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‘Doctor Who’ Brings Us a Terrifying Feat With ‘The Giggle’ 60th Anniversary Special

The Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials feature the reunion of David Tennant’s Doctor and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble, but they also brought the Doctor back to an old enemy: the Toymaker. “The Giggle” introduces Neil Patrick Harris (and his version of the villain) into Doctor Who in spectacular fashion.

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With an old enemy like the Toymaker, it’s hard to bring him back to a show like Doctor Who and do the character justice. But Neil Patrick Harris brings that eerie energy to life in such a sinister way that you’re brought into his twisted world of games and toys just as the Doctor and Donna are, and you understand exactly what horrors a being like the Toymaker can inflict.

After the Doctor and Donna returned to a world in chaos from their last adventure together, they’re forced to figure out who caused it and are brought back to answers they might not want. Where the episode really worked for me was that the Doctor continued to resurface the anger he has for things he can’t control while still trying to stop what’s happening around him. It is what has made me still love Tennant’s turn as the Doctor after all these years. Other Doctors keep their compassion at the forefront, but Tennant always let that anger boil over when it took over.

What works with an episode like “The Giggle” isn’t necessarily the stakes of everything else going on but it is the relationship between the Doctor and his old adversary. It is why we love going back to characters like the Master, as well, and seeing this pair go head to head was such a fun exploration for the show.

Two old enemies, back to their old games

A show like Doctor Who has a unique ability to bring back villains that may have appeared one time, but fans will eat up the minute they return. That’s been the experience, at least, with Neil Patrick Harris and the Toymaker. He’s not a character that many of us know (or at least know well), and to see how we’re all fascinated by this role? It is truly a testament to the show. It helps that he is so incredibly good as the Toymaker in “The Giggle,” too.

What really works about the Toymaker boils down to the taunting aspect of his dealings with the Doctor. The Doctor can never seem to let a rivalry go, despite acting above that kind of taunting. What we see with the Toymaker throughout the episode is him using that to his advantage, and it leads to great moments between David Tennant and Neil Patrick Harris.

Having Russell T. Davies back in charge of Doctor Who as the showrunner has been a gift, reminding fans just what it means to have these “enemies” of the Doctor back in his life. It makes me excited for the future of the series and where the show is headed, and to know that Davies is going to be leading the charge—especially after a fantastic celebration of the 60th anniversary.

(featured image: BBC)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.