Recap: Doctor Who 50th Prequel "The Last Day"

Pictured: about 18 airborne Daleks on Gallifrey. Not pictured: approximately 9,999,982 more. Welcome to the final day of the Time War. Prepare to be exterminated.

Nothing can get past the sky trench. But if just one Dalek made it through, it could destroy this entire city. That's all it would take. One Dalek. One Dalek, acting alone, and we're finished.
— A Time Lord soldier who had NO idea how bad the situation was about to get.

A Doctor Who minisode released on iTunes on the 20th of November 2013, serving as another prequel to "The Day of the Doctor". It takes place shortly after the events of the novel Engines of War.
Someone is fitted with a head-cam which, in the event of his death, will transmit all the information to his family drive. It is an ordinary day for this new recruit. However, the installation of his head-cam is giving him problems. He can't speak, and it's causing terrifying mental flashes that indicate ominous events are approaching. He is at Arcadia, apparently "The safest place on Gallifrey". Another soldier tells him that Arcadia is protected by 400 sky-trenches, nobody in history has got through even two. However one Dalek would be enough to destroy them all.

The first soldier has the recruit try out the scanners in his head-cam. While scanning, he notices a blur in the clouds. Zooming in to focus, he sees a Dalek. The recruit's heart starts pulsing madly as the other soldier urges him to lock on and follow that Dalek wherever it goes. Arcadia goes on maximum alert. An alarm is sounded for one Dalek incoming, but then the true threat strikes- as hundreds upon millions of Daleks pour down from the skies. One stops in front of the recruit, opens fire, and he is apparently killed.

You can watch it on YouTube.


The last day of the Time War is underway. That same soldier who thought one Dalek was bad enough will now rush down to the residential areas of Gallifrey, after the sky trenches have been lost. He tells the War Council that Arcadia has fallen, and retreats to a ruined street for cover. Here, he will meet an elderly man out of nowhere, asking the soldier that he needs to borrow his gun...


Tropes:

  • Continuity Nod:
    • The soldiers' red armor and round helmet design resemble the Chancellery Guards' uniforms from "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Invasion of Time".
    • One of the POV soldier's hallucinations/premonitions involves Vashta Nerada.
  • Determinator: To the Daleks, who have been so dogged at removing the Time Lords from the universe for the better part of four centuries that they've finally sent just about every one of their kind to one place so they could perform a one-sided veritable slaughter of the species.
  • Dizzy Cam: Done from the POV of a soldier who is among the first to see the Daleks have got through the sky-trenches.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: It's mentioned it would take only one Dalek getting through the sky trenches to destroy all of Arcadia. Now imagine what ten million would do...
  • Heroic Mime: The POV character temporarily lost the ability to speak when first integrated into his armor.
  • Insistent Terminology: The visions of their impending imminent death are hallucinations, not premonitions.
  • Just Before the End: The Last Day of Gallifrey.
  • Mirror Scare: With the POV soldier seeing his face as a Vashta Nerada.
  • Mood Whiplash: It's a fairly low-key short as you see the Time Lord soldier being outfitted with a suit of armor. Then the screen suddenly flips to the same soldier outfitting the viewpoint guy screaming "RUN! EVERYBODY, JUST RUN!"
  • Oh Crap!: The soldier helping him when he sees a Dalek has got through.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The screen is the soldier's personal camera. This lets the audience see the war as if they were the soldier.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy: Arcadia, "safest place on Gallifrey" falls to the Daleks. This is the event which provokes the War Doctor to declare "no more".
  • Sound Effect Bleep: "There's a language filter, so it will cut any time you say—" (screen pixels out, then jump cuts to a later moment)
  • Tempting Fate: Safest place on Gallifrey indeed...
  • The Voiceless: The unseen soldier cannot speak properly because of a side effect caused by hooking up the web cam.
  • This Cannot Be!: That couldn't possibly be a Dalek....There are 400 sky trenches....
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Saying nothing can get through the sky-trenches.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing: "From now on the head-cam is downloading directly to your memory. A tiny part of your brain is now a hard-drive. Takes up hardly any space, you won't feel a thing. Now, at the beginning sometimes this has side effects—" (cut to vision of a screaming soldier)