Tag Archive: Clara Oswald


Vikings, gods, aliens, and Maisie Williams… yeah, Doctor Who is weird. But weird is fun and interesting. “The Girl Who Died” has a much lighter tone than the previous two episodes, and it’s a nice change of pace.

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED.

Basically, the Doctor and Clara land on Earth quite some time ago and are instantly captured by vikings and are taken to the viking village. Simple and tidy setup, nothing wrong with that. The Doctor tries to show off his power and act as Odin, one of the gods the vikings pray to. Just as he’s doing this, a giant image of a man in the sky, who the villagers know as Odin, appears and he claims to be Odin and is sending his troops down to bring the best warriors of the village up to Valhalla.

So crazy it just might work. Left to right: Clara (Jenna Coleman), Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Ashildr (Maisie Williams)

So crazy it just might work. Left to right: Clara (Jenna Coleman), Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Ashildr (Maisie Williams)

Well, it goes rather poorly, as the men are killed, but Clara and Ashildr (played by Maisie Williams, best known as Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) are also brought to the ship referred to as Valhalla, but they are not killed. Ashildr, much like Arya (really, if you know Game of Thrones, you’ll notice similarities in the two characters), declares war on the alien posing as Odin. By the way, they happen to be one of the other million deadliest alien races (seriously, is it the Daleks, Sontarans, or this new race called the Mire?).

No matter, the village has 24 hours to get ready to fight the most fearsome beings in the universe. Easy, right? Maybe, that is, if the village’s soldiers weren’t just killed off.

This is where the tone changes compared to the rest of the series 9 so far. We get a series of funny scenes of the Doctor trying to train the villagers how to fight. It seems getting normal townspeople to use swords is harder than you may think. These scenes are a welcome change to the more dramatic nature of the past four episodes.

Admittedly, I do think the episode starts to fall towards a little more silly territory, but then ties it all in with a couple serious scenes to balance the tone. We are given a nice scene between the Doctor and Clara the night before the battle is to begin. The two of them seem more like friends this year and don’t have the awkwardness that sometimes came up last year.

As with Doctor Who, all ends well in the end, and I won’t give any of that away, but it is somewhat anti-climactic. But that’s not important (though, it does hilariously use The Benny Hill Show’s theme tune). What is important is the Doctor remembering why he chose his face, which has been hinted at since his first episode. He chose it to remind himself to always save someone and to not just give up. In this case it is Ashildr, who was integral to securing their victory over the Mire, even if it cost her life.

The Doctor doesn't look overly intimidated by his new enemy

The Doctor doesn’t look overly intimidated by his new enemy

This is where the episode becomes important and more than just a standalone story. The Mire have technology to revive them during battle, and the Doctor took it from them once they were defeated (two tablets to be exact). He revives Ashildr with one, and while she lives she too cannot die (Captain Jack says hello). At this point, only the Doctor knows this and it sets up the story for next week’s The Woman Who Lived.

Before that, I would like to note this episode, despite its silliness does something welcoming for a story in a Steven Moffat led series: establishes the background and develops a new character who will likely show up throughout series 9. Ashildr has a well established character. She’s loyal to her village and its people. Not only is she loyal, but she likes the people and isn’t just loyal because she has to be. However, now we get to see how she develops as the people around her die and she continues to live forever. Unlike the Doctor she can only run so far. These are things we may find out in The Woman Who Lived, and I hope we do. River Song was Moffat’s big character, but her development, well, never really developed and she just ended up showing up to say “hello sweetie” and “spoilers.” Boring, very, very boring. Now we have a character who isn’t annoyingly in love with the Doctor, and instead has to cope with going through the decades, seeing the world change, and having to be an observer, never really there.

I’m excited for the rest of series 9 and am really interested in seeing where The Woman Who Lived takes us. Until then, here’s the trailer:

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Here we are, Doctor Who is back with the dramatic opening scene of “The Magician’s Apprentice.” Is it good, bad, or a little of both? I’m going with the latter, read on to find out how the 12th Doctor’s second season began.

