“Doctor Who Series 8 Review”

November 12, 2014



Another series of Doctor Who has come to an end, and this series turned out to be one of my absolute favorites. This season had it all; action, drama, suspense, fear, and laughter. To top it all off, we got to see Peter Capaldi shine as The Doctor. I wanted to do a review of the twelve episode series, go over my favorite parts, and my thoughts on the main characters. Fair warning, this ledger will include spoilers.


“Deep Breath” by Steven Moffat

This was a great way to start off the series. For much of the episode, we have The Doctor having to get his bearings on the sort of man he is now. There was a great deal of humor in this, but what I enjoyed even more was Clara’s initial response to The Doctor’s new appearance. I feel this was Steven Moffat’s answer to all the Matt & David fans (the ones that only watch the show because The Doctor was “hot”). The matter was handled very well by Vastra & Jenny. Best of all was the climax with The Doctor & the Half-Face Clockwork Droid. This was where the point was made that this man is still The Doctor. The ending was quite emotional, but helped enforce that The Doctor is still The Doctor, no matter what he looks like or how he acts.


“Into the Dalek” by Phil Ford & Steven Moffat

This episode was a great adventure, that also explored the soul of The Doctor. It showed more of his humor & enjoyment, but also his desire to actually “cure” Daleks of their hatred. While Rusty may have seen hatred in The Doctor’s soul, I think it may not be for the Daleks themselves, but for their actions & cruelty. I hope we do end up seeing Rusty at some point in the future.


“Robot of Sherwood” by Mark Gatiss

Fun, that is the word I can best use to describe the episode. I enjoyed seeing The Doctor have to try & figure out, and eventually come to terms with the fact that a fictional hero & his gang were indeed real. It felt like an ongoing mystery game, with added bits of adventure & humor.


“Listen” by Steven Moffat

BEST. EPISODE. EVER. Okay, let me go ahead and say it here. Yes, before the season started, I found & read the first five episode scripts. This did not deter my enjoyment of the series what-so-ever. Now, when I read the script for “Listen” I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it would end up being my new all time favorite episode.


Here is what made “Listen” so amazing for me. At first glance it all seems like an intense thriller episode. Then when you get to the end, you see Clara once again have an immense role in The Doctor’s life. Plus the strong moral that someone does not have to carry a weapon, in order to be a hero & save lives. However, when you look closer you can see another part, the destiny.


When Clara was synced with the TARDIS telepathic link, it sent her & The Doctor to Danny’s childhood. This could only be done BECAUSE her & Danny’s lives are connected. Just because Clara’s phone rang, and she thought it was Danny, would not be a strong influence to send the TARDIS into Danny’s life. The link with Clara read all of her timeline, and therefore knew that her & Danny were intertwined.


So why is this important? What about this makes it my favorite part of the show? Because it shows how we are all connected, in some ways. Think about it, had even the smallest of events changed in your own life, the most meaningless interactions with some individuals not occurred, would you be the person you are today? This one episode helped show just how each & every one of us are actually connected to each other, and in turn, help shape not only our own lives, by the lives of every person we come in contact with. We all have an impact on one another, be it large or small.


“Time Heist” by Stephen Thompson & Steven Moffat

A fun crime mystery, only following those committing the crime. This was another fun episode. I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery as the episode progresses. The Teller made for an interesting creature, and nicely designed too. I always love seeing scenes where everything finally starts to  link up in The Doctor’s mind, and this had it perfectly.


“The Caretaker” by Gareth Roberts & Steven Moffat

So funny, so immensely funny. I loved seeing the Doctor being sly & witty in this episode, and Clara over reacting to just his presence. The Skovox Blizter had a great design to him, and a good reason for his threat. The interaction between The Doctor & Danny irked me, but I’ll get to that when I go over Danny’s character.


