Tag Archive: clara


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.”

Into the Dalek sees the Doctor going to the most dangerous place in the universe, or at least the twenty something most dangerous place in the universe.  Yes, the Doctor seems to be finding himself frequenting these sorts of places more often these days, but I suppose they want to drive home how much darker series 8 is, fine, so be it, what’s important is how the episode is, and everyone can have a sigh of relief, because it’s a Dalek episode actually worth not only watching but watching again and then possibly once more.

Every series we have gotten a Dalek episode, some good, some average, and some downright awful (human Daleks and pig people, just think about that for a minute) and honestly, this may be the best one that isn’t part of a finale.  Back in series 1 we had Dalek, which reintroduced the Daleks to thousands of Classic Who fans and introduced Daleks to waves of new fans.  The episode was very good, last of the Daleks, last of the Time Lords, that is until the finale of series 1 in which a massive Dalek fleet appeared out of nowhere and then they never stopped coming, which leads us to Into the Dalek.

YEAH, THERE ARE SOME BIG SPOILERS UP AHEAD

Brief Summary:

Essentially, the episode is about the Doctor still coming to terms with his regeneration and trying to figure out what sort of person he is and asking Clara if he’s a good man.  As the story progresses there are parallels between himself and the damaged Dalek.  Yes, the Dalek in question this weeks is damaged and as a result has been

Can this show just be the two of them talking, I'd be quite alright with that

Can this show just be the two of them talking, I’d be quite alright with that

captured and to an extent has turned “good” or at least different.  The Doctor starts off the episode by rescuing a soldier trying to flee from a Dalek ship and when the soldier’s ship blows up, the Doctor materializes around it, allowing the soldier to survive.  She starts to freak out a bit about the situation but after some stern words from the Doctor, she realizes who is in charge.  The Doctor shows how he really hasn’t the time for excess.  He still understands emotion (the soldier’s brother just died, and he gets that, but he also lets her know she’s a soldier and has to get back on duty when they arrive back on her base ship), so it’s not like he’s this cold figure looming over people.  Once on her ship, the Doctor finds out they have a damaged Dalek they want to repair by shrinking down a team to go inside the Dalek and presumably repair it (because who isn’t proficient in Dalek repairs?).  Before that can be done, the Doctor has to go fetch Clara, who is back on Earth teaching and it’s three weeks past their last meeting in last week’s episode.

Back they pop to repair the Dalek.

See, Daleks really aren’t all that interesting, and I have a feeling they knew this when writing.  The story barely features a Dalek and by shrinking everyone to go inside the Dalek it could have been anything with a mechanical outer shell, but that’s alright.  When they go inside the Dalek there is a Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (and The Invisible Enemy) feel as they’re rummaging through hallways and various rooms.  Eventually they do get to finding the issue: a part of the Dalek leaking radiation, in turn altering the part of it which limits emotion and allows it to be “good” or rather, realize the Daleks are bad and in turn want to kill the Daleks, so good-ish.  Once repaired the Dalek goes back to normal and the Doctor tries to come to terns with the fact that some things will never change: Daleks will always be evil.  He kept saying this to Clara leading up to this point, not because he was being stubborn, but instead because he was tired of it, tired of the lack of change, which also reflected his state of mind.

Opinion:

Without simply restating the entire episode, I will say by the end of it the Doctor, with the help of Clara, realized things are not always as they seem.  A damaged Dalek could still be “good” even if consistently a soldier.  While the Dalek notes how the Doctor is a good Dalek (another tired line in Dalek episodes), Clara lets the Doctor know what really matters is he tries to do good.  Even when things don’t go right it still ends with good intentions.

Right, is this really a good idea?

Right, is this really a good idea?

Now, I do enjoy the chemistry between the Doctor and Clara.  For once she isn’t written simply as a plot device to lead into the 50th anniversary and her personality is a lot more defined, probably a result of more consistent writing.  While still finding himself, the Doctor has a distinct personality.  He has no time for trivial matters or things that cannot be avoided.  In one scene a member of the group inside the Dalek is going to die, the Doctor knows there’s no way to stop it from happening, so he puts a sort of tracking device in him so they can see where dead bodies go in the Dalek.  Yes, at first it seems harsh, but as the Doctor notes, there was no way to save him so his death can at least help them survive.  This Doctor gets mad at soldiers waving guns around and barking out orders.  He doesn’t have the time to put up with that, just talk like a civil person, that’s all, don’t eliminate your soul for the sake of being a good soldier.  In a way, this Doctor needs Clara to balance him out, though, I’d like to see a solo episode or two with him, that would be interesting (I’m thinking along the lines of The Deadly Assassin).

