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Doctor Who

Filtering by Tag: Jenna Coleman

"Death in Heaven" (Aired November 8, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

After watching the Series 8 finale, I had a startling realization: somewhere along the way this season, Clara became my favorite companion. Ever. And that’s saying something because I still cry at the thought of Rose leaving the show. But I love Clara’s flaws. She also knows how to be the Doctor, something that was recognized by the fact that Jenna Coleman’s name was listed before Peter Capaldi’s in the title sequence. The credits also showed Jenna Coleman’s eyes rather than Peter Capaldi’s. I’m probably just using this as proof to solidify what I’ve been saying all season: Clara is the most important companion we’ve seen. She influenced every single one of the Doctor’s choices when she became the Impossible Girl, and she is the one who told the Doctor to use his fear, thus sending him out into the world.

 

The episode picks up right where “Dark Water” left off, with Clara being pursued by the Cyberman in the office where she was last seen talking to Danny via Wi-Fi. When the Cyberman goes to kill Clara, she attempts to trick the Cyberman, using those lying skills she’s been working on all season. She tells the Cyberman she is not Clara Oswald, but rather the Doctor. (Which if this was “Flatline,” it wouldn’t be a complete lie…)

 

Back on the streets of London, Cybermen are lining the streets. Missy the Master pulls out her remote control (I don’t know what the heck that thing is called, but it controls the Cybermen, so I’m sticking with it), and as it looks like a cell phone, a young woman, who we find out is named Osgood, shows up to offer to take a picture of Missy and the Doctor. Ms. Osgood is sporting a bow tie (because they’re cool) and converse sneakers, channeling both Ten and Eleven (where’s the shout out to Nine, huh?!) Anyway, it turns out she works for UNIT, and we see Kate Stewart is there to try to stop Missy the Master and the Cybermen. However, before UNIT can really make a move, the Cybermen take off flying in to the air and form a dark cloud that spreads throughout the world.

 

In the Nethersphere, Danny and Seb notice the clouds spreading, and Seb tells Danny that he really isn’t in the afterlife. Rather, his consciousness has been uploaded to a data cloud (which is weird considering they’re still connected to their bodies, but maybe that’s part of the Timelord technology). Seb then tells Danny that he will be returning to his body.  

 

Back in London, Missy tells the Doctor that the dead will be returning. Before she can explain too much more, a UNIT soldier tranquilizes Missy. The Doctor starts to get upset, as he needs to know what is happening. However, he is soon tranquilized himself. Before he is completely knocked out, he tells Osgood that UNIT needs to monitor cemeteries.

 

Sure enough, the dark clouds begin to roll in over graveyards, and it starts to rain, but only within the grounds of the cemeteries. Water then starts to roll down the streets, and we see it flow into the funeral home where Danny’s body is being held.  He sits up, now as a Cyberman, knocks out the funeral home attendant, and takes a piece of paper to help show the audience it is, in fact, Danny.

 

At UNIT headquarters, the Doctor awakes to Kate telling him they had to ensure his loyalty to the people of Earth. The Doctor wants UNIT to help retrieve Clara, calling Clara his friend, correcting Kate after she referred to Clara as his assistant. Kate puts the Doctor on a plane, and begins to refer to him as President. It turns out, the leaders of Earth reached an agreement. If the Earth was invaded, then someone needed to be in charge for the whole planet, and everyone agreed it should be the Doctor. This essentially means the Doctor is in charge of an army, which as we know, isn’t really his thing considering he isn’t big on soldiers.

 

Back inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, Clara lists off facts about the Doctor to three Cybermen to try and convince them she’s the Doctor. The Cybermen are still not entirely convinced, until Clara goes to mention the Doctor’s real name. Another Cybermen shows up and insists that Clara is in fact, Clara, and begins to state facts about Clara’s life. Clara claims she’s a liar, and the Cyberman says he knows. He then knocks Clara out, and kills the other three Cybermen.

 

Back on the UNIT plane, the Doctor explains the rain coming from the Cybermen cloud is actually pollen. Once that pollen comes in to contact with compatible living matter, it can resurrect the dead as Cybermen. He also explains that Missy the Master went back through human history to insert the concept of an after life into human history. Now, that afterlife is emptying, and the consciousnesses of the deceased are returning to their bodies.

 

Sure enough, Clara awakens in a cemetery to find that Cybermen are arising out of gravesites. It’s terrifying: Cybermen + Zombies = Terrifying and oh so deadly (thus perpetuating the cycle of creating even more Cybermen, and wiping out all of the human race).

 

Because UNIT is comprised of the best and brightest, they decided to bring Missy the Master on the plane. She starts talking to Osgood. In the process, she’s able to free herself and kills Osgood, and the two guards that were supposed to be guarding her. Good job, you guys! Missy then picks up her remote control and summons Cybermen who begin attacking the UNIT plane.

 

In the graveyard, Clara notices that newly created and zombified Cybermen are kind of out of it, walking about almost like newborns. She spots one Cyberman who seems to be fully in control. Clara asks if he is the Cyberman that brought her to the graveyard. When the Cyberman says he knows Clara is the Doctor’s associate, Clara corrects him telling the Cyberman she is the Doctor’s best friend. She also tells the Cyberman she will never give up the Doctor because he is the one person she will always forgive, the one person she will always trust, and the one man she will never lie to. Because the Cyberman is actually Danny, this last detail breaks his heart, and he pulls off his mask. He tells Clara that he wants her to turn on the emotional inhibitor because he doesn’t want to feel anymore.

 

On the plane, Missy tells the Doctor she’s been up and down his timeline, meeting the people who will sacrifice their lives for him. In a way, his soldiers, though he does not wish to think of them in that way. The phone on the TARDIS begins to ring, and Missy explains to the Doctor that she was the one who brought he and Clara together, and kept them together. Clara is the control freak trying to control the man who can’t be controlled. Missy points out that the Doctor would go to hell for Clara (and in fact, he did).

 

And, of course, the Doctor answers the phone. Clara tells the Doctor Danny is a Cyberman, and she needs his help to turn on the emotional inhibitor. She feels she needs to do it because she’s the reason Danny is hurting. The Doctor doesn’t want Clara to do this. First, he’s afraid she’ll die. Second, he loves Clara and the last thing he wants is to see her sad. She tells the Doctor to either help her or leave her alone.

 

Following the conversation with Clara, Kate informs the Doctor and Missy the plane is being attacked by Cybermen. Missy then causes part of the plane to break off, sucking Kate out into the sky. Missy teleports herself away, and the Doctor soon is sucked out of the plane as well. Missy watches from the Nethersphere, disappointed this is how the Doctor is going to die. However, he is able to use his sonic screwdriver to fly his way to the TARDIS, very James Bond-like. When Seb demonstrates his appreciation for this skill, Missy kills him.

 

The Doctor takes the TARDIS to the cemetery and tells Clara not to turn on the emotional inhibitor. Doing so will mean Danny kills her. Danny promises he won’t harm Clara. The Doctor, referring to Danny as PE, seems genuinely sad to see Danny in this state. The Doctor tries to convince Danny to keep his emotions, explaining that the pain the Doctor feels is the thing that kept the Doctor from turning into the Master. Danny questions if the Doctor can feel pain, and the Doctor assures Danny that he can.

 

The Doctor tries to figure out the Master’s plan through Danny, considering he is now connected to the Cyberman hive mentality. Danny explains that his emotions need to be turned off in order to completely understand the plan. The Doctor is faced with a dilemma: allow Danny to go full Cyberman to try and save the day, or try and save Danny only to have all of humanity die. Clara knows that she has to do this for Danny, and insists the Doctor give her his screwdriver. Before she uses it to turn on the emotional inhibitor, she tells Danny “I wasn’t very good at it, but I did love you.” Like at the beginning of “Dark Water,” she promises Danny she won’t ever say those words to anyone else, and Danny reminds her he won’t either. She then uses the screwdriver to turn on the inhibitor, and then runs over to hug him. The Doctor freaks out, thinking CyberDanny will kill Clara, but he doesn’t. He tells the Doctor that the rain will fall again, causing all of humanity to die and rise again as Cybermen.

 

Then, Missy shows up all Mary Poppins like. She tells Clara she must feel like Death (like with the scythe and everything), and pulls out her remote control to turn Clara into a Cyberman. The Doctor knocks the remote control away, allowing Clara the opportunity to grab it when Missy isn’t looking, then resumes hugging CyberDanny. Missy demonstrates the ability her bracelet has to control all of the Cyberman, instructing all of them to move in unison, except for CyberDanny. Missy reminds the Doctor it is his birthday, then slaps the bracelet on his wrist, giving him full control of the Cyberman army.  Basically, it’s the Doctor’s worst nightmare. Missy explains to the Doctor that she doesn’t need an army “because armies are for people who think they’re right, and no one thinks they’re righter” than the Doctor. Now, the Doctor will determine every battle, war, and invasion with his Cyberman army. Missy asks if the Doctor trusts himself, and there are see flashbacks throughout the season: The Doctor asking if he’s a good man; Danny saluting; talking to the Dalek.

 

Finally, the question that’s plagued the Doctor all season is answered. He isn’t a good man, and he’s not a bad man. He’s not a hero, and he’s not a president. He’s not an officer. But he is an idiot with a TARDIS and a screwdriver and his companions. He doesn’t need an army with his companions by his side. He tells Missy that love isn’t an emotion, it’s a promise and points out that Danny didn’t move according to her instructions. Danny will never hurt Clara. We then see CyberDanny reciprocate Clara’s hug. The Doctor then throws the controlling bracelet to Danny, giving him full control of the Cybermen. CyberDanny explains that the army of the dead will now protect the living, and he and the other Cybermen fly up, and burn themselves and the clouds covering the Earth, and ending the threat.

 

Missy then gives the Doctor the coordinates of Gallifrey, telling him it has returned to its original location. Missy tries to insist that she and the Doctor can return together. However, Clara has Missy’s remote control and is about to use it to kill Missy. The Doctor stops her, and Clara says if the Doctor lets Missy live, then everything that happened happened for nothing.  As the Doctor goes to kill Missy, Missy asks that he say something nice. He simply says, “You win,” because if the Doctor kills her, Missy does win. She wanted to show that she and the Doctor are cut from the same cloth, that they both have this darkness in them. Killing Missy will show that it is in there. But before the Doctor can kill Missy, a Cyberman appears and kills Missy, thus sparing both Clara and the Doctor’s souls.

 

The Cyberman then points to a direction in the graveyard, and Clara and the Doctor run over to find Kate lying on the ground. The Doctor realizes the Cyberman was Kate’s father, Alistair. The Doctor salutes Alistair, the one thing Alistair always wanted from the Doctor while he was alive.

 

Two weeks later, Clara awakes to the sound of Danny’s voice. It turns out the bracelet CyberDanny used to control the army of Cyberman can also be used to travel between worlds. Clara thinks this means Danny is coming back, but Danny tells Clara there is enough power to send only one person back. He sends back the little kid he killed during the war, telling Clara she needs help find his parents. Danny apologizes to Clara, but tells her he had a promise to keep.

 

The Doctor shows up to met Clara. He notices that she’s wearing the bracelet, and assumes that means Danny has returned. Clara tells the Doctor she has bad news. Rather than let her explain, the Doctor thinks now that Clara and Danny are together, it means she won’t be travelling with him anymore. He tells her it is ok because he found Gallifrey, though we see that he didn’t actually find it. Clara then does the thing she said she would never do, she lies to the Doctor, telling him that she and Danny will be fine. She asks for a hug, and the Doctor consents. Clara asks the Doctor why he doesn’t like hugging, and he says, “Never trust a hug. It’s just a way to hide your face.” And sure enough, we see Clara and the Doctor both tearing up hiding from one another.

 

As the Doctor goes to get on the TARDIS, Clara tells him travelling with him made her feel really special, and she thanks him for making her feel special. He says, “Thank you for exactly the same.”

 

So, that’s it until the Christmas special. It’s a heartbreaking finale. Truly. I’m excited to see Nick Frost as Santa Claus, and how he will reunite Clara and the Doctor. And while I am DEVESTATED that Danny is dead, I hope they keep him that way. If the show runners somehow bring him back to life, it just further cements my concerns that the show runners are too intimated to have any real deaths and consequences. I don’t want Clara to be alone, but bringing Danny back seems like an easy way out. 

"Dark Water" (Aired November 1, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

“Dark Water” is the first part of the Series 8 finale. And I feel like an idiot. I can’t believe I didn’t figure out the big reveal until moments before. I knew the Cybermen were going to be a part of the finale, but throughout most of the episode, I missed that the 3W Company’s logo was the eyes of the Cybermen. I’m both excited for and dreading next week’s finale.

 

The episode begins with Clara calling Danny to apologize. He’s on the way to see her and asks if it can wait, but Clara insists that she tell him some things now. Clara has all the things she wants to talk about written on stickies, but the first thing she tells Danny is that she loves him. Danny says it back, as he makes his way through the park, ever closer to a busy road. Use a freaking crosswalk, Danny! Clara tells Danny that he is the last person she will say “I love you” to, and then Danny doesn’t respond. After a few seconds of silence, and the quietest car wreck of all time, there’s a woman’s voice on the phone, telling Clara that Danny had been hit and killed.

 

Clara is standing in her kitchen, trying to call the Doctor. Right then, Clara’s grandmother comes in to see her, telling Clara it’s ok to cry. But Clara is too upset, telling her grandmother Danny’s death was ordinary. She’s in such shock; she’s refusing to accept what happened. She tells her grandmother that she is owed something better. Finally the Doctor answers, and when he asks her what’s going on, and she doesn’t tell him about Danny. He then asks what he can do for her, and it’s clear Clara is going to try and save Danny.

 

Clara enters the TARDIS as if nothing is wrong. She sets about collecting the Doctor’s keys to the TARDIS. She also tells the Doctor she wants to see a volcano. In a nod to Peter Capaldi's previous stint on the show, he tells Clara that volcanoes are “rubbish.” Clara also asks the Doctor if she can have a sleeping patch, but he tells her no. She finds one, and slaps it against the Doctor’s neck.

 

The Doctor awakens to find himself at a volcano. Clara emerges from the smoke, holding all of seven of the TARDIS keys. Clara throws one into the lava, the one substance that can destroy a TARDIS key. Clara tells the Doctor she wants to save Danny, and every time the Doctor refuses to help her, she’ll throw another key. The Doctor tells Clara that if he helps her, they’ll create a time loop and paradox, which will disintegrate Clara’s timeline. This means no, so Clara throws another key in. She tells the Doctor she doesn’t care about paradoxes and throws all but one key into the lava. The Doctor, thinking Clara won’t throw the last key, refuses to do anything, but she throws the last key. She sinks to the ground sobbing, telling the Doctor she wishes she could say she’s sorry, but that she’d do it again.

