I did it! As of about 7:30 am this morning I completed watching every single episode of Doctor Who that has ever been broadcast (including reconstructions of the 97 currently-lost episodes), all while walking on a treadmill. During the past eighteen months I have taken 3,630,973 steps walking 1,897.84 miles, and watching 275 stories and 843 individual episodes. I have reached the end of Phase One of the Time Treadmill.
So let's talk about the final (for now) episode.
Twice Upon a Time
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
The 2017 Christmas episode features he final adventure of the Twelfth Doctor, leading up to his regeneration into the Thirteenth. Along the way he meets the First Doctor, who is also on the verge of regeneration. For most of the story it is not very Christmassy at all aside from some snow, but then it sticks the landing on the resolution with one of the most powerful (and true) Christmas stories ever told.
The story opens beautifully a fantastic "Previously on..." sequence that you just have to see to appreciate:
After the previous story with the original Mondasian Cybermen, it is fantastic to see the original originals again even briefly. David Bradley is an excellent stand-in for William Hartnell, although I thought the brief appearances of Ben and Polly were not quite as solid. In any case, I love this opening a lot. It is a real love letter to the distant past of the classic series.
The rest of the story has a British soldier from the First World War swept up into the collision between the First and Twelfth Doctor's timelines, and a mysterious alien force trying to do... something? The crystal aliens offer to return Bill Potts to the Twelfth Doctor if he will simply return the soldier to the proper place to die. From there it's a whole lot of "is this the real Bill Potts?" and "What is the evil plan of these crystal aliens?"
But mostly it is One and Twelve contemplating their place in the universe, and trying to decide whether or not to regenerate.
In the end there turns out to be no evil plan at all, simply a database of every living sentient human in history. It is a surprising twist, well done.
Also in the end, the soldier turns out to be Captain Lethbridge-Stewart, presumably the Brigadier's grandfather. When the soldier is returned to the battlefield to die, the Doctor fudges the time just enough so that he winds up in the middle if the Christmas Armistice, when the Germans and the English laid down their weapons for a day and made peace in the no-man's land between the trenches. It is a lovely, lovely moment and a perfect choice of setting for this particular story.
And then, of course, the First Doctor goes on his way to carry on with his first regeneration, and the Twelfth Doctor goes on his way to become Thirteen. And yes, it is brilliant. I am 100% on Team Jodie Whittaker, I think she is going to be a fantastic Doctor and that Chris Chibnall is going to do amazing things with the show.
I guess we will find out in about two more months.
So that's it, Phase one complete. Tomorrow I will write a bit more about the entire experience and my plans going forward, but for tonight this is it. I don't know exactly what tomorrow will bring, but I know it definitely won't include an hour on the treadmill. I am staying off that damn thing for at least a week.
Doctor(s): First, Twelfth
Companion(s): Bill Potts, Nardole, Ben, Polly
Episode(s): Twice Upon a Time
Steps Walked: 8,327 today, 3,630,973 total
Distance Walked: 4.06 miles today, 1,897.84 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 6,747 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 1,029 total
Weight: 247.48 lbs (five day moving average), net change -59.82 lbs