Top positive review
Twelve's Final Outing!
13 May 2018
In "Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time", Paul Cornell adapts Steven Moffat's screenplay for the Twelfth Doctor's final adventure. Like the classic Target books of the 1970s and 1980s, the narrative follows the same story as the televised episode, though with some additions to give it more substance as befits a novel or to help correct continuity errors.
Cornell explains the Doctor's inability to remember meeting his first incarnation as an effect of their co-existing at the same time (pgs. 73, 94). The Twelfth Doctor also criticizes how previous Doctors deferred to the First Doctor, despite his lack of experience (pg. 37). Cornell also links the Twelfth Doctor's concerns about regeneration to the raw power his regenerations have been unleashing as compared to previous Doctors (pg. 96). In references to previous adventures, Cornell explains that the Doctor's admonition about pears stemmed from his time as a human in his tenth incarnation (in the episodes "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood," referenced on pg. 156). The references to the First Doctor meeting other successive Doctors draw upon "The Three Doctors" (1972) and "The Five Doctors" (1983).
As a novel, Cornell's "Twice Upon a Time" succeeds in being different enough from the televised episode to warrant reading, even now that the Target novels are no longer the only way to experience past episodes. He strikes the right emotional notes toward the end and, like the episode itself, leaves the reader ready for the adventures of Jodi Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.