The first of the two-part series 8 finale, “Dark Water” answers a few of the big questions posed to viewers over the last few months, and asks even more. It is no secret I think this season has fallen flat, mostly because it seems the story lines are recycled from better story lines of previous seasons. The writing of series 8 has been a wee bit boring and predictable, with the two most interesting characters–Missy and Danny Pink–not getting nearly enough screen time for me to stay interested in the disjointed episodes of Peter Capaldi’s first season as the Twelfth Doctor. While a two-part episode is a bit difficult to gauge at this point, that won’t stop me from discussing decent character development for Clara, Moffat’s TOO wide net and a slight nostalgia for really good Doctor Who that recently has been eating at me.
Spoilers ahead, Sweetie! Repeat–DO NOT PROCEED if you haven’t watched “Dark Water” yet.
Since we took a week off, this post we are combining the last two episodes of Doctor Who, which have highlighted on the relationship between the Doctor and his companion, the link to and representation of a long term connection to humanity. Both episodes reveal a Doctor who shares a precarious bond with humankind that has become damaged by prejudices, preconceived notions and the Doctor’s struggle with his own heroic nature.
In the fifth episode with Twelve, we finally get a glimpse of the man we know the Doctor to be–the man who risks it all to help others. While last week’s episode explored the mytharc of the Doctor in an abstract and thoughtful way, in “Time Heist” we see Twelve chose a familiar path, and, although he has been acting very different than Eleven, we are reminded that the Doctor made a personal commitment to help the universe, and he will continue to see that oath through, regardless of the cost.
This is the final installment of the “11 of 11” series and I am a bit sad. I began this series when I heard that Matt Smith was officially leaving DW, and now that it is almost November and with less than a month to the 50th anniversary episode of Who, well, my feels, guys. My feels.
I don’t want Matt to go! As a newly inducted Wholigan, this is the first time I’ve lost a Doctor on the linear time line. If you’ve know my “New to Who” story, you know that I didn’t watch Doctor Who in order, I jumped around in the series, finding episodes that entertained me, all the while desperately trying not to fall in love with the show. It was an unexpected love affair, and it wasn’t until River Song showed up in series 6 that I realized I’d inadvertently become a Whovian. I love David Tennant as Ten, don’t get me wrong. I, too, swoon over the fangirl favorite and adore every episode in which he sexily runs around, fighting nefarious aliens, falling in love with Rose, showing off to Martha and laughing with Donna. I cry when I watch “The End of Time” and never want to see him go. But Eleven. Eleven is the Doctor who fell in love with River Song. He is the Doctor who laughs away the pain of being Ten, Nine and the others, while remaining immensely powerful. He is still the Timelord Victorious, but with a bow tie and new best friends. Eleven never forgot life as Ten, he just refused to fall into a pattern of despair and self loathing. Eleven allowed himself to fall in love with River, to create a family in the Ponds and who, when that family is finally lost, discovered something to live for in the mysteries of the Universe and of Clara Oswald. Matt Smith has played Eleven’s ridiculously huge story arc fearlessly, with finesse that makes the role look easy. He goes from dark and intense to silly and childish in a matter of seconds, never afraid to utilize emotion, physical humor or emotional pain to drive the character forward. Peter Capadli definitely has bigger-on-the-inside shoes to fill. No one thought Matt could do it, and then suddenly, the show is an American hit, a internet sensation and new audiences across the globe are falling in love with time travel and the TARDIS, as Britain has been for years. But Matt Smith is moving on, Whovians. There’s no doubt he will do well after Who. He is young, attractive (in a Timelord-y sorta way) and has range. This episode, Nightmare in Silver, proves it. So, goodbye Eleven. You will be missed, mourned and meme-ed for many years to come.