So, we (ie: I) have just witnessed the first episode of Capaldian era of Doctor Who.
Pause for a moment here.
(see what I did there?)
(Hint: 'deep breath')
(It was unintentional.)
DOWN TO THE BUSINESS
Let's do the important bit first.
The big C.
How is he?
he's exactly like you thought he was going to be but were too afraid to build up your hopes for in case he wasn't any good.
He's very Capaldi.
I guess what I'm trying to say is
He is a bit like malcom tucker.
But actually it works
A BIT BETTER THAN I EXPECTED.
And he's a top actor.
He's doing it quite old-school.
Heck, he is quite old-school.
And that's actually pretty excellent.
WE MAY AT A LATER POINT MOVE BACK
ANYWAY Here is my episode summary:
(are dinosaurs really that big?)
(I thought they generally weren't.)
Oh look its Vastra.
AHH, THIS IS QUITE FUNNY DIALOUGE.
BLA BLA STUFF
Hold it there.
Because here actually is my main complaint.
There have been times, many times,
since Moffat has taken over
where I thought: 'ooooh'
'that was an interesting story'
'shame they only had 45 minutes to get through it'
'felt a bit rushed'
'felt a bit like'
'if only they had longer they could have done a better job here'
(s5e2, s5e8, s6e2, s6e10, s7e2, s7e9)
But this epsiode.
This, 80 minute episode.
(That's a long time folks.)
Felt slow and drawn-out and listless.
This is really not a complaint I have had
of Doctor Who
for a very long time.
NOT ENOUGH HAPPENED.
EVEN THOUGH YOU HAD A DINOSAUR.
WHICH WAS INTERESTING.
AND THERE WERE A LOT OF WAYS YOU COULD HAVE GONE THERE.
YOU REVERTED TO MOFFAT 101.
OH, LET'S HAVE SOME ALIENS HIDING IN A PLACE, AND KILLING PEOPLE TO PROGRESS THEIR EVIL AGENDA
#SHOULD BE A DOCTOR WHO STORYLINE
#I KNOW HASHTAGS SHOULDN'T HAVE SPACES
I'm getting ahead of myself here.
Because we were meant to be running through this episode.
So, up next.
Clara makes one little comment about 'how do we change him back?'
I think: not super unreasonable, she has not had regeneration explained to her.
She doesn't watch the show,
she wouldn't have been aware Capaldi was taking over.
LET'S PUNISH HER, AND by extension, YOU
By subjecting you/her
CONFUSING SCENE IN THE WHOLE OF DOCTOR WHO SINCE THE REVIVAL
A overly drawn-out veil metaphor
Something about judging people from appearances
Something about boyfriends
And then Clara has a little shout
(NO-ONE EVER SAYS HER NAME)
(I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT WOMAN'S NAME IS)
Does a that spontaneous applause and then awkwardly stop
THAT ONLY EVER HAPPENS IN CHEAP ROM-COMS
NEVER IN REAL LIFE
Then Clara says 'when did you take of your veil'
Which may possibly serve as proof that clara has not understood the veil metaphor properly
Rendering the whole scene pointless
But I digress
Vastra answers 'perhaps it was when you stopped noticing it'
Which is a stupid answer
The correct answer was
'when I took it off just now'
But that's not good enough for Vastra
Vastra is just being a bit dickish
Vastra: Based on Moffat?
(because if there's one thing this episode really emphasises)
(it's that if you cut between two not-quite-interesting enough things)
(frequently and annoyingly)
(you will not convince the audience)
(that they are having an exciting time)
the doctor is doctoring about
in a manner
which is NOT SUPRISING AT ALL
and to be fair, in a few minutes when he turns up by the flaming dinosaur
no one is surprised.
Then there is a scene in which the plot develops
And there is some more quite good dialouge
Then the doctor jumps into the river
NO REASON GIVEN AT THE TIME OR AFTERWARDS.
There is a scene with the sontaran chap and clara.
That, whilst not a bad scene
IS SO, SO, SO SUPERFLUOS
THAT IT CAN ONLY BE HERE TO FILL TIME.
LITERALLY, THERE IS NO POINT TO THIS SCENE.
DID THEY KNOW THEY WERE MAKING AN 80 MINUTE EPISODE WHEN THEY WROTE THE PLOT TO THIS EP?
MY SUSPICION: NO.
There is then another scene in which nothing happens.
with the doctor and a tramp
but this one IS IMPORTANT
THIS IS A CAPALDIDOCTOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT SCENE.
And is probably the highlight of the episode.
It was very good.
I felt reassured that Capaldidoctor has fun times in store for us.
THEN WE'RE OFF TO THE RESTARANT.
There is a 'thing' made of the advert
And, to be fair, this is good.
Moffat, master of the 'sudden reveal of a thing made of a thing you didn't think was going to be a thing thing but thought was just a basic, level-one, thing'
does quite well here.
But then from this penny-drop moment.
There is an AGONISINGLY LONG TIME.
During which Clara fails to notice the restaurant is full of andriods.
NOT HARD TO NOTICE.
IF YOU DIDN'T NOTICE IT DURING THE ESTABLISHING SHOT AT THE TOP OF THE SCENE.
THE MOMENT WHEN THE ADVERT 'THING' DROPS AND SUDDENLY
SHIT'S GOING DOWN
THAT WOULD BE THE POINT TO NOTICE IT, THEN THEN.
IT IS NOT SUBTLE, THIS ONE.