 

It turns out though, this was all just a dream. The sleeping patch Clara tried to put on the Doctor actually induces dreams, and it doesn’t work on him. Instead, he applied it to Clara, and let the scenario play out. Clara asks what they do next, and the Doctor tells her “Go to hell.” Thinking it is the Doctor telling her off, Clara accepts this, knowing what she did was wrong. But the Doctor tells Clara they’re going to literally go to hell. He tells her each universe has a myth about where people go when they die, and he wants to check it out, and that they’ll try to bring Danny back. Clara is shocked that the Doctor would help her after she betrayed him. The Doctor responds saying that he cares for her so much; her betrayal changes nothing about how he feels.

 

Meanwhile, Danny wakes up in an office in the Nethersphere. Seb, Missy’s coworker, comes in and tells Danny that he is dead. Seb then asks if Danny’s body is going to be cremated, but Danny says he never really thought about it. Still in disbelief, Danny opens the curtain to find a giant city. Seb tells Danny he is in the underworld/Nethersphere/promised land – whatever you want to call it.

 

Like in “Listen,” Clara sticks her hands in the TARDIS to find the place where her timeline and Danny’s timeline will intersect again.  They arrive in a mausoleum, filled with tanks containing water and human skeletons. As the Doctor and Clara walk through, one of the skeletons’ head turns to follow them.

 

The Doctor finds a welcome book, which actually plays an introductory video for 3W, the Doctor and Clara’s location. The video doesn’t provide much information other than to say that they provide alternative solutions for people after death. After the video plays, Missy makes her appearance. She greets the Doctor by making out with him. She tells Clara and the Doctor she’s a welcoming android, with an intimacy setting, which seems odd considering all season it appears she was in charge of the Nethersphere. When the Doctor inquires as to who maintains Missy, she tells the Doctor she maintains herself, except for her heart. She then holds the Doctor’s hand up to her chest, and the Doctor looks incredibly confused. When the Doctor asks who maintains her heart, she calls in Dr. Chang, who escorts the Doctor and Clara into the next room to answer their questions.

 

Seb is still showing Danny around, and Danny asks the question that everyone thought a few episodes ago: what is up with iPads in the afterlife? Seb tells Danny they have Steve Jobs. Seb then asks Danny if he’s ever killed anyone. This is the question that has haunted Danny all season. Seb tells someone wants to speak with him, and sure enough it’s the little kid Danny believes himself to have killed during the war. Danny tries to talk to him, but the kid runs away when Danny tries to touch his hand. Seb explains to Danny that he is still connected to his body, and so anything that happens to his body, Danny will feel. Thus the cremation questions.

 

Dr. Chang starts to answer the Doctor and Clara’s questions. He explains the skeletons are in Dark Water, a substance that only shows organic matter. He tells them the skeletons are actually in a case that is hidden by the Dark Water, thus allowing the skeletons to appear to sit up right. Dr. Chang also tells the Doctor and Clara that their founder reversed white noise from televisions to receive messages from the dead. When he did so, he found one message being said by the dead over and over again: “Don’t cremate me.”

 

The Doctor refuses to believe what Dr. Chang is telling him. Dr. Chang, after scanning Clara telepathically, is able to set up a connection between Clara and Danny. The Doctor tells Clara to make sure she’s speaking to Danny, while he and Dr. Chang go investigate more. The Doctor is sure he’s missed something. He gets in the elevator, and right then the doors closed and I finally see the symbol for 3W is the Cybermen eye. Ahhhh! Can’t believe it took me that long!

 

Missy, meanwhile, activates the skeletons who all push a button in their tanks. As the Doctor and Dr. Chang find Missy again, the Doctor tells Dr. Chang there is something wrong with his droid. Dr. Chang tells the Doctor Missy is his boss. Missy then toys with Dr. Chang, telling him she’s going to kill him, but not until he says something nice. He’s stupid enough to say something, and she incinerates him. The Doctor notices the Dark Water levels are going down to reveal Cyberman. He also notices that there is some Gallifreyan technology, capable of uploading human thoughts and no emotions. He asks Missy how she got the technology, and that’s when it’s revealed when the Doctor felt Missy’s heart, he felt two heartbeats. She’s at Timelord. The Doctor tries to run outside of the building, but finds himself on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

 

Clara starts questioning Danny, trying to prove it’s him. Danny, unsure what to say, keeps telling Clara he loves her. Clara tells Danny she will come save him if she knows it is him. Thinking the only way Clara can get to him is if she dies, Danny refuses her help. He tells her again that he loves her, and Clara says if he says that one more time, she’ll end their conversation. Thinking it’s the only way to save her, Danny says it again. Clara ends the conversation. She spins around in her chair to find that the tank with the skeleton has transformed into a Cyberman.

 

After the conversation with Clara, Seb hands Danny an iPad, giving him the option to delete his memories. Danny doesn’t know this will turn him in to a Cyberman. If he knew, he certainly would not willingly turn himself into a solider. Right as Danny, goes to press the delete button, the reflection of the kid Danny thinks he killed shows up in the iPad.

 

The Doctor runs down the streets of London, trying to tell people to run and hide. Missy apologizes to the crowd, telling them it’s another crazy Scotsman running through the streets. Missy tells the Doctor that the key to the human race is that the dead outnumber the living. The Doctor asks once again who Missy is and she’s very annoyed. Missy is short for Mistress, she couldn’t keep calling herself…. THE MASTER!

 

Are you kidding me? I mean I figured it out when it was revealed she was a Time Lord, but how on Earth did I miss this before this episode. I feel like such a fool. And now, I have to wait 7 days to see how this all wraps up. Well played, Steven Moffat. Well. Played.

"In the Forest of the Night" (Aired October 25, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

After a couple of heavy episodes, “In the Forest of the Night,” returns the show back to a bit of lighter fare. The Doctor is back to saving the world, rather than a few individuals. The episode is an opportunity for the show to be a bit goofy before the two part finale, which I have no doubts will be some heavy stuff. It also is a chance for Clara to come clean about the lies she’s been telling both the Doctor and Danny.

 

The episode opens with a little girl running through the woods with a red coat over her school uniform, reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood. She arrives at the TARDIS and knocks on the door. The Doctor lets her in once she explains something is chasing her. We find out the little girl, Maebh, ran to the Doctor because she thought she hard Clara’s voice tell her to do so. The Doctor is fairly uninterested. He’s more concerned with his failing navigation systems, as he is supposed to be in the center of London. Maebh explains to the Doctor they are in fact in London, it has merely been taken over by a forest.

 

After the opening credits, we see that Danny and Clara have led an overnight class trip to the London Zoological Museum. As they’re leaving the museum one of the students, Ruby, notices a tree ring is thicker and redder than the other rings. Clara doesn’t really have an explanation. When the class goes to leave the museum, they find what the Doctor and Maebh already know: trees have infiltrated London.

 

Excited that she found something to show the Doctor, Clara places a phone call to the Doctor to tell him about the forest. The Doctor tells Clara he already knows, and he also informs her that Maebh is with him.  When Clara goes back inside the museum, Danny asks if she called the school and the parents. She tries to lie and say yes, but he knows she was talking to the Doctor. He was under the impression that Clara and the Doctor were no longer talking, but Clara chalks up this conversation to the current forest infestation.

 

So off Danny and Clara go, in an attempt to get the kids safely home. This is Danny’s number one priority, whereas Clara is in full Doctor Companion mode trying to ask questions about how the forest ended up in London.  

 

Danny and Clara arrive at the TARDIS, and the kids start taking pictures of forested Trafalgar Square. Clara tells the kids that the Doctor will sort everything out, but the Doctor says this time he’s not sure he can figure out a solution. The Doctor thinks it’s a natural event, and not a problem that he can solve.

 

Clare refuses to believe this, and so she, Danny, and the students enter the TARDIS. Danny notices some homework books on the TARDIS, providing evidence that Clara has been with the Doctor more recently than she admits. The Doctor sees Maebh’s homework book with illustrations, and the Doctor needs to speak with her, but they’ve all just realized that Maebh is missing…again. Clara explains to the Doctor that Maebh’s sister went missing the year before and that she’s on medication and hears voices. The Doctor is upset that they aren’t listening to Maebh. The Doctor tells Clara and Danny that Maebh is tuned to a different channel and she can help them

 

As the Doctor and Clara are off to find Maebh, Lord Nelson’s column falls down and almost takes out the Doctor and Clara. The students and Danny leave the TARDIS, and Ruby chastises Danny for letting Clara go off with the Doctor when he is supposed to love her. They decide to go look for Clara, and Danny once again calls them a team, which they really get upset about.

 

As the Doctor and Clara are searching for Maebh, Clara notices the paths are growing over very rapidly. They find Maebh’s phone, and the Doctor realizes that Maebh is leaving them a trail so they can track her down. Clara and the Doctor come across a group of government workers attempting to burn down some of the trees for emergency routes. However, the trees are in control of the amount of oxygen, so they can quickly extinguish the flame.

 

The Doctor shows Clara Maebh’s homework in which Maebh drew a solar flare headed toward Earth, like the one that destroyed the Bank of Karabroxos. The Doctor says that the trees want something, and he also says that Maebh lost someone so she’s more attuned and listening. As they’re walking, they hear a wolf howl, just another fairy tale story allusion in this episode: Maebh running through the forest like Little Red Riding Hood, and her leaving school supplies as bread crumbs like Hansel and Gretel. The Doctor points out that the trees probably mangled the London Zoo’s gates so the animals are now free.

 

Maebh is still running through the forest, waving her hands about wildly. She stops and we see a couple wolves in the brush behind her. She turns toward them, and then screams. Clara and the Doctor hear it and take off running toward the sound of the scream.  Eventually, Clara and the Doctor meet up with Maebh, and the wolves are scared off by something. It turns out that something is a tiger. Luckily, Danny shows up in time to flash a light in the tiger’s eyes and scare the tiger away.

 

But Maebh is still batting at the air wildly, and the Doctor is intrigued. When Danny suggests she needs her medication, the Doctor says they need her without medication to find the source of what is happening. Maebh takes off running and everyone follows. Maebh runs to a circle with a bright light. She says that the forest is her fault because it was a thought that came to her. Since her sister Annabelle went missing, thoughts come to her, and the forest was one and she thought everyone would like it. She says the thoughts are coming to fast to her. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to create some gravity, ad we see a bunch of white dots flying around Maebh. These lights begin speaking, telling the Doctor that they live in the plants, and that they were there long before humanity, and will remain long after it is gone. When the Doctor asks why they summoned him, the lights tell him they don’t know who he is. After this interaction, the lights leave Maebh.

 

Clara and the Doctor realize that there is nothing that can be done to stop the worldwide forest infestation, or the impending solar flare. When Clara says that she and the Doctor have been to the future, he tells her those futures are about to be erased. She suggests that they head back to the TARDIS and save themselves and the kids they are with.

 

Once back at the TARDIS, Clara tells the Doctor that the kids aren’t going to go on the TARDIS, as they’ll want to be with their parents. Here, I think we get a glimpse into Clara’s feelings about her parents, which STILL remain a mystery. The Doctor offers to save Clara and Danny, but Clara says Danny won’t leave the kids. When the Doctor offers to just save Clara, she tells him that she doesn’t want to be the last of his kind. In the Doctor’s eyes, there is a bit of hurt and a bit of understanding. It’s a lonely life, how can he ask Clara to go through what he’s been through. Clara says she brought him back to the TARDIS to save him, because the only he would go back is if he thought he was saving someone. She says this time, the human race has to save the Doctor. The Doctor tells Clara that it’s his world too; he walks it and breathes the air. She tells him he’s welcome, but he has to go save the next world. After some hesitance and sadness, the Doctor gets on the TARDIS and leaves.  

 

On the TARDIS, the Doctor watches the solar flare. He realizes something on the TARDIS, and goes back. He calls after Clara and Danny, and Clara refuses to turn back until the kids run after him. The Doctor tells them large solar flares have happened before, flares that should have destroyed the Earth, but the trees saved the planet, and that’s what it’s doing again. Clara remembers the wide red ring that Ruby noticed, and the Doctor confirms it was part of saving the Earth. Danny tells the Doctor the government is sending out defoliant chemicals to get rid of the leaves.  The Doctor says they’re going to call everyone on Earth to stop them from harming the trees.

 

Together, the kids write the message and call everyone on Earth at the same time. Maebh reads the message, telling everyone that the trees are protecting the planet. She ends by asking her sister Annabelle to come home. Just then Maebh’s mother arrives outside the TARDIS, after she’s been looking for her all episode. Seeing Maebh reunited with her mother makes the other kids want to go home as well. Clara tries to encourage Danny to go with her to watch the solar flare from space, but he tells her he’s had enough adventure. He tells her there are wonders on Earth. He says one person is more amazing than universes, and they kiss in front of the kids. Oops.

 

As Clara and Danny are walking the kids home, he tells her he knows she’s been traveling with the Doctor. He tells her he doesn’t care what the truth is, as long as he knows it. She goes to say something, but he tells her to home and think about it first, he at least owes her that.

 

When the solar flare hits the earth, the Doctor and Clare in the TARDIS in space watching. The trees do exactly as the Doctor thought, and protects the earth. Back on Earth after the flare, the trees start disappearing, with everything going back to normal. When Clara asks what the explanation will be, the Doctor tells her that people will forget, and instead it will turn into stories (perhaps the reason for the Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel allusions).

 

As the solar flare happens, with Missy watching. She’s surprised by the turn of events, but again, we don’t yet know what her deal is.

 

The episode ends with Maebh and her mother returning home. As they approach their house, the trees to a bush disappear, and there’s Maebh’s sister, Annabelle. It feels a little silly, since there’s no explanation for Annabelle’s disappearance, but I guess they had to wrap it up somehow, huh?

"Flatline" (Aired October 18, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

“Doctor Who” is just setting me up for heartbreak. I’m growing to love Clara even more, making her inevitable departure from the show that much more painful. What I loved about this week’s episode is that we get to see, through Clara’s eyes, what it’s like to be the Doctor. And though it’s only for a brief period of time, I think it help answers a lot of questions about the Doctor’s morality, and the decisions he has to make. It also deepens the complex relationship between Clara and Twelve, which has been a really interesting relationship to watch develop. God dammit, you “Who” showrunners- you’re gonna make me cry my eyes out.

 

The episode begins with a man making a phone call, begging for help. As he’s on the phone, he’s sucked up by something that we can’t see. As the camera moves around the apartment, we see some strange markings on the wall, and realize it is the man who just disappeared screaming. (It actually reminded me a bit of “Love & Monsters” from Series 2. Ten & Rose foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!)

