do the deed until she raises her voice. Sure, they may be the ones to come up with the plan to save Gallifrey, but in the end, they would have destroyed it if not for Clara. This actually makes the scene even more beautiful, as it is representative of the positive effect his companions have had on him. The Doctor is still a very dark man, there’s no doubt, but with companions by his side, he shows his goodness.

“It undoes seven seasons of character development!”

Doctor Who Revisited: Christopher EcclestonI’m going to refer to my last answer a bit for this one. Remember that the Doctor would have activated the Moment. I see the past seven seasons of anger, regret, and trying to forget as his penance for being willing to do such a thing. His character development is by no means discredited because he saved Gallifrey in the end. All of the feelings he experienced were real. But all penances end, and the Doctor at his core is a good man. His centuries-long punishment is over, and now he can be reunited with his home.

“Speaking of his home: The Time Lords are corrupt and evil! Why would he save them?”

planet-gallifreyThe Doctor has never been received particularly well in Gallifrey. In The War Games, the Time Lords force him to regenerate for breaking their rules of non-interference. The Deadly Assassin sees him arrested on suspicion of assassinating the President of the Time Lords. The Time Lords themselves are presented as boorish, haughty types, personality traits compounded in the new series by The End of Time. But notice how these negative interactions all take place with Time Lords who are high-ranking. Who’s to say what the other Time Lords are like? And don’t forget the children, who could end up good or evil. What right does the Doctor have to punish them for the actions of their elders? And in the end, Gallifrey is his home. If you knew Earth was going to be destroyed and you had a chance to save it despite all of the terrible stuff that happens here, would you? Of course you would! The Doctor is tired of being alone. He’s tired of living in regret. Saving Gallifrey makes all the sense in the world.

“But what will happen with Rassilon and the rest of the High Council? They wanted to end time!”

rassilon-doctor-who-end-of-timeThat’s up to Mr. Moffat to decide. I highly doubt the Doctor will return to Gallifrey to find it a peachy perfect place (alliteration, woot!). There will be problems and stories that arise from those problems. Gallifrey’s return is a Pandora’s Box of new plotlines. Personally, I’m intrigued to see if The Woman Who Is Possibly The Doctor’s Mother makes a return.

So there it is. Why the Doctor chose to save Gallifrey, and why that works with his character. I can’t wait to see its full return and to share in it with you!