Archive for ‘Uncategorized’
October 1st, 2014

A kaleidoscope of emotions unravelling from a tight knit ball of suppression.

Incomprehensible was this peculiar mixture of response and reaction.

No explanation for each escaping tear drop as they all rained down and I just had to let them.

This roar of feelings of dragonite passion.

The strength of a hero grown to a child.

Witnessing the tears of a cast out.

A connection of hearts through the fictional wilds.

Relating to the secretive sobs as loudly as a terrific shout.

My torch-bearer, a light on my world.

My explanation go-between.

The aliens in the room, to others always absurd.

Whatever our expressions we know what we mean.

Frustrating translations so we talk with ourselves.

The world mis-knows so we focus inwards.

The invisible that understands us, in and around us dwells.

When other in physicality is not there we project our thoughts outwards.

Their response requires no babelfish they know just what we say.

‘We’re the echoes that surround you, the friends you’ll always have’.

Of our abstractions there is recognition without delay.

‘When you can’t decipher humans, their motivations good or bad’.

Our stars they burst with energy and twinkle in our toes.

Our constellations mingle for us and no one else.

Our soulmade kindred charms for each other we bestow.

Our bond affirmed within all the vagaries we have felt.

Some thoughts expressed in outbursts whimsical or wounded.

The bubbles of ideas pop and fizz and coalesce.

The muddied water filters make us incoherently lucid.

So we cling to the ones who try to understand us best.

The words of our chosen few are a mountain of equivocation.

Affirmations give our doubts a yearned for reprieve.

We loosen our hold with conflicting resignation.

Their desire to leave us we insecurely preconceive.

We’re soldiers on our battlefield concrete against the world.

Guarding our own boundaries from mental devastation.

The things we’re too afraid to say all remain unpurged.

Our own officers of calm must be the source of our placation.

I have in you, Doctor, unfailing love and loyalty however blindly naive.

We’re compatriots together no matter false or true.

I’m your faithful companion, in you I believe.

I want to shield you from the anger of Danny Pink or Journey Blue.

I know there’s more complexity in interpreting your character.

Easy answers are unachievable in continual debate.

A torrent of opinions smashing black and white parameters.

The tension in my body comes from misperceiving hate.

In the darkness we share nightmares.

A fear of the unknown.

In my dreams I find you traversing my mind’s spiral stairs.

I fly and float into your arms and feel so immediately at home.

Maybe it’s a part of the fantasy to say I never would disown you.

I’m not fully making steps in your companion’s shoes.

My ardency tilts my thinking askew.

To accept all the dark sides my idealism becomes bruised.

But we share a curiosity, a just have to know.

To search out all the answers and discover the truths.

A marvelling wonderment we want to never outgrow.

Our homes often welcoming regiments of books.

Embodying our excitements with delighted bounding.

With joyful frenzy we put to flight our smiles.

Animatedly scattering what we find astounding.

Unreservedly proffering fascinating finds.

But in the quiet and the dark when no one understands you.

When your sadness pours out under protective cover.

When ignorance and loneliness is all you seem to accrue.

I promise you I’ll be your warm summer.

A tearful extravagance for the clasp that closed the chain.

A 50 year completion of words from past said now.

A profusion of tales of happiness and pain.

Every star in that galaxy should proudly take a bow.

We have a new beginning, doors to open and explore.

A never ending story of which I’ll always be a fan.

A love for the Doctor inhabits my core.

Peter Capaldi, you wonderful man.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

ITD features some of the best innovation since sliced bread, in this reviewer’s opinion; it’s got style, emotional depth, that good old Jungian circus, and a flair for the profound that’s easy to math up with previous Dalek outings, no matter which side of the bread your butter’s on.

Spoilerphobes, read at own risk.

It begins with a lone rebel vessel in the blackness of space, alone in an asteroid field, pursued by a Dalek ship.

Quick as a flash, the Doctor snaps up the surviving pilot Journey Blue (a possible fourth wall call-out to the Doctor’s connection with the TARDIS and consequence, and choices), and she snaps right back at him, upset at his failure to also save her brother, who was presumably fried to crispety crunchety goodness and disintegrated right after she dematerialized. It is shown in episode how unlikely it was that he could have saved the brother, how he made the callous, yet surgically precise triage-worthy decision to save her, and still the sister doesn’t care. Some might say the Doctor was subconsciously bowling for gratitude on a fixed lane with that one, even though, within the artifice of the scene, we believe that ship has sailed. Talk about a poster child for the Backfire Effect, and I’m not talking about the Doctor.

Then they reach the mother ship the destroyed ship came from, on the run and hiding from the bossy pepper pots stalking the asteroid field. Woah now, this place is not a happy camper’s vacation trailer; it’s stocked with weapons and soldiers and everything the Doctor doesn’t like- complete with a Dalek who is so badly damaged it has apparently turned awesome and started guest narrating for Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. And painting happy little clouds in its spare time. So the Doctor and his backup band go electric and get shrunk in a scene straight out of a sixties movie; they travel through the Dalek’s eyestalk. Inside, they dread to go where no man has gone before: Cthulhu’s private after-party. Cue the creepy basement furnace music from that old pc game, Scratches. Heheh.

