Doctor Who 60th Anniversary: The Giggle – Recap & Review

The Giggle

We begin The Giggle in Soho 1925, with a man walking into a toyshop. The man behind the counter is charismatic and rather creepy, especially as he talks about his various dolls up on the wall. Apparently it has real hair and the Toymaker’s German accent slips a little as they talk.

The man, Charlie, takes “Stooky Bill”, the doll in the toyshop, and takes it to his employer, John Logie Baird. He’s been testing his new invention, the TV, and wishes this doll could speak.

We then cut to the present where we left off last week. The whole place is compete chaos. Two days ago, everyone had suddenly decided that they’re right and they won’t change their mind. If you try to argue with the infected, they go mad. The only one who stands out is the Toymaker, who tries to dance with the Doctor in the street. The Doctor recognizes him, especially when UNIT show up and take the Doctor away to HQ with Donna.

Shirley and Kate Lethbridge-Stewart are there to greet him… along with a surprise guest too. It’s Melanie, the companion for the sixth and seventh doctors! After, we hear the same exposition we just got from the man in the street. Apparently this issue is worldwide, but those inside UNIT are being subdued by something called the Zeedex, which keeps them under control and not going mad. Whatever this thing is, it’s been generated from inside the brain… but some people aren’t affected like Donna and Mel.

Donna believes it could be a tune, just like in The Sound of Drums. But instead of four repetitive notes, they quickly realize it’s actually closer to a laugh. That same laugh jingle from the doll. This image has been put inside every single screen in the world, and with the Korean satellite allowing every single person across the world to be online at the same time.

The Doctor soon learns the exact location and time that Stooky Bill was broadcast on TV, so off Donna and The Doctor go to 1925 to figure it out. They instead find the Toymaker, and The Doctor immediately recognizes him. Despite telling Donna that she needs to go to the TARDIS, they both end up inside the Toymaker’s little domain.

The Doctor starts to doubt himself, and then the pair are separated. Again. Remember Charlie from the shop? The Doctor finds that he’s been turned into a puppet after losing a game to the Toymaker. And now he’s stuck on strings to do what the Toymaker wants. As for Donna, she finds herself attacked by the other dolls in the shop, until she destroys Sooky, the mum, and leaves the three babies as orphans.

The Toymaker taunts the Doctor, showing him all the companions that have passed and bringing up the Flux again. Please RTD, let’s not bring up that travesty of a series. Again. Anyway, The Doctor challenges him to a game, and the Toymaker boasts that he’s beaten everyone there is to beat. Even The Master, whom he’s turned into a gold tooth.

The only one he won’t play against is “The One Who Waits” but he won’t elaborate, claiming that’s someone else’s game. The pair decide to play Highest Card Wins… but the Toymaker wins. However, this just makes it 1-1 given the Doctor played and won all those years ago. The Toymaker decides they need to play in 2023 next, and the toyshop turns into a jack-in-a-box. As it does, The Doctor and Donna return to the present.

UNIT destroys the satellite but The Doctor is quick to point out this is only a link in the chain. There’s more to this than they realized and they’re about to step it up a gear. The Toymaker shows up at UNIT itself and a big dance number breaks out.

When he disappears outside, The Doctor realizes he has the Galvanic Beam. The Doctor’s pleas to have the Toymaker join him and leave together, play games across the cosmos, falls on deaf ears. The Toymaker has realized that Earth is the ultimate battleground and besides, hasn’t most of the Universe been utterly obliterated from the Flux?

The Toymaker eventually plunges a laser-beam straight into The Doctor, telling him he needs to play this game with the next Doctor. As The Doctor regenerates, he utters “Here we go again, Allons-y” and the regeneration becomes a bi-generation. Donna and Mel both pull from either side and one Doctor becomes two.

The pair of them decide to challenge The Toymaker together. They decide to play Catch, and the Doctors win. Their prize is to banish the Toymaker forever. “My legions are coming,” He says, as the box he’s kept in is banished to the vaults. His gold tooth however, holding the essence of The Master, is picked up by someone.

Meanwhile, the Doctor shows the New Doctor (Ncuti) to the TARDIS and both he and Donna agree that Tennant’s Doctor needs to chill out and stay in one place forever. The new Doctor, after winning the gae, smacks the outside the TARDIS and decides to create a second TARDIS, which has wheelchair access and a jukebox.

The pair say their goodbyes, and Tennant decides to join Donna noble’s family (and Mel) to sit down and chill on Earth with his family. Apparently he fought all those battles to settle down with a family, and Tennant has never been happier than he is now.

The Episode Review

So Doctor Who’s run with the Toymaker ends in crazy fashion with the very first Bi-generation and honestly? it’s a bit of a disappointment. The decision to keep Tennant around feels like having your cake and eating it too. On the one hand, we have a brand new Doctor running around and trying to slip into the role which should be the number 1 focus.

But then on the other hand, it shows a distinct lack of confidence that Ncuti Gatwa can do it alone, knowing that Tennant can just pick up the mantle should this Doctor fail to bring back viewers, which this show continues to leak. The Christmas Special is going to be the real tell though and it’ll be interesting to see what the views are like for that one.

On the positive side though, Ncuti’s Doctor is pretty good and it’ll be interesting to see exactly how he slips into the role in his own adventure on Christmas Day.

The episode itself is actually not bad either, and some of that stems from the charisma of Neil Patrick Harris and David Tennant, who both chew up the screen. Ncuti Gatwa holds his own too, which is a nice touch, but it’s far too early to tell how he’ll slip into the role of Timelord.

For now, this third special bows out with a decent episode but is this really a spectacular celebration of 60 years for Doctor Who? Especially when it borrows ideas from the past like The Sound of Drums, complete with the pop music number. Regardless, we’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for us next.

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