Writer: Steven Moffatt
Director: Ben Wheatley
Producer: Nikki Wilson
Companion: Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman)
Series: 8, episode 1 (extended episode)
Summary: The Paternoster Gang sees a tyrannosaurus spit out the TARDIS. They go to investigate and discover the newly-regenerated Twelfth Doctor, and has mistaken Clara for Handles, and Strax for Clara. They get him a room at an inn and Vastra tricks him into resting. The Doctor wakes up and steals a horse from a stagecoach, with the Gang and Clara in pursuit. Someone has been incinerating people (and the T-Rex), and this is the kind of thing The Doctor investigates. The Clockwork Droids from “The Girl in the Fireplace” are back. And a mysterious woman watches the events unfold.
Review: Oh, this was a mess. The Doctor’s regenerations usually start with the Doctor trying to find himself, and some handle this better than others. Capaldi was not what I expected, and way too silly at first until he finally pegged himself down. But what was great was that this episode allowed Clara some development. With the Eleventh Doctor, Clara was kind of flat for the most part, but still an intriguing character. Now that her arc with him is over, this was a chance to see what she would become with a new Doctor. I’ve heard some complain about how she acts as if she doesn’t know the Doctor regenerates, especially with the revelation in “The Name of the Doctor” that she had always been a part of the Doctor’s past. I interpreted those scenes to mean that she was more of an observer who could only act if the Doctor was in any sort of danger, not a constant companion. Seeing an event happen is not the same thing as participating in it. This was the first regeneration she would actually be present for, and it was not something she was prepared for, because she’d only ever seen the regeneration happen. Besides, with the Doctor out of sorts until he settles in (or whatever the proper term is), Clara is more on her own. This is actually welcome because Clara rarely had the focus on herself.
And what about Missy? What is my feeling about her? At this point, I was intrigued. In fact, I even theorized that it could be a new regeneration for The Rani, who was last seen in the Seventh Doctor’s era. (I’m holding off on my thoughts on the actual reveal until I get to that episode. This really isn’t the proper time to discuss it)
I didn’t much care for the Eleventh Doctor’s appearance. It was too much like fan service.
I think this wasn’t one of Moffatt’s best moments. However, I’m still eager to see what is going to happen, especially since new writers have been hired to take the show in a new direction.
Overall Review: 6/10
Continuity: As the Doctor collaspes near the Thames, we hear the Cloister Bell, which first rung in “Logopolis”. The Doctor’s brain is too fuddled from regeneration to fully remember the Clockwork Soldiers. Strax performs an examination on Clara, making an observation on her “thorax”, which was also a mistake made by Linx with Sarah Jane in “The Time Warrior” and Commander Skorr with Martha in “The Sontaran Strategem”. The Doctor wonders who gave Clara the phone number for the TARDIS, which she also used in “The Bells of St. John”. The Doctor recalls seeing his own face, but doesn’t remember when. (The Fires of Pompeii) The Eleventh Doctor tells Clara that his new regeneration will be a whopper, which he said to the Daleks in his last story. Strax mentions using acid as a weapon, which he did in “The Crimson Horror”. This is the second time the Doctor has claimed to speak an animal’s language. (The first was in “A Town Called Mercy”) The Doctor reminisces about when he had “round things” in the TARDIS control room. It’s Clara’s turn to say “You redecorated…I don’t like it”, a line usually reserved for Doctors when they see the current Doctor’s control room in multi-Doctor episodes. The Doctor remembers wearing a scarf, but dismisses the idea as stupid. Strax still has trouble telling human genders apart. The Twelfth Doctor is the second Time Lord to choose a face he’s previously seen. The first was Romana when she regenerated in “Destiny of the Daleks”. (this was a side effect of the Key of Time transferring into her in the audio drama “The Chaos Pool”.) The Doctor once again takes a companion to the wrong place when trying to take her home, which happened to Sarah Jane in “The Hand of Fear”. This is the second time a dinosaur the Doctor has befriended has died. The first time was with a triceratops in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Perhaps the Doctor found the T-rex because he’d forgotten how to operate it in the previous episode. This new Doctor doesn’t like to be hugged. This story also reveals the Doctor’s new catchphrase, “shut up.”
Trivia: This is the first episode to be extended, which would happen both at the beginning and at the end of series 9.