To the people who keep reblogging my post to ‘tell’ me that the War Doctor forgot what really happened and that Nine and Ten (and pre-special Eleven) don’t remember and think they destroyed Gallifrey:
Yes. I know. That is exactly why I am upset. You’re wrong when you say it “doesn’t intrinstically change the show” because yes, it does. Because every time we rewatch those episodes now, every time we see Nine’s rage at the Dalek, his guilt at having killed them all, his pain at being the last one left… every time we see Ten explain how his planet is gone, when we see the pain in his eyes when Donna tells him that his people burned… we will know, thanks to this special, that it didn’t. That it never really happened. That his guilt isn’t over a real thing, that it’s cheapened, that this man, our Doctor, will suffer for 400 years over something that has now been ret-conned and never happened.
And that is why people are so upset.
See, I don’t think it does (she said to the general tumblr-sphere and her own followers, I’m not expecting to change the OP’s mind). They haven’t saved Gallifrey yet when Nine rages at the dalek, and Ten explains his planet is gone, and they need to have not saved it until this moment or they never would have saved it.
Eleven is a character of loathing and self-hatred who covers everything with childishness, who is driven to the point of doing something so crazy as to rewrite his own time line because there’s nowhere else for him to go. There is nothing else this character can do: he’s reached a crisis point. And he cannot have reached that crisis point and made that decision unless he destroyed Gallifrey, so up until this special it can’t have been saved.
Maybe I have a timey-wimey brain but that makes perfect sense to me: that the destruction had to have happened so that the Doctor would do something so drastic as to make it not happen. That the Fall of Gallifrey did and did not happen at the same time sits comfortably in my mind.
Clearly, I should change my URL to shroedingerspirate.
Also, by the way, bringing back Gallifrey means the Doctor can be the screw up, bottom of the class, madman again - none of this Time Lord Victorious which I despise.