Monday, 25 August 2014

Shhhhhhh.....don't take a breath!

So, it's been a while now since I last blogged and yes, I know I'm very bad at keeping up, despite my promises to try and be around more now ever since my 30 days challenge, but at least the wait for a new post hasn't been as long as the wait for the new Doctor Who!

Peter Capaldi bursted onto our screens last night in the latest, and perhaps boldest, incarnation of The Doctor to date, but what were my thoughts...?

WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

"Shhhhhh....."
                    Right from his opening lines, Capaldi had me hooked. No, I'm not talking about last night; I'm talking about back at Trenzalore. 

Whilst Matt smith's departure left not a dry eye in the house, it was followed so quickly by the manic introduction of Capaldi that Moffat barely gave fans time enough to grieve. To Clara's complete and total shock, Capaldi burst forth with such witty and eccentric lines as "new kidneys...I don't like the colour..." and "Tell me, do you know how to fly this thing?" after Timelords, trapped inside another dimension lost in time and space, reached out to grant him a whole new set of regenerations.

Last night, in the opening minutes of a brand new episode, "Deep Breath", the madness of King George continued. It is immediately obvious that Capaldi's regeneration has obviously not gone to plan when he refers to Clara as "Thingy", and believes her to be the reincarnation of his old companion, "Handles". He is The Doctor, she is "The one who isn't The Doctor" , and it is as though he barely recognises The Paternoster Gang. Indeed, at one point he even confuses Strax and Clara because they are the same size, and 
suggests that they wear labels so he can tell them apart.

A dinosaur is loose in Victorian London, and the only one who can send the lonely and distraught creature is The Doctor. 

The dinosaur was beautifully imagined, and a nice, nifty modern-day throwback to the Classic Era. When the Tardis is spit out of the dinosaur's mouth, coated in saliva, it is a brilliant start to what ends up being one of the greatest post-regeneration episodes ever shown. 

From the trailers that I saw pre-last nights Doctor Who, I have deliberately avoided any of the leaked spoilers Sweetie, it looks as though this throwback to Classic episodes is going to be an ongoing theme. Even the clockwork robots last night looked like something out of Tom Baker or Jon Pertwee's Doctor episodes. Yes, I know, they were actually a throwback to Madame Pompadour and The Lady in the fireplace, but still they had a really old school feel to them that would have fitted in perfectly pre-Russell.T.Davies and Stephen Moffat.

Talking of Pertwee and Baker, Capaldi's interpretation seems to be channelling a little bit of both. Last night I thought he came across as more ruthless, more eccentric, more serious and more dangerous than we have seen before in this modern Who, with the trademark humour of Tom Baker's Doctor ever present. I loved the way he sort of - kind of explained the familiarity of his face without actually doing so ("I never know where these faces come from..."), and was I the only one who thought he might have sub-consciously chosen to be Scottish because of little Amelia Pond? ("You're Scottish, fry something,")
Certainly she got a brief mention - "it's at times like this, I miss Amy!" though in a blink and you'd miss it reference.

The seriousness of this new era was also summed up later in the episode, right before the bit where we got Matt Smith shoeing up again for one last hurrah. "I'm not your boyfriend, Clara," Capaldi says; "I never thought you were," she replies. "I didn't say that was your mistake," Capaldi answers. This, to me, suggests that finally he realises he can't go on acting like a child. If he IS the last Timelord,  and we don't know yet if or how he is going to be able to bring them back, then he needs to start acting like it. "I've made lots of mistakes," he says, "time I did something about that!"

A lot of people online hated Smith's final swan song. I liked it. It worked to drum into people's heads, all those hates out there who think Capaldi is too old, that this IS the same man; just a different, wiser face. A lot of this episode seemed to be aimed at getting this message across including when Madame Vastra reiterated that The Doctor is hundreds of years old, what find you expect he should look like?

Of course, a new series means a new story arc and fans got this in the form of Missy; a deranged woman who believes herself to be The Doctor's boyfriend. What part she plays remains to be seen, but her inclusion so early was a nice surprise to me as I hadn't expected her until the final episode where I have seen her being filmed. (Okay, maybe I've seen one or two spoilers Sweetie, but I won't tell...)

Several mysteries remained unanswered. Who gave Clara The Doctor's number in the shop? Who organised for the two of them to meet in the 'restaurant' in this episode if it wasn't either of them? (and that was a funny scene that worked brilliantly to emphasis their new relationship!)

More importantly, just who the hell IS Missy? Yes, I know I kind of asked this already, but it's important alright?

With the next episode called Into The Dalek, (to which my wife responded 'Daleks, already?') I am already excited and looking forwards to seeing more of Capaldi.

I don't care what anyone else says...I think he did a cracking job, and I think the next twelve weeks I am going to be in for one hell of a ride!doctor who, 






1 comment:

Jane Hanbury said...

Great review Mark. I too enjoyed Peter Capaldi's first outing as the Doctor and I am looking forward to the rest of this series.