Brace yourself, SPOILERS AHEAD.

After Clara and the Doctor told each other the truth in last year’s Christmas episode, they went their separate ways, with Clara being a schoolteacher and the Doctor doing whatever it is he does, and that leads us to the dramatic beginning of the episode, on Skaro. There’s a big war going on, and for whatever reason the troops on ground have bows and arrows and the opposing forces have early era airplanes, but ignoring that, this is a war on Skaro. So far so cool. As the previews showed, there’s a young boy here, and the Doctor pops in, as he does, and attempts to save him. Until, spoiler, he finds out it’s a young Davros. Davros, as in, creator of the Daleks, that Davros. Fast forward a bunch of years and Davros is seeking the Doctor because he all of a sudden remembers what happened all those years ago and is dying in a hospital. Worth noting, he is being sought out by Colony Sarff, a colony of snakes that create a humanoid being and is a loyal follower of Davros.

Things are looking a little bleak

Things are looking a little bleak

Cut to intro title/credits scene.

Back to the show.

For the next ten to fifteen minutes we may as well forget the Doctor is doing much of anything because it turns back into the Clara show as all of the airplanes on Earth stop and Clara is pulled out of her classroom and brought to UNIT Here she is apparently more competent than all of UNIT, including Kate Stewart, who is in charge of UNIT, but I’ll conveniently ignore that. After a few minutes of not much happening other than Clara telling Kate what to do, Missy comes back. Hold up, what, but she died, right?

Wrong. So that means there’s an explanation for how she didn’t die, right?

Wrong. Because, well, Moffat has tendency to not explain these sort of things (I’m looking at you Sherlock) and expects everyone to go with it, so fine, I’m going with it.

After some time, Missy, who didn’t turn good mind you, ends up helping Clara and UNIT find the Doctor. Key things to note, the Doctor left Missy his last will and testament in case he dies and Missy is his best friend, which we all kind of knew if you watched some of the Classic Who stories, where there were some rather fun scenes with the two characters. Sure, we don’t know how she came back, but she escapes death all the time, it’s her thing. I’m good with it because I really enjoy her character. She’s so dark and ridiculous, I always look forward to seeing what she is going to do next. She doesn’t play the role of the strictly villainous character, she actually has a dimension to her character, which I sometimes feel is lacking in characters Moffat creates. So more Missy the better.

So much sass

So much sass

Then things get a little confusing, at least for me, so forgive me if I missed anything explaining this. They look at a big map of the world that UNIT has and search for keywords to try and find where the Doctor is. Somehow Clara figures out he’s in 1138 AD, so I’m assuming the map accounts for all of history. Strange, but alright, it gets the plot going so Clara and Missy can make their way to the Doctor. And I’m not even going to begin to ask or wonder how the Doctor, who came to an “ax fight” with his electric guitar in 1138 AD (funny, but a little bit of a tone killer for this episode) also had a tank, he can’t simply drive one out of the TARDIS doors. Missy and Clara get here via a vortex manipulator (if you recall River used one). What’s more confusing is how Colony Sarff a) knew to look in 1138 AD and b) how they even got to 1138 AD. Even more confusing, and this part I just can’t look past because it makes zero sense according to the lore of the show:

Colony Sarff is presumably using a Dalek ship to go around the universe looking for the Doctor. This would mean the ship has no time travel, because the Daleks only manage to temporal shift to a random place or end up somewhere by accident (or make pig people and human Daleks). So, we are now left to wonder how Colony Sarff a) time traveled backwards and b) time traveled forward without the use of time travel (vortex manipulators only work on the person who is wearing one). And this is important, because Davros is assumed to be dying in 2015 AD (Clara is the same age as the previous season and is a schoolteacher, so it matches the timeline, which at most could only be off a couple of years). So they now need to go forward to 2015 AD. None of this is ever explained, and we are still left to assume the Daleks don’t have time travel because Missy herself said so at the end of the episode.

