In approximately 24’ish hours, the first episode of Series 9 of will air.
I. Can’t. Wait.
I am having a hard time being patient, not only because, well new Doctor Who!, but also because I was so happy and satisfied with where and how we left the Doctor and Clara at the end of Last Christmas.
If you have read any of my posts from Series 8, you know that I struggled with Capaldi’s Doctor. Not his portrayal of the character, which was (hands down) brilliant, but because of his painful, ambivalent, angry character arc. The Doctor spent the entire last series trying to figure out who he was: good or bad; crazy or sane; hero or coward; reliable or abandoning? Now, as I look back, I am appreciative of the complexity and depth of his story. All in, it worked incredibly well and I continue to be amazed by Mr. Moffat’s creative intelligence. (He doesn’t like just “Moffat” you know. No really-he honestly finds it disrespectful and overly familiar.) But at the start of Dark Water, I was fearful that the show had lost its way as much as the Doctor had lost his.
Clara bothered me as well. Wait! Let me take that back. Clara was magnificent. Her multiple goes at being the Doctor hit perfectly in the center of my fangirl heart.
It was her relationship with Danny Pink that troubled me. He was too controlling, she lied, he patronized her by taking on the role of her protector when she clearly didn’t need it, she kept lying. Mostly, I couldn’t figure out the point of it all. The only thing about Series 8 about which I feel some disappointment is Danny and Clara’s relationship. I still don’t know the purpose of that relationship in the broader arc of the Series or in Clara’s personal character development. Was Danny merely a plot device to get us to and through Death in Heaven? As with all things Mr. Moffat creates, we won’t know until the final story ends.
However, I was wrong to fear for the direction of the show; Dark Water and Death in Heaven were brilliant and totally satisfying. Even with the Gift of the Magi ending, it felt perfectly in sync with these two characters and left an open door for the continuation of their story.
Last Christmas was one of my favorite Christmas episodes of all time. From getting to peer into Clara’s head and experience Danny Pink the way she experienced him, to the rivalry between The Doctor and Santa, to the heartbreaking time-miss between Clara and the Doctor, to the exuberant realization that they wanted to joyfully have adventures together, it was perfect.
And now, finally, we find an unambivalent TARDIS team, committed to the shared goal of adventuring. (OK, OK, the Prologue and The Doctor’s Meditation actually seem to set us up for more worrying and angst from the Doctor. Personal Head Cannon- they did set-off joyfully Christmas Eve and then, as is wont to happen, fell into trouble. Anyway…)
I am hopeful that this series will focus more upon the monsters and wonders of the universe than is does on difficult character development.
My Personal Wishlist….
****BEGIN SLIGHTLY SPOILERY BIT******
I hope that Clara leaves the Doctor strongly, confidently moving on to a greater adventure full of the wisdom, knowledge and experience she gained from her time with him. I am hoping for a companion send-off that is not inspired by the destruction the Doctor has wrought, but rather by the life he preserves.
*****END SLIGHTLY SPOILERY BIT*******
And, if I am to be completely truthful here, I am hoping for more than one big, dramatic speech. I want to see Capaldi’s Doctor, dripping with confidence, exhorting the monsters into running away from Earth (or wherever) with their alien appendages between their legs (um…between their other appendages?) I know many of you don’t like those big, glorious Doctor speeches, but I eat them up and we saw very little of that Doctor last series.
The Doctor and Clara have faced death, betrayal and the resurrection of their greatest foe. They both lost themselves, and then found themselves again. Series 8 was gloriously made, and yet, often difficult to watch.
So now, the Doctor, Clara, and I are ready to have some fun.
Bring it on, Mr. Moffat! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us this time around.