I had the privilege of watching the Doctor Who season eight finale mere hours ago… without knowing it was the finale.
I kind of had a feeling it was the finale, and all the twists and turns in the episode suggested that it was indeed the finale, but seeing as I’m at times daft and unattentive, I was unaware of how important the episode was until I saw that it was indeed “the season finale”. Whoops.
**SPOILERS WILL SOON FOLLOW. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE ENTIRE SEASON AND WISH TO, I HIGHLY SUGGEST NOT GOING ON ANY FURTHER**
Season eight marks the official debut of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor after seeing a glimpse (his eyes) in Day of the Doctor and seeing my beloved Matt Smith regenerate into Capaldi. As I attended the Doctor Who World Tour stop in Sydney, I was privileged to watch Deep Breath before it premiered all over the world on its official date. Deep Breath was a HUGE start for Who, showing just how well-suited Capaldi is as the Doctor, proving doubters that he will have no problem filling the shoes left behind by the likes of William Hartnell, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant.
On that note, if I may take a moment to self-promote, here’s a clip of Capaldi making his grand entrance on stage at the Sydney portion of the World Tour. At the 1:02 mark, that is when Capaldi spotted me in the audience waving at him… and then he waved back. I died. Just to illustrate my feelings at the moment in time.
I’m going to say it: if Capaldi was the greatest thing about this season, coming in a close second is Michelle Gomez. I thought John Simm was an incredible Master, but Gomez REALLY blew me away as the Mistress. She was absolutely phenomenal in her role and, just like Simm, made it hard to hate her because she was that damn infectious… albeit a cray-cray kind of infectious.
Besides Deep Breath, there were a few other episodes in the season eight that, to me, really shone. The first that I’d like to mention is Robot of Sherwood, which focused on the legend of Robin Hood (or not-a-legend, if you’re going to go down that route). The storyline in that episode was going okay – not great, just okay – until the massive swerve at the end which suddenly made the episode a WHOLE lot more interesting. Include the humorous interactions between the Doctor and Hood and you’ve got yourself a stellar episode.
Another episode that really stood out was Mummy on the Orient Express. The episode took a kind of old-fashioned “who dunnit” approach, although instead of “who was the murderer”, it was “who is going to be murdered next by a mummy that only the person about to die can see”. Writer Jamie Mathieson could not have capitalised any more if he tried; the episode was a total hit, with engaging interaction, well-placed humour and an attention-grabbing storyline that had me at the end of my mattress for the entire episode.
Along with the good comes the bad: In The Forest of the Night particularly stands out as disappointing. The plot was confusing and the acting on some of the children’s behalf was shoddy, not that I can hold it against them, being so young and all. Especially coming after the mumy episode, it really should have knocked it out of the park but it barely hit it off the tee.
One story arc I really didn’t like during season eight also was Clara and Danny. The story seemed forced together to give Clara another dimension other than perfect and prim companion to the Doctor. Realistically, they had been on like one date and then declared their love for each other. Danny, as a character, was annoying, and I couldn’t find anything really that I liked about him. I wasn’t too big a fan of Clara in season seven but she’s growing on me.
It is because of this story arc that I didn’t completely love the season finale. The fact that Danny saved the world was a bit how ya goin’ for me. Regardless, Death in Heaven was still a fantastic episode, if only to see Michelle Gomez do her thang.
This was a definite treat for Whovians all over the world, and was a great taste for what Capaldi can bring to the much coveted role of the Doctor. Capaldi is fantastic in his role and I can’t wait to see what else he can do.
– by Noah La’ulu