Earlier this week my iPad notified me the Doctor Who game/app had been updated. For one thing, it now features Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor instead of Matt Smith’s Eleventh. That reminded me the new season of Doctor Who had beun. Nearly two weeks ago! Had my head been buried in the sand? Possibly.
I hurried to OnDemand to check out the Twelfth Doctor. Only the first episode of the season was available, but it was enough for now. And the verdict is…
I liked it! I’m not sure I loved it, but it was close. On the Like/Love Continuum, I’m “anchored” (get it? my Navy connection?) approximately…
So, more love than like.
Deep Breath (801)
The first episode with any new Doctor is much like a series pilot. Because everything’s so new, there’s often more exposition than plot. For the new Doctor, it’s about getting the kinks out, rewiring the circuits (both physical and mental), and recollecting memories.
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a Doctor who’s not young and handsome. The writers had been exploring flirtation and love between the Doctor and his companion ever since the series rebooted, would the series hold up without it? Not only does it hold up, it’s improved. (My opinion, of course. Then again, I’m still angry that Rose Tyler got to have her Happy Ending with Ten-lite, while the wonderful, compassionate Donna Noble was forced to forget saving the universe, and everything else that made her extraordinary.)
Being a huge fan of the Ponds, I never warmed to Clara. Suzanne didn’t appreciate the writers making Clara into Something Special in the overall story. Natalie‘s complaint was that Clara hadn’t been much more than an accessory. With the physical attraction now out of the way (and in fear we might have missed it, Steven Moffat made sure to hit us over the head with it), Clara gets to come into her own. Even with all her flaws nicely addressed (something Eleven never did), her personality shines. She gets to have her own arcs that aren’t part of the Big Picture. She shows her belief in the Doctor, even thought she hasn’t quite accepted Twelve yet. And Jenna Coleman gets some great material to show off her talent.
Peter Capaldi’s talent is well established. He’s played everything from the super-foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in the hilarious In the Loop (and also The Thick of It, which I’ve never seen) to the tragic John Frobisher in Torchwood‘s “Children of Earth.” As the Doctor, he’ll get to tap into the comedic, the sorrowful, and everything in between. I can’t wait!
Capaldi has such a wonderful face. Yes, it’s lined and a bit severe, but it’s expressive. He conveys his thoughts without saying a word. Towards the end of the episode, he smiles at Clara. It’s his way of asking her to come with him. For a moment, he looks relaxed and hopeful, and it’s a hint of the roller-coaster we’re about to enjoy.
P.S. I like the new opening and loved the callback to Handles. Never has a companion evoked so much love in such a short time.
Into the Dalek (802)
Having viewed the episode late, I’d read a couple reviews prior to watching. I was surprised at how ambiguously “Into the Dalek” ended.
I confess I didn’t care as much for the second episode. Part of it’s because I don’t really care for the Daleks (how un-Whovian of me!). The Daleks’ voice rattles my cochlea. Sorry Nicholas Briggs, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Couple that with the Doctor’s rejection of Journey Blue, and you get a so-so episode in my book. The actor was interesting and I would have liked to see more of her.
What’s with the Doctor’s new-found dislike of soldiers? After all, one of them sacrificed her life for the team. Is it a leftover from “A Good Man Goes to War”? More likely it’s a plot device for the purpose of creating conflict once Danny Pink joins the TARDIS crew. I’m ok with that, I guess.
Speaking of Danny, I loved his introduction:
Danny: Look at you lot! I’ve never seen such a miserable bunch. What do you think you are? Children?
Kid: Yes, sir.
Danny: You think you’re funny, Flemming?
Kid: Yes, sir.
Danny: All right. So do I.