 

The Doctor drops Clara off, allegedly at the proper time and place so she can meet Danny. Clara is, rather unconvincingly, telling the Doctor that Danny is totally ok with her continuing to have adventures with the Doctor. As Clara goes to leave the TARDIS, she notices the doors are smaller. The two manage to squeeze their way out, and Clara realizes that they are in Bristol. This makes Clara very unhappy as it’s not at all where she needs to be to meet Danny. The Doctor says they need to figure out what his happening before he can get her where she needs to go, and sends her off to see what she can find.

 

As Clara walks around, she comes across a group of community service workers who are painting over graffiti. One of the workers, himself is a graffiti artist, is being reprimanded by an Argus Filch wannabe (Harry Potter references!) who hates happiness and art. Clara comes across a mural in a tunnel. The graffiti artist, Rigsy, explains to Clara that the paintings are of people who have recently disappeared.

 

Clara returns to the TARDIS, filling the Doctor in with the information she’s learned. She finds the TARDIS even smaller than when she left it.  The only thing the Doctor can do is stick his hand out, which Clara does not enjoy. She ends up putting the TARDIS in her purse, and the Doctor gives her an earpiece so they can communicate. This earpiece also locks into her optic nerve so the Doctor can see what she sees. He also gives her his psychic paper and his sonic screwdriver. She’s the Doctor now, and even introduces herself as such when she bumps into Rigsy again, much to the actual Doctor’s consternation.

 

Rigsy takes Clara to the apartment where one of the victims disappeared. He tells her that everyone who has disappeared did so from locked homes. She tells Rigsy that she’s from MI-5, and that she’s communicating with someone via her earpiece. However, Clara and the Doctor’s hypothesizing starts to sound a little crazy, and Rigsy starts to wig out and is about to leave. Clara then shows Rigsy the tiny TARDIS and the Doctor. Why this doesn’t freak him out even more is beyond me, but he accepts this life changing information that aliens do in fact exist, and decides to stay and help. The Doctor tells Clara that something in the apartment is draining the TARDIS’s energy even more, and they leave before anything else can happen.

 

With the assistance of a local constable, Clara, Rigsy, and the Doctor (in Clara’s purse) visit another apartment whose inhabitant disappeared. The Doctor believes that the people may still be in the wall, so Clara and Rigsy take a sledgehammer to the room. Meanwhile, the officer is another room on the phone when she is sucked into the floor by whatever is causing all of this chaos. When Clara and Rigsy run in to figure out what is going on, the Doctor notices the mural on the wall is actually a nervous system. He realizes that whatever this species is flattens 3D objects to try and learn about them. When Rigsy and Clara go to leave, they realize the doorknob has been flattened, keeping them from escaping. As they stand in the room, the creatures begin to flatten the furniture around them.

 

Clara and Rigsy hop on a chair hanging from the ceiling to keep from being sucked up themselves. Right then, Danny calls to see check on Clara’s whereabouts as they were supposed to meet for lunch. Rather than waiting a hot second until she’s out of her current life-threatening predicament, Clara answers the phone while swinging the chair back and forth. She tells Danny she won’t be able to make it. Danny seems to have some kind of idea that she’s lying about where she is, and may even on some level know she’s with the Doctor. He asks where she is and if she’s in trouble. Clara is able to swing the chair enough so she and Rigsy break through the window and out of the room. The crashing of the glass startles Danny, but Clara assures him she’s ok and she’ll talk to him later.  The Doctor realizes that Clara has been lying to him about Danny’s approval of her continuing to travel with him.

 

Clara and Rigsy head to the mural under the bridge where the cleanup crew is about to paint over the mural. The Doctor realizes these are the missing people and tells Clara to stop them from destroying the mural. When Clara shows the Filch wannabe, (who’s name is actually Fenton) the psychic paper, he just sees blank paper, meaning he has no imagination. Fenton tells the crew to start cleaning up the mural, but as he does so, he’s sucked in and the people in the mural start turning around.

 

The remaining crew, Clara, Rigsy, and Fenton take off for a nearby building. Clara then realizes she’s going to be in charge of keeping these people safe, and she accepts this responsibility with calm and ease. See everybody, there CAN be a female Doctor. (Billie Piper for Thirteen!) Clara realizes that she’s going to need to lie to everyone in order to give them hope so that they continue running. She realizes this is what the Doctor has to do all the time.

 

The Doctor tells Clara that the creatures exist only in 2D and that they may not realize that humans need three dimensions to live. Clara goes about setting up a speaker so that they can hear what the creatures are saying. However, the creatures begin reading the number on the jacket of the cleaning crewmember they intended to take next. The creatures absorb the crewmember, and the remaining four take off for the train tunnels.

 

After running into the tunnels, the Doctor slips Clara a “2DIS” (pronounced two-dis, clever, clever) to flatten the handle to keep the creatures from getting to them. However, the creatures have now somewhat mastered three dimensions and can make 2D objects 3D again. They also create a hand to grab the last remaining crewmember that isn’t Clara, Rigsy, or Fenton. Then, the creatures begin to rise out of the ground as the people they have taken. They’re flickering in and out of three dimensions and their movements are slow, giving an almost zombie-esque feeling to them.

 

Clara and Co. are able to get away from them for a second. Fenton and Rigsy get into a shoving match, and Fenton knocks the TARDIS out of Clara’s hands and on to the train tracks below. Of course a train is coming, and the TARDIS is already in bad shape because so much energy has been drained from it. The Doctor sticks his hand out and tries to pull the TARDIS to safety, but right as he thinks he’s safe, the TARDIS shifts back on the tracks. Right before the train comes, the Doctor pulls a handle putting the TARDIS in siege mode.

 

Clara, Rigsy, and Fenton head down to the train tracks, but they get trapped between another oncoming train and the creatures. Clara doesn’t panic, but uses the sonic screwdriver to stop the train. Rigsy is going to sacrifice himself to drive the train into the creatures, but Clara calmly explains to him that all they need is her headband to keep the gears in place. She truly is a great Doctor. As the train approaches the creatures, they flatten it before it can reach them. As Clara, Fenton, and Rigsy walk away, Clara finds the TARDIS on the tracks in siege mode. The Doctor tells her that the TARDIS does not have enough energy to leave the siege mode.

 

In some sort of storeroom, Clara ponders what the Doctor would do now, but then realizes the only thing she needs to know what she would do now. Clara reaches full Doctor mode when she comes up with a plan to recharge the TARDIS. She pulls out a poster and has Rigsy use his graffiti artist skills to paint a realistic, flattened door handle. As the group work on their plan, the Doctor fears he may be dying, and he tells Clara that she has been “a might Fine Doctor.”

 

Clara, Rigsy, and Fenton hang the fake door. As the creatures use their energy to try and unflatten the handle, it recharges the TARDIS. With its full power back, the TARDIS returns to normal size and the Doctor emerges telling the creatures he gave them a chance, but they’ve chose to be monsters and he is the man who stops monsters. He goes on to warn them not to return to this planet and dimension because he is the protector. It’s the first time we’ve seen this type of speech from Twelve. I’ve seen some comments that it isn’t as satisfying as when Ten or Eleven gave similar speeches, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

After returning to the ground level, Clara says bye to Rigsy and Fenton, essentially her companions for this episode. Fenton proves that he’s truly a jerk and ungrateful, and even the Doctor is a little disappointed that he survived. Danny calls yet again, and this time Clara ignores it. Really, Clara? You don’t answer when you can talk, but yet you answer in a moment of life or death? I love you, but your phone answering decisions make little sense to me.

 

The Doctor tells Clara that she should talk to Danny. He’s clearly annoyed that Clara has been lying to both Danny and himself. Clara wants the Doctor to admit that she was good at being the Doctor. He tells her, “You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara. Goodness has nothing to do with it.” This brings us back to one of the overarching themes throughout this season. The Doctor doesn’t make decisions necessarily based on goodness, sometimes he has to make decisions based on what is going to have the best long-term results and this may mean sacrificing people. And perhaps he’s a little concerned that he’s turning Clara into a bit of a soldier.

 

Meanwhile, Missy is looking in on the action via an iPad. I guess tablet technology stopped developing after 2014. She looks approvingly upon Clara saying, “Clara. My Clara. I have chosen well.” Umm…what? So she picked Clara for something AND she refers to the Doctor as her boyfriend? What the heck is going on?

 

Concluding Thoughts

 Clara’s propensity to lie is going to come back to bite her in the butt. The Doctor is genuinely upset that she was lying to both him and Danny. She’s going to turn the two men she cares about the most against one another and that isn’t fair.

 

And Danny told Clara that if she lies to him about the Doctor pushing her, then they’re done. But the thing is, the Doctor didn’t push Clara, Clara pushed herself. As things stand now, Danny and Clara end up together because we saw their future great-grandson. I’m assuming he’s not a fixed point in time though, but her lies could change the future.

"Kill the Moon" (Aired October 4, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

At the end of last week's episode, I felt the showrunners had begun to set up Clara's departure from the show. This episode only cemented those feelings, and left me more than a little heartbroken about it. This episode reawakened feelings I had after the Series 8 premiere, where I felt Clara had faith in the Doctor, but didn't particularly trust him. After this episode, I think both of these things may be a little shaky.  

The episode begins with Clara, on the moon in the year 2049,  making an announcement to the people of Earth. She's telling them that they (we don't yet know who "they" are however), have to make a decision, and that the person who normally helps with these types of decisions has disappeared and Clara doesn't think he is coming back. Ok, so now we know that the Doctor is going to leave Clara at some point during this episode. (Of course, I begin thinking that he has left her to go find a solution as that would not be the first time the Doctor has straight up peaced out during some major incident, only to return in the nick of time). Clara explains to the people of Earth that that a decision between an innocent life and all of mankind needs to be made. We then see Clara is with Courtney, the student from last week's episode who hopped on board the TARDIS with the Doctor for a second. I should have know she would make an appearance again. 

 

After the opening sequence, the Doctor and and Clara are walking through the halls of Clara's school. Clara is explaining to the Doctor that her student, Courtney, is going crazy after her mini-adventure with the Doctor. She's taken the Doctor's psychic paper and is using it to buy alcohol pops and other things that require identification. Clara is upset that the Doctor told Courtney she wasn't special, and Clara believes this is the reason Courtney is acting out. The Doctor is unapologetic and doesn't believe his comment could have created such an impact. Clara implores to the Doctor that someone like him making a comment can really affect a person's psyche. The Doctor enters the TARDIS, and there's Courtney, sitting there, waiting to go on another adventure with the Doctor. She's come prepared this time with travel sickness medication. The Doctor absolutely refuses, saying no vomiting and no hanky-panky are allowed in the TARDIS. Clara keeps trying to get the Doctor to tell Courtney that she is special, but he keeps refusing. Courtney is upset that the Doctor doesn't think she's special, it's really messed her up. The Doctor finally seems to feel guilty so he offers to take her so she's the first woman on the moon. AND WE'RE OFF!

 

So now Clara, the Doctor, and Courtney are in space suits in a "recycled space shuttle," and there's gravity present which is confusing the Doctor. He notices a bunch of nuclear bombs on this spaceship. The Doctor then looks out the window and realizes that they are in fact, on their WAY to the moon. So the spaceship lands, and the three astronauts show up,  asking who the Doctor, Clara, and Courtney are. The Doctor offers for the woman astronaut (who the credits tell me is named Lundvik, but I swear they never once say her name during the episode) to kill Courtney first (rude), and warns that the she'll spend a lot of time shooting the Doctor as he'll just keep regenerating and regenerating. He also tells the astronauts he's a super-smart, time-traveling alien who can help them. (Interesting that Twelve doesn't hide his Time Lordness when Nine, Ten, and Eleven most certainly tried to do so.) While he's explaining this, he's doing a weird little dance which we find out he's doing to test for gravity. They should all be floating, and Lundvik says no one knows why this is happening. But then the Doctor says the moon has put on weight. Lundvik confirms the Doctor's suspicions that the change in the moon is resulting in chaos on Earth with the tides, causing cities to drown and deaths. She confirms they're there to bomb the moon.

 

The group off to explore the surface of the moon. And sure enough, Courtney is the first woman to be on the moon and embarrassingly butchers Neil Armstrong's quote. (Also, I've spotted 2 American flags and yet everyone is British. I know Lundvik mentioned that the spaceship was once in a museum, but still. You're telling me there were NO Americans willing to go? I'm calling B.S.) The group is walking, and we see an abandoned camp with cobwebs (weird cause spiders aren't supposed to be on the moon, right?), that was constructed by a Mexican research team. Lundvik explains it was a mining mission. She sends one of her men, Henry, back to activate the bombs. He doesn't seem to know what to do or how bombs work and expresses concern about the bombs going off straight away. Lundvik eases his worries by saying the bombs won't detonate until she "fiddles with this thing," the thing being the case she's carrying around. Cool - glad to see we have the most elite team helping out - someone who doesn't know how bombs work and someone who uses the word "fiddle" while referring to bomb detonation. This mission is going to go well. 

 

Lundvik and and her remaining crew member explain that 10 years ago, the Mexican team was lost 10 years ago, and there was no space program really available to assist them. Then we hear Courtney scream. THIS IS WHY KIDS SHOULDN'T BE IN SPACE Y'ALL. There's an astronauts spacesuit with a dead body inside, and the Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to figure out what happened. He jokes that something was trying to figure out how the man tasted, and the Doctor concludes apparently like chicken. Gross. One of the astronaut crew members, Duke,  is able to to find the light and air, so the group can remove their helmets. The Doctor comes across the findings of the Mexican crew, and discovers they didn't find any minerals on the moon. He sees some pictures that show even more tectonic stress than anticipated. This means the moon is cracking apart.

 

We then see Henry, the astronaut sent to go activate the bombs, fall to the ground as a moonquake hits. He looks down a tunnel and is attacked by a creature. Cool.

 

We're then back in the Mexican camp, and we hear a similar sound to the creature that just attacked Henry. The Doctor begins looking for it, but the thing is running around like crazy. We see some spider looking thing (guess this is what's making the webs). The Doctor tells the group that the creature is sensing fast movement (how he knows this I don't know). He tells everyone to very slowly work their way to the other exit. As they're working their way out, Duke (the other crew member) shows up and the creature attacks and kills him. The door opens, and everyone makes it in EXCEPT Courtney. Of course. She reminds me of Dawn from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which is NOT a compliment. Then all of a sudden, Courtney is floating. WHAT?! Apparently there was no gravity for a few seconds? I don't understand this at all. The Doctor is able to use the sonic screwdriver to remove the window, and throws his yo-yo at Courtney as a type of life-line, but right as she grabs it, the gravity kicks in again, and she falls to the ground. As the creature thing goes to attack her, Courtney sprays it with household cleaner and kills it. Turns out the creatures are single-celled bacteria, and thus germy? I don't know, I'm not a scientist, but something seems off to me. Whatever. 

