I’m going to make this quick, because, well, I should be writing; but it would be silly at this point not to throw together a few thoughts about the Twelfth Doctor at the end of his first season in the Tardis hotseat. It is always possible (but unlikely) that I’ll revisit some of these thoughts after November’s writing frenzy – I guess if there are comments to that effect I will do so, but I’m sure the internet has more to say on these things already.
I found Peter Capaldi’s Doctor a breath of fresh air. Obviously, it’s nice to have back a Doctor who is older than me, but also one who is so wonderfully alien. I enjoyed the moments where he was flip from apparent uncaring offhandedness to probably inadvertant humour in a couple of sentences. He was different – distant, often – but still obviously attached to Clara.
And as for those who thought he might put off some younger viewers who have become accustomed to the younger and more human Doctors? Well, my nine year old got bored of Matt Smith’s tenure, but has happily watched most of the last season. Make of that what you will.
I don’t remember there being a bad story this year (minor plotholes notwithstanding). That may be because we’ve had the new Doctor/Companion dynamic to keep us interested, or because Twelve is awesome, or just because we’ve seen some new tropes this year: the shrink-ray (still can’t believe that hadn’t been done before!), two-dimensional aliens, bucketloads of timey-wimey stuff, and the occasional nod to continuity. It’s been a wild ride, as Doctor Who should be.
The Series Arc
Ok, it wasn’t so much an arc as a few teasers to the finale along the way, but that’s fine. I think new Who has been much better at standalone stories than any attempt at doing a larger arc anyway. The teasers did their job though, and made the finale that bit more satisfying than perhaps it would have been otherwise.
I did actually think Gallifrey would play a bigger part in the series than it did, after the excitement of Day of the Doctor and that business on Christmas; maybe the end of the season will prove to be a teaser for more of that next year.
It was pretty epic, to say the least. I suppose bringing popular baddies back for the finale is a tried and tested formula for new Who, but it had a nice new twist here. Also – and this is something I would go into further if I had longer to spare – plenty of nods to religious and spiritual matters, as you would expect from a storyline which confronts the question ‘What happens when we die?’
I don’t think that question was really answered, and nor should it be; but it gave the Doctor the chance to be more of a Christ-figure than ever before – being prepared to go to Hell for his companion, and later, coming out with this little nugget:
Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?
There was also plenty of stuff about the nature of love; whether the Doctor is a soldier or a general (a question which has been raised in new Who before); and some great cameos and nods back to ‘Day of the Doctor’ and before.
Missy’s existence was foreshadowed waaaay back at the end of Series 3, in Last of the Time Lords, so a much anticipated return for some Whovians no doubt. And she was every bit as evil (offing Osgood as she did) and manipulative (getting Clara and the new Doctor back together again) as any incarnation of the Master before her; she was also brilliantly bananas.
Her existence also directly addressed the issue of a Time Lord’s ability to change sex during regeneration – something which has been mentioned in passing previously, but has remained the subject of much debate. It is probably too big and important a subject for me to get into at the moment, so I’ll just reiterate my feeling on the matter, for what it’s worth: the Doctor should be a good male role model. Admittedly this season’s Doctor has spent a lot of time figuring out whether or not he is actually a good man, but I’d like to think that on the whole he has done the right thing all along.
Anyway, that’s my summary of thoughts on the Twelfth Doctor and his adventures so far; now if you’ll excuse me, I should be writing.
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