The Dalek itself is soon encountered after the usual gauntlet of flying death ball laser-sighted antibodies and People Who Die, AKA red shirts. There, in its crèche, it squirms half-heartedly, obviously wounded, every image of itself thus far a most excellent mirror into the Doctor’s own self-discovering dilemma of a psyche. Add back in the Overcompensating Woman-Girl with a Gun (Journey Blue) plus Neurotic Turkey Baster (Clara) and we’ve got ourselves a recipe for distinction that formally begins with the infamous line: ‘No, no no!’ from the Doctor after he fixes the Dalek and it goes back to being a psycho. Afterward, he tries to mind-meld with the Dalek to help it remember a moment of beauty it witnessed, to show it a better way through showing it his mind. We all know that Daleks can’t bake cookies! They don’t like Soft Kitty, either! Silly Doctor. Fortunately he has Clara and Journey re-awaken those suppressed memories of the birth of a star, which it had only appreciated while injured. Then, in the mind-meld, it sees the Doctor’s hatred, finds that more beautiful and turns against the other Daleks, proving that the Doctor’s hopes are, in his mind at least, false- there can be no good Daleks. Except him. It appears to have chosen for him, answering the question put forth by the episode in an obscene and brilliant way; but that is the ruse- the trial of water, illusion laid bare.

In fact, ‘Rusty’ aka Buridan’s Dalek makes its case most bluntly when it tells the Doctor that he would make a good Dalek. Then it turns away from him to help the other people on the ship, reinforcing the Doctor’s delusion that neither one of them can change. Of course, the mind sees only what it thinks it should or can, and often starves- this is illustrated when the Dalek arcs from being damaged and good to being repaired and bad, then finally comes out post-epiphany with its basic nature intact, if redirected. An excellent metaphor for the Doctor. Though we do not often connect a Dalek with the monomyth of the Hero, Into the Dalek is the journey of the hero at its most basic, for the Doctor and the Dalek, reducing them both to the exquisite symbol of the spinning mirror of self-image and illusion. Joseph Campbell would be proud.

But would he truly applaud the convoluted and at times ambiguous bond between judgment, consequence, resolution and subtle apotheosis so frequently displayed in this episode, which seems to be a theme this season? At times it seems more Ridley Scott than Carl Jung, more Freudian Slip than Objects Lesson. The proof of that pudding is in the way the ingrained terror of certain of the ship’s inhabitants overtakes their willingness to think, to be rational in the face of danger. But destruction, as anyone who reinvents themselves as much as the Doctor does knows, can be a chance to reach phoenixian heights, and that is very Golden Shadow, which I suspect is the absolute theme of this season.

However, nirvana is ephemeral by nature, as the presence of Missy suggests at end of episode. Might the Golden Shadow never be actuated, the True ‘Promised Land’ never reached, if there is too much interference by this strange, familiar woman who somehow manages to remind us of River, Romana I, The Rani, Clara, the Woman, the TARDIS, Idris, the Master and Death all at once? The Doctor, after all, denied Journey Blue her request to enter into the TARDIS, because she reflects his own nature. Hasn’t this theme been done already?

In essence, for me, Into the Dalek wins the gold star for mathematical excellence on every level, both for its willingness to infer and its strong self-as-journey themes.

Watch and learn, fellow Whovians. Burn with me.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

This episode opens with a dinosaur in Victorian London that eventually spits out the TARDIS from it’s insides. And this is the beginning of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who era. It already seems a fitting start to this unique Doctor!

We also get the Paternoster Gang in this episode, which is one of my favorite Doctor Who things. More Paternoster Gang I say! There’s a funny dialogue between Jenny and Vastra in which Jenny is pretty sure of herself of the Dinosaurs gender after having seen fossils, but Vastra comes back with a fact that helps her win the argument: being Silurian she was there at the time of the dinosaurs. Something about this episode that makes it so great is this relationship between Jenny and Vastra: not only same-sex, but interspecies and time-crossed (as opposed to star-crossed of course). Only Doctor Who could come up with such a relationship and I think it’s one of the most interesting things about the Pasternoster Gang. Their banter continues throughout the episode and is entertaining to watch.

As for Capaldi, he turns out an excellent performance as this new, erratic, blunt, almost mean Doctor – this is not Matt Smith’s dashing sentimental Doctor at all. Capaldi’s Doctor is not even charming – something that (at least) the three previous Doctors always had. He pulled off the truly confused, amnesiac Doctor that he starts out to be – always knowing yet, having the details on the outskirts of memory, just out of his grasp. How frustrating for him, who always knows whats happening and always knows his own mind. Yet despite all this, he still notices things and gets to the bottom of the dinosaur problem; like only the Doctor could.

Clara’s relationship with this new Doctor, though still developing, starts out rather adverse due to her mistrust of the new Doctor and his changed personality, but I think she learns by the end of the episode that he is still her Doctor somewhere inside – when he locks her inside with the clockwork creatures and refuses to save her until the last second. This shows Clara that he is still her Doctor.

What I love about this episode though is the tie in to another of my favorite Doctor Who episodes: the Steampunk-ish The Girl in the Fireplace. And indeed, Deep Breath has a very Steampunk feel, at least to me, with the robots in Victorian London and what not. I love that.

Madame Vastra gives Clara a big speech about being accepted; about why she wears a veil – not for others protection but as a judgement on them for their judgements of Vastra. She understands the Doctor and accuses Clara of being judgemental towards him now that he is not the pretty young man she had been travelling with. He decided that Clara could handle the change, that she would accept him as an older man. Clara defends herself, giving Vastra the reaction she had been looking for. On the surface this epsiode is about victorian robots from the dawn of time but underneath it is actually about acceptance and seeing through the veil to the truth – accepting Peter Capaldi as our new Time Lord and acceptance of an older Doctor, and Clara’s acceptance of him as well. Clara must see through the gray face to the Doctor within.

