The season so far   Leave a comment

If I’d thought of it soon enough I’d have done a writeup after each episode.
(woohoo, re-watch! 😀 )

In any case, let me review what remains in my brain of the first 3 episodes of season 8. Short version: like.

Episode 1: Deep Breath

… of fresh air, after that clunky Christmas special and general hum-drumminess of the last three seasons. A perfect first (okay, third) outing for the new Doctor. I already loved him for the eyebrows, but as first words go, ‘Shush!’ gives ‘Run!’ some serious competition. His whole first scene simply bubbles with delight: ‘You’ve got a dinosaur too!’ ‘The not-me one, the asking questions one,’ ‘It’s Clara!’ All priceless. I love his brash Scottishness; I love that the eyebrows get their own scene (with the late Lis Sladen’s husband no less!); I love the furious mirror and the not-me door. I pretty much love everything about him.

I didn’t love the Paternoster gang quite as much as I have in some previous outings, but that’s certainly nothing against them. I enjoy Strax as the butt of humor. I like Vastra’s elegance, and I enjoyed mouthy Jenny in this episode. I would love to see more – and more effective – ass-kickery from these two ladies. I love all the Sherlock Holmes references that go along with them: the agony column, Inspector Gregson, the board. And I love that the Blue Peter sonic devices got their showcase in this ep.

Soon, I swear, I will sit down and document every reference in this episode. There are dozens. Off the top of my head I have Snow White, Sherlock Holmes, Time of the Doctor (Handles), Day of the Doctor (round things), yellow roses, ‘I miss Amy,’ the long scarf, chips; I know there are many more.

I LOVE CLARA. Finally, someone got a rise out of her! She has been far too unflappable in her appearances so far. For the first time, she gets to be really human, really angry, really scared. It was nice to see. I’ve never disliked her – she’s far too cute and charming for that – but I’ve found her a bit dull. A bit ho hum. I was intrigued by her mystery in The Snowmen – why is she two people? – but when that was never resolved to satisfaction, and instead became something of a mess, I lost interest. Now, however, I’m fully on board with her.

Matt Smith’s cameo was a sweet touch. Reassuring Clara – and Eleven’s fans – is a kind, very Eleven gesture. Twelve’s desperation was also a nice note to strike, especially since he’s been so harsh, so much colder and harder than his predecessor. Showing Clara – and Eleven’s fans – his vulnerability makes him much more accessible.

There was a lot of ‘for the fans’ in this ep. Not just the references, but the boyfriend stuff, the age stuff, all there to ease young fans’ transition. I thought it was handled well. It’s good to know how well Moffat knows his stuff, and himself. Seeing that gives me more confidence in him as writer and showrunner. He spent so much of the last few seasons being clever, it’s nice to see him be honest for a change. (Though clever is good too. I like clever.)

MISSY: The Mystery. Oh this could go so wrong. I think I’ll keep my expectations low. I would love it if she were the Master, the Valyard, even the Black Guardian. I don’t think any of these is likely. I think she’s another Kevorian/Tasha Lem/River Song type: critical to the Doctor’s past but not so critical that anyone has heard of her in the last 50 years. So far her appearances have been handled well, but I am skeptical that our good fortune will hold out.

Okay, I said I was going to do all three, but I think this post is long enough for now. I’ll be back with Into the Dalek and Robot of Sherwood at some other time.

(Post script: I am one of those nerds who thinks it’s cool that Season 8 episode 1 (8:01) is also episode 801 of all time. I expect that depends somewhat on how you count, but I’m going with it.)

Posted September 8, 2014 by Elisabeth in Season 8

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