 

Courtney tells Clara she's scared and she wants to go home, while Lundvik reminisces about Duke. Courtney apologizes to Clara and says she would like to go home. Clara tries to explain that it is dangerous, but the Doctor responds saying everything is dangerous and that living your life in fear of danger isn't a way to live. The Doctor puts her in the TARDIS to keep her safe. Clara is confused why they need to stay at all, she says she's been to the future and the moon is there. The Doctor tells Clara there are moments in time that he can't see. It's the moments where big things are decided and he can't tell what happens to the moon because it hasn't been decided yet. Grey moments. They are the ones who are going to decide. Lundvik tells Clara and the Doctor they are all the last chance, and Clara very reluctantly agrees.

 

ENTERING SAM'S THOUGHT CORNER: Ok, so here's where I have an issue. I feel that a lot of people may accuse the Doctor of being callous or cold here. BUT he was very concerned about saving Courtney's life. I struggle with this Doctor. There are times where he is willing to sacrifice for the greater good, but then there are times where there is nothing but worry and concern.  He doesn't want people to die. At all. But I think this Doctor may be more practical, a little less idealistic, than previous incarnations. LEAVING SAM'S THOUGHT CORNER. 

 

Clara, Lundvik, and the Doctor are back out on the moon's surface, and the Doctor says the moon is dying, and he needs to figure out why. The Doctor goes to a tunnel to try and find the creatures, and one jumps out to attack the Doctor. They're able to pull it off, and they look down in the crack and there are thousands of the creatures. The Doctor throws a yo-yo down and realizes there is amniotic fluid. He tells Clara and Lundvik to go prep the bombs and keep Courtney safe (See, HE DOES CARE!). Before he jumps down he tells Clara he'll be back. Lundvik questions if he actually will return, and Clara says that if the Doctor says he'll be back, then he will be, though there is exasperation in her voice.  As Clara and Lundvik see the spaceship, it falls into a crack. The Doctor shows up then, and the three of them return to the abandoned Mexican camp. 

 

The Doctor pulls Courtney up on a screen and then he begins to explain what is happening. I guess the fall wasn't that bad after all.  It turns out the moon is an egg, and the creature is hatching and causing the break up of the moon. The bacteria spiders are just feeding off of the creature. The Doctor thinks the creature is the only one of its kind in the universe. Lundvik, entirely unimpressed, asks how to kill the creature. And you want to call the Doctor cold? The Doctor thinks its wrong to kill the creature, as do Clara and Courtney. It makes sense that the Doctor doesn't want to kill the creature, he is the only one of his species after all, but Clara and Courtney's resistance is interesting.

 

The Doctor gives Courtney instructions to get the TARDIS back to him. Clara asks the Doctor what they should do, but he says they don't do anything. He refuses to help, saying the Earth isn't his home. He says there are moments where that civilization's history is decided. He says it is Lundvik and Clara's decision, he can't make it for them. The Doctor says he never killed Hitler. Clara begs him not to make a point, but the Doctor insists its her choice. The TARDIS arrives, and before he gets on it to leave, he tells Clara, Courtney, and Lundvik some decisions are too important not to make on your own. 

 

SAM'S THOUGHT CORNER, AGAIN: I know that a lot of viewers probably feel that this is where the Doctor is truly cold and uncaring. He claims the Earth isn't his planet (a fact Clara brings up later), and thus he has no say. However, we know the Doctor cares deeply for humans, at least Ten and Eleven did. But I don't think the Doctor is wrong here. Part of the Doctor's continuing philosophy is he can't and won't make huge decisions. This may not be a fixed point in time, but he can't always be there to save everything. It isn't his race. And I get it, he's carrying the guilt of destroying the Timelords and the Daleks. He's made that decision before, and it is not his place to do it again. This time it is Clara, Courtney, and Lundvik. Maybe I'm thinking of it too harshly, but it was Clara's decision to travel around with the Doctor, but sometimes, she is going to need to deal with the consequences of this decision.  (And I love Clara and I think she's amazingly strong and tough.) EXITING SAM'S THOUGHT CORNER.

 

Lundvik decides she's going to detonate the bombs. Clara in the meantime wants to discuss what would happen if there was no moon.  Lundvik tells Clara the chunks of the moon will destroy the Earth like the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs. The three debate more, but Courtney still has the belief the Doctor may return. Clara's faith is completely shaken. Lundvik is able to contact ground control, and here we are, with Clara asking the people of Earth for their vote. She explains everything, and tells the people if they think they should kill the creature, they should turn their lights off. And so as the countdown until detonation goes on, Clara and Courtney watch and see the lights of Earth turned off.  Right as the bombs are about to detonate, Clara hits the abort button. And then the TARDIS appears, and the Doctor has the three women get on board. 

 

The TARDIS lands on a beach in time to see the moon disintegrate ad the creature is being born. Clara asks if the Doctor knew what would happen. The Doctor says, "You made your decision. Humanity made it's choice," and Lundvik reminds him that they ignored humanity. Lundvik asks what happens next, and some Batman-esque music starts happening. The Doctor tells them that in the late 21st Century, humanity starts exploring space, and that humans endure until the end of time. He says that the birth of the creature caused humans to want to explore again. Courtney then notices that the creature laid a new moon egg. The Doctor then encourages Lundvik to thank someone, and that someone is Clara. SHE saved the day. SHE made the hard decision. He's trained her well, which reminds me of Danny's concerns at the end of the last episode.

 

They're back in Clara's time, and Clara is upset.  She wants to know what the Doctor knew. The Doctor says he knew that creatures don't destroy their nests, and he had faith Clara would always make the right choice and he smiles at her. He's proud of her. She got to make this decision, and she got it right. But Clara isn't having it. She's so upset. Now the Doctor is worried. Of all the people in the universe, he doesn't want to upset Clara. He says he genuinely didn't know what was going to happen, he was trying to respect her and allow her to make her own choice. Clara says she almost messed up and that she was scared, and that her friend shouldn't do that to her. She reminds the Doctor that he walks among them and befriends humans, so he can help when they need it. But he stands by his decision and says he was helping by leaving. Clara is done, she tells him to leave and not to come back. 

 

Clara is in her classroom, trying to deal with what just happened when Danny comes in. He sees it, the thing he was worried about, the Doctor pushing her too far. Clara tells him the story, and he says he's had the look before. He loved the Army until one day he didn't anymore. Clara claims she's done with the Doctor, but Danny says the Doctor can still make her angry, and you're not finished with anyone if they can still make you angry. He tells her when she is calm and can tell the Doctor she's done, then she'll actually be done. It's a sweet moment between the two of them. The episode ends with Clara returning home, and staring out her window at the moon, looking at the thing that caused her to question everything. What a reminder to carry around the rest of your life.

 

Concluding thoughts: I know a lot of "Doctor Who" fans are going to be extremely upset by this episode. They will feel that Twelve is a radically different Doctor than Ten and Eleven. Yes, he's different, but I really don't have a problem with him leaving the decision to Clara. The Doctor shouldn't be responsible for all of those decisions. I think he can provide them with the most information possible, but to make those decisions for humanity seems to be cheating a bit. But I think the more interesting thing to have happened is the idea that Clara's faith in the Doctor is fundamentally shaken. In the premiere she didn't trust the Doctor, but she believed in him. Through the next five or so episodes, that trust came back. But now, both her faith and her trust are gone.  However, the Doctor believes in Clara, which I think is important. The companion-Doctor relationship has flipped a bit, and therefore will make Clara's inevitable departure that much more devastating for the Doctor. Strap in kids, I think this may be the most painful companion departure so far. (Sorry Rose!)

 

"Time Heist" (Aired September 20, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

WARNING: "Game of Thrones" Spoiler near the end of this recap. 

 

We begin with the Doctor at Clara's apartment attempting to convince her to go on an adventure with him. He seems awfully need sometimes. Clara says she has a date. Her cheeks are rosy and we can tell she's absolutely smitten with Danny Pink. The Doctor comments on Clara's coloring, her level of smitten perplexes the Doctor. 

 

As Clara is headed out the door, the phone on the TARDIS rings, stopping both Clara and the Doctor. As the Doctor goes to answer the phone, Clara begs him not to. She says if he answers something will happen and they'll be taken somewhere. The Doctor reminds Clara that very few people in the universe have that number and tells her nothing happens from answering a phone. Well that's just dumb because we know that's not the case. 

 

Next thing we see, the Doctor and Clara are sitting at a table with two others. All four of them are holding worms that have wiped their memories. When the woman sitting with them at the table asks who they are, an audio recording begins, in which all four present give audible consent to having their memories wiped. We found out the man at the table is named Psi and the female is named Saibra. A screen opens in the middle of the table, and a video from a mysterious figure who calls himself The Architect appears. He has hired the four of them to break into the most secure bank in the universe, Karabroxos. The Architect tells them that in order to succeed and survive, they'll have to follow his instructions. As he says this, bank guards are already banging down the door of the room they are in, so they have no choice but to trust The Architect.

 

As they take off down the hall, Clara and the Doctor begin to learn more about their fellow bank heisters. Psi is a human cyborg who is a hacker and has a computer for a brain. Saibra is able to replicate DNA she touches and has a hologram shell to project the same clothing. Alright, now that we know everyone's skills, time to rob a bank.

 

The four heisters enter the lobby of the bank with Saibra transformed into a business man, presumably a customer of the bank. As they're walking along, the Doctor makes a comment that using the TARDIS would make the heist a lot easier, so why aren't they using it. Clara brings up the more important question: where is the TARDIS? As this discussion is occurring, we see the head of the bank's security, Ms. Delphox appear. We think she's coming for the four heisters, but it's too early in the episode for that. She approaches another bank customer. Delphox has her pet, a creature called a Teller, scan the customer's mind and feed off of the guilty thoughts. It is explained that in order to avoid the power of the Teller, someone must keep their mind blank. Psi warns Clara she may have to do this someday. OBVIOUS FORESHADOWING. We then see the customer's head shrink as the Teller feeds off of his thoughts. It's actually quite disturbing to watch.

 

With that close call out of the way, the four heisters are back on their mission. Because Saibra is able to replicate DNA, her finger print works to unlock one of the vaults to get the group to the next stage. There, they find a suitcase placed by the Architect. Saibra points out that if the Architect was able to place items in the bank, why couldn't he have just stolen the thing to begin with. Good point, Saibra. I also find it interesting that Twelve went along with the heist with no questions asked. I feel like Ten and Eleven would have been more hesitant to complete a heist, at least without trying to find more answers. Anyway, the four open the suitcase and find what appears to be a bomb. They're trying to figure out it's use, and the Doctor realizes they are supposed to explode the floor. When Psi shows some hesitation, the Doctor says they all agreed to this heist, which means there is something in this for all of them. The Doctor detonates the device, which turns out to be a dimensional shift bomb, casing the floor to disappear, then reappear once they're through. They successfully complete this step right as the bank guards enter the vault. 

 

The four heisters reconvene once they're through the floor and the Doctor has Psi open the next case. The Doctor is worried there may be information that can implicate all of them, and Psi has the ability to wipe his mind and clear out the guilt. The Doctor also explains they all had their minds wiped, as there are no more obviously guilty people than those robbing banks. Psi opens the case and it's four devices.  Psi says he doesn't know what it is, and so does the Doctor, but Saibra knows the Doctor is lying. 

 

The group then splits into pairs of two, Psi and Clara and the Doctor and Saibra. It's so we can find out more about Psi and Saibra so that when they are killed off we feel a little bit more than we would. Too harsh? Sorry 'bout it.  

Psi explains to Clara that he was in prison, and in order to protect his friends and family, he deleted all memories of them. Meanwhile, Saibra tells the Doctor she knows he was lying about what was in the case, and he merely says, "An exit strategy of sorts." He asks her how she knew he was lying, and she says with her ability to mutate, she gets good at reading faces. He makes a comment about this being a gift, but this upset Saibr. She explains that she can't touch anyone she cares about because she'll change. So, she's Rogue from X-Men, right? She's even got the gloves! Saibra also says, "Could you trust someone who looked back at you out of your own eyes?" This resonates with the Doctor which mean's it's coming back before the end of the episode!

 

The four heisters end up back together and see the man who's brain was sucked out by the Teller earlier. An alarm is tripped, and in their attempt to escape, the four actually end up in the room containing the holding cell of the Teller. Clara's thoughts awaken the Teller. The Doctor tells Clara to keep her mind blank because once it's locked in on your thoughts, it won't let go. The Doctor says this repeatedly and all I could think was STFU Doctor! You telling Clara to keep her mind blank only focuses her mind on you and causes her to think even more. Making the situation worse! The four heisters attempt to escape, but Saibra gets caught up in the Teller's mind sucking stream. She doesn't want her brain sucked out the way she saw the customer's earlier, so she asks the Doctor about that exit strategy. He hands her one, and before she  uses it she tells the Doctor he's a good man. Just the thing he's been wondering all along. Then Saibra uses the device where she appears to disintegrate. Painful. 

 

Now it is just Psi, the Doctor, and Clara headed to the vaults. Clara asks the Doctor if he is ok after what just happened with Saibra and the Doctor, with what I think is false bravado says, "Saibra is dead, we are alive, and we need to prioritize to stay that way." This upsets Psi, and I imagine some viewers. This adds to the idea that Twelve is uncaring, callous, and calculated. But I disagree. There's pain in the Doctor's eyes at losing Saibra. He's not happy about it, but unlike Ten and Eleven, he's not dwelling on it. Dwelling on Saibra's death may slow them down and put them even more at risk. Perhaps Twelve is better at compartmentalizing than Ten and Eleven were. I'm not saying it's healthy, but I don't think he's any less caring. I may have thought this at the beginning of the series, but the hurt in Twelve's eyes is too present for him to be a non-caring and callous monster. 

 

As Clara, the Doctor, and Psi find a new case from The Architect, we see Ms. Delphox tell her security team to release the Teller into the vents to find the heisters. Psi downloads the information in the case, while Clara grabs a card she sees with some numbers and letters on it. Psi takes off down the hall to try and crack the codes for the vaults. The Doctor realizes the Teller is after them, and suggests he and Clara go different ways from Psi to keep the thought paths from being too strong. Before the Doctor leaves, Psi requests a suicide device just in case. 

 

Clara and the Doctor are roaming the tunnels, trying to avoid the Teller, but it manages to catch up to Clara. She tries to keep her mind blank (knew that would come back!), and once she thinks she's in the clear, she takes off running. But the Teller catches her and she screams. The Doctor and Psi both take off to try and find her, but not before Psi download all the information possible on bank robbers. Psi then yells at the Teller to come after him for this information. The Teller releases Clara from his mind stream, and goes in search for Psi. Clara and the Doctor meet up at the vault, but it's still locked. Clara is furious, she thinks Psi died for no reason. 