What I think clinches this for Clara is the phone call. Oh that phone call! Eleven on the other end, that familiar voice and face, telling Clara – and us – that he is simply scared and figuring himself out as much as Clara is. Eleven called her because he knew she would be confused, knew she would change her mind about travelling with him (and as we all know, the Doctor can not travel alone). And gave us all one last chance to say goodbye.

More then once during the episode, The Doctor wonders where he got his face from. When Vastra is giving Clara her speech she says, “He trusted you,” and to me this implies that the Doctor can choose his face. He can decide what to look like, perhaps from the people he has come across in his travels. He even asks the gentlemen in the alley about it, and the robot too just before he falls (or is pushed?) to his death. Of course, Whovians who pay attention should know already where the Doctor got his face – Pompeii anyone? This will lead us up to that episode (which I think will be a later/finale episode probably).

Of course we can’t have a discussion of this episode without bringing up Missy and Paradise. Who is Missy anyway? Why does she call the Doctor her boyfriend? And what and where exactly is Paradise? Is it the place where the people the Doctor was unable to save go? I personally have a feeling that heaven is not what it seems. I feel something sinister in it. I am excited to find out!

All in all I’d say this was a pretty fast paced, banter filled, introduction to a new Doctor and a new season of adventures. It seemed that it would never arrive but now we’ve all seen it, and more then once probably. Season eight has kicked off great – we can’t wait to see what lays ahead!

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Monsters under the bed. Things that go bump in the night. That weird noise coming from outside your window. A shadow leaning over you whilst you clench your eyes tightly shut. The fear of the darkness – or rather what may be lurking within it. The fear that perhaps we are never really alone. In the fourth episode of the newest series The Doctor and his companion Clara with the help of a future relative of Danny Pink go through time to discover if we are ever truly alone. It is a common thing to talk out loud despite the fact that nobody is there to listen. This episode of Doctor Who asks the question if perhaps we talk out loud believing that something or someone is in fact listening.

This episode not only focuses on the psychological illusion that is fear, but also highlights the relationship between Clara Oswald and a new addition, Danny Pink. This episode begins with these two characters on their first date, however as a result of Clara making a reference to his career as a soldier, the date takes a turn for the worst. As Clara returns home, she discovers The Doctor waiting for her. He expresses that perhaps there is a reason why so many of us have had the dream that something is hiding under our bed. To discover this explanation, Clara uses a telepathic link to lock onto the event which made her have this dream. However, still distracted by what had happened on her date, Clara and The Doctor travel through Danny Pink’s timeline.

Upon finding the younger version of Danny/Rupert Pink sitting away from his bed in fear, Clara convinces him that there is nothing to be scared of. However, this backfires as something mysteriously appears under the sheets. The Doctor suddenly appears advising them both to look away. The Doctor encourages the young Rupert to see his fear as a “superpower” rather than a weakness. In order to comfort Rupert, Clara places toy soldiers around his bed unintentionally inspiring his future name “Danny”. The Doctor uses his “dad skills” to send Rupert to sleep, wiping his memory leaving him with only a dream of being “Dan the soldier man”.

After finding out more about Danny’s childhood, Clara is enthusiastic to have another go at her first date with Danny. The date goes well until Danny becomes suspicious of the fact Clara knew his name was Rupert as a child. Annoyed and feeling as though he has been mocked, Danny storms out of the restaurant. Turning her head, Clara sees a figure in an orange spacesuit beckoning her to come inside the TARDIS. Expecting The Doctor to be inside the spacesuit, Clara is shocked to find a man who resembles Danny called Orson Pink. After telling Clara he had been told stories of time travel from his grandparents and showing Clara the toy soldier she had given Rupert. it becomes clear that she is an appropriate receiver of this family heirloom.

Returning to Orson’s ship at the end of time, it is made clear that Orson feared that something was out there, further enforcing the idea that we are never truly alone. The Doctor orders Orson and Clara into the TARDIS attempting to confront the mystery outside the ship. However, Orson has to rescue The Doctor after he becomes unconscious. Fearing that whatever is out there may breach the TARDIS, Clara uses the telepathic circuit to trigger the TARDIS to leave the ship.

The next location that is locked onto is a a barn. Inside the barn is a child in bed crying. Clara approaches the child, but has no choice but to hide under the bed when two people enter the room. The two people attempt to convince the child to leave the Barn and join the other children. Through the dialogue of these two characters, Clara realizes that the child is in actual fact The Doctor, as the guardians believe he does not have what it takes to be a Time lord. After the child wakes up, Clara accidentally grabs the child’s leg, similar to the dream The Doctor talked about at the beginning of the episode. Comforting the child, she convinces him that this is a dream and fear will be his constant companion that will bring out the best in him when he returns to the barn one day – The day of The Doctor. Returning to the now conscious Doctor, she orders him to never see where she has been.

