Well, that’s in the bag. After months of rumors, speculation and the Who community waiting with bated breath to see what the new Doctor would be like, now we know. And if the episode we got isn’t up there with “Spearhead from Space” or “Castrovalva”, well, at least it isn’t “The Twin Dilemma”.
The story begins in Victorian London with the Paternoster Gang, who I feel are very much in danger of overstaying their welcome, see a Tyranasaurus Rex stomping around. This is an oversized sci-fi T-rex that’s about three hundred eye-rolling feet tall, but never mind. It soon coughs up the TARDIS, and inside we find Clara and the newly-regenerated Doctor. There is a lot of post-regeneration silliness, some of which works quite well, and a plot involving a robot that’s stealing parts from humans to repair itself.
By the end, the bad guys are defeated, the Doctor is back to himself, we have the set up for the season arc and a special surprise that I already knew about, but enjoyed a lot more than I had expected I would.
The episode was good, but not great. It will probably hold up ok over the years, and does a great job of setting this new Doctor apart and different from the old ones. The story also did an interesting job of exploring what it would be like to see someone you know and love suddenly show up with a different face and personality. The one problem with this is that it is Clara, who, alone among all the companions, has met all thirteen versions of the Doctor, and she’s the one we see trying to come to grips with it. So, yeah. Sara Jane Smith had fewer problems.
There were also a few eye-rolling moments, as I mentioned. Madam Vastra and friends are a fun group in very small doses, but I’m really over them, and if we never see them again, I’m ok with that. The story also felt more than a little padded. Not “The War Games” level of padded, but it would have benefited from being a standard 45 minute episode. It didn’t really need the extra half hour.
All that aside, it was a fun little adventure. I really like the new Doctor, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with him in the future.