So Moffat, if you read this, I would appreciate some clarity.

Luckily, the rest of the episode is pretty good.

Yeah, so, that was a thing

Yeah, so, that was a thing

We end up back at the hospital where Davros is, Clara and Missy are kept in waiting as the Doctor confronts Davros, who recognizes the face the Doctor currently has, as it’s the one that he saw all those years ago during the war. This part was pretty great, as it brought in Classic Who moments and tied them all together with the current show and it brought back the drama and seriousness of the opening scene of the episode. Then the big reveal. They’re not on a medical ship as originally assumed, but rather, on Skaro. And not just Skaro, but one that has been rebuilt since the war.

In the final moments, Missy and Clara are left to perish at the hands (figuratively speaking) of the Daleks, as they then turn their attention toward blowing up the TARDIS.

All very heavy stuff and all very good. The time travel still is an issue with Moffat, but I like where this story is going. It’s big and ambitious and brings in the lore of the show. I loved the performances of the entire cast. Each character really hit their stride in this one and the closing minutes had me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more. While I enjoyed last season, it felt like it was lacking something, and even though this is only the first episode of this season, I have a feeling it’s going to provide what I was looking for.

I for one cannot wait for next Saturday (well, Sunday, I think I’ll be doing Halloween type things already on Saturday at a haunted asylum, also a good idea for a Doctor Who story), and I am fully on board for this season. Yes, there was some bad, but overall, I want to see what happens next, how will Clara and Missy be saved, how with the TARDIS be saved, how will the Doctor get out of this one? So I’ll leave you with the trailer for next week’s story, “The Witch’s Familiar.”

It’s finally here, the trailer for series 8 of Doctor Who.  I don’t want to go into what I think each little clip is from, as that could a) go on far too long b) probably be wrong and c) other sites are probably doing that much better than me.  However, I will say I’m pleased with the trailer, actually very pleased with it.

There has been a ton of talk about Peter Capaldi being a rebel Time Lord, which rebel is usually associated with teenage angst and going against authority.  But in the trailer he is calm and questions his past decisions.  He does this in a calm voice, not overreacting, even when he tells Clara they are going “into darkness” (umm, Moffat, were you casually watching Star Trek when watching this or just hanging out with Benedict?).  The ending of the trailer is a solemn shot of the Doctor in Clara in the TARDIS with the Doctor asking what type of man he is, which for whatever reason gave me a sort of fourth Doctor vibe.  No doubt this season will deal with the Doctor doing some major self reflecting, and with any luck will also follow through with the set up from the 50th and have him start his search for Gallifrey.  I’m also hoping at some point during his reflection they explain Jenny, Strax, and Vastra.  Not that I like them but because they really make very little sense and since they’re going to be in series 8 they may as well get some sort of back story.

Continuing the Classic-Who vibe is a T-Rex (not quite sure why we have dinosaurs again, they weren’t good at all in series 7) storming through a city (third Doctor anyone?) and a robot around the forty three second mark that looks like it could fit right into the Classic era.  Of course the Daleks are back because why not spend another episode on them?  The problem is they’re far too one dimensional to be interesting and we saw how turning them human worked out, but I suppose we’ll wait and see how it turns out.  Not related to the the characters, but as I’m watching this trailer again, I have to say, I really love some of the retro feeling music in the beginning of it, you’ll know what I mean when you hear it.

Overall, the trailer is setting up for a more drama filled series 8, which I’m looking forward to.  Matt Smith was really great but they ended up making him too goofy and annoying towards the end (particularly the first part of series 7).  His serious moments were always nice but there were far too few of them.  I’m hoping Capaldi has the opportunity to not only be more serious but actually show off the Doctor’s intelligence instead of waving around his screwdriver to save the day.  Let the Doctor be the smartest one in the room again and/or get some more smart characters on the show who can keep up with him, or at least attempt to keep up with him, intellectually.

