As usual with these examination of ‘Doctor Who’ stories shortly after transmission, if you haven’t seen them, I’ll try not to give away too many unintentional spoilers, although I will give a quick resume of the plot. Much of the analysis will be about it so feel suitably warned.
Starting off this part 2 with a touch of Beethoven and then a jazzed up version of the ‘Doctor Who’ theme should give away a lot of clues as to what is going on and is probably a major spoiler if you’ve been watching the series long enough. If anything, the entire story is a spoiler!
After all, the Tennant regeneration in ‘The Waters Of Mars’ learnt how dangerous it is to try to manipulate events that shouldn’t be changed. Here, the Capaldi regeneration just reinterprets the results into something else. In other words, what you see isn’t what you see if you take my meaning. I’ve done that in my own stories and you need to think about what is happening than be spoon-fed. Fortunately, scriptwriter Toby Whithouse with a two-parter has a bit more space to do so and even I saw something coming at the end, which has shades of something that happened to a certain Jack Harkness in ‘Torchwood’, although over a shorter time period and less thumb-twiddling.
It’s a neat trick in a single story to manipulate events in the past but in an on-going TV series with time travelling characters feels more like a get out of jail free card whenever a story gets too entangled for the Doctor to win by outwitting his opponents.
The Fisher King looks a little like something that could have walked through ‘Farscape’ but at least has more personality than other creatures the Doctor has encountered in recent years and it would be interesting to see the Time Lord encounter more of this species and see what they really get up to. After all, they seem to like taking over other worlds on a regular basis. If ever there was a reason to bring them back, that has to be top of the list.
In some respects, this story is very cerebral for the more…shall we say…junior viewers. Although I think they understand the implications of time travel and the killing your own grandparent paradox, this is quite heavy duty for them in such a series as this.
In many respects, I do wish they’d just do a story that was more about the events of a particular set of people on a planet rather than manipulation of time. Yes, the Doctor is a Time Lord and capable of manipulating time but its turning into a deux ex machina device making too much possible.
I’m probably being too harsh because the rest of this series could veer away from doing this but the hint for the next episode where the Doctor is simply capable of doing things because he is THE Doctor sounds more like intimidation than anything else.
Having said all of that, Peter Capaldi looks like he is really enjoying himself and settled into the role. For part 2, Jenna Coleman appears to have stood back from the action although I do suspect that this is more to do with giving most characters some breathing space away from each other. With the way they interlock, I can’t help feel this is a test to see how they get on apart for later in the series and preparing the viewers for the change.
10 October 2015