4.27pm >>

Doctor Who Christmas special review below, so

First things first, I really LOVE Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who.  He plays the part so well and seems to relish it.  His take on the Doctor is dark and moody balanced with moments of hilarious wit, and the character is clearly ready to head off in new directions.

Which makes all the more a shame that in his first season, the show has mostly been about Clara, his companion.  The last time I checked, the show was Called Doctor Who not The Life and Times of Clara Oswald.  That was the ongoing theme of S8, and it continued in to the Christmas special.

Add to that Moffat’s insistence of repeating the same old tropes (don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t think about the dream crabs), and his ripping off of Alien, Inception, and The Thing and yet again we see Capaldi left high and dry and his potential wasted by the showrunners.

They all need a reminder that the Doctor is the main character, not the companion.  With Clara sticking around, I really hope that as they move into S9 the focus moves away from her and back to the Doctor.  Let’s get some timey wimey going, let’s get into some tight situations and work our way out, let’s get on the hunt for Gallifrey.

Apart from Capaldi, this episode gets a meh/10.

7.01pm

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t yet seen the season finale of Doctor Who S8, Death in Heaven, then  DO NOT READ ON.

Since I first saw him in The Thick of It as the potty mouthed Malcolm Tucker I have been a fan of Peter Capaldi.  This was further cemented in his most excellent role as Randall Brown in S2 of The Hour. When he was announced as the next Doctor, I was over the moon.  It was time to move on from the childish Matt Smith, and return to a mature Doctor, and I couldn’t think of any one better than Capaldi to step up.

We were teased with two brief glimpses – the eyebrows in the 50th anniversary, and his appearance post regeneration. It was a long wait for the S8 premier, and when it came, Capaldi ripped open the door of the TARDIS, told Strax to “Shush!” and then yelled at a T-Rex: “Oi big boy, shut it!” Man, what an entrance.  Since then he has gone from strength to strength, and really showed his range as an actor – from the flat out hilarious Robot of Sherwood to the angry speech in Flatline,  he proved to be an excellent Doctor.

While Capaldi has been going from strength to strength, the writing has felt at times like it was all over the place.  Kill the Moon  and In the Forest of the Night were, in my opinion, terrible episodes despite the towering presence of the Doctor.  When part one of the finale (Dark Water) played last week though, we looked to finally get a resolution and explanation of the series arc with the mysterious Missy.  I guessed early on that she would turn out to be The Master (Missy….Mistress….Master), especially since there seems to be a move afoot to have a female Doctor.  Even so, it was great to hear Missy say it out loud, and have the episode end on a “WHAT?!” moment.

Unfortunately the quality did not flow on to the second part of the finale.  Whereas the first part seemed to tick along at a good pace, Death in Heaven seemed rushed, like they had underestimated how much time it would take to wrap up the stories.  There were some downright stupid moments, such as Missy getting out of handcuffs, putting on lipstick and then killing Oswin, all within two feet of two guards who did nothing the whole time, and what idiot decided it would be a good idea to lock her up right next to the TARDIS?  Danny continued to be lacklustre and aggravating, Clara seemed to be a cardboard prop, and don’t get me started on the cool, but utterly pointless Cyber-Brig moment.  There were a lot of plot holes (okay so it was Missy that gave Clara the Doctor’s number…but why?), cartoonish special effects (flying Cybermen, oh my!), and needless scenes (the whole point of getting the Doctor on the plane seemed to have more to do with setting up the ‘falling to earth and catching up with the TARDIS’ bit than it did with any plot development).

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the episode, but there were other episodes this season that I enjoyed more, and after the great set up last week, this week the pay off felt like it fizzled it a bit.

The stand out part of the episode was the last five or six minutes between the Doctor and Clara in the coffee shop.  The way they lied to each other to make the other feel better, knowing that the other knew they were lying for their benefit was excellent.  The cut away scene to the Doctor losing it when he discovered that Missy had lied was a glimpse into what Capaldi can do and what the Doctor can be.  The pain and frustration was palpable.  The final few moments of the episode outshone the rest, and left me wanting more.

I hope the Doctor travels solo for a while and then picks up an alien companion.  I think we have had enough modern day England companions for now, time to mix it up and shake up life in the TARDIS.  Enough with the love stories, and the hokey sentiment.  Let’s see the Doctor get into a mess and figure his way out.

Looking forward to the Christmas special and then S9, until then, we waaaaaaaaaaaaait.