There were only a few characters shown, so I’m thinking they kept a lot of the second half of the season and finale out of this (at least judging by the finale filming pics I saw but won’t post due to spoilers, this seems to be the case), which would be a good move, I’d like it to be a surprise.  The trailer is pretty atmospheric and more solemn than dark, which should make for an interesting change.  I’m still not on board with the Doctor being this evil being Moffat has him out to be, but seeing as there’s nothing I can do to change that I will simply go with it and see where the writing takes me.

Overall, despite my negativity about Moffat, he did do series 5, which is my favorite since the show came back, and with a new Doctor I think I’m going to maintain optimism.  It’s an opportunity to start over and get rid of all the past threads that went nowhere.  Kick of the search for Gallifrey or some other grand adventure.  Make it like a mini-series even, have one continuing story.  Do something awesome.  Moffat, stop saying how brilliant you are and let the writing do the talking for you.

Doctor Who  will be returning August 23rd, and I believe it will be shown at the same time on BBC and BBC America.  The episode goes by the title of  “Deep Breath” and they say it will be feature length, what that means I have no idea.

 

Trenzalore is saved, all is good, the Doctor didn’t die.  But wait.  If the Doctor didn’t die at Trenzalore and if Trenzalore didn’t burn then how did the events of series 7 happen?

You may recall a while back I wrote about series 7 contradicting series 5 and 6 and I fear the same has to happen again.  If you recall, the finale of series 7 clearly brought the characters to the Doctor’s grave.  This grave

See, Trenzalore is destroyed, the Doctor's buried down there

See, Trenzalore is destroyed, the Doctor’s buried down there

was on Trenzalore, which was shown as being destroyed, covered in fire and ash.  As an aside, you may also recall the Doctor’s tomb being a giant TARDIS with a crack in the window because when he landed on Trenzalore his TARDIS got a crack in it yet in the very next episode there was no crack in the window so why was there a crack on his future tomb, but that’s not important right now, just an observation.

The Great Intelligence proceeds to go into the Doctor’s time stream inside the TARDIS and kill the Doctor throughout every point in the Doctor’s life.  Right, this is big stuff, how can the Doctor be saved?  Fear not, while Jenny, Strax, and Vastra stand around like a bunch of fools, Clara comes to the rescue and jumps in the time stream.  Once she does this she is also splintered throughout the Doctor’s life and saves him from the Great Intelligence.  Awesome, all is well, the Doctor then walks into his time stream to save her and they somehow magically get out and she becomes a school teacher.

Except none of that happened.  In The Time of the Doctor, Clara and the Doctor are able to change the future and save Trenzalore.  As a result Trenzalore never burns, the Doctor never dies there, the Great Intelligence can’t go in his time stream, and most importantly, Clara can’t go in his time stream.  This means she was never at the Dalek asylum planet or a governess in Victorian London.  This means the Doctor would never have looked for her after finding out she died twice and he couldn’t save her.  This means she wouldn’t be the impossible girl, she’d just be normal, sassy Clara and the Doctor would have no need to go searching for her since he would have never known of her.  The worst part, no matter how inconsistent Clara’s character was written, I actually really like her sassy personality.  Maybe it’s because I know people like her, but she felt a lot more realistic than some of the other new companions, and she never got

I know Clara, Amy stole your scene and technically you shouldn't even be here, it's been a rough day

I know Clara, Amy stole your scene and technically you shouldn’t even be here, it’s been a rough day

annoying like Amy did (icing on the cake was Amy being brought back to upstage Clara during 11’s regeneration as Clara was pushed to the side with a tear or two, it’s like Moffat is writing fan fiction that can’t get over the Ponds and hates Clara).