Orson is returned to his correct time period and Clara returns to make amends with Danny. Overall, this episode has been one of favourite episodes so far. Peter Capaldi is known for making The Doctor quite dark and mysterious, yet in this episode we see him as a vulnerable child. We as fans sometimes forget that The Doctor was once a child who had fears and nightmares. The fact that there never was a figure under the sheets, or a monster under the bed shows the true power of fear.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

ith the seventh episode fast approaching, series 8 of our beloved Doctor Who is officially in full swing. I must say, I am absolutely impressed and amazed by Peter Capaldi’s intriguing performances as the new reincarnate of our favorite mad man with a box. With those burly eyebrows and that thick, throaty Scottish accent, Capaldi portrays an aggressive and angrier Doctor than many Whovians have witnessed in quite some time. While I have read many fellow Whovians’ comments on the varying social media outlets and listened to the myriad podcasts picking apart every episodic element, I must admit to thoroughly enjoying this crotchety, old man version of the Doctor, even more so than the pleasantries of Matt Smith and David Tennant. Although I have nothing but praise for Capaldi, I must also, sadly, admit to being rather disappointed with his companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman). I find Coleman to be a great performer; however, I am so completely over the character of Clara Oswald and I am upset that the focus of this series is not on the newly regenerated Doctor, but rather on his companion and her love life. I find myself asking my boyfriend while watching “Is this the ‘Clara Oswald Adventures’ or ‘Doctor Who’?” In one of the more recent episodes, “Listen”, I was rather displeased to learn, yet again, just how much impact and influence this “impossible girl” has apparently had on the Doctor. And I must say, I do not like it.

At the conclusion of series 7B, as we Whovians discovered the true identity of Clara Oswald as the young woman who has saved every reincarnate of the Doctor throughout all of time and space, I was interested and looked forward to seeing how the writers would continue with this in future episodes. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed, especially in the series premiere, “Deep Breath”, as Clara did not seem to understand the notion of regeneration at all despite having seen and known all the Doctor’s faces. Fast forward to “Listen”. I was even more (and believe me, I did not think I could EVER be so unhappy with Doctor Who) disappointed to learn Clara had influenced the Doctor as a child, resulting in his investigation of the nightmare every person has apparently dreamt some point in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was an interestingly written twist in the story, one I was not expecting. I can appreciate the writing and simultaneously be disappointed in the story. I also was quite bored with the awkward restaurant encounter between Clara and the newly introduced Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson). Perhaps I have been on too few dates as of late to remember dating being so painfully awkward and unpleasant.

“Listen” was different from other episodes of Doctor Who in the simple fact there was no obvious, blatant monster. Although we were left uncertain of the mysterious figure under the blanket of young Rupert (Danny) Pink’s bed, like many fellow Whovians, I look forward to seeing what new or old creature/monster/being the Doctor finds himself up against. One of the great elements of Doctor Who has always been the strange, unique, and frightening beings the Doctor and his fellow travelers encounter throughout their journeys. While obviously frightening, “Listen” failed to truly capture this element so crucial to the show. “Listen” left me a bit angry and unhappy, lacking that which I feel is central to Doctor Who.

Another irritation felt with “Listen” was Clara’s unwillingness to be completely honest with the Doctor in regard to Danny Pink/Rupert Pink/Orson Pink. After everything Clara and the Doctor have been through I could not understand why she would hide her relationship with Danny from the Doctor other than Moffat obviously writing it that way to further the story. Clara demands the Doctor to share pertinent information with her, yet she completely denies having any knowledge of young Rupert or Orson Pink from the future. Has she not learned anything from her travels with the Doctor? Omitting even the slightest and seemingly unimportant detail can result in significant and potentially devastating consequences. Watching the whole back and forth of the Doctor asking Clara if she was sure she did not have any connection with young Rupert and Orson Pink and her obviously (to an idiot even!) denying any relation was painstakingly irritating and anxiety provoking.

Series 8 was to mark the beginning of a new era; the Capaldi era. As Whovians, we have to deal with an element that most fans of other television shows do not: the primary character and focal point of the show is portrayed by a new actor every so many years. Furthermore, it is always hard as fans to say goodbye to a Doctor and adjust to and welcome a new face into our hearts. I feel the focus of a series featuring a new actor as the Doctor should do just that: FEATURE and FOCUS the new Doctor! Why have the recent episodes of series 8 focused almost exclusively on Clara and her life, having the Doctor as the co-star, in the background? And why must Clara have such a great influence on the Doctor and his life? It appears to me that the Doctor cannot make a move or decision without fetching Clara first. Just WHO is the star of this show?? Furthermore, prior to the start of this series, I was under the impression that flirtation and romance would be absent in this series compared to previous ones; why is Doctor Who feeling more like some B- soap opera than an A+ sci-fi adventure? I am all about change and shaking up things in the name of change. But too much change can result in an entirely different show altogether.

I want (and expect) Doctor Who to focus more on the Doctor than any other character, especially when a new actor is beginning his/her reign as the legendary Time Lord. I simply adore what I have seen thus far of Peter Capaldi, and I want to see future episodes focusing more on him and less on Clara.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Time Heist is the fifth episode of series 8, and what a series it’s been so far. In this episode we find the Doctor and Clara attempting to rob the biggest bank in the cosmos, the Bank of Karabraxos, the most secure bank in the Galaxy. We meet two new character, Psi and Saibra, who help the Doctor and Clara complete the robbery under the instruction of the mystery Architect who leaves briefcases for the group to find. I really like this episode because it is a traditional Who story, it’s a straight, stand alone episode without any background knowledge or context necessary to watch and understand it. It has the aliens, the different planet, the adventure, the risk and the happy ending we all love Doctor Who for.