 

The Doctor runs back to the computer where Psi thought he had cracked the code, but the Doctor says there are even more locks and the screwdriver can't help him. But The Architect would have known that, so why bring them all this way for nothing? There has to be something else. Right then, a solar storm begins to flare up and the Doctor understands this is the exact moment when the bank is the most vulnerable, which means that whoever sent them is from the future and knows the exact moment of the storm. Right then, the vault door opens and Clara and the Doctor are in. 

 

As they are in the room with all of the valuables, the Doctor explains landing the TARDIS in the solar storm would have been impossible, and therefore, that's why it wasn't used. Clara then shows the Doctor the card she pulled from the last case, and the two of them are off finding what is in the boxes. They find a circuit which would help Psi replace any lost date and a serum for Saibra that would keep her from transforming when she touched another. As Clara and the Doctor are trying to figure out why they're there, he turns and runs right into the Teller. OOPS.

 

The Teller apparently decides he needs to bring the Doctor and Clara to Delphox. Delphox is cocky about catching them, which means she's gonna die before the end of the episode (cockiness= death. See: The Viper in "Game of Thrones"). She orders the Doctor and Clara to death by incineration, as apparently the Doctor's statement about all the secrets would be too much for the Teller made Delphox concerned enough to not use the Teller on him. Delphox leaves her two security guards to handle Clara and the Doctor. It turns out, those security guards are Psi and Saibra. It turns out the suicide pill/bombs were actually transporers that took them to a ship. 

 

Psi is able to get the group down to the private vault, where they come across the owner of the bank, Karabroxos. It turns out, Delphox was a clone of Karabroxos, and Karabroxos has the bank run by her clones. When her clones fail her, she has them incinerated. Seems reasonable. When Karabroxos orders that Delphox be incinerated, everything clicks with the Doctor. Saibra's statement about not trusting someone with your own eyes comes back to him (Duh!), and he hands Karabroxos his phone number telling her to call him someday when she's on her death bed. He remembers earlier he said he hated the Architect, but it turns out HE is The Architect. IT makes sense, we know the Doctor isn't particularly found of himself. Karabroxos leaves to escape the storm, as she knows the bank won't survive. The Doctor then invites the Teller into his brain. 

 

Perhaps because there's no guilt the Teller isn't sufficiently sucking the Doctor's brain, but all of the memories come back. We see the Doctor answering the phone, and it was Karabroxos on her death bed saying she made a huge mistake and needs the Doctor to fix it. We see him finding Psi and Saibra, and setting up the heist. The Doctor then tells the Teller he's free to do what he wants. Another secret vault is unlocked, ad we see another Teller chained up by Karabroxos in order to have the Teller do her biding. The Doctor tells Clara that it was never a heist, but "a rescue mission for a whole species."

 

Clara and the Doctor then drop the Tellers back off on their home planet. They then take Psi and Saibra home as well, with Psis memory restored and Saibra's mutation problem solved. The Doctor drops Clara off in time for her date. As Clara is leaving, she tells the Doctor not to rob any banks without her. When she leaves, the Doctor states, "Robbing a bank, robbing a whole bank. Beat that for a date."

 

Is the Doctor jealous?!? I have mixed emotions about this. I'm not an anti Doctor-Companion shipper. In fact, I was a HUGE proponent of Rose and the Doctor. But I was kind of excited about this being a friendship, or perhaps a parental relationship between the Doctor and Clara (though which one is the parent is entirely unclear). I don't want another love triangle like there was with the Tenth Doctor, Rose, and Mickey. I really want Clara and Danny Pink to have a meaningful relationship without the Doctor being all broody about it. 

"Listen" (Aired September 13, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

I was very excited about this episode after seeing the preview following last week's episode. It  seemed as if it would be similar to "Blink," my favorite episode of "Doctor Who." It looked scary and suspenseful, two of my favorite things! 

This episode added what proves to be a critical moment for the Doctor, delivered by Clara. This in turn makes Clara the most important companion to the Doctor's story. Not only is she the "Impossible Girl," but she's now the girl that inspired him to become the man he is. So with that, let's do this thing!

The episode opens with the Doctor traveling alone in the TARDIS, with a voiceover explaining the Doctor's theory of the perfect hider. We see the Doctor scribbling madly on the blackboard (which is still bothering me! Is this behavior going to be explained this season?!?). The Doctor explains that evolution has gone so well with other features, but not with hiding. But of course, we wouldn't really know for sure if there was a creature that could hide perfectly by sheer fact that it can perfectly hide. MIND BEND, amirite?!

We then cut to Clara returning home, and leaning against the door looking upset. We flashback to her date with Danny Pink (whom I've previously referred to as Pinky, but I should probably call him Danny as he's clearly going to be a very important part of Clara's story). We see Clara and Danny's first date, beginning awkwardly as almost all first dates do. (Truth moment: it made me happy to see that even outgoing, brilliant Clara struggles on a first date. Yes, I know she's a fictional character, but it still made me feel better, ok?) The two start gossiping about work, and things begin going well. Clara then makes a reference to Danny's soldier days, and he immediately gets defensive. He clearly isn't proud of his soldiering days, and the fact that he's incredibly sensitive means that there's a story we are going to hear at some point. The disagreement continues and ends with Clara leaving the restaurant in a huff.

Clara returns to her apartment, and we pick up where we saw her enter. She goes into her bedroom only to find the Doctor and the TARDIS hanging out. The Doctor tells her they have somewhere to go, but Clara declines saying even though her date with Danny went bad, she's hoping for a call to fix everything. The two go into the TARDIS, and the Doctor launches into his theory about creatures that are alway with you, even if you don't know. Clara notices the blackboard with "Listen" written on it, and the Doctor insists he didn't write it. He then tells her he believes that everyone has had the dream where you think you've woken up, and you can feel someone or something close. You're listening, but you dont hear or see anything. Then as you go to get out of bed, a hand reaches for your ankle. As the Doctor is describing this, we see the dream being shown. As the hand was reaching for the ankle, I though to myself "That hand looks incredibly petite and feminine. But that makes sense cause little girl ghosts are the creepiest."

The Doctor then tells Clara to think if she's ever had this dream, and to focus on that moment. The TARDIS is reading her memories. The Doctor tells her to focus solely on those thoughts (though by talking he's probably distracting her), and, as she's concentrating, her phone rings and flashes of Danny pop in her head. However, the TARDIS lands, and the two leave and they're outside an orphanage. Though Clara insists she's never been to this orphanage, the Doctor tells her she must have forgotten. She reluctantly seems to accept this theory, and then makes the point that young Clara shouldn't see grown up Clara. The Doctor tells her she's right and tells her to go back to the TARDIS. But before she can do so, Clara spots a young boy in the window who she strikes up a conversation with. The boy introduces himself as Rupert Pink, and tells Clara when he grows up he's getting rid of the name Rupert. Well obviously we're with little boy Danny. Clara then asks if he has had a bad dream, and in fact he has.

While Clara is talking to the young version of the guy she is dating (MORE THOUGHTS ON THIS LATER!), the Doctor is inside the orphanage. He comes across the headmaster of the orphanage, and with the help of psychic paper, is able to convince the headmaster he's an inspector. The Doctor then asks the headmaster similar questions he asked of Clara, including the feeling that something is with you, or you put something down then it is gone. The headmaster admits this happens to him sometimes.

During the Doctor's questioning of the headmaster, Clara sneaks into the orphanage to find young Rupert/Danny's room. She asks Rupert if he believes there's something under his bed and he says yes. To prove there's nothing there, Clara and Rupert lie under the bed. But as they're doing so,  THE BED FUCKING SINKS BECAUSE SOMEONE IS SITTING ON IT. You guys, this totally freaked me out. It's a freaking "Doctor Who" episode and I was scared. This kind of shit freaks me out. Clara and Rupert get out from underneath the bed, and we see a figure underneath a blanket. Clara is trying to convince herself and Rupert it is just another kid in the orphanage, but as she's talking, the figure continues to rise off the bed. Right then, a light turns on, and the Doctor is sitting in the corner. He insists that the three of them turn away from whatever is under the blanket. The Doctor tells Clara and Rupert that it is either a friend or that this mysterious thing is real. He then tells whoever or whatever is under the blanket that they won't look, and it can leave in peace. He promises they won't ever look at it. The thing gets really, really, really close to Rupert, then peaces out. 

After that terrifying moment, Clara is trying to clam Rupert down so he can go to sleep. She's pulling out a box of soldiers and setting them up at the foot of Rupert's bed to protect him. She pulls out the general, and asks Rupert what they should call that soldier and he responds, "Dan." This response causes Clara's eyes to get even wider, and confirms her suspicions she was dealing with young Danny. Rupert then asks Clara to read to him, but before she can do so, the Doctor touches Rupert's head and he's asleep. 

Clara and the Doctor head back to the TARDIS, and the Doctor wonders how they ended up there. Clara explains she got distracted, and the Doctor asks if there is a connection between the young kid and Clara. For some reason, Clara foolishly lies and says there isn't. I don't know if she's embarrassed that she was thinking about a boy or what. Clara asks if the young boy will remember any of this, and the Doctor responds that he'll scramble his memroy and give him a memory of being Dan the Solider Man. Ummm...Did I miss previously that the Doctor had Men in Black capabilities?

Clara asks that the Doctor drop her back off outside the restaurant the moment after she left. She wants to try to fix things with Danny. So we see Clara enter the restaurant after her earlier self exited. However, she's without her jacket. She apologizes, and things are going well again until she calls him Rupert. He asks how she found out about his name, and she's not able to think of a lie quickly enough. 

OK HOLD ON - I thought they were going to scramble his memory or whatever so he would think he was Dan the solider man? This isn't really explained. So if he has a memory of being Rupert, then why the heck doesn't he remember Clara from his childhood? PLOT HOLES

As Clara and Danny are once again arguing, we see an astronaut come out of the kitchen. Was it me, or was that astronaut reminiscent of River when she "killed" the Doctor? Danny at this point realizes Clara isn't wearing her coat, and says he knows there are things she isn't telling him, and he's tired of lies and leaves. Clara is pissed off and heads to the kitchen to find the TARDIS and tells the Doctor to stop. She expects it's the Doctor in the astronaut suit, but when the helmet is pulled off, we see it is Danny. Well not really. The astronaut's name is Colonel Orson Pink, and he's from 100 years in Clara's future. Somehow, they're connected because the TARDIS took the Doctor to Orson. The Doctor asks Orson if he has any old lady pictures of Clara, but Orson says not. 

The Doctor takes Clara to the end of everything, even though no one is supposed to go that far.  Clara and the Doctor are looking out of the TARDIS when the Doctor says "LISTEN!" mainly cause they needed to work that word into the script as many times as possible. The Doctor tells her there's nothing to hear. He then tells Clara that Orson was a pioneer human time traveller, and somehow ended up as the last man standing in the Universe. The Doctor confesses to Clara that he thought he would be the last thing standing. The Doctor then asks Orson if he hears anything at night, because he shouldn't. 

The Doctor then tells a lie that the TARDIS needs to recharge overnight. He wants to see if this perfectly hidden thing exists. Clara takes Orson into the TARDIS, and promises him that nothing can get in or out, and he'll be perfectly safe. As Clara and Orson are talking, Clara notices a toy soldier in a box, THE toy soldier that young Rupert referred to as Dan. Orson explains to Clara that it is a family heirloom, and that there are rumors that his great-great-grandmother was a time and space traveler. EVERYONE FEIGN SURPRISE! ORSON IS RELATED TO CLARA. OH. EM. GEE.

As night approaches, the noises outside the shelter Orson had been staying in increase. The noises begin to sound like knocking, and the Doctor unlocks the shelter door and tells Clara to get in the TARDIS. She's scared and wants the Doctor to go with her. But the Doctor is obsessed with knowing if these creatures exist. He yells at her to protect herself, and she very reluctantly enters the TARDIS. She then get on the TARDIS screen and watches the Doctor's interaction with whatever is out there. It looks like the Doctor is going to be sucked out of the shelter, but Orson grabs his hand just in time. The Doctor is knocked out. The two manage to get the Doctor back in the TARDIS, and as they're talking, there's an intense knocking on the TARDIS doors. Clara sticks her hands back in the TARDIS to fly them away to somewhere else.

The TARDIS lands, and Clara exits the TARIDS, telling Orson to stay with the Doctor. She, and we, assume they are in Danny's timeline again. Clara steps into a barn, and we hear a child crying. Clara approaches the child. As she gets up to the kid, the barn door opens, and we hear a man and a woman talking. Clara crawls under the bed to get out of sight. The male adult who entered is saying  that the child is too weak for the academy and he won't make a soldier, but the female is more sensitive and tells the man the child doesn't want to be a soldier. And then, it happens. The man says the child will never be a time lord.

 

HO-LY SHIT. You guys, I did not see that coming. We're dealing with the baby Doctor! And notice how they're talking about soldiers and in "Into the Dalek," the Doctor expresses his wariness of soldiers. 

 

Right after the adults leave, the Doctor wakes up and shouts for Clara. This causes the child to start to leave the bed, but Clara, in fear of the child seeing his future self, reaches out AND GRABS HIS ANKLE. So IT WAS a feminine and petite hand in the dream sequence from earlier. Are you saying that the Doctor's entire theory, this whole episode, happened because Clara kept young Doctor child from seeing all growed up Doctor?!?! Yes. Clara then whispers to the child, "Listen."

 

Clara goes back to the TARDIS and tells the Doctor to never look back. She knows the truth, but she can't tell him. The Doctor tells her he doesn't take orders, but Clara speaks with such conviction, that the Doctor agrees.

 

We then see a series of events, including the Doctor and Clara dropping Orson back off in his time, as we hear Clara speaking to the young Doctor. Clara is explaining that fear is ok. Clara tells the young time lord that he'll come back to the barn and he's going to be very afraid that day, but it doesn't make him cruel or cowardly. As she's saying this part, we see the War Doctor coming to the barn during "The Day of the Doctor," when he believes he destroyed Galifrey and the Daleks. She goes on to tell the young time lord that fear is a constant companion, and it's ok, as it makes companions of us all. We see Danny and Clara kiss for the first time. We also see Clara leave the toy soldier by the Doctor's bed. And that's it. That's the end of the episode. 

 

 

 

OK WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! 

 

So as I stated at the beginning, this episode makes Clara an even more important part of the Doctor's mythology. Though she convinces the young Doctor to go back to sleep, her talk to him influences his entire life. He uses that fear that she speaks of to act in the best way possible. She was there at a critical moment in his life, and it likely influenced every decision that he made after that. That's kind of crazy. It also means that we spent a whole episode chasing Clara. That's some psychological foder right there. 

