Details: Aired on the BBC in 2017. About an hour long. This is the Christmas special.
And so we’ve arrived at Peter Capaldi’s last episode as the Doctor. This final episode is our opportunity to take one final look at Capaldi’s portrayal of the Doctor. It is also Capaldi’s opportunity to say his goodbye and leave his final thesis on who his Doctor was meant to be. While there were some episodes in Capaldi’s tenure that I did not enjoy, there were some that I did enjoy immensely. Twice Upon a Time was a surprisingly emotional goodbye to a Doctor who was not as good as his predecessor (in my opinion), but left a meaningful and distinct mark all the same. It is also a goodbye to the Moffat era of Doctor Who.
Details: Aired on the BBC in 2017. The Christmas Special aired in 2016. Twelve episodes with each episode somewhere between forty-five minutes to an hour long.
I think Matt Smith’s impact on the Doctor Who series is profound in that his tenure was one of the most successful, if not the most successful. That creates problems, especially for his successor, Peter Capaldi. You see, Smith was so charismatic, had such presence in each episode, that the writers could write whatever dumb, lazy, ill thought out crap they wanted and Matt Smith would just deliver the hell out of those lines. He’d play that quirky, charming Doctor and we’d go along for the ride, no matter how little sense the plot made. The problem is that Capaldi is neither as young nor is his performance as in your face or charming as Smith’s and that is intentionally so. Doctor Who writers can no longer rely on the leading actor to fill in all the writing errors and instead have to write good stories.
Capaldi’s first season seemed to be that adjustment period. The stories weren’t great because they needed to learn how to write for a Doctor that wasn’t Matt Smith. This second season of Capaldi’s tenure is far better in that the stories and science fiction concepts expressed in here are far better and held my interest better. I’m glad they relied less on Capaldi, even though he did a good job here. Series 10 is a good season of science fiction and I enjoyed it very much.
I loved the prior episodes with Ashildr. Maisie Williams was great and the introduction of her character made her episode my favorite of the Capaldi era. That changed this past weekend with Heaven Sent. This is my favorite episode of the Capaldi era.
To recap the prior episodes, the Doctor’s companion has died and he has been sent to an undisclosed location, as a prisoner.
It’s a great bottle episode. Capaldi is largely the only actor here and he performs wonderfully. He carries the episode and the mystery.
And the mystery is grand. My favorite part of good science fiction is, as always, the character development. This episodes does a great job showing further insight into the Doctor. His strength and his weakness. It’s a great exploration into the brilliance and tenacity of the Doctor.
Score: 7.8/10 Hard to talk about this episode without revealing too much. Safe to say this is a great episode that needs watching.
The first two episodes of Doctor Who were great, but the following two didn’t really interest me. The two who followed that however, were just fantastic.
When it was introduced that Maisie Williams was going to be on Doctor Who, speculation was that she would play the Doctor’s granddaughter. I’m so glad those theories were wrong because the character that Williams plays in so much more interesting and treads on new ground.
Episode five was a good episode but merely an introduction Williams’ character. The real meaty parts happen in episode six where we explore what has happened to Williams’ and the existential implications of what has happened to her. In many ways, the side story doesn’t really matter. It’s just a fun vehicle to explore Williams’ character and what she has experienced.
In regards to performances, Williams is just great, matching the stage presence of Capaldi even though Capaldi is a much more experienced actor.
Score: 8.3/10 Loved the introduction of Williams’ character. I sincerely hope to see more of her in future episodes.
Doctor Who returns in stride.
The Doctor and Clara Oswald have returned once again to take us on their adventures and what an adventure the first episode is. Some of the best Doctor Who episode have been based on this formula: revisiting something from the fifty years of canon and adding a little bit more to it.
The best science fiction in my opinion combines a heavy theme with heavy character development and this episode is mostly this. The Doctor evaluates the morality of his actions and the consequences that stem from that action. An old villain is written with more understanding and sympathy than he was given in the past. The end result is the conclusion that the Doctor is a person who is capable of not only good, but great evil.
Worth a mention is the opening sequence, which I liked. I always enjoy the strange, science fiction-y ideas that Doctor Who introduces and I thoroughly enjoy the introduction of “hand mines,” although it was brief.
Score: 7.3/10 It was nice seeing some old faces, but a character who returns from last season always rubs me the wrong way because it just reminds me too much of Moriarty from BBC’s Sherlock. Not very original and likely due to Moffat’s influence. Otherwise, a nice episode to start the season.