This episode starts with the Doctor trying to convince Clara to come on a sightseeing trip with him rather than go on a date with Danny Pink, when the Tardis phone rings, “If you answer it something will happen!” (Clara, Time Heist series 8 episode 5). As we know, the outside Tardis phone is disconnected and therefore shouldn’t ring. But as we find out at the end of this episode, the Doctor does indeed have a number to this phone that he gives to Madam Karabraxos to call when she is old and full of regret. The same number was also given to Clara by a “lady in a bookshop” which is still shrouded in mystery as we don’t know who this lady is yet. The Doctor answers it and both he and Clara end up sat in a room with two strangers, each holding memory worms, first seen in The Snowman, series seven, Christmas special. There is lots of confusion as to how they all got there because of the memory worms, but they hear themselves agreeing to the memory wipe of their own free will. And so the episode is set off with a bang! This is one of the things I love about Who. The unknown and rapid introduction of characters, like Psi and Saibra. This is the first episode in this series that is like this. Leaving the viewers completely baffled and confused as to what is going on.

Psi and Saibra are two very important characters is this episode. At the end we see that the Doctor specially picked them both for their unique talents. Psi is an augmented human, he has a computer mainframe in his head, “I’m a gamer.” (Psi, Time Heist). Saibra is a mutant human, she is capable of changing her appearance to that of the living cell she is touching, “I touch living cells – I can replicate the owner.” (Saibra, a Time Heist). Saibra also wears a “hologram shell” so she can also replicate the clothes of the person at the same time. These two brilliant characters skills are very useful in robbing the bank, but there is also something else. Both Psi and Saibra agreed to rob the bank because the one thing they want most in the world is in that bank. For Psi it was to retrieve his memories after he deleted them while in prison to keep the people he loves safe and for Saibra it’s a serum that stabilises the mutant gene that makes her face change. Both Psi and Saibra are fantastic characters, they really add to the plot line and when both of them return it is a joyous moment, especially after we believe they have both died. These characters add to the story by using their skills to aid the Doctor and Clara in completing the tasks set out by the Architect. They are real additions to the story, I hope they return to Who again.

In this episode we have the super talented and beautiful Keeley Hawes, playing Ms Delphox and Madam Karabraxos. Ms Delphox is head of security, a clone of Madam Karabraxos who is the owner of the bank. She creates clones of herself to run the bank because “it’s the only way to control my own security.” (Karabraxos, Time Heist). She incinerates her own clones because she can’t trust them when they look back at her out of her own eyes. She can’t trust herself, she hates herself. The Doctor gives Karabraxos his number and tells her to call him when she’s old and full of regret. Keeley Hawes is amazing in this episode, she plays the two characters and also her older self, when she is old and full of regret. She is a very talented actor and by playing Karabraxos, the older Karabraxos and a clone, she shows that.

At the end of the episode just after Clara leaves to go on her date with Danny the Doctor says, “beat that for a date.” (The Doctor, Time Heist). It’s like he’s making it into a competition for Clara’s attention, between him and this mystery man that he’s not met yet. This is picked up on slightly more in the next episode, when the Doctor and Danny actually meet. But in Time Heist this last comment from the Doctor is almost underhanded, it’s like he is trying to beat Danny and win Clara. Almost making her choose between her life on the Tardis and the real world. Clara is, I believe, the first companion not to spend all her time on the Tardis. She has her days at home, in her job, on Earth then takes these random trips with the Doctor through time and space. It’s a wonder how she copes with it all. So I suppose in that way, the Doctor believing he is in competition, could mean more with Clara’s life on Earth than just competing with Danny for the “best date”.

So far, for me, this has been the best episode of series eight. It is one of those stand alone episodes with no massive link to the unknown story arch of Missy and the “Promised Land” that has been mentioned and hinted at in previous episodes. I found the riddle of the Architect quiet easy to solve, after guessing halfway through that it would be the Doctor. But I did not expect the ending with the Teller. Overall I think it could have been a more complicated episode and a lot was squeezed into the regular 45 minute slot, but I loved it all the same. Another smashing episode to add to the continuing era of Peter Capaldi.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

The Doctor and Clara meet Robin Hood and save the world from the evil Sherriff of Nottingham. This is ‘Robot of Sherwood’ basically summed up in one sentence and I mean that as a wholehearted compliment as opposed to a criticism. Whilst watching first-hand Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Tom Riley and Ben Miller filming this episode at Caerphilly Castle in April (the dream of watching the actual filming process being one that I had possessed for 9 years) I had no idea how much I would love it. This episode was beautifully simple, hilariously funny and jam-packed with every possible cliché you can think of in connection with this timeless tale; the Doctor asking Robin Hood constantly what he was laughing at was enough to keep the audience entertained all night! I suppose this comic approach is the marmite of the Whoniverse; some people love it, some hate it and believe that viewers should be forced to hide ‘behind the sofa’ by truly terrifying monsters week in, week out. I happen to belong to the former half of the fan base who feels that every series should have tears, laughs and screams in almost equal measure, something that series 8 is delivering on so far with Peter Capaldi’s natural talent for both comedy and drama.

