WARNING: This post is going to contain spoilers. If you are spoilerphobic, please don’t read past the cut. You’ve been warned! With the fifth episode about to air, I thought I would talk a little about what we’ve seen so far and what I am enjoying about the new Doctor. Let’s rank them in order of my favorites….
Listen: This one was billed as this era’s “Blink” and I have to say that, to date, it’s definitely my favorite of series 8. It finds The Doctor on a search to find out what creature may be hiding in the shadows of the TARDIS. This episode takes him and Clara into the future where they meet a descendent of Danny, and the past. They meet a young Danny, who is scared of a potential monster under his bed, while Clara ends up seeing a very young version of the first Doctor. It turns out that Clara is at least partially responsible for The Doctor’s unknown fear, as well as the man he’s become.
I really find it interesting that this Doctor seems to be a bit of a loner while also being okay with having Clara around, even seeking her out. He opens the episode alone, meditating on top of the TARDIS and then goes inside to ponder some mysteries. I think it really works and definitely reminds of Nine, at least.
The episodes this season have taken a slower pace, and this one was no exception. I like it! I think it works and allows for a little more suspense and deeper story development. Moffet is at his creepy best in this one as well, setting a dark tone that makes you wonder for a minute what might be lurking under your own bed. I also like Clara’s increasing independence and the way she seems to be taking the lead just a little more. However, twelve is no pushover. In a great moment, he shows the power and authority he possesses when Clara refuses to enter the TARDIS in a crucial moment. His order to retreat is so matter-of-fact, so harsh, that Clara has little choice but to obey.
Robot of Sherwood: Given the dark tone so many episodes this season have taken, I think this one was a great departure to give The Doctor and Clara a slightly more fun adventure. The Doctor asks Clara where she wants to go (like his more modern incarnations have done) and she insists on going to see Robin Hood over The Doctor’s objections. When they get there, they discover that Robin Hood really did exist and there is an evil plot to stop.
I really liked how they continued to build on Clara’s bond with the Doctor while also stressing her autonomy. One moment I really liked was when Twelve asked her when she started believing in imaginary heroes and she responds, “Don’t you know?” The look on her face says it all. I also really liked The Doctor performing tests on the Merry Men and getting into an archery contest with the famous thief. One of the most classic moments for me, though, is when The Doctor and Robin Hood are fighting after having been capture while Clara looks on in annoyance until the guard decides she has to be the ring leader they seek.
On another note, Moffet really seems to be going out of his way to add old Who references this season. Can you guess at least one in this episode?
Deep Breath: The intro of Twelve. I admit, I remember little about the robot creatures who were seen in a previous episode and actually weren’t too into them. Still, I did enjoy seeing Twelve struggle with post-regeneration stress and confusion. His madness was played perfectly and his “these are attack eyebrows” moment won me over right at the beginning. I also was amused by Clara coming out of the TARDIS at the beginning disheveled and clearly not happy.
From the first episode, it’s clear that others are going to play just as big a role in this season as The Doctor himself. Madam Vastra lectures Clara about her attitudes regarding Twleve, while Clara eventually gives in and decides to help him on his journey toward finding himself again which was a huge theme of the episode and has played a role in the following adventures. Clara is also taking a much bigger and more independent role as she balances life in the TARDIS with being a teacher so she’s on a bit of a discovery journey as well, which I like.
One of my favorite parts is one that got a bit of criticism: Eleven’s phone call. While I saw comments dismissing it as a plea to the fans to accept the new guy, I didn’t have any problem with it. This, to me, was pure Eleven. He was always leaving messages from the past to either help himself or help others. A couple of examples:
- Coming back to talk to Amy during her first encounter with the Weeping Angels
- Leaving the sonic with Rory, the clues for little Amelia, and taking her drink to give it back later in the Pandorica adventure
- Leaving the invitations for Amy, Rory, River, and himself during The Impossible Astronaut.
There are others (like the call in the 50th), but these are the ones that come right off the top of my head.
Into the Dalek: I don’t really have a lot to say about this one, as it’s my least favorite. I will say, though, that I appreciated the tone and liked the little references to Nine’s Dalek as well as the way the Dalek say divinity and beauty in The Doctor’s hate.
So there you go: a not-quite-mid-season look at the new Doctor and the adventures he’s had so far. What do you think of these episodes? Are you enjoying Twelve? Comment and let’s chat about it!