Having teased us with the question of Who or What was in the vault, the Moff then goes on to make his triumph over the fanboys complete by pranking them with the tease of shots of an early regeneration in the trailers, with the reveal in the episode that in fact it was no such thing.
Which would be fine if we hadn’t already been down this road before – twice – with DWM turning Paul McGann into Nicholas Briggs and RTD having David Tennant regenerate into David Tennant. For Twelvy to pull the same stunt here just doesn’t work, and not just because we’ve seen it done better before. Diegetically, once Bill has shot him there’s no need for Twelvy to continue the test, so the only reason he engages in a biological firework display is for the non-diegetic reason that The Moff knows the fanboys will go ape over it. Naughty Moff!
And if you’re a fan there are some questions that it throws up that the episode fails to answer. Even though it’s only fans that care about this sort of thing, and hopefully they will get an answer in Moff’s DWM column before he leaves, they’re worth going over:
So can a regeneration be self-induced now? Isn’t that a bit like Time Lord suicide? And if the whole thing was a set-up, how did Richard know that Monk would walk through the door just as he was about to check Bill’s ID?
And most glaringly of all, why the hell doesn’t Bill comment on the regeneration that wasn’t? Okay, so she’s still in shock from being fraped but you’d think she would at least mention Twelvy going all November the 5th after she shot him. But she doesn’t. WTF?