 

So there's really one question remaining. Was that a kid that was on young Rupert's bed freaking him out? If so, how effing confused was that kid with the speech the Doctor gave? A question we'll never have the answer to. 

 

"Robot of Sherwood" (Aired September 6, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

We start off with the Doctor once again furiously drawing something on the blackboard as he tells Clara she can pick when and where their next adventure will take place. Clara confesses she's always wanted to meet Robin Hood. The Doctor sweetly/condescendingly tells her that Robin Hood is an old fashioned hero, and old fashioned heroes only exist in old fashioned story books. Clara reminds the Doctor he always shows up just in time to save the day, but the Doctor merely responds he's just passing time. Well, we know this simply isn't true. We know from last week that the Doctor appears to be trying to save the day - after all, isn't that the thing that makes him a good man? 

After the Doctor throws out a few more alternate suggestions, Clara insists on going to see Robin Hood. The Doctor sets the TARDIS on course for Sherwood Forrest, England in 1190 A.D. The TARDIS lands in a forest that looks very similar to where Matt Smith and David Tennant's Doctors met in "The Day of the Doctor" 50th Anniversary Special. ANYWAY, as the Doctor exits the TARDIS, he tells Clara there are no damsels in distress and that Robin Hood isn't real. But wouldn't you just know it, right as the Doctor makes this comment, an arrow comes flying out of nowhere and hits the TARDIS door. Robin Hood emerges from the shrubs proving the Doctor he's wrong. With a wink from Robin, we're off on another caper!

As the Doctor and Robin begin one of their many squabbles about whether or not Robin is going to relieve the Doctor of his TARDIS, Clara emerges from the TARDIS in all her Renfaire glory. (I don't say that sarcastically- Clara looked beautiful and I really loved the costume.) Clara is thrilled to meet Robin, though the Doctor insists that he isn't really Robin Hood. This leads to a duel between the Doctor and Robin, with the Doctor using his spoon as his weapon of choice.  As the two duel, Robin manages to strike a button off of the Doctor's jacket, and the Doctor appears to surrender at this moment. However, as Robin takes a breather, the Doctor turns and goes back to back with Robin, pushing him off the log into the water. As Clara and the Doctor are searching the water for Robin, Robin sneaks up behind the Doctor and pushes him in. This is only the beginning of the childish pissing contest between the Doctor and Robin during this episode. 

We then have a brief journey into the town of Nottingham, and see a peasant woman in shackles. Though her name isn't said, I assumed it was Maid Marian. Not a big leap there. We see the Sheriff of Nottingham kill a man who was trying to help Marian, and we see his guards who move like robots. Considering they move slowly and we don't see any eyes behind the masks, they obviously have to be the robots mentioned in the title of this episode. 

Back in Sherwood Forrest, Robin introduces Clara and the Doctor to his band of Merry Men. As each one is introduced, the Doctor performs some kind of test to determine if they are human. He's convinced there is no way Robin Hood could be a real figure. The Doctor is also extremely annoyed at the ability and willingness of the Merry Men to be quick with a laugh.  Clara asks Robin about the Sheriff of Nottingham and freaks him out a bit with all of the information she knows about him. Clara asks Robin why he's so sad, she can tell he's really sad because he laughs too much. Robin recounts his story to Clara, and she freaks him out a bit with all of her knowledge about him. He mentions Marian, and Clara gets extremely excited that Marian is a real person. Meanwhile, the Doctor has realized that it is far too leafy and sunny for England in the fall. When Clara suggests global warming, the Doctor reminds Clara it is only 1190.

Robin then announces there is an archery competition, and the winner will receive a golden arrow. Knowing her Robin Hood lore, Clara warns Robin it is a trap, but he's no dumb-dumb, he knows it's a trap. The Doctor implores Robin and the Merry Men, once again, not to laugh. Clara asks the Doctor why he can't believe that Robin is actually Robin Hood. She asks when he stopped believing in things. The Doctor retorts asking Clara when she started "believing in impossible heroes." Clara folds her arms, looks at the Doctor, smiles and says "Don't you know?"

THOUGHT CORNER: OK - so many thoughts on this! My first reaction is: awwww, Clara totally admires the Doctor. Then after thinking about it, I realized just a week ago she wasn't even sure if he was a good man. Granted, the episode that we saw a week ago must be longer ago in Clara and the Doctor's timeline, but it feels weird to have Clara go from being unsure if the Doctor is even a good man to him being her hero. Which, I mean, he is her hero. He's our hero too. And I guess the interesting thing is that he isn't a perfect hero. He's flawed, sad, angry, and bitter (at least this regeneration is). EXIT THOUGHT CORNER

The next day at the archery competition, it is down to the Sheriff and Robin, who is competing under the name Tom the Tinkerer. The Sheriff hits the last target dead center, but Robin of course splits the arrow and everyone is so happy. As Robin goes to take the golden arrow from the Sheriff, the Doctor shows up and splits Robin's arrow. The Doctor takes the golden arrow, throws it to the side, and says he wants something else. Robin, annoyed but not deterred, shoots an arrow splitting the Doctor's. The Doctor shoots another, then Robin another. OK! I GET IT, GUYS! Thankfully, the Doctor also feels the situation is getting silly, and blows up the target with his sonic screwdriver. The Sheriff then orders his guards to get the Doctor and Robin jumps to the Doctor's rescue, much to the Doctor's chagrin. Robin chops an arm off one of the guards, and sho'nugh, the guards are robots. SHOCKING! Robin tells his Merry Men to run, while Clara, the Doctor, and Robin are captured by the guards. The Doctor insists the best way to know what is going on is to be captured.

We then get an update on the suspected Maid Marian. One of Marian's fellow prisoners has collapsed. She's trying to assist him, but one of the robot guards comes over and uses his purple nose laser to disintegrate him. Good scene.

We're back to Clara, the Doctor, and Robin all chained up. The confined space allows the Doctor and Robin to have all kinds of pissing matches, including who is to blame for their current state, who is going to save them, etc. Robin makes fun of the Doctor's age by pointing out his grey hair and his "sickly" form. There is so much arguing and bantering, part of me feels like there are some unspoken feelings. 

THOUGHT CORNER: What I love about the arguments between the Doctor and Robin is it shows that this Doctor is still playful and egotistical. The Doctor has never been one to shy away from his ability to save people, and is pretty sure of his superiority in most situations. It is one of the things we as viewers find charming about the Doctor (but that's because he isn't real and we don't have to tolerate it in real life). The first couple of episodes made me wonder if Twelve lacked the same self-assurances that Nine, Ten, and Eleven had. However, the Doctor's constant bickering with Robin shows it is still there. EXIT THOUGHT CORNER

Clara is pushed to her limits, hearing the Doctor and Robin arguing non-stop. She asks them who has a plan to get them out of the situation. When Robin is asked, he said he is biding his time. The Doctor on the other hand has one, but AS USUAL, it depends on his handy-dandy sonic screwdriver, which he has forgotten was taken from him by the Sheriff. The door then opens and Guardy McMethTooth comes in to take the person in charge. OF COURSE Robin and the Doctor start arguing over who is in charge, so McMethTooth takes Clara because obviously she's really in charge. 

Meanwhile, the Merry Men are proud of themselves for taking the golden arrow, and Friar Tuck says tomorrow they have to go save Robin. Good talk. Then we see the place where Marian is being kept, and lots of gold being poured. Ok, cool.

Clara and the Sheriff are having a nice, romantic dinner. The Sheriff has the Doctor's sonic screwdriver and spoon, and seems equally mystified by both. The Sheriff is impressed by Clara's directness and boldness, and asks if she and the Doctor are from "beyond the stars." She reminds him he's the one with the robot army, so he should tell her. Clara tells the Sheriff she was always destined to draw the eye of a great man, and that he is a great man. She's playing him, and totally seems to be working. The Sheriff then tells Clara that he was feeling unappreciated by Prince John, and then one day he saw the lights of the spaceship. He went and found the robot guards, and now he wants to use them to take over England, then the world. The Sheriff then asks Clara about her story, and she tells him that she was lying, she didn't really see the spaceship crash. The Sheriff wants Clara as his consort. She declines. 

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Robin are trying to find a way to get out. They yell for Guard Meth Teeth, who Robin is able to head butt and knock out. The Doctor and Robin play footsie, and end up kicking the keys out of reach. Somehow, they're able to to stop quarreling long enough to realize they can lift the block holding the chains and run. The Doctor finds the spaceship that the robot guards arrived on, and goes into the logs to try and discover where the ship was headed. He finds that it was going to the Promised Land. The Doctor also discovers that the castle they're all in is really the spaceship in disguise, and that the robots are gathering gold to repair the engines so they can leave again. And critical to the Doctor's theory about Robin, the Doctor finds among the ship's computer files every myth and legend, including Robin Hood. The Doctor convinces himself that Robin Hood is one of the robots created as a symbol of hope against the Sheriff's evil. Robin is too perfect - perfect hair, teeth, chin- he's not real!

As the the Doctor begins to accuse Robin of collusion with the Sheriff, the Sheriff enters with Clara. The robot guards aim at Robin, but Clara jumps in to try to save the day. Robin then bear hugs Clara and jumps out the window, the only way he knows to save himself from the Doctor. Once the Doctor sees Robin leave the water with Clara, he turns to the Sheriff and the Sheriff explains his plan to the Doctor. The Doctor tells the Sheriff he's actually building a bomb, but before he can explain any further, one of the robots knocks the Doctor the eff out. 

Clara wakes up back in Sherwood Forrest surrounded by Robin and the Merry Men. Robin tells Clara he needs to know everything about the doctor and what his plans are. 

The Doctor awakens in the peasant prison/workshop next to, you guessed it!, Maid Marian. The Doctor tells Marian they need to get the peasants to start a riot. Marian is able to release the Doctor, and when one of the Robot guards comes over to kill the Doctor, Marian and the Doctor hold up some mysteriously acquired silver trays, which reflects the nose purple laser beam back at the robot, and the robot explodes. We then see that Marian and the Doctor have alerted all of the peasants that they need a silver tray, and the peasants are able to take out the robot guards. The Doctor then tells Marian and the other peasants to run. Before she leaves, Marian kisses the Doctor on the cheek. (Was it me, or did it seem like the Doctor was confused by this gesture from Marian? It's like he isn't used to touch from people. I have noticed that this Doctor is a lot less affectionate than Nine and Ten.)

After using some technology (which he seems pretty adept at considering it is 1190), the Sheriff realizes there is a riot happening downstairs, and goes to check it out. The Doctor then tells the Sheriff that there isn't enough gold to fully restore the engines, and that he'll essentailly blow up the English country side. He then tells the Sheriff that he is aware the Sheriff created Robin as a symbol of hope and that the two are really working together. The Sheriff tells the Doctor this would be a stupid thing to do, and the Doctor realizes it too. He was so blinded by his ego and insisteince that Robin Hood couldn't be real to realize that he was, in fact, a real human. As the Doctor calls Robin a legend, Robin shows up with Clara. Robin and the Sheriff begin dueling. After the Sheriff is able to disarm Robin, Robin pulls the Doctor's move from before, and is able to push the Sheriff into the hot tub of gold. 

The Doctor, Clara, and Robin then run out of the castle as the spaceship begins to take off. The Doctor makes the comment wondering aloud where the golden arrow is, and the Merry Men responded that they stole it. He then suggests that the golden arrow may be enough for the spaceship to reach orbit. HOLD. THE. EFF. UP. So all that gold that the robots were mining from the ground was going to be insufficient to get the spaceship into orbit, but one dinky golden arrow has enough gold content to achieve this goal? I'm calling B.S. But, with teamwork between Clara, the Doctor, and Robin, the golden arrow hits the spaceship, allowing it to get into orbit, wehre it promptly explodes. Ok, I know this is "Doctor Who," but c'mon guys - give me something better than that!

Clara and the Doctor are getting ready to leave. Robin tells Clara that he will miss her, and that "whoever he is, he's a very lucky man." Clara implores Robin not to give up on Marian, and to continue to be amazing. Robin then goes to ask the Doctor that if it is true that over time he is forgotten as the man Robin of Loxkley, and is remembered as a legend. When the Doctor tells him that is the case, Robin responds, "Good. Hisotry is a burden. Stories can make us fly." The Doctor confesses he still doesn't believe Robin's story. Robin then asks if it is too much to believe that a privileged man, tired of seeing the suffering of the poor would steal a TARDIS, and fight the good fight? Clara told Robin the Doctor's story. The Doctor is not happy, but Robin tells the Doctor that he is Clara's hero. When the Doctor denies he is a hero, Robin says he isn't either, "but perhaps if we keep pretending to be, perhaps others will be in our name. Perhaps we will both be stories. And may those stories never end." Y'all, this made me teary-eyed. It was so sweet and sincere, and shows that the Doctor is truly struggling with how he is seen not only by Clara, but by others. As the TARDIS departs, we see the peasant girl who is confirmed to be Marian (EVERYONE ACT SURPRISED NOW). 

CLOSING THOUGHTS: I really liked this episode, the golden arrow thing aside. I love that the Doctor is struggling with his identity as a hero. That makes sense to me. He's not sure what to believe anymore, and considering he doesn't even know if he's a good man, it all makes sense to me. There was also the requisite reference to the Promised Land. Also, the next episode looks SUPER CREEPY. I'm excited. Till next time...

"Into the Dalek" (Aired August 30, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

The second episode of this series continues with the questions we had already been asked in the Series 8 premiere: Who is this version of the Doctor? Can he be trusted? Is he a good man? Like most things Whovian, these questions aren't subtle, but rather, the questions are asked out right. "Into the Dalek," the cheekily named second episode, doesn't really answer these questions, but instead serves to remind the viewers to keep asking them. Let's get into it, shall we?

The episode begins with two pilots in what I like to think of as a jet spaceship that is under attack. The female pilot is radioing for their mother ship, the "Aristotle." It becomes apparent that the male co-pilot is dead, and soon the jet comes under even further attack. Right as it looks like she's going to meet her untimely end, she disappears and ends up in the... you guessed it... TARDIS! 

Once on board the TARDIS, the pilot (we find out her name is Journey Blue), freaks out on the Doctor. We find out the dead co-pilot was her bother, and she demands to be taken back to her ship or she'll kill the Doctor. After the Doctor convinces her to ask politely (he's all about manners, this Doctor), the Doctor takes Journey back to the Aristotle. As she exits the TARDIS, Journey makes the comment "It's smaller on the outside." Ha. Ha. Ha. (Sarcasm). If I recall correctly, that is what Clara said about the TARDIS the first time. It was funny then, but not this time. OVERDONE> 

Anyway, the Doctor and Journey are on the way to see her commander when the Doctor notices the hospital part of the ship is no longer in use. Journey explains that the Daleks don't bodies, so there is no need for a hospital. After almost being arrested, and then saved by Journey, the Doctor is taken to see a patient. On the way, we are introduced to a nano-scanner, a machine that minimizes matter. SPOILER: The explanation means it'll be important later! The Doctor arrives at the "patient's" door BUT to the Doctor's horror it is a DALEK! The Dalek recognizes the new Doctor (the Dalek's tech must be gooooood), and then there's the fancy schmancy new intro.