I’m sorry, but when the head writer manages to essentially delete an entire series he was in charge of just a year or so ago that’s bad.  I’m not asking for revolutionary writing, but there has to be a point when someone tells Moffat to stop trying to make things complex for the sake of being complex, because the majority of the time it turns out to be convoluted and counter-productive.  This is going without mentioning how he basically put some throwaway lines in The Time of the Doctor just to say how clever he is bringing back plot threads from series 5-7, when all it feels like he did was make up something on the fly and pass it off as a long-term plan.

Honestly, where is the quality control these days?  Moffat needs someone to read over his scripts, I’m sure anyone remotely interested in science fiction could spot the elimination of series 7 right away.  No doubt I’m looking forward to Peter Capaldi and was sad to see Matt Smith go (he’s currently my favorite of the new Doctors, even if the writing isn’t exactly helping him out a lot of times), but I can’t help but feel we’ll be getting more of the same average to poor writing as long as Moffat is in charge.

Continuing to ignore the fact that every episode this part of series 7 would greatly benefit from being a two parter, The Crimson Horror is a surprisingly enjoyable episode.  I say surprising because I’m not exactly a fan of the Vastra, Jenny, Strax team (mainly Strax, as the character is kind of annoying and makes very little sense, but I guess I’ll have to deal with it).

Image

Part of a brilliantly done flashback montage

See, this episode almost seems like it will be a Doctor-less one, such as we’ve had in the past, notably with the classic episode Blink.  However, the Doctor and Clara do come back into the picture as the story goes on, but before then, Jenny takes center stage.  She’s actually a fun character to follow, though I’m still a bit confused about a particular scene (I don’t think this at all a spoiler) when she basically turns into a ninja and gets some sort of weird, fast motion camera work as she beats up some bad dudes, as I don’t get how she has harnessed the power of the ninja.

The story isn’t particularly amazing, but the setting and atmosphere is noticeably dark and to an extent, disturbing.  I wish there was more time for the heavier themes of human equality, inequality, and perfection to be explored, as the episode has potential to break into long standing social issues, and this may lead to future episodes tackling relevant issues.

I usually come away from a Clara episode thinking how awesome she is and loving her witty comments.  Sadly, there weren’t many of them this week, nor was there much talking from her.  At least what little she said was important to progress the story, and her part in the ending scene finally helps a little to go into her story arc.  Speaking of her arc, are they expecting to explain and wrap it all up in the finale, because I don’t want this to be a 45 minute arc and that’s it.  Also, why doesn’t this Clara make soufflés?  At what point does she start making soufflés?

I digress, back to The Crimson Horror.  I definitely would tell fans to watch it, though it’s not a good one to get people started on, as the ultimate reveal isn’t amazing.  Here the episode relies on the strong acting from the cast, which doesn’t disappoint, and there is a nice lack of goofiness by the Doctor.  I say nice because the show had an issue for making him too goofy, but it seems they do plan to fulfill the promises of a more serious Doctor.  Plus, it makes his witty comments more enjoyable, especially during more serious moments when he breaks out some sarcasm.

Next week we get Nightmare in Silver, and I don’t care that it is written by Neil Gaiman, I have my doubts (a. Cybermen aren’t overly exciting and more importantly, b. the trailer confirms there will be kids in it, and as we know from nearly every movie with kids, they’ll try their hardest to ruin it).  Still, here’s the trailer and I will be catching up with reviews on previous episodes from this season, that is after watching The Crimson Horror again.

rings of akhaten doctor who

Really Awesome

Is this what the wait for the rest of season 7 has been for?  I really hope not.  Let’s get talking, shall we? (Oh, there will be spoilers)

So, episode two of this half of the season isn’t exactly what I would call good.  In fact, the majority of the episode was nothing short of awful.  I had hoped we’d gotten past the really bad episodes with Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three, but sadly I have been proven wrong.

