Home Reviews Doctor Who Christmas Special – Spoiler Review – Goodbye Capaldi

Doctor Who Christmas Special – Spoiler Review – Goodbye Capaldi

written by Jordan McIntyre December 27, 2017
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The Doctor has regenerated, folks, that is fact now. However, I loved Capaldi’s Doctor (referred to here on out as “The Doctor”) yet I don’t feel the loss. Why? Well, because this wasn’t your average Christmas Special that dawned a new regeneration. This was something new.

As anticlimactic as this year’s Christmas Special and regeneration seemed, it still has a fantastic appeal if you think about the meaning behind it, which I will focus on in this review.

David Bradley - The Doctor


Let’s start with David Bradley’s attendance in this episode as the original Doctor (referred to here on out as “OG Doctor”). This dynamic was just amazing because we get to see a more ignorant version of The Doctor. He’s almost like a child next to Capaldi’s Doctor like he is learning everything for the first time. Loved it.

I absolutely adored that OG Doctor was in this episode because (by the end) it was very well justified. Bradley being in this Christmas Special wasn’t some well-placed hysteria causer for viewers, he was vital to the story and Capaldi’s Doctor choosing to regenerate. As for how he was vital to it, I will let you watch it and perceive that for yourself.

Peter Capaldi - The Doctor


As we already know, The Doctor is having a hard time accepting another regeneration. He marks his current regeneration (Capaldi) as his final days, or that they at least should be. The Doctor wants to rest, he wants it to be over, apparently – so he fights back against his regeneration process, which is pretty much the Time Lord equivalent of not taking your medicine.

What’s this though? The Doctor runs into OG Doctor and… huh? OG Doctor doesn’t want to regenerate either. OG Doctor is scared to regenerate for the first time. This wasn’t originally what had happened in the 1960’s Doctor Who, the Doctor always embraced regeneration back then. Well, if the first of all the Doctors don’t regenerate, then that’s going to cause a lot of shiza among the universe, isn’t it?

If you don’t grasp the “timey-wimey” stuff very well, essentially, if OG Doctor doesn’t regenerate then all the Doctors we have known and loved will not have existed. Good thing OG Doctor hadn’t made a final decision yet, otherwise Capaldi’s Doctor would have just disappeared at the beginning of the Christmas Special and we’d be done.

Mark Gatiss - The Captain


Through the heartwarming story, both the Doctors present (Hah! present. Cause of Christmas, right?) on screen seem to weave their own way to accepting regeneration.

We see the beginning of the generational friendship The Doctor has with the Lethbridge-Stewart family. The OG Doctor promises to “check-in” on Mark Gatiss’ characters (Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart) family when he thinks he is going to be placed back into a place in time where he would die. Turned out the battle Captain Archibald was put back into in order to die (as he was supposed to) was the Christmas truce event that took place in World War I 1914, where the soldiers began to sing carols before coming to a ceasefire for Christmas.

At this point, and after no real “epiphany moment”, OG Doctor speaks openly that he is “ready” to regenerate. He then makes his way off to his TARDIS to go through the classic regeneration scene from the original 1960’s Doctor Who.


Right around now is when things got interesting for me. I got really focused up and moved closer to the screen, only to be somehow disappointed yet enthralled at the same time. I wouldn’t say Capaldi’s regeneration was very emotional, but if you read into what he does a little bit at this part, you may see that the end of an era comes with Capaldi.

Capaldi starts off back in his TARDIS with the notion that he still refuses to regenerate, but come on, we know THAT isn’t going to happen. He has a quick chat with the TARDIS, and with a nonchalant remark of the “meh, couldn’t hurt” variety, the Doctor quickly decides he is going to go through with it after all. However, it’s how he did it that made the end of this Christmas Special and Capaldi’s entire run make so much sense to his character qualities.

Earlier in the episode, an all-powerful yet “good” race of aliens refers to the Doctor as “The Doctor of War.” There wasn’t too much focus on this title affecting the Doctor heavily, but we all know he would prefer not to have titles like that attached to him. I believe this is what triggered the Doctor to go about his final words the way he did.

Capaldi, in the TARDIS, starts talking to the main console as if it is The Doctor. His speech consisted of all the attributes the Doctor should possess. He was stating it like he was recording a lesson for the next one. Capaldi ends the speech with “Doctor, I let you go,” then he begins to regenerate into Jodie Whittaker.

What does this mean? What was Capaldi doing? Well, I think he was letting go of and saying goodbye to an era of the Doctor where he is associated with being a tide turner of war. A protector, but a protector heavily involved with wars none the less. This makes complete sense with the very new Doctor we are getting. The beauty and delicacy of a gorgeous woman. Seems very fitting as a reset on who the Doctor will really be now, eh?

Now what did you all think of the special yourselves? Let us know in the comments below!

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