Meanwhile, in present day England we see a soldier yelling at a bunch of school kids. Ok, we must be at Clara's school. Sure enough, we see Clara and the new teacher solider exchange a "hey hey" look. We find out the new teacher's name is Danny Pink and that everyone thinks he's so cute (cause he totally is). While teaching class, one of the students asks Danny if he's ever killed someone who wasn't a solider. Danny doesn't answer, but instead just assigns homework. Meanwhile a tear is rolling down his cheek and the dumbass, insensitive kid is confused as to why such a question may upset someone. I mean, really. After class, Clara and Danny meet, and after an awkward exchange in which Danny freaks out, Clara convinces him to take her out for a drink. 

PREDICTION TIME: Ok, is it me, or is there something slightly robotic about Danny? I mean, yeah he's a soldier, and that involves a certain type of regimen, and sometimes a stiffness. But there's something about the way he acts where he doesn't feel quite human. I don't know if he's alien or robot or what, but I'm not convinced he's human. I could be totally wrong. I hope I am, cause he's super cute and I'm already rooting for him and Clara. Maybe we'll get another trio for the companion situation!

After Clara snags herself a date with Hotty McTeacher, the Doctor shows up, apparently 3 weeks late. (Hey Clara, at least it's not 12 years or however long Amy Pond had to wait. You don't even know how lucky you are it was only 3 weeks!) Clara joins the Doctor in the TARDIS (what is with all the Beautiful Mind writings on the blackboards in the TARDIS. That's going to have something to do with either the Promised Land or Gallifrey, right?) The Doctor asks the question we all know was coming because of the trailer. He asks Clara if he's a good man. Clara is shocked by this questions and answers truthfully - she doesn't know. I think she wants him to be and she definitely used to think that he was, but she's no sure anymore. The Doctor is about to take Clara to help with the Daleks when she says she has plans. The Doctor simply responds telling her he needs her. It's true, he does need her. Clara is the Doctor's anchor and moral compass right now and Clara knows it. She agrees and off they go. 

We have a brief flashback where we find out the Dalek doesn't actually know the Doctor, he was just promised a Doctor. Journey and her commander inform the Doctor they had been dissecting the Dalek and experimenting on it, but they didn't realize the Dalek was a living thing and that they were causing it pain. At first, the Doctor doesn't seem to care. It's coldest we've seen him. Yes, the Doctor and the Daleks are mortal enemies BUT it seems that the other incarnations still cared about the Daleks on some level. They were living beings and he's carried a guilt around for killing the last of their kind. But Twelve doesn't seem to care. When Patient Dalek says that all Daleks must be destroyed it throws the Doctor for a loop because it is showing some measure of goodness. He tells Clara there can be no such thing as a good Dalek. When Clara accuses the Doctor of being prejudiced he makes a comment about how he should giver her a raise and Clara responds, "You're not my boss, you're one of my hobbies." MY. GOD. I ADORE HER! She doesn't depend on the Doctor the way some of the other companions did (and I say that with great love in my heart for Rose). Clara is a fully functioning adult who sees her time with the Doctor as a part-time gig, and one with a finite end. It's great. It doesn't mean she doesn't love the Doctor or care for him, but she's much more rational about their relationship. It's so great. 

When Clara and the Doctor are on the Aristotle to figure out how to help the Dalek, Journey asks who Clara is. The Doctor responds that Clara is "not my assistant, some other word," and Clara explains she's his carer, meaning she cares so the Doctor doesn't have to. In prior series and with prior incarnations this may have been a joke. With this Doctor, it's the truth. 

Once the Doctor realizes the Dalek's morality is malfunctioning, he decides to help the Dalek, they all need to use the nano-scanner to literally go inside the Dalek. As Clara is getting ready for the mission, Journey tries to tell Clara it is a dangerous mission and that she's dressed like a school teacher. Clara proudly tells her she is a school teacher, and her tone dares her to say more. When Journey tells Clara her last name is Blue, Clara laughs saying she met a man earlier that day named Pink. OK SEE- it is not a coincidence, right? Like that doesn't just happen and they wouldn't have Clara comment on it AND they wouldn't have two last names be a color in one episode if there wasn't going to be some connection. Maybe Clara and Danny get married, and Journey Blue is some distant ancestor?!? Who knows, but this FOR SURE is not a coincidence. 

After shrinking themselves down and entering the Dalek's body, the Doctor makes a comment to Clara that they are in the most dangerous place in the universe. He also tells the group that the Dalek extinguishes morality, and he does so in a tone that shows his anger. The Dalek then says "Doctor" reminding the Doctor and everyone that they are inside the Dalek's body, and should the Dalek so choose, he could eff them up. After informing the group that they need to go further down inside Rusty the Dalek (the name so selected by the Doctor) one of the stupid soldiers uses a weapon. The Dalek's antibodies show up and after the Doctor feeds Ross something, the antibody disintegrates him. This is also different from previous Doctors. Ten and Eleven would have done everything to save everybody. Twelve on the other hand knows that some sacrifices must be made to save everyone else. 

The group outruns the antibodies and ends up in the Dalek's stomach. He explains that the stomach is the least guarded place in the Dalek because it houses the dead and nobody guards the dead. The Doctor is once again off to find where the problem is emanating from. Clara explains to Journey and the other lady solider that the Doctor will get them out of the Dalek, but the hard part is not killing him before he can do so. The group starts crawling through some Dalek tunnels and the Doctor accuses Clara of having man hips (RUDE!). Once through the tunnels, the soldiers' geiger counters start going off like crazy because there's so much radiation. Turns out the radiation leak is causing the Dalek to be moral. But umm, hey, why is no one worried about the radiation poisoning them? Seriously, this doesn't seem to remotely concern anybody. WEIRD. 

As the Doctor is trying to figure out how to save Dalek Rusty, Rusty explains to the Doctor that he saw true beauty- the birth of a star, and it showed him truth. The Doctor and the rest of the group make their way to the heart of the Dalek and find out that's where the leak is coming from. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to fix the leak and VOILA - their mission is accomplished. BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE- we still have 20 minutes left! It turns out, fixing the radiation leak made the Rusty the Dalek a mega-douche again, and now he's trying to kill the Doctor and the group. He's also sent out a signal for the other Daleks to board the Aristotle and start killing everyone. Yay! (Sarcasm).

The Dalek's return to evil only vindicates the Doctor's previous theory that there's no such thing as a good Dalek, only a broken Dalek. He's angry and bitter. Clara gives the Doctor a look I've never seen a companion give a Doctor, then she SMACKS HIM Y'ALL. She says, "We're about to die in here, and there's a bit of you that's pleased." And she's totally right. This Doctor doesn't have the same FIGURE IT OUT! LIVE! mindset that other Doctors have had. This Doctor is old. He's tired, and his hope that a good Dalek could exist has just been crushed. When Clara asks what difference one good Dalek would make, the Doctor says it would make all the difference. Clara then drives home the point that a good Dalek IS possible. Sure, the radiation caused the morality change, BUT the Dalek still saw the true beauty of the star being born. The Doctor reasons that if he can make the Dalek relive this memory and feel those emotions again, he can make a good Dalek. 

So while the rest of the Daleks are on board the Aristotle and killing everyone, the Doctor, Clara, and the two lady soldiers (Journey and Gretchen) are off to try and recreate Dalek memories. At one point, Gretchen realizes that she's going to have to go fight the Dalek's antibodies that are headed for them again, and she asks Clara if the Doctor is crazy or if the Doctor is right. The Doctor turns away from Clara, he's scared of her answer. He doesn't know himself anymore, and he's afraid Clara can see through to his soul. Clara responds that most days the Doctor is both crazy and right, and Gretchen is off to fight off the antibodies. She's soon killed and ends up in the Promised Land/Heaven with the lady who claims to be the Doctor's girlfriend. 

Clara is able to find the memory and reactivate it, while the Doctor reconnects different pathways. The memories start flooding the Dalek's mind again: he sees the birth o f the universe, the evilness of the Daleks, the birth of the star. It's all going to plan! BUT THEN, The Doctor's hateful memories of the Daleks start entering Rusty's memories, so Rusty believes that hatred of the Daleks is good. The Doctor starts begging Rusty to see more, there has to be more than hatred, but it's all the Dalek can see. This revelation clearly distresses the Doctor a great deal. Rusty then goes on a Dalek killing spree. After killing the Daleks, Rusty announces that the Daleks are, in fact, exterminated. The Doctor responds, "Of course they are, that's what you do, isn't it?" But he's not talking about Rusty, he's talking about himself. Rusty seeing the hatred in the Doctor's heart and memories has brought out the Doctor's worst fears. He fears that he is no longer a good man, that he's hateful, bitter, and angry. And to a great extent he is. We've already seen this Doctor leave Clara behind and sacrifice a man.  He's definitely different, but does that make him bad?

After Clara, the Doctor, and Journey have returned (full sized again) to the Aristotle, Rusty informs the Doctor he has told the other Daleks to retreat. Rusty the Dalek then asks the Doctor why he isn't happy about winning. The Doctor tells Rusty that when Rusty looked inside all he saw was hatred, and to the Doctor' that isn't a victory, a real victory would have been a good Dalek. Rusty then tells the Doctor that he, Rusty, isn't a good Dalek, but the Doctor is a good Dalek. OK WOW - what a double edged sword for the Doctor. In one way, Rusty is telling the Doctor that he is in fact a good man, BUT he's also comparing him to his mortal enemy, one that has questionable (Read SHIT) morality. What's the Doctor supposed to do with that information? What are we as viewers supposed to do with that information?

The Doctor and Clara go to leave, and Journey runs after the Doctor. She says she wants to come along. The Doctor tells Journey she's probably nice and kind, and she's definitely brave, he just wishes she hadn't been a solider. He can't handle another soldier because he is one, and he's just now coming to terms with that really. He needs Clara, a kind, but tough soul to get him through, to remind him of the man he used to be, and the man he can be. 

Back in the TARDIS, Clara changes her clothes. I point this out to make the point that Clara keeps a FUCKING WARDROBE in the TARDIS. Anyway, Clara goes to leave for her drink date with Danny, but before she does, she tells the Doctor she doesn't know if he's a good man, but the Doctor tries, and that's "probably the point." That's all he needs to hear. Knowing that Clara knows he's trying is enough for now. He looks tired and sad, a look I imagine we will continue to see throughout the series.

Clara leaves the cupboard, only a few minutes after she left, and runs in to Danny. He notices she has changed, and asks if she's really going to have a drink with him. When Clara asks Danny why she wouldn't, he mentions that he thought she may have a rule against soldiers. She responds with a "No, not me." It's not subtle, but not only is Clara talking about Danny, but she's also talking about the Doctor. Clara is the type of person who is wiling to give anybody a chance. The Doctor. Danny. Rusty the Dalek. She's willing to see past the obvious and figure out who someone really is, and push people to be their best. That's why the Doctor needs her. 

 

"Deep Breath" (Aired August 23, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

I am writing this after getting home from attending the midnight premiere of Doctor Who. If I were smart, I would take some time to process my thoughts and feelings about the new Doctor. But instead, I've elected to use the recap to help me analyze my emotions. Buckle in, cause it's gonna be a long ride. And as always: SPOILERS!

The first important thing: I think Peter Capaldi is pretty great as the Twelfth Doctor. (I am going to go ahead and call him number Twelve. I know an argument can be made for Thirteenth, but I'm going with Twelfth. Sorry 'bout it.)  ANYWAY - Capaldi is great. But it's hard getting used to a new Doctor. I miss Matt Smith's Doctor, but I'm really excited about the direction the writer's appear to be taking the Doctor, as well as Capaldi's portrayal. He is playing him with less whimsy, more guilt, and a LOT of confidence. The Doctor has always had confidence, but Capaldi's Doctor absolutely knows he is the right, and that he is going to win. It is a very interesting take on the Doctor. A darker one, as well. SO- let's get into it!

In the theater premiere, the episode begins with Strax speaking into a video blog, (or perhaps updating his Facebook status? I wasn't entirely clear because of all the clapping happening in the theater) in which he recounts the previous 12 Doctors. It's all very meta with references to prior Doctor's wardrobes (oh hey Tom Baker's scarf) and physical features (I can't be the only one who let out an audible "awww" when Strax made jokes at the expense of Christopher Eccleston's ear size and Matt Smith's chin, right?) Strax even references the debate about what number incarnation we are on; it is all very clever and funny. It's a great intro - but the writers know what they're doing. It not only sets the tone for the show (humorous but dark), but keeps viewers from the immediate gratification of seeing the new Doctor. (With both the regenerations involving Tennant and Smith, the viewers got to see the new Doctor almost immediately.) It was an interesting strategy, but I just wanted to see him and I didn't really care about anything else (something about crashing into London? See I can't even remember!)

Our favorite crime-fighting mystery solvers, the lizard skin Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny, and Strax, arrive in London, apparently narrowly avoiding a disastrous crash. Upon their arrival, the threesome spot a giant T-Rex. As the three part-time companions wonder how the T-Rex came to be in London, the T-Rex (a lady T-Rex according to Vastra. She did grow up with them after all) coughs up the TARDIS, which she had apparently swallowed causing her to end up in good ole' downtown Victorian London.

(PERSONAL TANGENT): I'm confused by the special effects budget for this show. Part of the charm of Doctor Who (at least for me) is the not so great special effects. I love it and it makes it feel special and culty. BUT THEN during the Matt Smtih/Karen Gillan/Arthur Darvill years, the special effects team STEPPED. IT. UP. But with this episode,  it's back to not-so-great special effects. When the T-Rex spits the TARDIS out, it is CLEARLY a model landing on a model set.  I find this personally charming,  I am just confused as to where all the special effects money went. But it's not important. [This] Tangent over.

Now that the TARDIS has made an appearance, we know what's coming - the highly anticipated reveal of Capaldi's Doctor (Yes, I know we saw him in the "Day of the Doctor" and "The Time of the Doctor," but he's for real the Doctor now and it is seriously exciting!). And Capaldi's first words as the Doctor:

"SHHHH!"

