Doctor Who (8.1): “I’m not flirting!”

Doctor-Who-Series-8-Peter-Capaldi-600x337(As always, don’t read on if you don’t want spoilers)

No disrespect to Peter Capaldi (we will get to his superbness in a moment) but in order to discuss the first proper appearance of the Twelfth Doctor, I’d like to briefly revisit the first proper appearance of the the Tenth.

Not because both wander round in their nightwear, or because the villain falls through London skies to his death in both debuts either.

“Don’t you think she looks tired?”

With six words the Doctor brought down Prime Minister Harriet Jones. And now I can’t help but think Steven Moffat’s scripts are looking tired too. And wonder if the brilliance of the new Doctor is going to increasingly show this up.

Introducing a new Doctor is a challenge and having the companion struggle to cope with the change is entirely reasonable way to deal with it, but Clara is still too annoying and not interesting enough for me to care that she doesn’t like the new man. He is, after all, Peter fucking Capaldi. Never less than mesmerising and with the bonus that he’s allowed to be properly Scottish. I just want to tell her to get a grip.

There were too many moments in Deep Breath when I knew where the gags and/or the story was going and, while Matt Smith’s brief appearance was a lovely, it was one of the few genuine surprises.

Enough of my grumbles though, let us focus on the good stuff.

  • Peter Capaldi.
  • Peter Capaldi
  • And did I mention Peter Capaldi? What a class act that man is. Imagine if he was your first – Your Doctor. It’s almost enough to make me wish I were seven years old again. I know that this Doctor is going to break my heart a hundred times over. It’s cracked already – by his pain when Clara says, “I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry … but I don’t think I know who you are anymore.”
  • “I’m not flirting!” He might have been talking to the dinosaur, but we all know it’s a mission statement for Twelve and it’s long overdue.
  • The idea that he’s picked this face because he’s seen it before, and that it’s a message to himself is a neat one – as long as we actually find out what the message is. What exactly did Lobus Caecilius teach the Doctor in Pompeii? (I’m assuming he doesn’t know about John Frobisher…)
  • I guess there’s meta humour in cannibalising your own plots to produce a new story about clockwork robots scavenging flesh to make repairs.
  • Strax discovering Clara likes “muscular young men doing sport. Is that sport? It could be sport” All that Sherlock fan art and slash fiction must have made an impact on Steven Moffat. Speaking of which, do we know if Insp Gregson is a Lestrade-based meta joke? I do hope so.

I’ll be back for more, of course. Drawn by the charisma of Capaldi and in the constant hope that they’ll find a way to make me care about Clara. And with the difficult Doctor’s debut episode out of the way, things can only get better…

Posted by Jo the Hat

8 Comments

Filed under Dr Who

8 responses to “Doctor Who (8.1): “I’m not flirting!”

  1. Malie

    Speaking of which, do we know if Insp Gregson is a Lestrade-based meta joke? I do hope so.

    Not a Lestrade-based meta joke, just a reference to the original Conan Doyle stories. Inspector Tobias Gregson was another detective at Scotland Yard, and appears in various Sherlock Holmes stories like A Study In Scarlet and The Greek Interpreter. Holmes says he’s the smartest of the Scotland Yard detectives, but Gregson is often overlooked in adaptations in favour of Lestrade (probably because Lestrade appears in more of the original stories – 12, compared to Gregson’s 4).

  2. holbylover819

    I was uselessly hoping that Clara really would leave. I’m not sure if it’s her lines or the actress but she’s so not up to the standard of Rose/Martha/Donna/Amy/Rory or even Mickey! I’m still going to keep an open mind and give her a shot though.
    Also, I love Madame Vastra and co. They’re brilliant.

  3. Eilis

    I don’t mind Clara, much prefer her to the irritating Rose but Donna is my favourite of the recent companions. I thought the Matt Smith cameo was a failure of nerve on the producers’ part – a plea to all those young fans to stay with an older Doctor.

    I love Peter Capaldi and so glad to see him in this. We’re the same age and I remember seeing the first episode with William Hartnell when I was five. I’m not a fan of these overblown getting-used-to-a-regeneration episodes and thought it only really found its feet when they met up in the restaurant.

    The tramp was played by Brian Miller, Elisabeth Sladen’s husband.

    • vickya

      William Hartnell was my doctor, so older is not a problem. Couldn’t stand Matt Smith, and seeing him pop back was a nasty surprise for me. Don’t like Clara at all, loved Rose, liked Donna at the time but am re-watching David Tennant episodes and no longer like Donna. She is always Catharine Tate. I think having seen her fail in Much Ado and drag Tennant down too spoiled her as Donna for me. Actually I liked the 9th doctor almost more than the 10th. The dinosaur lady and wife would make good companions.

  4. Kyala

    I am sure that a few episodes ago clara became the impossible girl by going through all his timeline and fixing things. As such, I am confused as to why he is surprised at his regeneration?

  5. lilybet

    I loved Capaldi’s performance and JLC actually got some space to move in this one, but the whole thing to me felt like Moffat’s device to push his own agenda down the audience’s throat. And be not very complimentary whilst doing so. We know that he is a different Doctor. We do get it. If all we cared about was “pretty” boys, then we wouldn’t have continued watching once Peter Capaldi had been announced.

    But to constantly ram down our throats “no flirting”, “different”, “give him a chance”, is pretty insulting. We were there, watching the episode, to give him a chance. And we might have had a better once, had he not broken off from the plot every 2 minutes to remind us of it.

    And to use Clara, who is supposed to be the audience’s gateway to the show, to insult certain factions of his audience: “reflected narcissism”, “control freaks” and “pretty, young men exercising” smacks of condescension.

    Couple that with, let’s face it, a pretty shaky plot, I do agree with you, I think he is getting tired.

    Maybe, with the Beeb pushing for a full 13 eps in a row, plus 4 episodes of Sherlock only 12 months after the last lot, he is having trouble coping. Maybe it’s time he did look to handing the reins to someone else.

  6. Tim

    I think Clara’s vastly improved now that we’ve left the Impossible Girl storyline behind. I thought her face-off with the droid captain was great astuff – and not something that would have ever worked with Ten or Eleven. You have to believe Twelve might just be abandoning her for real, and the combination of script, Capaldi and Coleman carry this off well.

    And Capaldi is just awesome. There’s proper alienness there, and he’s properly ambiguous too. Much though I loved Tennant and Smith, this is a new direction that was desperately needed.

    The story wasn’t overly original, but it served its purpose. Judge Moff and Capaldi on the remaining 11 episodes, but I liked the tone of this one.

  7. Jane Thomas

    I think Peter Capaldi will make this his own. After all he is without doubt a damn fine actor and will make a super Doctor Who, given the right script and fellow actors.

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