The beginning of the episode with Clara’s parents and the leaf was actually kind of cool and helped add some emotional impact to this version of Clara.  However, outside of that the story went nowhere good.  She and the Doctor end up on an alien world looking down on some really spectacular space CGI.  Then they go to another part of the planet to take a visit to the Cantina (I’m not exactly sure if where they were had a specific name, but it was basically the Star Wars Cantina).  Even from there it seemed like there was some hope when Clara started talking to the Queen of Years (a little girl named Mary was chosen to be the queen, not quite sure why).  It was a nice little scene, as it continues to show Clara has a motherly inclination to her (this probably is important, just as important as the Doctor referencing his granddaughter I’d say).  But then it all goes to pieces.

Apparently the Queen (and presumably King) have to sing a being to sleep every thousand years, or he will eat the soul of the Queen (again, not quite sure why).  Naturally, something goes wrong and the being wakes up, but not before the Queen is teleported to the being and the Doctor and Clara somehow learn to breathe in space (yeah, I know).  So of course the Queen doesn’t die because she’s a little girl and that would not fly.  Eventually the being breaks out of its nifty glass cage and proceeds to be illuminated by a bright light and die (makes sense, right?).  So what is the natural order of progression here?  The sun, yes that’s right, the sun, ends up being the evil force controlling the now dead being (I guess he’s the middleman so the sun can sleep) and decides it wants to be a sun with a face.  Yes, a face, with the eyes, nose, mouth, all of it (to be fair, they treat the sun as a god so the face may be why, and apparently it’s a parasite of sorts, but again, not quite sure why/how).  At this point I’d like to note that if this were done in Classic Who, I imagine they’d at least make an effort to explain anything that’s going on right now, but then again they didn’t have a deranged Steven Moffat who wants to cram everything into a very small time frame or is off doing Sherlock or writing something else (no wonder DW is losing quality control these days, which is kind of sad considering how good Matt Smith can be and Jenna-Louise Coleman is quickly showing signs of becoming my favorite New-Who companion).

The Doctor then goes on a nice speech to the sun how he is all full of memories with pain and loss and love and happiness (you get the point, oh, the Time War was brought up again, I assume to prep us for the 1oth Doctor’s return, as he liked to go on about it a lot) and the sun starts to consume the memories (by the way, the soul is code for memories) but it just isn’t enough to fill its appetite.  So what does Clara do?  Well, for starters she figures out how to fly a space moped and then gives up her leaf for the sun, because we all know that what could have been offers an infinite amount of memories, which is why it is puzzling why she didn’t give up the book of things she wants to do, which likely contains the memories of her and her mother of things that could have been, but whatever, at this point it doesn’t matter.

And well, this isn't really awesome

And well, this isn’t really awesome

So, here’s what gets me the most: the Doctor, yet again, likely kills a ton of innocent people since the sun ate too much and then somehow disappeared, hence no gravitational pull from the sun, and I’d assume the fall of those planets out of orbit (still, was that as bad as blowing up humans on the spaceships in The Power of Three?).

Also, there’s a lot of filler in terms of singing, which I get is important for this story, but it really felt like filler, especially since the Doctor was barely in the episode (perhaps he was needed to film another episode).

I don’t exactly remember how the episode ended, but I do know Clara was given back her mother’s ring she had to give up to buy the space moped.  I liked this part because it brought the episode back to Clara, who is, oh I don’t know, the current story arc that is supposed to wrap up in the next six episodes, and with next week’s episode it doesn’t look like anyone will be addressing that arc soon.  On the bright side, next week’s episode looks to be a lot better and last week’s was also very good (I’ll probably be reviewing it during the week).

So, what do I rate this episode?  It hurts me to do this, but I can’t be kind just because I’m a huge DW fan (actually, that gives me more of a reason to be critical) but The Rings of Akhaten gets a very poor: 5/10

I liked the dialogue between the Doctor and Clara, but the rest was just plain bad.