My goodness Peter Capldi’s first season on Doctor Who was a doozy, wasn’t it? I know it has caused some great divide in the fandom, and to be perfectly honest, I have mixed feelings about this season.
I will say that I really like how the Missy storyline tied everything together. Matt Smith’s last season was a little too all over the place for me with all of the time holes and such, it was really nice to have a coherent storyline that tied all of the new and old characters together. It made me think logically about how things were connected, instead of using time travel to justify anything and everything.
This season, we started out introducing the new regeneration, discovered that Clara and The Doctor are both each others’ heroes, and got to see Clara come into her own as a character and fall in love. We saw The Doctor be quite a terrible person, and we saw Clara be a fantastic Doctor. It was a roller-coaster of emotions, and left a lot of questions unanswered.
If I could change one things about this season, I would have put an episode between “Kill The Moon” and “Mummy On The Orient Express” where The Doctor was traveling without Clara. Her speech at the end of Kill The Moon meant so much more to me when I thought that she was actually done with The Doctor for good. Since she apparently came right back, now it seems like just a pretty speech with no real conviction behind it. I’d like to have seen her character actually follow through with her threats.
This season we did get to see Clara actually become a person instead of an enigma, and she also got a love interest with the introduction of Danny Pink. Danny was not my favorite character, but I think he served a good purpose as an alternative to The Doctor in almost every way. I do think that the soldier issue was a little heavy-handed. It was constantly brought up, discussed, and shouted about that Danny is a soldier and The Doctor despises soldiers. At the end of In The Forest Of The Night, it seemed like The Doctor finally had a degree of respect for Danny, and Danny was refreshingly level headed about The Doctor and Clara continuing their adventures behind his back. It ended up being resolved in Death In Heaven, when we saw that being a soldier isn’t a terrible thing, and then saw Danny be a great one. The Doctor even saluted, it was honestly a heartwarming moment. So while constantly raising the solider issue did serve a purpose because there was character growth on all parts, it just felt a bit ridiculous at times.
The flirting has been taken down considerably this season, although there were some seriously uncomfortable moments on “Mummy On The Orient Express.” So while it was a step in the right direction, I still miss the days of Donna and Ten. I miss the honestly of their relationship and their trust in each other. Platonic relationships are refreshing and lovely and, for some strange reason, rarely seen on film and television. I say strange because considering that 90% of the relationships one has in life are platonic, you would think that more of this would be carried over not just in Doctor Who, but in television in general. I’m not saying I wouldn’t flirt with The Doctor, I’m just saying I tend to have other things on my mind when I’m scared, worried, grieving, and/or running away from something that may be trying to kill me. Then again, everyone is different.
For me, this season wasn’t about The Doctor. This season was about Clara. I love Clara, but it seemed like The Doctor was playing second fiddle in his own show, and I don’t think that Capaldi was given a chance to truly shine. There was still quite a lot of fast talking and rambling speeches that sometimes made it seem like the writers were still writing for Matt Smith.
At the end of this season, I have a lot of questions. By far the largest is what was Clara going to tell Danny before he got hit by the car? I’ve seen a few theories speculating that Clara is terminally ill. I personally thought Clara was dying as well, and the trailer for Last Christmas certainly encouraged that thought. I was not expecting Jenna Coleman back for the next season. As much as I love both her and Clara, I am a little disappointed that she is back. Clara has said goodbye to The Doctor twice this season, only to take it back and start traveling again. The entire season showed her journey of choosing a normal life over the Doctor, and now she’s back in the TARDIS. It is very frustrating. My fear is that something tragic will have to happen to Clara in order for her to finally stop traveling, since clearly she isn’t following though with voluntarily leaving.
There are two things specifically from Last Christmas that I would like to touch on. First, why was The Doctor wearing a hoodie? That really irked me, it made me think that they were trying to make The Doctor look current and younger, both of which The Doctor shouldn’t be. The Doctor should never look like anyone you would just see walking down the street (just take a look at the Classic Who regenerations!). Capaldi’s first costume was in my mind a huge step in the right direction, so the hoodie really put me off. Secondly, I liked that when Clara was old, The Doctor truly didn’t see a change in her. He had been making a lot of rude remarks about female’ bodies and appearances this season, especially Clara’s, and many people (myself included) were getting quite upset. I am not saying this one moment justifies a season’s worth of insults, but it does show that this Doctor seems to see the soul instead of the body.
Next season, I’d like to see more of the Clara we got to see in “Kill The Moon” and “Flatline.” She essentially has nothing to loose now since the one thing tying her to reality was Danny, and Danny is gone forever. Since she’s back in the TARDIS, I’d like to see a large scale character shift. What I do not want to see is her turned into a plot device again, another “Impossible Girl.” We got to see more of Clara the character instead of Clara the enigma, I’d like to keep it that way.