On Saturday 23th August, the wait was finally over. The time of Capaldi was upon us and it had been an agonising wait. Whoever knows me, knows I’m an avid Capaldian and the news, over a year ago, that he was going to be the new Doctor nearly gave me a heart attack of joy.
So, how was that first full episode with the 12th Doctor?
He was shortly introduced, or rather his eyebrows, in the 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor and then Matt Smith regenerated into Capaldi in The Time of the Doctor but apart from learning he had had severe amnesia and he had a thing about kidneys, that was about it.
The episode opened with a T-Rex roaming around London and the Paternoster gang were called upon by the local police. This unlikely posse is fast becoming a favourite of mine and I wouldn’t mind a spin off featuring Vastra, Jenny and Strax. When the dino spat out the TARDIS and the all new doctor emerged, it’s safe to say he was all over the place. Very wibbly wobbly and chaotic. But hey, that’s regeneration madness for you.
On to the new intro…I love the new visuals but the tune has to grow on me. I feel that they have wandered off far too far from the original theme tune, which is a pity.
And then the Doctor finally starts to take form….It’s clear that the new episodes are much darker, and at times more threatening compared to the previous series. Capaldi manages to be truly hilarious (‘I’m talking to your horse!’ ‘No point in us both being cold’ ‘Planet of the Pudding Brains’ ‘Oi Big sexy woman!’ etc) but equally menacing and dark (leaving Clara to her own devices in the ‘larder’, ‘I’m all alone’, and did he push that droid or did he jump?). Plus at times that other fantastic incarnation of his, Malcolm Tucker, pops up. Especially during his ‘broom-speech’ Malcolm seemed to surface a lot. Side note: wasn’t the Captain, My Captain remark just bewilderingly striking seen the recent passing of Robin Williams?
This doctor is trying to come to terms with his history, is trying to adjust to the world he’s been thrown/vomitted in to, and he’s not pussy footing around it. Far more assertive, or even aggressive, not charmed by a young face and quietly scared of what’s to come. (I loved the scene where he sees himself in the silver plate he holds up for the droid)
Which brings me to his relationship with Clara…I admit, I’m not the world’s biggest Clara fan. After the complete let down that was S7 and the irritating part she played in it (sorry Clara fans!) we now have a completely different vibe. This Doctor is not being kind or sweet, and doesn’t want to humour her. Instead, she’ll have to dodge sharp remarks and try and keep up with his rollercoaster ride. And it works! The dynamics between Clara and the Doctor are tons better than during last series and they make a solid combo. She’ll never be my favourite companion but at least now, I totally enjoy the witty dialogues. (BTW, am I the only one who fantasizes of a pairing with Donna and the Doctor? just think of it!!)
The third party in this episode are the Paternoster gang….Such a wonderful weird bunch of people. Especially Strax was on fire. I absolutely loved all his screen time. Vastra is still oddly attractive and although I absolutely love her and Jenny together, I felt that Jenny’s lines suffered severely from Moffat’s writing. Moffat and women….it’ll always be a problem.
And at this point we can only guess who Missy is….Is she the Master? And why is ‘heaven’ the same location as in The Girl Who Waited? We’ll have to wait and see but so far I’ve been very much enjoying the references to The Girl in the Fireplace and The Fires of Pompei. Plus the references to past doctors like Baker (the long scarf)….Capaldi seems to incorporate something of various past doctors in his acting. I’ve seen shadows of Hartnell, Pertwee, Baker, Tennant and Smith.
Moving on to the final scene between Clara and the Doctor….The TARDIS is all renewed, I love it. Especially the chair and the library. The Doctor has his new outfit (sleek, slim and sexy, ooooh, that flick of his coat) and then of course there was that look, that absolutely devastating look when he realises Clara doesn’t want to come with him….And then there was that phonecall. Personally, I didn’t feel the need for the Smith cameo. For me, it was a rupture in the scene. Just his voice would have been better, in my opinion. However, what came next made my heart break and tears welled up….’You look at me but you don’t see me. Do you have any idea how that feels?’ The mad Doctor is a man with true feelings and despair.
And at that moment I knew Capaldi is MY Doctor. Tom Baker was my first, Tennant was my dashing favourite but Capaldi is 100% my Doctor. As I expected all along. :-)
next week: Into Darkness to the Daleks … I can’t wait.