FINALLY!!!! (Spoilers ahead!)
Hasn’t it felt like forever since we’ve seen a new episode of Doctor Who?! Well, it’s only been 8 months, but it feels like forever. We’ve not only had to wait for a new episode, but for a highly divisive new Doctor. Many were concerned about Peter Capaldi’s age, which turned out to be a non-issue, in his debut episode. But before Capaldi’s entrance, we got a glimpse at some old favorites. The episode opens with a Tyrannosaurus Rex walking around Victorian London. The police summon the Paternoster Gang, better known to us as Silurian Madame Vastra, her human wife and partner Jenny, and their butler Strax the Sontaran warrior.
The T-Rex then chokes up a familiar looking blue box that the gang immediately investigates. They notice that the T-Rex seems to have something stuck in its throat and out pops the TARDIS and our first glance at Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. It’s quick, it’s harsh, and it’s brilliant. The Doctor emerges and we realize that he has no true memory of anything. He seems to remember who everyone is, but, not what face goes with what individual. He confuses Clara and Strax, even when they’re standing right next to each other. This is one of my favorite scenes and it’s a great introduction to our new hero.
The Doctor then goes in to his typical post-regeneration “illness” so Clara and the gang take him back to their home so they can figure things out. Once the Doctor wakes up, he is utterly confused as to why a bedroom exists, not understanding that we have a room that’s meant for not being awake in. He eventually calms down and goes back to sleep, during this time he has a very touching moment where it’s just him and Clara in the room together. The Doctor is asleep and Clara is watching the T-Rex when the Doctor starts translating for the dino in his sleep. We realize that this poor creature is just as lost as confused as the Doctor is; he is truly a creature out of time.
In the meantime, Vastra once again interrogates Clara, as she doesn’t believe that Clara is worthy to be with the Doctor anymore, claiming she was only with him because she had a crush on the Doctor. Clara is absolutely furious at this assumption and makes one of the better speeches by a companion that I’ve seen. Vastra has a change of heart and accepts Clara. The scene itself is weird and out of place, but I loved it because it showed us how dedicated Clara is to the Doctor regardless of his outward appearance.
Later, when alone, the Doctor awakens and goes to help the confused dinosaur. He first goes to the door but claims that’s too boring for him and goes out through the window, a great moment that adds some of the humor of the past. He rushes to the roof and promises the mother T-Rex that he will get her home. Unfortunately, as is all too common in Doctor Who, the T-Rex bursts into flames and dies. The Doctor is soon joined on the scene by the rest of the gang where he berates their questions and asks the only real question, “Are there any other murders like this?” to which the answer is, of course, “Yes”. The Doctor then notices a strange individual and asks why someone would seemingly not care when a dinosaur is burning in front of them. This is our villain, a reverse Cyberman in that it’s a robot that uses organic parts for its upgrades. To avoid any further spoilers, I’ll end my synopsis here. (WARNING: I LIED, MORE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!)
Peter Capaldi has made a tremendous debut as the Doctor. He is fresh, familiar, funny, and dark. 12 does things to Clara that Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith never would do. I mean, he literally locks her in a room with an evil robot who likes to harvest human parts in order to stay alive. (Sound familiar at all, my fellow Whovians? It should. It did to the Doctor.) Of course, he has a plan and doesn’t let Clara die. In fact, this is a great moment for Clara who has to stand up to something absolutely terrifying and she does a damn good job of it. (Watch out Rose, Clara is turning out to be my favorite companion if she isn’t already.)
My absolute favorite scene is when the Doctor is in his pajamas after the T-Rex has died and is searching through the trash for stuff when he encounters a drunkard. The Doctor proceeds to rant on to him about his face and how it’s familiar (Fires of Pompeii anyone?) and how his eyebrows could open bottles. It’s a great moment of personal discovery for the Doctor seeing how much his physical appearance has aged and not fully understanding why.
I could go on forever about this, so to keep it relatively short I will summarize my favorite and least favorite parts here.
Let’s start with the bad:
– Vastra & Jenny’s relationship – Don’t get me wrong, I got no problem with bispecies homosexual relationships, but I think they went a little overboard with making that point. Every scene they were in had a reminder it seemed.
– Length – I feel like they substituted some quality in order to make it feature length. There was more than one scene I felt should have been cut.
– Clara Oswald – I really wish she could remember that the Doctor regenerates into different ages. Not Clara’s fault as much as the writers.
– Matt Smith’s cameo – Was it really needed? We’ve never needed it before. AS touching as it was, I felt it was only for the fangirls who have issues with an “old, non-hot” Doctor.
And now for my favorite stuff:
– The Doctor – He’s so dark! Did he throw that guy from the skin balloon? Did he steal the coat of that poor, cold drunkard? He could very well end up being my favorite Doctor if he keeps this up.
– Clara Oswald – A wonderfully strong companion. She has a few moments of weakness in this episode but she makes it up with gusto.
– The Doctor’s entrance, bedroom scene, Clara’s interrogation, the alley scene, the restaurant scene, Clara vs Robot, the skin balloon scene, etc…
– The lines – This episode is chock-full of great jokes, wonderful speeches, heartfelt moments, and many more.
– The TARDIS – Full of bookshelves and round things. The new TARDIS is super classy.
– The ending – Mysterious Missy…the Master, the Rani, River, someone else? Can’t wait to find out!
– Chalk – Looks like #12 is going to be writing things out a lot. That mixed with the books makes me very excited.
– Accent – Loving the Scottish dialect.
– Villains – Great call back to an older but recent villain. And, that woman at the end, she’s definitely up to no good…(probably not River).
– Matt Smith’s cameo – It was great to see him again of course. It was also a very well written piece and it made me cry.
– 12’s look to the camera! Terrifying and exhilarating!!
This episode gets a solid B+ in my book. I loved it, but, it wasn’t without its problems; a shorter episode would have been ideal. Capaldi and Clara may turn out to be my favorite combo yet and I cannot wait for next Saturday when we get to see Capaldi take on the Daleks! Either way, I’m just so happy that the Doctor is back on my television!
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