“Kill the Moon” by Peter Harness

Part thriller and part space drama. I enjoyed this episode for it’s really scary moments, as well as giving Courtney some character development. I never saw Courtney as just another annoying teen, and this episode helped by giving her growth, and helping her see there is much more to life. The idea of the Moon being a large egg for some space creature was unique. Then using it’s hatching to re-inspire Earth to explore space was excellent. Clara’s reaction to The Doctor leaving her, Courtney and Lundvik to make the life or death decision was understandable. However, as The Doctor explained, there are points in time where either decision can be made, and he was not qualified to make that choice. This could have been thanks to the mistake he almost made in “The Beast Below”.


“Mummy on the Orient Express” by Jamie Mathieson

I LOVE trains, so this episode all ready had that going for it. This turned out to be a very enjoyable murder mystery. The Mummy itself looked very nice. The guest cast were all good, especially Frank Skinner as Perkins. Throughout the episode, we saw more of The Doctor’s humor, as well as his determination to solve the problem. This again ends up infuriating Clara, but at the end she does seem to realize that the Doctor’s motivation is to always do what is right. She even seems to then see how she herself has become addicted to the rush & adventures.


“Flatline” by Jamie Mathieson

I admit, I did not have high expectations for this episode from the description & preview. I am so glad I was proven wrong. This episode had so much enjoyable humor, terror, and THE Doctor Moment. The Doctor just seemed to have so much enjoyment from not knowing. There were too many humorous gags and moments to count. The Boneless were a good, creepy monster. I greatly enjoyed Clara having to figure out how to recharge the TARDIS herself, and as she said, be The Doctor. But the BEST moment of the episode was when The Doctor came back, gave his speech and banished the Boneless. At that very moment, if you did not truly see Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, then you never will. Finally, seeing how The Doctor started to see how much damage he may be doing to Clara was fascinating.


“In the Forest of the Night” by Frank Cottrell Boyce

This was a good episode. I enjoyed seeing The Doctor have to deal with the school kids, and solve the mystery. I have to admit that I did see that the tree were there to help, not hurt, very early in the episode. Once again, Danny’s interactions with The Doctor and Clara were. . .not ones I cared for. Still, it was an enjoyable episode.


“Dark Water” & “Death in Heaven” by Steven Moffat

W O W! THIS IS DOCTOR WHO! I loved almost every second of both of these episodes. All series long we’ve built up to who Missy is, and what exactly she is doing with “Heaven”. These two episodes paid off so much.


It starts off with so much emotion with Clara loosing Danny. This leads to a superb confrontation & threat from Clara to The Doctor. I thought the reveal of it being fake was very well done, but even better was The Doctor showing that even though Clara hurt & betrayed him, he was still determined to help her.


The scenes in 3W were all great, but the best was the closing elevator door moment. We all knew the Cybermen were coming, but before the reveal I kept looking for the hints we were supposed to see. I knew the exoskeletons Dr. Chang mentioned were the Cybermen Suits, but the logo of 3W kept haunting me. I thought maybe it would be some forgotten part of Gallifreyan text. Then came those doors and I was wowed. That was a great reveal.


Missy’s reveal was excellently executed (though spoiled for some US viewers thanks to the official Doctor Who Twitter Account in the UK). Michelle Gomez did a superb job bringing new life to The Master. You got to see that this female regeneration of The Master is a real psychopath. She feels complete & utter joy in destruction and torture. All her scenes were some of the best of the series. I highly expect to see even more of her in the future. After all, she is The Master, and you can’t get rid of her that easily.


Seeing Danny have to deal with dying, and then fighting the Cyberman programming was well done. It was nice seeing him sacrifice himself, not only to save the planet, but also bring back the child he killed by accent in war. Still, I did not care for his harsh attitude towards The Doctor.


It was great seeing U.N.I.T. again in the episode. I love seeing Jemma Redgrave as Kate, and I greatly appreciate them making sure they honor the memory of her father; The Brigadier. I thought her initial confrontation with the Cybermen was very strong. Having U.N.I.T. and the world appoint The Doctor as the President of the planet was funny, and yet understandable. It was heartwarming to see that the Brigadier, even in Cyberman form, still would not do anything to harm the planet, but instead help The Doctor & save Kate.


