With a dark and brooding glance in theatres around the world, Peter Capaldi cemented his role as the next doctor. There was much speculation among Whovians as to how, exactly, the iconic alien was going to pull off a thirteenth regeneration. Without recapping too much, since it's all timey wimey and kind of odd even for [Doctor Who](series:200668), Capaldi stepped in for Matt Smith and left us all feeling a little overwhelmed, just like his companion Clara. Now, well into the season, he's finally showing us the man he can be and we've gotten a glimpse at his next big foe.
First, we should talk about the complex chemistry between the Doctor and his semi-loyal Companion, Clara. By the time the first episode rolled around, the pair, Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi, had gone on a world tour and helped build the mania that had started with Christopher Eccleston, through to David Tennant, and seemed to hit a peak with Matt Smith. The difference of course with Capaldi was his age and Clara states as much in the triumphant season premier. However, Clara's infatuation with Mr. Pink smacks of the Rosa saga only with the Doctor in Mickey's position.
The love-lost dynamic between the two is undoubtedly human and we have to applaud the writers for tackling something so seemingly shallow. On the surface, it's about looks, but Clara knows the Doctor better than anyone at this point and after their escapade on Christmas, it's understandable that the Impossible Girl could have reservations about her hero. Torn between a love interest and a father figure who used to be a love interest, Clara has actually been given some depth aside from the mystery of her origins. It's also fun to watch the Doctor squirm for once.
However, after all the suspense as to what kind of man he really would be, has Capaldi lived up to his predecessors? The answer at first was an unequivocal no. He wasn't Smith and he certainly wasn't Tennant. He was much more like the unfamiliar first and second Doctors, whom younger audiences might not immediately connect with. However, he has brought a new finesse to his role. Capaldi captivates with airs (and heirs) of Ten and Eleven but for the first time, it would seem, he has come to terms with that day long ago on Gallifrey where a withered man had a hard choice. This harder, fiercer Doctor is less self-effacing than Smith and feels more grown-up while maintaining his immature self-serving attitude. He's consistent in that, but as man who has been given a second chance, and isn't sure he deserves it, he's determined to make it count.
It's still unclear what they're building to with this season, though we've already been introduced to a main nemesis in the form of The Promised Land. Gallifrey is on the horizon as fans have noted hints in even the title screen. Looking at the clues though, it would seem that another big choice is coming and we can only hope that Clara and the Doctor can hold on long enough to make it together. Probably the best part of the Impossible Girl and her story is that she is one of the few people aside from the Master who knows the Doctor for who he was before the TARDIS. Her harsh judgements keep him in check and for the first time in awhile, we are faced with a Doctor who is understanding the merit of saying he's sorry.
This new Doctor may have taken a few episodes to get his bearings, but Capaldi is knocking it out of the park, most recently declaring in his authoritarian hero-speak, that our entire dimension is protected. The writing is excellent and though there is fan service, the stories are full of fun sci-fi and great tension. Capaldi might be one of the deepest Doctors yet, and though he wasn't supposed to, he has wound up with a catchphrase that truly captures his personality this season: "Shut up!"