IT IS NOT HARD TO NOTICE THE FACT THAT THE OTHER DINERS ARE DROIDS
THEY ARE NOT HIGH-QUALITY DROIDS
WE DO NOT NEED 2 WHOLE MINUTES, INCLUDING HAIR SHENNANIGANS
OF THAT POINT
WE ARE THE AUDIENCE,
ONCE, WE THE AUDIENCE, HAVE FIGURED SOMETHING OUT,
WE EXPECT THE DOCTORCLARA TO ALSO HAVE IT SUSSED.
There then follow MORE minutes of weirdness
including a creepy waiter encounter
where the doctorclara are inexplicably-
Not freaking the fuck out
but instead just sitting there like their boy/girlfriend's parents are watching
amicably waiting for the sofavator
(sofavator name copyright me)
to activate and transport them to the headquaters of the not-the-ss-madame-du-pompador
BECAUSE THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS!
NOT ONLY ARE WE RECYLING THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS IN THIS EPISODE
NOT ONLY ARE WE RECYLING THE DOCTOR FROM WHEN HE WAS CAECILLIUS
(although side-note on that point:)
(there was some suggestion in the sidestreet scene)
(that we were going to get an in-cannon explanation to why Cacillius is Doctor 12)
(if that is indeed planned)
(kudos, stephen moffat, kudos.)
NOT ONLY ARE WE RECYLING DINOSAURS FROM 'DINOSAURS ON A SPACESHIP'
NOT ONLY ARE WE RECYLING CLARA, THE-ASSISTANT-WHO-DOESN'T-REALLY-DO-MUCH
BUT WE ARE ALSO RECYLING THE DROIDS FROM THAT EPISODE WITH THE WOMAN WHO WAS LADY PENELOPE IN THE THUNDERBIRDS MOVIE.
(that reference probably really dated me.)
AND THIER SHIP
EXCEPT IN A CUNNING TWIST
THIS LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THEIR SHIP
THEY LOOK NOTHING LIKE THEIR COUNTERPARTS
THEY AREN'T IN THE FUTURE, THEY'RE FROM THE FUTURE
AND THEY HAVE A SINLGLE LEADER
AND THERE IS NO FIREPLACE.
Apart from that, it's completely the same bad guy!
And the fandom are all like:
'If you want to moffat'
(awkward thumbs up)
Now that we have complicity sat on the sofavator and been taken to their base
TIME TO ESCAPE, BITCHES.
So they do some GCSE-level escaping.
Except they also fail at that.
leading to my favourite single line of the episode
"there's no point them catching both of us"
uttered by the doctor as his excuse for leaving clara in mortal peril.
when, by all reasonable judgement, he could probably have got her out if he had really tried.
Doctor12: bit of a dick?
Metaphor for Moffat etc.
As punishment for being captured the audienceclara are subjected to a scene in which she is nearly interrogated
but manages to confuse the audience and everyone into forgetting that she's being interrogated
proving, the droids are still, as David TenDoctor put it
"mr thickety thick thickton from thicksville, thickanaia"
and so are their dads.
BUT NOT UNTIL SHE HAS TRIED TO ESCAPE ONCE,
BUT FAILED BY MEANS OF NOT BEING ABLE TO HOLD HER BREATH FOREVER.
And, we, the audience, go,
that's why it was called 'deep breath'.
And suspect moffat is shamlessly trying to recreate the 'blink' moment from 'blink'
(The problem I had with that scene.)
(Is I suspect no matter how long she had held her breath for.)
(That sequence of identical smoky corridors would have gone on for longer.)
(Even if it were, like, hours/miles.)
Anyway, after all this, Doctortwelve bursts in.
Literally right on cue.
Annoying because it means I have less of a joke to make about it being right on cue.
Then he establishes a means to blow up the alien's power source.
Which he then goes on to totally forget about for the rest of the episode.
Plot amnesia: side-effect of the regeneration?
The a-team arrive.
There is a finale sequence.
With the a-team fighting and then holding their breath.
While the doctor does a reverse-Samaritan on the droid boss in the flying restaurant.
This sequence serves to demonstrate the earlier-mentioned principle about cutting between 2 places to make things seem more exciting not being a good way to make things seem more exiting if the things aren't exciting enough to start with.
That all happens.
They kill the bad guy.
There's the inevitable 'clara sets off with new doctor in tardis scene'
Which is all very moody and not at all like the mattsmithdoctor version of that scene
(which I remember fondly mainly because of the epic music)
(one thing you can't dissapoint me with: epic music)
...not necessarily a critisism.
But a big difference.
I think perhaps initially, perhaps long term,
we're going to see clara and clapaldidoctor have a more difficult relationship
than has been the norm
BUT HOLD THE PHONE
No, literally, hold the phone.
In a, 'well, that was cleverly back-contingency-ified, but still very pointless' twist.
We get a call from mattsmithdoctor
To say 'look after me'
Then capaldidoctor manages to know what they talked about
by virtue of being the same person
There's some bland dialouge
Then they go off for coffee.
just before you go
driodboss is not dead.
Or maybe he is.
But either way, he's now hanging out with the angry scottish lady from 'Bad Education'.
So jokes on him, really.
SO THERE YOU ARE
CLOSING THOUGHTS TIME:
WAS CAPALDI A GOOD CHOICE?
He's going to take things in a new direction.
It might be 'dark' and 'moody'.
It might just be 'slow' and 'strange'.
Depends on the writing
We saw glimmers of both this episode.
WAS THE EPISODE MUCH GOOD?
I'd rank it worst of the 'special non-specials' as far as I recall.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Pun actually not intended.