The ending with The Doctor & Clara in the cafe was very well done. I thought having them both lie to one another, in order to part ways, was excellent writing. The most impactful for me, was seeing The Doctor go where Missy said Gallifrey was. You could see the torment on The Doctor’s face when he saw that nothing was at the coordinates. Then seeing him lash out and bash the console felt so immense and relatable. Clara and The Doctor’s goodbye was greatly done.


Then to have jolly old St. Nick interrupt the ending credits, that was a heck of a great tease.


So let’s move on to our main four characters of this series.


Danny Pink

I want to start with the only flaw the series had. Let me first say that I have no complaints with Samuel Anderson. He did a great job. My problems are with the CHARACTER of Danny. I just could never feel sympathy for Danny. I wanted to and thought I might, but then came his lashing out and smarting off to The Doctor. He treated him like he was some commanding General who didn’t care about the losses that his actions brought. Even to the very end, it felt like Danny resented The Doctor.

Yes, The Doctor wasn’t too welcoming towards Danny either, but that comes from The Doctor’s own personal experience with soldiers. Plus, as Danny pointed out, The Doctor just wanted Clara to have someone good enough in her life.


While Rory had similar feelings towards The Doctor at times, he still saw the good that The Doctor brought to the universe, and all the lives he saved. Danny saw The Doctor save the school from the Skovox Blitzer, and help make the world realize not to destroy the trees. Not to mention the other stories Clara likely told him. Yet Danny still seemed to resent the Doctor, and not even want to begin to understand him.


So in the end, I wasn’t too heart broken to see Danny leave. He did the right thing in the end. If he and Clara do still somehow end up together, that’s fine. But I like it best when characters appreciate The Doctor.


Clara Oswald

I thought Jenna Coleman did a great job this year. I was glad that we finally got to see Clara in the school environment, teaching the students, and trying to balance a normal life, and an adventure life with The Doctor. None of her reactions or interactions ever felt out of place or forced. I think my favorite episode for her would be “Flatline”, as I stated before, where she had to do so much of the work herself.








Missy (The Master)

Wow, this was a great Master. I loved John Simm’s Master as an ego-driven Time Lord. But Michelle Gomez’s portrayal was amazing. All the tiny bits throughout the series were always just enough to make you fear her, and still want to know who she was. Her reveal was amazing, and then she was allowed to just let loose. Seeing her kill & destroy without hesitation were scary, but still intriguing. The final confrontation with The Doctor really drove home how completely psycho she was. I truly hope Steven Moffat plans on bringing Missy back, and just using the line, “I escaped.”








The Doctor

I started watching Doctor Who in June of 2010, and ever since then David Tennant has been my favorite Doctor. However, that position is now in question. Peter Capaldi did the most amazing job this year. From the very beginning I never doubted that this man was The Doctor. There were so many excellent moments this year. I loved the humor, intensity, and force Peter brought to the role. This Doctor is not like any regeneration before, and that is what helps make the 12th Doctor so enjoyable. No, he is not as “user friendly” as before, but he still amazing. He loves what he does, he has fun doing it, and he will always stand for what is right. I don’t think there was a single scene with The Doctor that I didn’t like. Even the interactions with Danny, I still enjoyed everything The Doctor fired back with. Peter Capaldi is THE DOCTOR, and I’m betting, will soon become my favorite Doctor.


Final Thoughts

This was an amazing Doctor Who series. Even when some of the episodes didn’t perform quite was strong as others, I still found myself enjoying a fair amount of them. It turned out to be a thrilling & fun ride. Series 8 is perhaps the best Doctor Who series for me. Thank you to everyone who worked on, and made Doctor Who Series 8 an outstanding success.


Now I can’t wait to see what happens when The Doctor teams up with Santa Claus.




ALLONS-Y!

 

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