Beware spoilers for Doctor Who series 8, episodes 1 and 2.
Since my first few steps into the TARDIS, I’ve managed to watch a few more recommended episodes of Doctor Who here and there, including The Doctor’s Wife. I hadn’t realizes this episode was written by Neil Gaiman until later, but I can definitely see Gaiman’s penchant for writing supporting characters who are far more than what they seem. I’ve also watched Vincent and the Doctor, which a friend describes as one of the best depictions of the painful relationship between depression and genius.
With my limited Doctoring, I can’t really determine which of the recent ones are my favourite. Both David Tennant and Christopher Ecclestone had their merits, but with the introduction of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, I’m making a commitment.
Prior to Capaldi’s first episode, Deep Breath, I paid vague attention to the criticism over his brash nature, and his age, but I’m already impressed with the show for dealing with the latter especially, through (un) subtle commentary about ageism, and prejudice in general.
“You can’t see me, can you? You look at me and you can’t see me. Do you have any idea what that’s like?
I’m not on the phone. I’m right here. Standing in front of you.
Please. Just… Just see me.”
As far as companions go, I know nothing of Clara. While I can’t lay claim to a Doctor, I will give Rose Tyler all my feels. If I watch many more of the older episodes, it will most likely be for her, though I dread having to watch her departure.
If I’m understanding correctly, the companion is meant to be the Doctor’s conscious. Clara is definitely going to need her Jiminy Cricket set to maximum with the 12th Doctor.
In the first episode, he is blunt and filter-free, even with Clara, despite his need of her. Both the current and previous Doctor stress that there is a high level of fear for 12 that makes Clara more important than ever. In Into the Dalek, the fear issue continues, though it becomes clear that this fear, while nebulous, focuses on whether or not he is a good person. This is questionable. In the first episode, it is implied that he kills the robot harvesting human (and dinosaur) body parts to rebuild itself. The robot isn’t exactly good, but there is a lot of emphasis placed on whether or not the Doctor is any better. And then the robot ends up in “heaven” with the mysterious Missy. But more on that later.
Back to episode two, the Doctor spends the first half being an asshole, showing no respect for the human lives lost, in deference to the feelings of those who survive them. His reactions are pithy and practical, and he is not at all ignorant of their feelings or why they have them. And he’s not unaware of how he comes across, and makes no apologies for it.
My carer. She cares so I don’t have to.
I had begun to question Clara’s qualifications as such when she up and bitch slaps him, demanding he be more respectful. He does turn around at that point, and it felt genuine, rather than him simply doing it to appease her. He seems genuine when he makes the promise to the soldier who sacrifices herself (and ends up with Missy). And he seems genuinely wounded when he fails to convert the Dalek into a good Dalek, because the creature sees darkness in him.
We’ve been promised a darker Doctor with this incarnation, so I’m all for the exploration, especially since my 6yo will be joining me. She’d snuck in to watch earlier episodes with me, but I cut her off, deciding that Tooth and Claw would inspire nightmares. After catching the last bit of Into the Dalek, she fervently informed me that she could handle the Doctor. Now she and I can see if my theory is correct about Mistress Missy collecting people who sacrifice themselves in order to advance the Doctor’s mission at that time, and see how this whole theme of soldiers plays out. Regarding the latter, I was not at all surprised when the soldier asked to join the Doctor, but am pleasantly intrigued by his refusal…