Synopsis: The weary Eighth Doctor chose to help but not fight in the Last Great Time War, but is finally forced to reconsider upon his return to Karn.
• A truly remarkable surprise when it was first released.
• The Eighth Doctor was still playful, but the harsh Time War he refused to fight in made him angrier and darkly sarcastic.
• Stood on its own better in under seven minutes than the feature length special in 1996.
• Just about every line of the Eighth Doctor is infinitely quotable.
• Underscored the tragedy that was the Eighth Doctor.
• Though well executed and necessary, more a narrative bridge between the Eight Doctor and the revived series, particularly the 50th Anniversary Special.
• Done almost too well, making fans want more of a televised Eighth Doctor, when there were no further plans for him.
The Eighth Doctor was always a kind of surprise. Not only was the incarnation a canonical light in the Wilderness years, but also never really expected to appear again in live action, no matter how much fan interest there was. Thanks to the soft reboot elements of the 1996 special, which were not strictly followed, he was perhaps more mysterious than any incarnation, save for the surprise introduction of the War Doctor in “The Name of the Doctor.” Indeed, it is still unclear how much if any of the Eighth Doctor stories into the early 2000s are now considered part of the official continuity. That is OK. The Last Great Time War was the perfect narrative explanation for the lack of continuity control in the Wilderness Era. And then, we were given the Eighth Doctor during that war. He certainly knew what needed to be done to end the War, but as the “Doctor,” the choices that needed to be made were impossible to make. Eight just wanted to explore and help others as playfully as possible. So, it made perfect sense that he chose to help where he could instead of fight, even though the Daleks and Timelords were ripping all of time and space apart. That choice to simply help was visibly crushing the Eighth Doctor in “Night.” He less than secretly wanted it all to end. So when the Sisterhood temporarily resurrected him, he finally had the excuse to become the nameless warrior he needed to be for the sake of the universe …
Doctor Who Franchise