This season has been the most enjoyable ever (for me anyway), and I think when Christmas is done and the special shown, I’ll have to go back to previous ones just to see if this is an accurate belief, or an immediate side-effect of watching this broadcast legend brought to life by the world watching and commentating.
All along, we’ve been swept away, tumbled about for a bit, floating along in the air – a bit like Clara’s leaf. Our Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Teacher (Jenna Coleman) masterfully play off, challenge, and support one another – they are a dynamic duo.
Having knocked about with the Doctor and Clara, we’ve seen intriguing role-swapping, reflecting, and tightrope walking along the invisible threads that link with our current cultural narrative, Season 8 has touched on very relevant themes like battle, soldiers, history, humanity, our world (let’s take a deep breath now) our attitudes, and fears about death, the truth (whatever that happens to be), the qualities of goodness, lies, lies and damned lies, puddingheads, jobsworths, and so on.
“Robot of Sherwood” was edited (and I think it suffered as a result) because of its similarity with recent events and fears of causing offence, and “Dark Water” has truly offended the closely regarded sensibilities of many people who hold death in as sacred a regard, as life. My view for whatever it’s worth is I’m not afraid of death – having lost someone dear to me twenty years ago I’ve long made peace with it’s inevitability and grace – I don’t invite it, but I don’t fear it either. I’ll discover what it’s like the same way everybody else does. In death we are all equal, and fear is a super power. Nevertheless, it was upsetting for many people’s sensibilities, it says a lot about how invested in the show people are, and it’s arguably comparable to the reaction to the original broadcast of radio drama “War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells — but more intense in the spotlight.
For the Doctor, life got back to normal following his extended stay on Trenzalore, which seemed to create the necessary psychological distance between him and everybody – making way for the new (more alien) Doctor. And what a new Doctor Peter Capaldi is. He is perfect – and I don’t mean that in a superficial way. I mean his whole portrayal of the flaws and virtues of an indispensible and terrified Time Lord is flawless against the backdrop of great writing, editing, production, music that Season 8 has been.
As for Clara, her life was progressing nicely until it wasn’t – she had an exciting secret hobby that took her to places she’d never have seen otherwise, a quiet maths teacher with his feet firmly planted, teaching a nice bunch of kids in an inner city school. She’s been tested, challenged, stretched and has sprung back repeatedly, gaining character strength (Str +10 Int +5, Wis +5, Dex +10) over time.
Watching previous episodes – looking for hints that I might have missed or forgotten over these busy and exciting weeks, it’s incredible to watch his transformation occur in binge-watching mode. It’s like I said before, seeing an episode once the iron is off the fire and having a few more stories lining the memory banks is a very different experience to watching it for the first time in the white heat of the media forge.
I don’t really have any theories or expectations about tonight’s finale to an enlightening and epic run… hopefully closing some vital plot-holes…
All seems to be flowing into the pool that is “Dark Water”… and (hopefully) “Death in Heaven” will bring us some interesting conclusions, closure, and peace to the fearful. I’m holding onto the optimistic notes of “Kill the Moon” and “In the Forest of the Night” and trying not to assume the worst…
A few notes on similarities I noticed between “Deep Breath” and “Dark Water” (If you can think of any more…)
Deep Breath: First words – Doctor says “Shush!”
Clara says, First words – Clara says “Shut-up!”
Deep Breath: We begin story at Clara’s loss of the Doctor
Dark Water: We begin story at Clara’s loss of Danny Pink
Deep Breath: Clara keeps it all together in “Deep Breath”
Dark Water: Clara falls apart in “Dark Water”
Will there be a parallel between the moment where the Doctor mourns for the death of the Dinosaur and something that happens in “Death in Heaven”, he says “She was scared and alone, I brought her here and look what they did.” It’s almost the kind of thing he might have an opportunity say about Clara in the Underworld.
Deep Breath: Coldness – the Doctor is cold in the biting London air
Dark Water: Coldness – Danny is cold in the Nethersphere
Deep Breath: The Ad in the newspaper
Dark Water: The Ad for 3W
Deep Breath: They’re surrounded by eating automaton
Dark Water: They’re surrounded by submerged cybermen
Deep Breath: They’re in a trap long before they notice
Dark Water: This feels like a trap…
Deep Breath: Harvesting organs
Dark Water: Harvesting the dead
Deep Breath: Robot turning itself into a man
Dark Water: Man being turned into a robot (Cyberman)
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