I'm in. Yes he's different. He's older. He's Scottish. BUT he sounds like the Doctor. And when he leaves the TARDIS, he moves like the Doctor. Tennant and Smith both had this fluidity to their movements as the Doctor, and Capaldi is continuing this tradition. He's clearly making the Doctor his own, but showing continuity between each regeneration. The Doctor starts babbling, sometimes coherently, other times utter nonsense about the Dinosaur. Vastra, Jenny, and Strax look confused, while Clara tries to sort everything out and remain calm. She's so confused. She just saw the Time Lord she perhaps loved, and for sure trusted change before her eyes. But she's doing her best to deal. When the Doctor passes out, Clara explains to the others the man before them is the Doctor. Vastra responds with "Well, here we go again..." You guys - IT MADE ME TEAR UP! Ten minutes into the new season and I'm weepy. This dang show! 

We then see the new title sequence, which looked great! (I think I figured out where the money for the special effects may have gone). There's also a slightly different version of the theme song. The audience loved it and so did I. A new intro for a new Doctor. Yay! Ok, carry on. 

To help complete the regeneration process, Vastra uses her lizard sorcery to induce the Doctor into sleep. Clara, Vastra, and Jenny have a contentious bedside chat. Clara makes the mistake of asking how to "fix" the Doctor. She doesn't understand how the Doctor's face can look so old  and worn because it's a new face. (This is the first of many references and discussions of the Doctor's new form. I noticed that this is the first regeneration where the Doctor's appearance is discussed at length.) Vastra DOES NOT APPROVE, you guys. She puts on her veil and starts questioning Clara. Vastra accuses Clara of being shallow and only caring for the Doctor because of his looks. Clara loses her temper and it is GLORIOUS. I have never questioned Clara's strength as a companion, but I don't think she's ever had the chance to show how strong she is until this scene. Clara tells Vastra she does not have an issue with older men, and that Vastra herself is guilty of judging Clara based on her looks. I'm now 100% on board with Clara. She's sassy, smart, and brave, and seeing her with a new Doctor has healed all wounds of her not being Rose or Amy (more on that below). Once Clara sticks up for herself, Vastra's veil disappears because Clara "stopped seeing it." It's all very metaphorical and lovely, but really the important takeaway is this: Clara is a strong woman, and she is going to be vital to the Doctor's journey this series, perhaps even more than previous companions. 

While all of these shenanigans are happening, Londoners are gathering to see the T-Rex hanging out in their city. And I have to say, it's not a huge crowd. I feel like if a T-Rex randomly appeared in downtown Los Angeles, there would be a few thousand people gathering around to see it, assuming they can stop texting long enough to look up and notice a giant pre-historic animal in their city. Anyway, in Doctor Who world, one gentleman and his wife are taking their evening stroll, and the hubby decides he wants to gawk at the T-Rex a bit longer. His wife, apparently bored by the presence of a GIANT PRE-HISTORIC CREATURE HANGING OUT, decides to go home and go to bed.  Her hubby stays behind to stare at the newly installed Jurassic Park exhibit, and makes a comment about his stellar observations skills. Apparently, they aren't as great as he thinks, because we then see a dude with half a face (Gus Fring?!). This Half Face Guy appears to be part human, part cyborg. Then, HE STEALS THE HUSBAND'S EYEBALLS Y'ALL. I have a thing about eyes. I don't like seeing people touch the, put eyedrops in, nothing. So even thinking about this guy's eyeballs being cut out grossed me the heck out. 

Alright, so back to the Doctor. He starts recovering and wakes up. Because he can apparently speak Dinosaur, the Doctor realizes the T-Rex is scared and lonely. After deciding the door was too boring of an option, he leaves (read: FALLS) through the window in an effort to go assist the T-Rex. As he's making his way to the dinosaurs' location, the T-Rex bursts into flames.  The Doctor hurries his way to the T-Rex by making jokes and stealing a horse, and his companions unknowingly follow him. Everyone arrives at the same time, only to find there is nothing to be done for the poor T-Rex. The Doctor looks distraught. For the first time on Capaldi's Doctor's face we see the famous Doctor guilt. He's let someone else down. To make an Avengers reference, it's more red in his ledger that he feels he needs to wipe out. When the Doctor asks if there have been similar spontaneous combustions, Vastra confirms. The Doctor then jumps into the Thames, with no explanation PER USUAL. 

The following morning, after Strax rudely throws a newspaper at her head and insults her, Clara discovers an ad in the paper inviting the "Impossible Girl" to lunch on "the other side." Clara realizes the Doctor does not hold the attention span to create a puzzles, and that the "other side" means the other side of the paper. SIDE NOTE: The nicknames for the companions make me get the goosebumps. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, anytime I hear "The Girl Who Waited," "The Boy Who Waited," "The Last Centurion," or "The Impossible Girl," I get the chills in the best way possible. It makes me feel so much more emotionally invested in the show. And I like that Clara's nickname is being used with the new Doctor. Even though, as we come to find out the Doctor didn't place the ad in the paper (or did he?!), it shows that the Doctor needs Clara. At least for now. 

In the meantime, the Doctor is in full on crazy mode, digging through trash and speaking non-sense. He meets a homeless gentlemen whom he scares the poop out of by asking him insane questions. Here we begin to see the questioning nature of this Doctor. He wonders  why he picked the face he is now wearing. There's always a reason for his choice. He asks the homeless man an apparently non-rhetorical question to the homeless man: What is he trying to prove? My thoughts: The "older" face shows the Doctor's true age and emotional state. He is tired and weary. He is burdened by years of guilt.  I'm not proclaiming this as some great revelation, it seems fairly obvious. For 2,000 years he has carried around guilt and death in his  two heavy hearts. It's about time the Doctor shows it, and not just occasionally, but constantly. Having a world-weary Doctor announces to Clara, and the audience, that this isn't going to be the light-hearted, whimsical Doctor we are used to (though Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith all did wonderful jobs of showing the Doctor's burden). I'm guessing this is going to be a reoccurring theme throughout this series, with a more than likely in your face explanation of the Doctor's choice in the eighth series finale. 

Clara and the Doctor arrive at the restaurant from the paper, and it is the first real TARDIS Team conversation between Clara and the new Doctor! What I love about their relationship is Clara's ability to see through the Doctor, and she isn't afraid to put him in his place. When he tries to joke around and smile with her, she tells him it isn't ok until she smiles at him. It's quite a lovely scene. It shows Clara has power in this relationship. The Doctor still cares for her, he is the same man deep down, but she needs some time to adjust. When Clara asks what kind of person would put an ad in the paper asking to meet, the Doctor responds saying "That person would be an egomaniac, needy game player." Clara is impressed that the Doctor is sighting his own faults until she realizes he didn't place the ad at all, but rather, the Doctor thought Clara placed the ad. Witty argumentative banter ensues in which the two argue over who is an egomaniac, needy, and a game player (BOTH!) before the Doctor realizes their fellow patron are all robots. When the Doctor and Clara attempt to leave, they are trapped in their seats and taken down to an old spaceship under Londontowne. (Haven't there been numerous spaceships under London at this point? You would think some land surveyor would have caught on at this point, but I digress). The Doctor nudges his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and tells Clara it will be her job to kick it up to him so he can free them. When Clara struggles to reach because of her short stature, the Doctor opines "It's times like these I miss Amy," (to which I, out loud in a public theater, responded "Rude!"). Yes Amy's height would have been extremely useful in this situation, but it was not only a sad reminder that Amy is no longer in the RIGHT TIME STREAM, but it's just plain mean to bring her up as I'm starting to truly love Clara. 

Clara is able to successfully kick the sonic screwdriver up to the Doctor, and remind him that the screwdriver is voice activated, the two attempt an escape. However, Half Face Dude awakens and sends a door down between the Doctor and Clara. Instead of helping, the Doctor LEAVES CLARA BEHIND. Full Disclosure: I knew the Doctor would come back and save Clara. But the fact that he left her made me so upset! Ten and Eleven would not have left their companions behind. Ever. After a moment of despair, Clara remembers that the restaurant patrons weren't breathing, so she takes the episode titled "Deep Breath," and holds it for what felt like 5 minutes. Though she's able to get away from the Half Faced Dude, she ends up taking another breath CAUSE SHE IS HUMAN, and passes out. and is captured.  Real cool, Doctor. Real. Cool.  

Once Clara awakens, the Half Face Dude starts questioning Clara about the Doctor. Clara says she'll answer his questions if he answers hers. She is confident that he won't kill her because he needs her. She also tells the Two-Face wannabe that  she'll withstand a lot of pain before she even gets close to revealing the information he wants. Clara is officially a BAMF at this point. She knows what she's doing. Two-Face/Gus Fring tells her he wants to reach the Promised Land. For the first time in what feels like a long time, the ultimate goal isn't the destruction of the world. It is kind of nice to not feel the stakes are SO HIGH all the time, though of course Clara's life still hangs in the balance.

When Half Face Man asks Clara where the Doctor went, she genuinely responds that she doesn't know. This admission is painful for her. She trusted the Doctor; she thought he would always be there for her. She then tells Half Face Man that she knows one thing, that the Doctor will always have her back. Clara then reaches her hand behind her back, reaching for the Doctor. When the Doctor didn't immediately grab her hand, I got scared. Again, I knew he would save her, I knew he would be there, but for a split second I though the Doctor had let Clara down, BUT THEN HE GRABBED HER HAND, YOU GUYS! The Doctor had disguised himself as a robot lackey. The Doctor then told fake Two Face not to underestimate her just because she's short (YEAH!). Vastra and Jenny then enter quite gracefully, while Strax enters like the clumsy, idiotic fool he is.  A great example of the show's ability to show levity during intense moments. Amazing. Half Face Dude leaves and the Doctor follows, leaving Vastra, Jenny, Strax, and Clara to fight for themselves against what now seems like 50 robots. 

The Doctor confronts Half Faced Dude, offering him a drink of Scotch (like a boss!). The Doctor begins questioning the Half Face Man. The Doctor questions the Half Face Man's motives. His need to constantly seek out new human parts. The Doctor is so sure of himself in this scene, knowing he's going to win. He's going to kill the Half Face Man, but he still wants to know his purpose. After years of taking human flesh and parts, he's more human than cyborg, so why does he keep going? He's not the same person he was. The Half Faced Man is a reflection of the Doctor. It begs the question: After so many regenerations, is the Doctor the same man he used to be? To really drive the point home, the Doctor holds a tray up so the Half Faced Robot Dude can see his reflection, while the Doctor can see his reflection in the other side (this show isn't always the best with subtlety). It's a face he doesn't recognize. And the questions the Doctor is asking of another he is also asking about himself.  

The spaceship thingy is now above London. Half Face Man admits to the Doctor that though he wants to reach the promise land, he is tired of living, but he isn't programmed to kill himself. The Doctor responds saying he isn't programmed to kill. After a beat, the Doctor says one of them is lying. We then see the robots that were attacking Clara and the gang keel over, and Half Face Man dead hehe Doctor says he isn't programmed to murder in response to Half Face saying he isn't programmed to kill himself. However, the Doctor tells Half Face one of them is lying. Cut to the 50,000 robots keeling over, and Half Face impaled at the top of Big Ben. I think the showrunners tried to leave it a little ambiguous, but I'm of the persuasion that the Doctor killed Half Face. He's killed before. It doesn't mean he likes it- it's always the last option, but the Doctor will kill when necessary to protect the humans and the Earth that he loves. 

After the fight concludes, Clara and the others return to Vastra's home to find the TARDIS gone. In the next scene, Clara laments that the Doctor left her there. Before she can really get too emotional about his abandonment, we hear the sounds of the TARDIS (which we hadn't yet heard this episode!).  Before she leaves to join him once again, she confides in Vastra that she isn't sure she knows who the Doctor is anymore. Sure, he saved her. Sure, he came back for her, but Eleven wouldn't have left her in the first place. Except that Eleven did leave her. He left her when he regenerated. Clara is dealing with feelings of abandonment on two levels. 

But she's an ever faithful companion, so Clara of course gets back in the TARDIS.  On the journey to Clara's home, the Doctor says that he's lived for 2,000 years and has made mistakes along the way, and he wants to do something about it. He also seems to remind Clara that' he is not her boyfriend. When Clara responds that she never thought he was, the Doctor tells Clara, "I never said it was your mistake." I like this new perspective on the relationship, and not just becuase I'm on Team Rose/Doctor. I like the idea of the Doctor needing Clara as support and as a friend, like the Doctor/Donna relationship. It takes the will they/won't they out of the series, which has existed with every companion since Rose stepped foot in the TARDIS. While I like this change, I hope the writers aren't doing this becuase of the superficial difference in ages between teh Doctor and Clara. I think viewers would be ok seeing a younger companion and an older looking Doctor romantically involved, though I don't think it is necessary for the story.

As they continue the journey to take Clara home, Clara and the Doctor try to figure out who but the ad in the paper bringing them together. We're also reminded that Clara and the Doctor talked on the phone through the IT Help Line, bringing them together. Someone out there wants them together. Later we see Half Face Man in a garden, apparently having reached the Promised Land. There a woman asks if "her boyfriend" sent him there. We assume she's talking about the Doctor. Is this the person responsible for bringing Clara and the Doctor together? I'm guessing this will be a season long mystery.

When the TARDIS lands, the Doctor asks Clara if she will stay with him. She apologizes, and she means it, but she doesn't know who he is anymore. He left her. Twice in about 2 days. She's reeling. She's trying hard to be strong, but she's hurt. Her phone begins to ring, and Clara leaves the TARDIS to answer. When she answers, I recognized the familiar  voice, and my hand flew up to my mouth and my eyes welled up. Freaking Matt Smith. Really?! Now?! An Amy Pond reference,  and now you're going to make me not only have to hear Eleven's voice but also watch him tell Clara goodbye. Eleven tells Clara that he knows she's scared, but that the that the new Doctor is even more scared, and that he needs her, and she's the only one that can help him right now. DAMN YOU STEVEN MOFFAT pulling on my heart strings. 

Clara hangs up the phone, and Twelve asks her once again if she is willing to help. When she hugs him, he is so clearly uncomfortable. It is a beautiful contrast to the Doctor she just had a conversation with. Eleven would have gleefully returned the hug. Twelve on the other hand seems more apprehensive. 

And that's it. The the first appearance of Twelve. And I left feeling excited and intrigued. I really like Capaldi's version of the Doctor and I think he's going to make him incredibly interesting and dark. And I think Clara will get to continue the tradition of being a totally kickass and strong companion. I hope that the writer's don't shy away from the darker sides of the Doctor. We know it's there. We got a preview of it when we saw the War Doctor in the 50th Anniversary Special (again, an older looking Doctor, outwardly reflecting the internal weariness) and it's time we explore it. It doesn't mean the show has to be any less funny or entertaining. But I think a darker Doctor at this point could be incredibly compelling. Let's see what happens next week! (Don't forget to check out the upcoming podcast for more "Doctor Who" discussion!)