Doctor Who Season 8 Premiere

In the final moments of “The Time of the Doctor,” Matt Smith said goodbye to Clara and the TARDIS and regenerated into Peter Capaldi.  After months of waiting, fans around the world are able to see Capaldi make his official debut as the Doctor.


Note, my sweeties, that this post contains SPOILERS.

And, in his usual way, the Doctor shows up with a bang! The TARDIS finds itself inside a dinosaur and, as citizens watch, is coughed up into Victorian England alongside the Paternoster Gang!  And like he normally does, he gets so involved in one situation that he fails to notice any changes.  

However, this regeneration is a bit unique, as the Doctor struggles to become his new self and get to know his new surroundings.  This time, the Doctor is involved in the first of a new set of regenerations. It’s as if the Doctor is brand new and investigating the world around him, and Madame Vastra confirms this when she notes that the Doctor is a “stranger.”  I can only recall that David Tennant’s Doctor had a similar experience when he regenerated – spending days in a coma as the Sycorax attacked the Earth. But they both ran around in their jammies, which is quite an entertaining sight.  

Despite his changes, the Doctor is still himself – always caring about those in need.  This time, the dinosaur.  And he always spots oncoming trouble.  This time, the mysterious, half-masked character in the crowd.  

And like everyone in the audience, and many companions before her, Clara struggles to accept the initial change that the Doctor has made.  As Madame Vastra notes, Clara saw the Doctor with a young face and forgot that he is truly old.  He is no longer the young, dashing man that we saw in Matt Smith.  Her interactions with the Doctor clearly show her adjustment to a new face, paralleling Jenna Coleman’s adjustment to a new actor.    

Did anyone else recognize that garden from “The Girl Who Waited,” or am I just crazy?  Also, what about this Missy?  I thought only River Song could claim the Doctor – I guess we have to wait until the next episode to see where Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and the entire cast and crew take us.
In addition to spontaneously combusting bodies reported by Vastra, Mancini’s restaraunt is filled with clockwork droids (throwback to “The Girl in the Fireplace”) who act only when the Doctor and companion act.  And the moment arrives when the Doctor and Clara are taken hostage by a clockwork droid waiter.  From here, the action continues with the Doctor and Clara facing a cyborg that is attempting to become human.  

It is during this that we see a shocking side to the Doctor – one who would willingly leave his companion in the midst of danger.   Yet, he never fails to return – coming back to save Clara from the human-to-be.  Along with him, the Paternoster Gang to build up back-up forces.  

While everyone is saying that Capaldi’s characterization is going to be much darker, audiences should be aware that the change is not shown until the most obvious moment.  A man who once refused weapons of any kind and fought for life (look to David Tennant’s incarnation) is now someone who killed (as I mentioned, SPOILERS) his enemy.  As he says himself, he was lying about his basic programming.  

Critics of the episode have said that Clara seems to be the only one who develops, but that is up to the viewer.  Others say that the success of this doctor is not yet known.  While we may be so excited to see the episode that we overlook any flaws, it is still the Doctor and every regeneration comes with adjustment.  All we have to do is follow the Impossible Girl’s lead and trust that the Doctor will continue to take us on amazing journeys through time and space.

Photo courtesy of BBC and Doctor Who.
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