The real quality of this episode lies in its magic; from start to finish, there was an element of childish fairy tale about it. The main reason for this, perhaps, is that we met the infamous legend through the eyes of Clara who, as we learn, had been captivated by his story since she was a child herself (which, on a side note, offered us a much-welcomed insight into the softer side of this companion – something that has been obtained in every episode of the new series so far and long may it continue). As I mentioned briefly before, this episode wasn’t afraid of making use of the stereotypical features of this piece of folklore, from the panto-like ‘merriness’ of Hood’s ‘merry men’ to the climactic scene which saw Robin, The Doctor and Clara save the day with a humble bow and arrow. It was as if the pages of every tale had been bought to life exactly as they were, without the seriousness of reality impinging upon them, because, in the end, why should Doctor Who need to be ‘realistic’ at all? (As Robin himself says ‘history is a burden. Stories make us fly.’) For 45 minutes, we were placed in a world where a belief in fairy tales and superheroes was completely justified. For 45 minutes we were all children again. The enchanting qualities of this episode didn’t end there either. The Doctor was portrayed by Gatiss exactly as the Doctor should always be portrayed – as a legend woven throughout our culture and responsible for instilling hope into children and adults alike. In this way, (and as much as the twelfth Doctor might hate it) the two men are virtually one and the same. The Doctor professes to Robin that he is ‘not a hero’ to which Robin replies ‘well, neither am I. But if we both keep pretending to be, perhaps others will be heroes in our name. Perhaps we will both be stories. And may those stories never end’. It is this quote, written so beautifully, that makes it dawn on all of us – the Doctor is our fairy tale, real or not, and like Clara he is our hero.

Gatiss is lucky that the comedy between Robin and The Doctor and the captivating magic of this episode worked so well because the monster, it has to be said, was definitely not forcing anyone behind their sofa. As I’ve previously stated, this is not a big issue with me if the episode fulfils other purposes but when reviewing this story it has to be mentioned. Although it was an interesting spin to attribute the Sheriff of Nottingham’s evil actions to alien motives (he was stealing gold in order to fuel an alien ship and eventually reign over the world), the ingenuity in the monster stakes stopped there I’m afraid. The robot knights were not featured quite enough to be classed as the main monster of the story and the Sheriff simply wasn’t scary enough. In this respect, I suppose the episode was lacking the presence of real edge-of-your-seat threat and suspense which I don’t doubt Gatiss could have achieved had he put his mind to it. Perhaps this was not Gatiss’ intention though and perhaps this is a good thing. After all, could the same entertaining and light-hearted tone be created if there was real peril and sinister motive to darken it? Of course not! One thing that absolutely must never be forgotten is that Doctor Who is ultimately a family show and I don’t believe any family could be disappointed with the spectacular bonanza that we were given in this episode. Non-stop fun from beginning to end with a warm, heartfelt, RTD-esque ending between Marian and Robin Hood – superb!

When deciding which episode to review, I of course considered the more prominent episodes, perhaps, of the brand new series – ‘Deep Breath’, ‘Into the Dalek’, ‘Listen’ etc. I love these episodes and was in love with them from the first time I saw them and to write about their endless qualities would be an absolute joy. I didn’t choose any of these, however, because as innovative and wonderful as they all are, none sum up ‘Doctor Who’ more accurately than Gatiss’ latest contribution. A pleasure to watch, which satisfied me A LOT more than his most recent efforts ‘Cold War’ and ‘Crimson Horror’, this story had real heart to it. As we all know, Doctor Who lives outside of its 45 minute slot every Saturday; it creates a world of its own and becomes an all-consuming way of life for those who are truly captivated by its charm. Again, as Robin rightly said ‘history is a burden. Stories make us fly.’ This episode heralded hope over despair, legend over reality and good over evil. What better lesson would the Doctor want us to learn for our everyday life? Thank you, Mark Gatiss, for reminding us all of it.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

The Doctor duels Robin Hood with a spoon. There, article over. Goodnight people.

But just to pad things a little…

I won’t lie, the start of Series 8 was very rocky for me. As I discussed in an earlier article, the press for this season promised us a much darker tone and direction for Doctor Who, and a darker Doctor to accompany them. While ‘Deep Breath’ had its fair share of laughs, thanks to the patented zaniness that is post-regeneration crisis, moral questions regarding the sinister Half-Faced Man and his clockwork droids, and a thrilling lead-in to a new mystery with Missy and the “Promised Land”, something was just missing in the long run. The episode effectively frames the mood from Clara’s perspective, that of an overarching dread towards the new Doctor, and that he may just not be the same man she once knew, but this does little to ease the audience through the transition. Clara’s acceptance of the new Doctor towards the end comes off as a bit rushed, no doubt leaving some development for upcoming episodes, but nevertheless a sour taste remains in the mouth of the audience.

Where ‘Deep Breath’ was bittersweet, however, ‘Into the Dalek’ was just a miserable stew. In my last article regarding Series 8, I pointed out my concerns with the idea of the Doctor dwelling on whether or not he is a good man, as we have seen him countless times, the most significant examples being fairly recent even, prove that he is nothing but. ‘Into the Dalek’ sees the Doctor encounter a Dalek that has come to find the Dalek mandate, exterminating all life that is not Dalek, to be futile, as life is an inevitability in the Universe, and thus the Daleks must be opposed in their goals. When trying to find the source of this supposed “good” Dalek, the Doctor inadvertently sets it back to its original programming. Wishing to correct his correction, the Doctor attempts to bombard the Dalek’s mind with his own view of the Universe. The Doctor becomes disheartened when the Dalek, a being engineered to only know hate, finds instead all the Doctor’s hate for the Daleks, and he irritatingly takes this as an answer to the question he posed to Clara. Clara’s insistence that “at least you tried” comes as hollow consolation to both the Doctor and the audience.

I had a plethora of issues both going into and coming out of ‘Robots of Sherwood’, because the episode is by all accounts great. It is also the first episode this season not to be written by Steven Moffat, which lead me to fear that perhaps the showrunner had lost some of his dexterity in writing, and that lighter episodes here or there would be drowned out by more grim storytelling. ‘Listen’ quickly put these fears to bed, quite literally in a certain sense, which allowed me to enjoy ‘Robots of Sherwood’ even more so in retrospect.

