From the very first moments of “The Day of the Doctor,” it was pretty obvious we were in for something special. They dared to go old school, with Hartnell-era style credits, coupled with a classic London bobby walking past a sign pointing toward the Totters Lane junkyard, which was then revealed to be on a wall outside Coal Hill Secondary School – all nods to the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child.” But things got modern quickly, upon discovering that we were not in the past, but the present, and Clara (Jenna Coleman) is now teaching at the school, gracing the very same hallways and classrooms as her predecessors Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright did 50 years ago (there’s actually a shout out to Ian on the Coal Hill sign if you look closely).
What happened to the Doctor and Clara being caught in his timestream at the close of “The Name of the Doctor”? Seems some time has passed, and some escapades have been glossed over. It’s business as usual, and Clara is off on a motorbike (the same one from “The Bells of Saint John,” right?) and into the TARDIS for more adventures. Soon enough she and the Doctor (Matt Smith) are on one, when they realize the TARDIS is caught in the grip of a crane attached to a helicopter, and they’re being dragged to UNIT HQ by Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), which was a far more thrilling sequence than expected. Or are they? Kate’s acting on orders from the Queen – Queen Elizabeth I, that is.