Well seeing as how there are only five episodes of Doctor Who left this season, I decided I would give my thoughts on the season so far.
*WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD*
We have had only 8 episodes and quite a bit has happened for this new Doctor (Peter Capaldi), including some character development and possibly a re-examination of who The Doctor really is.
At the start of the season, The Doctor was dealing with post-regenerative trauma, but not as bad as David Tennant in his debut episode The Christmas Invasion. This new Doctor couldn’t recognize Clara at first and was forced into action quicker than he was ready. He ends up stopping some clockwork droids from taking over Victorian London with Clara’s help. Clara doesn’t know who this Doctor is anymore and needs encouragement and reassurance from The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) via a phone call.
We learn through adventures with Clara, that The Twelfth Doctor is a man of action, and is more pragmatic than his previous incarnations. He doesn’t have the time to apologize when someone dies on one of his adventures, because he is too worried about protecting the lives of those who are still alive. He doesn’t care what others think of him, and he isn’t going to apologize for who he is.
Clara does have to rein in this Doctor at times because he is more alien this time around and doesn’t understand human interaction. Because of this Clara is for all intents and purposes The Doctor’s intermediary between him and other humans they encounter on his many adventures. The Twelfth Doctor’s lack of human understanding means he doesn’t always know the right thing to do, for example in Into The Dalek once Rusty is repaired and turned back to a “normal” Dalek he begins killing people and The Doctor almost starts to give up, causing Clara to slap him to wake him up and realize they can make Rusty good again.
The Twelfth Doctor’s new less cuddly, and meaner personality has forced Clara to become more proactive and stand up for herself, having to handle situations by herself. The unpredictability of this new Doctor has forced Clara to be able to think on the fly to get her out of sticky situations without The Doctor’s help. He abandoned Clara in Deep Breath and she had to survive by thinking fast when captured by The Half-Face Man and the other clockwork droids. I think it’s safe to say this Doctor keeps Clara on her toes. This new Doctor may leave you and say he will be back, but you don’t know if you can trust him, which makes him a less reliable Doctor at times.
Despite all this, The Twelfth Doctor still cares about Clara as seen in Listen when she disappears from The TARDIS and The Doctor calls out her name in worry. He may be less likable and rude at times, but he is still very much a caring person.
The Twelfth Doctor can be very dangerous to travel with as well. In Listen he begins to obsess about the creature and puts the lives of Orson Pink and Clara in jeopardy, having to know if said creature actually exists. When The Doctor, Courtney Woods, and Clara travel to the moon in 2049 he puts Courtney’s life in danger and she is almost killed by a spider-like creature.
This new Doctor is not going to hold your hand and will not always be there to help you, even when you really need it. In Kill The Moon when Clara is faced with an impossible decision and looks to The Doctor for help, he tells her he cannot help because it’s not his decision to make. The Doctor leaves in his TARDIS and essentially abandons her and Courtney forcing them to make the decision of whether to kill the creature or let it live.
Like I said earlier, The Twelfth Doctor is more alien and has no understanding of human interaction and also as evidenced in Kill The Moon has his own shady set of morals. He believes he was allowing Clara to make her own decision, but was completely unaware of the fact that he abandoned her. He knew he was returning to save her, but Clara didn’t know that, and that’s what makes this Doctor’s set of morals kind of murky. Clara was afraid she was going to make the wrong decision and when she needed The Doctor most he abandoned her and refused to help, thereby completely destroying any chance of creating trust between Clara again. Clara is so angry with The Doctor that she says she doesn’t want to see him again, which I found very shocking but understandable.
The Twelfth Doctor questions whether he is a good man or not and it’s something I seriously wonder now too. The Doctor had good intentions when he left Clara on the moon, believing she had to make the choice for herself, but you know what they say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This new Doctor has no idea how much he makes himself a danger to others, which is a very scary thought. I suspect the whole “Am I good man?” theme will be something that may be answered at the end of the season. It’s an interesting philosophical question to explore over the course of the season, especially considering this Doctor is darker and may be headed on an even darker path.
We were introduced to Missy at the beginning of the season and she seems to be in charge of what she claims to be Heaven/The Promised Land. Missy seems to be aware of The Doctor and the fact he can regenerate, even saying “..I do like his new accent though. Think I might keep.” I don’t have the slightest guess of who Missy might be and what her end game is, but I think she may be forming an army from all the enemies and allies of The Doctor who have died.
This season also saw the introduction of Danny Pink, who is a Math teacher at Coal Hill School and is also Clara’s boyfriend. Danny Pink used to be a soldier and apparently he killed a civilian which he seems to feel guilt ridden about. Danny has met The Doctor and clashed with him because he realized how The Doctor operates and warned Clara that he might someday push her too far. The Doctor does not like Danny because he used to be a soldier, this being a deal-breaker for The Doctor when he is considering having new companions join him in The TARDIS. I suspect The Doctor wants to forget his War Doctor incarnation and is projecting on others, because he hates himself for being a soldier. Danny ends up saving The Doctor and Clara from The Skovox Blitzer in The Caretaker and The Doctor starts to respect him. At the end of Kill The Moon, Danny talks to Clara when she returns to Coal Hill after having yelled at The Doctor and telling him she doesn’t want to see him again. Danny guesses The Doctor pushed Clara too far and it upset her. Clara asks Danny how he became so wise and Danny says he had a bad day.
I have a very strange feeling there is something going on with Danny Pink, now maybe he isn’t a bad guy in disguise, but there is something up with him. I hope that I’m wrong because I think Clara deserves to have a normal life, considering all she has had to deal with from travelling with The Doctor. I expect there to be a huge twist involving the overarching plot of The Promised Land and Missy and what it all means by the end of the season.
I have really enjoyed series 8 so far, and would already put it up there with series 3, 4 and 5 as one of my favorite series of Doctor Who. Deep Breath, Into The Dalek, Robot of Sherwood, The Caretaker, Listen, and Kill The Moon (I loved seeing an episode by a new writer, and I was impressed with Peter Harness and all the elements that worked in his debut episode) are my favorite episodes so far. Peter Capaldi has been positively awesome as The Doctor and I look forward to seeing how his Doctor progresses throughout the rest of the season, and how he will deal with the fallout of what happened with Clara and how they left things between each other. Jenna Coleman has been great this season as Clara and has finally broken free of being a plot device, being a major part of the Doctor’s development in this new incarnation of his. I suspect that we have not seen the last of Clara Oswald and believe she will be integral to the overall plot in helping The Doctor deal with the season’s “Big Bad,” which I believe to be Missy. Knowing Steven Moffat, I expect a very weird twist coming, and I for one like his crazy story arcs! This season has been great so far and I look forward to seeing how it all pans out!
I’m curious what have you thought about Peter Capaldi as The Doctor? Have you enjoyed the season so far? What have you liked/disliked about the season? Do you like Peter Capaldi’s take on The Doctor? Whatever your thoughts let me know!