So, here we are: Series 8, Episode 2 and I think, in a way, I was looking forward to watching this episode more than the series opener last week. It can’t be easy being the script-writer, having to introduce a new character, AND provide a credible storyline too. For me, I felt last week’s was a bit lack-lustre in the ‘oomph’ department!
For once, the episode title this week was to be taken literally, although I suspect, based on the convoluted titles of previous series, most viewers wouldn’t have realised this initially - me included!
I won’t reveal the details of the plot here, in case you haven’t got round to watching it just yet, but safe to say, with the character-establishing episode out of the way, we now have a much clearer idea of this new Doctor, and his value system. And for me, as a part-time Whovian (I confess I HAVEN’T watched EVERY episode from 63 onwards at least ten times!) this is the really interesting stuff. That, together with my other wish: a long-term story arc, which is already sloooowly beginning to reveal itself! While I’m being picky, I could do with some more of the rather excellent Ben Foster/ Murray Gold music please. There’s a bit of a variation on ‘Clara’s Theme’ in this episode, but I didn’t recognise much else.
However, ‘orange alert!’, I just got a small whiff of ‘soap’ in this episode, as Clara now begins to get her love-life together - I ‘get’ the need for a bit of romance - but let’s not go down the EastEnders/Corry/Casualty/The Bill route and lose sight of what sort of show this is. If I want social-realism, I’ll watch
the X-Factor the News!
So, back to this week’s episode. With lots of blockbuster sfx and very believable performances, it’s immediately obvious that the Who brand will continue to go from strength to strength. What started in 1963 as a quirky and quaint English tea-time serial designed to educate the young, it’s turning into a global series, mopping-up new Whovians along the way. But, a bit like Marmite, you either like it or hate it. This family is evenly split, but at least it gets me out of the washing-up!
And, what do we know of Peter Capaldi’s interpretation of the character then? Well, he’s a bit low in the EQ department for a start (that’s ‘people skills’ in old money), and we know he’s not a ‘hugger’ (from the closing scenes of last week’s episode). He’s certainly more Hartnell than Troughton (who Matt Smith says he based his character on). Our new Doctor can be very determined and forceful.. and yet sometimes hopelessly indecisive. I think if I was still in management development, there would be a shed-load of case-study potential here for decision making/rapport building/first impressions/assertiveness… the list goes on!
All-in-all then, a satisfying second episode, but more character reveals please, more clues to the ‘bigger picture’ and more familiar music!