Extras:

Danny Pink, Clara’s new boyfriend made his first appearance.  All we learn is he was a soldier and all signs indicate to some sort of incident in which he ended up killing a civilian (heavy stuff compared to the last couple series of the show).  So far he seems like a good guy, he had a funny scene when Clara was trying to ask him out/get him to ask her out.  I’m looking forward to more of him, for once we may be getting a male companion (other than Jack) who is a strong character on his own.

Missy makes another appearance.  A female crew member who went in the Dalek was also killed but somehow ended up in what Missy calls heaven.  What is going on there I’d like to know, but I’ve given up with making theories for Moffat stories, far too many of his haven’t gone anywhere and it just turned into a headache, so this time around I’m taking a different approach and simply am trying to enjoy the ride and hoping the writing is more solid this time around.

Conclusion:

I don’t like Dalek episodes.  I dread them the week leading up to them.  They’re rarely good.  This week’s proved to be very good as it allowed the Doctor to analyze himself and ultimately show he is a good man through the simple act of trying his hardest to do good, even if his approach isn’t as happy-go-lucky as the 11th Doctor.  I really enjoy the more serious tone of this series and I hope others do as well.

Next week is set in the past again, and the trailer seems pretty solid for Robot of Sherwood with Robin Hood (it seems very Classic Who):

 

Serious question.  I don’t think he does – or maybe he does and just isn’t a good show runner, as he was exceptionally good during the RTD era and great for Sherlock and Coupling (currently re-watching both).  At least he doesn’t seem to respect the show and its history.  No time for a drawn out introduction, let’s just dive into it with the sonic screwdriver.

These days the sonic screwdriver is used for everything, and I mean everything from simply unlocking a door to being able to blow up spaceships to conveniently end an episode (The Power of Three).  After doing a bit of quick research online it seems throughout the classic era the show-runners and producers didn’t want the device to basically be an easy out for script writers.  It makes sense too since every episode would just end with the Doctor pointing the screwdriver and something and saving the day.  That would get boring, and you know what, as we’ve found out recently, it does get boring and annoying.  Rarely do we see the Doctor actually thinking out a situation or using his wits, but we do get to see him run around pointing his screwdriver at apparently random things these days and automatically knowing where to go.  Furthermore, since when does the TARDIS grow sonic screwdrivers?  Any fan of the classic era will recall Romana making her own screwdriver, so at what point did Time Lords and Ladies apparently forget how to make them?  Back to using the device to encourage bad writing, I recently watched The Visitation (a fifth Doctor episode with a very good side character and a nice little historical reference ending) and the sonic screwdriver was destroyed.  Then again, the fifth Doctor barely used it, but it was nice to see they took the final (of many steps) to take it away from the show.  And then Moffat and the other writers just uses it as a magic wand to make up for poor writing.

What in the world is the deal with Strax?  Sontarans are clones for war, so what in the world happened with Strax?  I understand they have no idea if the show is to be a childish kid show or a sci-fi show for all to enjoy, but get rid of Strax (and Vastra and Jenny, but they’re a little more tolerable) and give him his own spin-off.  Fill the space left by the Sarah Jane Adventures and give these characters their own show and take them away from Doctor

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Who forever.

What the frak is going on in Doctor Who anyway?  Since series 5 we have had countless threads that went nowhere.  For instance:

  • Who was making their own TARDIS?  Likely very important because it was brought up in series 5 and 6 and again, never explained.
  • What is the Silence (the religious order) and why do they want the Doctor dead?  Come on, this was a full season arc that went nowhere.
  • How did the Doctor’s and River’s timelines get reversed, literally never explained.
  • Who was Madame Kovarian, and I don’t want the excuse of just some baddie, that’s weak and we all know it.
  • Who blew up the TARDIS in series 5?  This, come on now, this is huge, who blew up the TARDIS?  Anyone, really, nobody knows?
  • How did the Doctor get out of the Pandorica?  Yes, he used his magic wand to get out the second time, but how did he get out the first time?

I know I’m missing things for the list, but I think you get my point.

