Oh boy, this one’s gonna be a toughy. 3 different episodes in one go. After thoughtful consideration, I’ll be going over the first two of these episodes individually as they are very different from each other. Here we go.
WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS FOR DOCTOR WHO SERIES 9 EPISODES 10, 11, and 12.
After another adventure, Clara and The Doctor get a call from Rigsy, the guy they met in last season’s episode ‘Flatline’. Rigsy’s woken up with a tattoo of numbers on the back of his neck slowly counting down to zero. Upon examining it, the Doctor discovers that when it stops, Rigsy will die. The problem is Rigsy has no memory of the previous day and no data from then on his phone. Now Clara and the Doctor must find out what happened to Rigsy and prevent his death. It’s a lot more interesting than it sounds. And Me is back. That’s important.
Also, no consequences from the last episode, no mention of the dust in Clara’s eyes. So, again, screw the previous episode.
The mystery is alright, but suspenseful though learning what it was all eventually for really makes the motivations seem needlessly cruel. I never really thought much of ‘Flatline’ outside of the stuff they did with the TARDIS and the Doctor, but Rigsy was sympathetic and the show made me care about him which I really didn’t in ‘Flatline’. Congrats to Joivan Wade. I’ll talk about Maisie Williams and the lead actors at the end of the review, but I enjoyed her return even if her motivations, again, seemed cruel. Also, Doctor…how did you know that would work? ….Watch the episode. You’ll get it.
The second episode finds The Doctor alone in an abandoned castle being stalked by a shrouded figure from his past. He doesn’t know where he is, how he got here, or how to get out. All he knows is that he’s here and he’s being watched. His only option is to confess. That’s all I’m say without spoilers.
This is easily one of the best Doctor-lite episodes since ‘Blink’ and is far superior to ‘The Woman Who Lived’. This is psychological horror at its best. The Doctor is alone, no friends, no allies, no plan, no backup, weapons for a damn, and nothing to lose. He has no idea what’s going or where he is and we don’t know until near the end. He and the audience are left to piece everything together on their on with the help of the Doctor’s memory palace, which makes three of my favourite shows that use this technique.
I’m told some didn’t like it, but then again as Doug Walker once sang “There’s even some people who didn’t like Toy Story 3.”
The third episode has the Doctor attempting to fix what happened to Clara and makes some very powerful enemies in doing so. The mystery of the Hybrid is touched on greatly, but isn’t really resolved…I think. Again, Spoilers.
Oh, did I mention this was Clara’s farewell story? I’m not going to miss Clara very much, but her exit was very sad though the second episode turns it into a bittersweet, but triumphant note. I think I preferred the sad ending, but it wraps up the season nicely.
I did enjoy the return to an area that’s long been absent since the show’s return and the confirmation of gender change in Regeneration though I do question the decision to not bring back Timothy Dalton…*Shrugs* This season’s been full of callbacks to the original series (with the exception of the last episode, why Mark why?) and I’m glad this made a return overall. It also proves once again that if something goes wrong with the Time Lords, it can all be pointed back to Rassilon (AKA The Biggest Dickbag in All of Time and Space).
The main actors did well. Peter Capaldi’s emotions are all over the place in these episodes, sad, angry, furious, hopeful, content, etc. The poor guy goes through the ringer in these episodes. Jenna Coleman’s farewell scene was sweet and sad though ultimately made pointless but the last episode though it does make space for a possible spin off that will probably never happen. Like I said, I’m not gonna miss Clara much.
Maisie Williams returns as ‘Me’ and gives a good performance as always. The character for me at least is frustrating in many ways but I enjoy the performance overall. Also, seriously? You brought it back? I liked the sunglasses!
Personally, I think prefer ‘Heaven Sent’ the best of the three. As for the season overall, I enjoyed it. I think Moffat’s been getting better with this new Doctor and it’s a shame that next season’s his last. However, he has been around a while and it is time for someone new to take over. I just hope that Peter Capaldi also leaves next season as I enjoy his Doctor a lot and I’m looking forward to the new companion Bill….I do have questions about her(?) though.
Alright, all that’s left is the Christmas Special ‘The Husbands of River Song’. Bring on River!
(Photo via BBC)