Like most of the world, I have been sucked into the strange Television show of “Doctor Who.” While I do not think that it is the best show ever aired or produced, it is still enjoyable and is something that I am glad I was told to give a chance (from many, many various sources). After watching the first episode (pre-air with all of the glorious unfinished CGI effects and even the aired version with everything finished) I have noticed a LOT of mixed views from fans of the show (young and old) and so I thought I would share my own opinion as someone who is not as hardcore about the show as most and still relatively new (within the last year) to the show itself.
With that said, I feel that my views can be seen as unbiased and I will try to look at things as constructively as possible. Feel free to comment or respond to my review how you like with your opinion, however if you do choose to, please be courteous and add more than “I hate it/him.”
I will add this now, THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD so be warned now that if you do not want any do not continue reading, I repeat, do not continue reading.
Okay, where to begin but with the beginning! When we first see the episode start off there is a T-Rex running rampant in Victorian England. People are screaming and the trio; Jenny Flint, Vastra and Strax are watching the events unfold. We are informed by Vastra that the beast is female and it starts to choke, coughing up the Tardis. With Vastra’s technology she produces an instrument that can be used to keep the dinosaur in place for the time being while the three investigate the TARDIS and discover that the Doctor has newly regenerated.
Now, I don’t remember if either one of them had seen the Doctor as Tennant’s character, but they are understandable questionable as to whom he is. I find the writing of the episode a little odd, as Clara didn’t know whom he was and was demanding for the other Doctor to come back. This struck me as odd considering she had jumped into the Doctor’s time-stream and should, by default, know that he does regenerate, so this happening to him shouldn’t be a surprise to her. Regardless, the Doctor passes out which is normal for him each time he regenerates to have moments where he blacks out.
As the episode progresses the Doctor swears to the dinosaur that he will save her and get her home, Clara is questioned by Vastra on what happened and accuses her of missing her “pretty boy” Doctor. Clara is offended (again, she should know what is going on and shouldn’t be nearly as negative on the regeneration) and the Doctor, Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Clara all take off when the Dinosaur suddenly explodes. When the meet the Doctor again, they notice one person out of a crowd of spectators that was not as amazed and terrified at the spectacle happening, the Doctor decides to pursue his instincts, jumps into a river and swims off. Meanwhile, the next morning, Clara gets hit in the head with a newspaper thrown by Strax, gets picked on more by him, and finds in the newspaper a note for “Impossible Girl” that she assumes the Doctor wrote for her.
Honestly, even though I’m not a fan of Clara, I did feel that the amount of time that the other characters pick on her, essentially making her a huge joke/comic relief character, was a bit too far. She might not be as capable as other companions, such as Amy or even Rose and Donna, but she’s got more potential to her character than that and I feel as though Moffat was trying to make us not really care much for her so that when she leaves she won’t be missed.
Clara leaves and meets up with the Doctor at a restaurant where something peculiar is happening: the people in the joint aren’t eating; they are merely going through the motions. Trying to leave, they are surrounded by robots and eventually get dragged down into an underground lair where they find an ancient robot that is slowly gathering human parts, making himself more human in order to find the “Promised Land.” He explains they needed the dinosaur in order to help their process. The Doctor leaves Clara to get the help of Vastra, Jenny and Strax who all show up to help Clara and eventually stop the robot from continuing on with his charade in killing humans. There is debate whether or not the Doctor pushed him or he jumped off feeling the guilt that humans feel, as he essentially has become more and more human over the years.
He wakes up at the end in a garden, greeted by Missy who claims that the robot had a run in with her boyfriend (the Doctor possibly, or… perhaps not? I’m kind of hoping for an appearance of the Master at some point) and asked whether or not he was pushed or jumped. Clara gets a call from Smith’s Doctor who reassures her that the man she’s with is the Doctor and that she should accept him. A nod, I’m assuming, to all of the fans who are upset that Smith is now gone.
I personally really like Capaldi so far; he has this new air to the character of the Doctor that is somewhat reminiscent of the original Doctors. However, I keep seeing a lot of mixed thoughts online over him between people loving him so far or hating him and judging him from one shown episode. I will be honest here and express that I really didn’t care much for Smith’s version of the Doctor. I started the series from 2005 and forward, watching all of the episodes in order and then found a place to watch some of the Classic Who (not Netflix) and have (still) slowly started to move forward from the original up to the new again. From what I’ve seen, Smith has been my least favorite run of the Doctor, I loved the stories, the companions, the way most of it was handled, but towards the end I just did not have that same feeling I had for Eccelston or Tennant where I felt bad for the Doctor regenerating, that the others had grown on me. Smith did not grow on me, he had the potential to but with the last episode of his reign as The Doctor, I just could not feel bad about his regeneration as the episode was poorly handled, rushed and there was too much in the ways of convenience factors.
Despite all of that, I still enjoyed the stories that came from Smith’s Doctor; I still enjoyed the companions, the cleverness and mixture of childlike innocence with a hidden darkness that he didn’t want to show to others. While I really loved Hartnell as the Doctor and was sad to see him turn into Throughton, I enjoyed Throughton in the end, just as I enjoyed Eccelston and Tennant.
I do not understand all of the hate associated with Capaldi right now, despite there only being one official aired episode of his Doctor, the hate I am seeing is majorly from young fans who were probably only in love with the actor of the Doctor and not the Doctor himself. There have been a few older fans that are also not fond of him, but I find it incredibly hard to really gage something based on only one episode. As someone who is still new to Doctor Who (and enjoyed what I’ve seen so far) I find that if you really love something, you will accept the bad with the good and love it for what it is, not who it is. The Doctor is still The Doctor, no matter the face he wears or the clothes he dons and if the bit from Matt Smith at the end of the episode wasn’t enough to encourage fans to love Capaldi just as they loved him, then I feel that a lot of new fans will no longer be fans of the show currently airing and for that it makes me feel sad for their loss.