Andrew Jero continues his daily look back at each of the Doctors. Today it's the current key holder of the Type 40, the Twelfth Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi.
We've reached the tenth in my series of articles taking a look at the good, the bad and the in between from each Doctors era, and we're into my own personal top 3 favorite Doctors.
Taking the third position is Peter Capaldi. After having seen just one season, one amazing season, I sit here and struggle to come up with two bad episodes. That, combined with his portrayal of the Time Lord, the way he exudes and personifies everything that is important to the character, is why he sits so high up on my list already.
As ever, I’ll start with a pair of the very best episodes from the Twelfth Doctors debut series. Starting with the only Doctor Who episode post 2005 which appears in my all time top ten all time stories, the recent series finale - Dark Water/Death In Heaven. The first part was especially chilling and
simply awesome. Peter Capaldi was on top form and needed someone
like Michelle Gomez to be his opposite. Talking of which, the Master returned, as we expected, but it's unlikely any of us could've imagined just how fantastic Gomez would be in the role. She did an amazing
job of capturing the essence of the character, and this really showed in
part two. It finally felt like we had the proper Master back. She resurrected the true evil, especially with the “I’m going to
kill you” towards Osgood. The way the recently deceased
were turned into Cybermen was cool, they have always been my favorite monster in Doctor Who, and finally they were used right! Of course, it caused
several complaints, but the “Don’t Cremate Me” line was perfect and made the
show what it used to be. Next season there better be some
guards in cream and red uniforms walking around, because I need Gallifrey back!
Moving on to another standout episode, Listen. As soon as I began to read the script this summer I was drawn in. I couldn't resist and I watched the leaked print, the story didn't disappoint one bit. Having seen the full episode numerous times now, and loving it more and more with each viewing, I believe that it is Peter Capaldi’s portrayal of the Doctor that really makes this adventure. He feels more like the Doctor than anyone has in the last decade, and I think that comes from him not being just a casual whovian, he knows his Doctor Who. He’s seen most of the series having only missed out on the missing episodes pre The Dalek Invasion of Earth (so Marco Polo and the missing Reign of Terror episodes). He gives a performance unlike anything we’ve been seen - it’s chilling, and comforting, and realistic, and quite simply amazing!
Onto what I guess would fall in the middle for Capaldi's Doctor. That being said I'd score both these episodes 9.5 out of 10. They are Deep Breath and The Caretaker. If these are the middle of the road Capaldi episodes, and this quality keeps up then we are in for one hell of a ride between now and when the Doctor regenerates again. Let's hope that's many years away.
Deep Breath was a fantastic story which really brought back the 'Classic Who' feel, and mesmerized me when I saw it in the theater. Capaldi was on top form from the beginning and brought us the Doctor we had lost in the midst of the teen romance crap introduced during the Russell T Davies years. The script was fantastic, and the Half Face Man is definitely my favorite new villain from the series (not counting the newest incarnation of the Master, as he/she is not a new villain). The story felt like the right pace and really captured the Doctor Who I had been yearning for. Like I said, middle of the road and we’ve got a 9.5 out of 10.
The Caretaker was another brilliant story from Series 8 which did a great job of capturing the Hartnell aspects of the Doctor. These have been visible from time to time in Capaldi’s portrayal, but none moreso than here. The Skovox Blitzer was cool (although as we found out in the Doctor Who
Extra for this story that being inside the suit wasn’t cool!). The story itself had a nice and cozy feel to it, very Hartnell again, and didn’t fall apart due to child actors, which is always a concern. In fact there were some nice exchanges between the Doctor and Courtney. It really made me laugh when he explained just what the TARDIS was to her. I love his irritability with the human race - the First would be proud.
As I said right at the beginning, I struggle to think of two bad episodes from the Twelfth Doctor. I have to go first with one that I'd give a 7.5 out of 10 to, so its not bad, just weaker then most of the others. That story is In The Forest of the Night. It's received a lot of negativity and criticism but all in all it was quite a solid adventure. Capaldi once again shows us the grandfatherly side of the Doctor, I always love that quality when it shines through. Frank Cottrell-Boyce did a great job of writing for the child actors, and as with The Caretaker, they don't drag the episode down. It's an engaging story from beginning to end, plus the biggest surprise was that I actually enjoyed Danny in this story, much more than in any other episode, including the finale. Samuel Anderson finally nailed the character.
For me, the weakest story of the Peter Capaldi era so far has to be Time Heist. Whilst still enjoyable, the story wasn’t as interesting as any of the others and I'm sorry to say, it almost put me to sleep when I first watched it. I’m not one for heist movies anyway, so that may have had something to do with it. The Teller also may have reminded me way to much about The Creature From the Pit, and that image is one that can never leave my mind (unfortunately). The characters of Psi and Saibra were both well written and well performed, and helped to keep the story moving. Then there's the constant theme of series 8, that Peter Capaldi was on top form, he never phoned in a performance and never disappointed. I believe he could make the weakest possible episode you could imagine watchable and entertaining, fortunately he hasn't had one of them yet - I'd give Time Heist a 5.5 out of 10.
So far the Peter Capaldi era has been fantastic, with only one dud, and even that wasn't bad. The era of the Twelfth Doctor has captured the essence of Doctor Who all over again, and I can’t wait for the next season.
Overall score for the Peter Capaldi era: 9.5/10