There is simply too much to say about this episode. Inaccuracies and contrivances abound with the occasional plot hole in there for good measure, but these cons are easily overlooked in favor of the pros. The setting is beautiful, with Sherwood Forest serving as a fantastic backdrop for the adventures of Robin Hood. Speaking of the Earl of Loxley, Tom Riley plays the character with the perfect mixture of daring adventurer, silly sprite of the forest and tortured avenger of the people. His childlike banter with the Doctor really highlights some of the best qualities of both characters. It was not until this episode that I really felt like Peter Capaldi became the Doctor. The same positive impact can be seen in Clara as well, showing just how endearing it is to be able to inspire one of your historical heroes, much in the way Amy did for Van Gogh. Coupled with her sheer competence and tour de force, Clara truly shines as a companion this episode.

The episode also provides everything you could want from a Robin Hood story; the Merry Men, while receiving little screen time, carried themselves remarkably well onscreen, both as individuals and as a unit. There could be no question in the minds of the viewers that this was a close-knit band of brothers. The Sheriff of Nottingham, like his heroic counterpart, balances both serious and comedic elements that render him a truly memorable villain; while we can’t agree with his goals, we also can’t help but perk up whenever he’s onscreen. Swordplay and archery abound, creating fast-paced action more than capable of holding the viewers’ attention.

And, as I mentioned before, seeing the Doctor hold his own in a sword duel with nothing more than a spoon is nothing short of heartwarming, and quick cameo by Venusian Aikido, once spotted, will delight any fan of Classic Who. Another piece of the “Promised Land” puzzle is the cherry on top of a downright solid episode. While I can say this of very few episodes of Doctor Who, ‘Robots of Sherwood’ will hold a special place for me, as it serves as an important reminder: that no matter the time, actors, or writers, Doctor Who is, and always will be, fun.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Is “The Caretaker” good? Yeesss… But not unequivocally. There are emotional disappointments along the way and I feel some resentment at both another Clara story and another Earth story, but there are also reasons to forgive these.

I want to love the Doctor like I always have but it’s not easy. He’s very different. He wears his kindness on the inside and we only get to see it when he thinks no one’s watching. I need to be shown that this is the same man who lost Rose, the same man who loved River. “The Caretaker” is reassuring that way. Plus Pink Floyd.

The Doctor is painfully aware that his regeneration has redefined his relationship with Clara. He acts okay with it because there’s no alternative but a part of him misses that dynamic. When he sees Adrian and jumps to *that* conclusion he’s showing that. His disproportionate anger at Danny shows that. When Clara finally admits to Danny that her friend is “an alien,” the Doctor’s face projects disappointment because he’s more than that, much more, and it seems to him like Clara has provided minimal information to Danny on purpose.

Danny intentionally finds a raw nerve, “Ooh, a Time Lord!” and presses, hard. It’s his chance to push back and he leaps on it like a PE teacher throwing himself on a grenade. The Doctor becomes enraged not only at the suggestion that’s he’s an aristocrat, but the saluting, the “Sir, yes, sir!” sends him off the deep end. I thought this reaction was justified, Danny was showing off in front of Clara and “That’s who he really is” was way too much. I’m pretty sure Clara knows a bit better who the Doctor is, and so do we, thank you very much. True, the Doctor’s anti soldier bias seems very out of character but he did just spend a few hundred years defending Christmas from all manner of soldier so maybe that’s why. Bit the Doctor used to be a soldier and he’s no PE teacher so this is a bit mystifying to me. Danny pressed too hard though.

Danny is sensitive, curious, brave, and arrogant. He gracefully redirects the Caretaker’s unkind dismissal and presumptions; he doesn’t like it, but without Clara in the picture, it’s not worth it to him to push back. Danny doesn’t like soldiers either. He’s quick to point out that he *was* a soldier and he certainly doesn’t hesitate to judge the Doctor harshly right back and even resent his influence over Clara once he realizes they have a relationship. “Do you love him?” “What other way is there?” He’s doesn’t seems fazed at all by what Clara tells him about travel in time and space except to reflect on how this affects him and his relationship with Clara. He’s all, Hm, well, okay, I guess it’s all right for you to keep doing that when really he should be Wow! You’re even more amazing than I thought Clara Oswald! I know I said I don’t do weird but you know what? You’re worth it. I trust your decisions.

Clara has been juggling two lives for so long they were bound to come crashing down. She’s clearly torn between the Doctor and Danny, constantly defending one to the other, wanting so much for them to like each other. Clara takes a hit in this episode in terms of strength. Since when did she need Danny Pink’s help? He makes her promise to tell him if the Doctor pushes her too far… How far is that? Trenzalore? The end of the Universe? The Center of the TARDIS? I wanted Clara to say something sassy here, something strong, but she didn’t. She just made a promise (not a deal) and turned the TV back on. (If you only knew what I’ve seen, you would beg me to help you and keep you safe. And the Doctor taught me that, etc, etc).

It’s interesting to look back at season one of Doctor Who, way back in 1963, and we start to realize what Moffat may be up to. Ian and the standoffish Doctor argued often, with Barbara either mediating or taking Ian’s side and Susan… Susan? What better motivation to introduce Courtney Woods, disruptive influence? Love how gleeful the Doctor became at this pronouncement. It was also kind of him to take her up into space–this is what I meant, I need to see this kindness, not just the alien but the ancient kind being as well, the grandfather. He is the Doctor, after all, and either Danny will see this or he won’t. We don’t need his approval and neither does Clara.

