Doctor Who: The Giggle - An Epic End to the Trilogy

***The following review is full of spoilers, so please watch the episode first***

Doctor WhoThe 60th anniversary trio of Doctor Who specials came to a close today, with part three, “The Giggle.” The episode opens in Soho in 1925 when a man visits a toy emporium and meets the owner (Neil Patrick Harris) and buys a ventriloquist dummy named Stooky Bill for his boss, real-life inventor John Logie Baird, who uses it as the world’s first televised image. Meanwhile back in London in the present, the Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna (Catherine Tate) are still in the middle of the chaos, the owner of the toy store in the background, when they are escorted by Kate and UNIT back to headquarters. It turns out, every human on the planet has had their brain waves altered and believes they are unequivocally right, and eventually go mad and turn violent trying to convince others. Eventually they discover that the signal effecting the planet is coming from a giggle, embedded along with the image of Stooky Bill in every screen. Shirley (Ruth Madeley) traces the image back to 1925, and the Doctor and Donna are off to find out how to stop it. The Doctor quickly realizes that the man in the toy emporium is his old nemesis the Toymaker, who he beat long ago. The Doctor must play the Toymaker’s game. Unfortunately he loses, but since he won in the past, he challenges him to the best out of three, and the Toymaker cannot refuse, however, he takes the third round back to 2023. The resulting battle will decide the fate of the planet.

Doctor WhoThe third part of the trilogy has so much to offer and is all over the place but in the best way. The first part of the episode is down right scary at times when the Doctor chases after the Toymaker and encounters Baird’s assistant turned into a human marionette puppet, and Donna is met by animated dolls (although my favorite line in the episode is when Donna tells Stooky Sue she’s a goner and smashes her into the wall and her head flies off). It’s also once again full of references to other parts of the series, when the Toymaker has a puppet show telling Donna about what the Doctor was up to after he left her. 

Back in 2023, during the showdown with the Toymaker, everything is such chaos when he starts changing matter, and it’s entertaining to watch him dance around to Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life” in the rose petals as well as lavishing in them ala American Beauty. Harris really shines in the episode from scene to scene, both fun to watch but also at times down right terrifying. 

The last part of the Doctor and the Toymaker’s game had me going through so many emotions. When the Doctor gets struck with the galvanic beam and starts to regenerate, I found myself tearing up, even though it was expected, but two seconds later I was in shock and awe at the bi-generation, realizing the possibilities of what it could mean (and the way they pulled apart was also cool). Then, the final game between the Toymaker and the two Doctors with the ball was quite thrilling and had me cheering and on the edge of my seat. 

I’m sure that the bi-generation will have polarizing reactions among the fans. I myself loved it, even though it was completely different and unexpected. Donna was getting a better end to her story and now the Tenth/Fourteenth Doctor did in a way too, as he can go off in his own TARDIS on his own adventures, but also can just enjoy life and the people he cares about. I absolutely loved the scene when the Doctor sits down with Donna and her family and former companion Melanie “Mel” Bush (Bonnie Langford). 

As for the look of the episode, it was gorgeous throughout. Disney’s money was clearly well spent, from UNIT headquarters (which reminded me of Stark Tower) to the expansive set of the Toymaker’s layer. The effects were stupendous, including the human puppet and the animated dolls, and all the pieces that I previously mentioned. I even loved the companion puppets the Toymaker used in his show, and the Toymaker’s extra teeth were super creepy and weird. 

Over-all, I absolutely loved the episode, and I’m excited to see what’s next. My only criticism is that I would really have liked to have seen previous Doctors show up, since it's an anniversary special (although we got Tennant back, so I can't complain). Still, the episode did a fantastic job of introducing the Fifteenth Doctor. Ncuti Gatwa seems like he is going to be a lot of fun. I also appreciated that the episode teased what’s to come at some point: “the one who waits,” who will likely be a villain, and I can’t wait to see Russell T. Davies’s new version of the Master, who the Toymaker trapped in his gold tooth that someone (who?!) just happened to pick up after he was wiped out of existence. I know it will be worth the wait. Meanwhile, I look forward to the “The Church on Ruby Road” to see what Gatwa does with his incarnation of the Doctor and to meet the new companion, Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson), and I will hold out hope that one of the upcoming spinoffs features Fourteen and Donna. Never say never.

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