Sure, it may have been a fun ride while the episodes aired, but after realizing the threads go nowhere what’s the point?  Seriously, this is the only show I know that can get away with this and have nobody criticize it.  Furthermore, with only 13 episodes a season, it’s the only show I know that has such inconsistent writing.  This is for another post, but they need new writers and a new show runner.  The show is currently so sporadic that it’s difficult to watch.  It’s like there’s no rhyme or reason to anything anymore.  Series 7 was weird because I like Clara but it didn’t matter at all which order her episodes were in because they were all rather rushed single episodes.  The Ponds in Series 7 were awful, and I still don’t understand why the Doctor blew up a ton of people in The Power of Three or why they wasted money making a completely nonsensical dinosaur episode.  All they had to do was send them to the past, that would have been cool, but no, instead we get the Doctor playing fetch with a dinosaur.

My last point is how the Doctor is written.  Moffat seems to not like it when the Doctor is serious, talks, or stands still.  It’s all running about and no talking.  I wish there was a low-key episode with the Doctor and Clara just kind of you know, talking, developing their relation.  Instead, Clara went from being scared of dead bodies (Cold War) to carrying a giant gun and commanding troops (Nightmare in Silver, what a mess that was).

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

I don’t know.  I liked Moffat during the RTD era, but maybe RTD was able to control Moffat.  Maybe we don’t need these crazy arcs, as he clearly doesn’t understand them and just says how much fun it is to write with time travel, but when it goes nowhere, it’s not fun or entertaining, it’s just a waste.  Perhaps the new Doctor will be older and not as frantic.  We need someone who can calmly analyze and respond to a situation, not someone just running around being all crazy.

Basically, the 50th will determine if Moffat deserves to stay and the Christmas episode will likely only confirm it either way.  Right now it doesn’t seem like he likes the show or maybe he doesn’t understand it or maybe it’s just too much for him to do this and Sherlock, which he’s very good at and as a writer I love his work with Coupling.  Maybe Doctor Who just isn’t his thing and as much as he likes it it just isn’t working.  There’s no shame in that, just go back to writing an episode a season, which were all very good, and maybe make more Sherlock (well, that’s just me being greedy, as three episodes a season, as great as they are, just isn’t enough).

Catching up on reviews here, I’ll be going backwards from here to the start of this part of series 7 as if I have not seen the episodes after them.  Cool, so we get to see a bit more of the TARDIS in Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (Journey for short).  You’re going to hear this a lot from me, but this would have been a cool two parter if for no other reason than to further elaborate on the side characters.  While not overly original, they create a nice human dynamic and if given time could have avoided some rushed dialogue and sometimes one dimensional writing to become a memorable story to themselves.  Despite this, Journey is a pretty good episode.

Ominous stares all about this place

Ominous stares all about this place

The bulk of the episode, or at least the exciting parts, are based around Clara.  She goes all about the TARDIS to various rooms and suspiciously similar miles of corridors.  There’s a nice nod to the often mentioned swimming pool, though I would have liked a glimpse of the kitchen due to the nature of Clara’s character.  Still, we also get some throwback moments to the Classic-Who era to continue the nostalgia factor all about this series.  Most importantly, the TARDIS library gets a visit from Clara, where she finds out some things about the Doctor and his involvement with The Time War that likely no other eyes seen.  To tell the truth, this episode really could have been an awesome two parter due to the extensive nature of the TARDIS.

I quite liked the main threat throughout, from the TARDIS itself (herself?) to the more physical threat chasing our time travelers throughout the ship.  Actually, without giving anything away, the “monsters” chasing them are very dark and somewhat disturbing.  Don’t worry, you’ll see for yourself to judge.

There is one really good scene with the Doctor and Clara where the Doctor confronts her about who she is.  In natural Moffat fashion, nothing is solved, but watching the two characters interact is always fun.  Following this is a kind of rushed ending, but you know, I know, the structure of this series just isn’t very kind to story and character development.

Honestly, I don’t want to give too much away, as this is an episode definitely worth watching.  You get the Doctor being serious and then not and then serious again, but this time it all feels right whereas sometimes it feels forced.  A relatively solid support cast helps add their own dimension to the story, even if it is rushed.  Clara, well, I have not been keeping up on the reviews, but Clara is pretty great.

Basically, if you have yet to watch this episode, please do.  It isn’t the most amazing one ever, but it is still very good.