I should say something about how “The Caretaker” also has a cool wheeled killing machine. That was pretty sweet. And the parents were funny. And the River reference. But mostly it was all about the triangle and that’s okay. We saw some warmth from the Doctor, as a side dish to snark, which was splendid and Capaldi appears to channel previous actors at will. Hopefully we’ll be treated to much, much more of him in the near future.

October 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Capaldi then… he’s pretty fantastic isn’t he? From episode one, Peter made the role his own and has continued to shine throughout the series; now at the halfway mark, it’s safe to say that Peter Capaldi is safely the Doctor.

Deep Breath saw the introduction of the Twelfth Doctor to our screens and what a treat that was; darker, less tolerant, and all round… sassier, the new Doctor was certainly a change from the lovable Matt Smith. This Doctor created an air of uncertainty; was he really the same man and could we still trust him? Of course we could, because by the end of that episode (thanks again to the Eleventh Doctor for clearing things up) we were left with no doubt that the Doctor has returned. No sooner had we got our breath back (I’m not even sorry), we were thrown back in at the deep end with Capaldi’s first Dalek episode. Into the Dalek saw the Doctor fight his most feared enemy, but with a twist. The Doctor was lured into believing that little Rusty had changed, and was a ‘good Dalek’, if such a thing could ever be, and he was ultimately left disappointed, which perhaps explains why he is just so untrusting of most species. From Rusty to Robots, and in the third instalment of Series Eight, the Doctor comes across the ‘mythical’ Robin Hood in Robots of Sherwood. Here, we were treated to the joyous interactions between Robin (played by the fantastic Tom Reilly) and the Doctor; the prison scene where the pair were arguing so much they didn’t realise that Clara had left them to bicker while she saves the day is one of my favourite sequences of Doctor Who to date. By the end of this episode, we see that the Doctor does have a heart (or two) and manages to reunite Robin with his love, Marion. Robots of Sherwood was not only a spectacular spectacle with a budget bigger than Robin’s beard, but this episode allowed Capaldi’s comedic value to shine through.

Now if ‘Robots’ was happy and joyful, the episode that followed was very, very different. In one of the strongest episodes many have us have ever seen, Listen was a rollercoaster. By deciding to focus on something being under the bed, Listen certainly delivered on the fear-factor. The sequence with a young Danny Pink, the Doctor and Clara all stood looking at the window while some kind of being wandered around behind them harked back to the kind of fear created in episodes such as Blink. Listen showed us that it’s okay to be afraid of the monster under the bed. It’s okay to keep coming back to our fears; if the Doctor is scared, we could be scared. After the heart-breaking realisation that Clara was the one who created the Doctor’s fear, we were transported to the slick, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ style episode, Time Heist. This was a switch from anything we’ve seen before; slicker, faster and all round more stylish, this episode was a pure blockbuster. Capaldi proved that he was an action hero as well as a caring rescuer.

Throughout the series so far, we’ve been treat to the blossoming relationship between Clara and Danny. The painfully awkward interactions between the pair only made me more endeared to both characters and it made me more invested in their relationship, and revealed another side to Clara’s personality; one that is shy and bumbley, just like Danny around Clara’s interactions. Despite how cute their relationship was, we were all waiting for that moment when the Doctor would have the chance to assess Danny…

So that brings us to the most recent episode, The Caretaker. The ‘domestic’ episodes are my personal favourite as they allow for more character development in a way that actiony-spacey episodes don’t; The Lodger is still one of my favourite episodes ever because placing the Doctor in a human situation only serves to show how alien he actually is. The Caretaker was no exception to this rule: set in a London school that Clara coincidentally works at, the Doctor, under the guise of a caretaker sets to work on catching a deadly alien living in the surrounding area; who knows whether the Skovox Blitzer (kudos to whoever thought of that name) intended to kill everything in sight, or whether he was simply defending his position in the catchment area for Coal Hill. More important than the monster in this episode, the Doctor meets Danny Pink for the first time, and it’s safe to say that it didn’t go according to Clara’s plan… We all spotted him in the trailer for the episode after Time Heist: the Matt Smith lookalike. Who was he? Was it a coincidence? Well, as we know well enough by now, never take anything in Doctor Who to be a coincidence (unless that the school the alien is at is also the school that Clara teaches at). Let’s be honest here, who didn’t get a teeny bit emotional at the thought of the Doctor truly believing that Clara would and could only fall for someone who was the spitting double of a previous regeneration? This episode did three things, to three characters:

1. We saw how protective the Doctor is of Clara and how much he really cares for her.

2. Clara’s choice of Danny instead of the Matt Smith double only goes to show that maybe the Doctor doesn’t know her as well as he thought and that she isn’t as dependent on him as he maybe thinks.

3. Danny Pink has some serious attitude. The way he stands up to the Doctor and then saves the day is commendable. I like him.

So as you can probably tell from my mini review of the series, I like Capaldi a lot. Series Eight is so, so, so strong, I haven’t had any real issues with any of the episodes. After every week, I find myself saying ‘okay, that was my favourite’ only to find myself saying the same thing the following week. I can’t wait for next week already (although those spiders do look VERY scary to someone with arachnophobia) and I must applaud Capaldi and the team for changing the direction of the show so boldly and bravely. It worked.

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