Tuesday, 6 August 2013

My thoughts on Series 7 of Doctor Who

So now that we know that Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor, it's finally time to take a look back. Yes, it has been almost three months since the series 7 of new Doctor Who ended and I am going to post my thoughts on it *now*. What can I say? I'm a lazy ass.

Overall, I will say that series 7 was one of the most ambitious series of new Who so far. We now know that it is Matt Smith's last series as the Doctor *sniff* as it was both Karen Gillan's and Arthur Darvill's as Amy and Rory *sniff sniff* when they left us in the mid-series finale last year.

Series 7 saw for the first time in new Who, no two-parter episodes. Steven Moffat, the head-writer, wanted to make mini-blockbusters every episode and while I do think that was aiming a little too high for the limited running time of the show, I also believe that there were cinematic genres and tropes at work in every episode. The series was a bit roller-coaster-like in the quality of its episodes- part 1 was better than part 2 but both had high points and low points.

This was also the first time I actually said goodbye to companions and welcomed a new one in the form of Jenna Coleman's Clara. I love Clara, but she's still not of the level of other companions yet, since most of her run so far was spent in trying to figure out who she is and not what sort of a person she is.

While I had hoped that Matt Smith would have had a series 4-like send-off (still the best series of new Who), only a blind idiot will disagree when I say that he has done some of his best stuff in series 7. That man can act and the Eleventh Doctor is just so wonderful and multi-faceted. I am so happy that Smith is leaving at such a high point for himself, though I still think he could have stayed longer.

Without further adieu, this is how I would rank all the episodes of series 7 of Doctor Who.

Written by Neil Gaiman, Directed by Stephen Woolfenden

This may surprise people. After all, Gaiman's previous outing into the world of Who-writing gave us one of the most beloved modern Who episodes "The Doctor's Wife". Even if I was to not take into account the expectations this put on the episode, what annoyed me about it was the wasted potential. The entire setting was a goldmine that just wasn't exploited. However, I must also admit that this episode showcased Matt Smith's acting skills better than almost any other in his run as the Doctor. Also, loved Clara's bossiness and Warwick Davis's naturalness. On the flipside though, those children deserved to be "upgraded".

Favourite scene- Clara meets Mr. Clever for the first time.

Favourite quotes-
Mr. Clever: "That's cheating!"
The Doctor: "Just taking advantage of the local resources."

The Doctor: "Impossible girl. A mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that's just a little bit too tight."

Written by Neil Cross, Directed by Farren Blackburn

So the singing. That was random, eh? As amazing as Murray Gold is, having a musical-esque Doctor Who episode was a bit out there for me. Again, this episode gave very high hopes and didn't deliver on them. All the talk about ALL OF THE ALIENS, and we barely meet any of them. And again, Matt Smith's speech at the end is nothing short of spectacular, easily one of his greatest moments in the show. This episode also had some great visuals but was a bit of a mess if you think about it.

Favourite scene- The Doctor faces the Old God and asks it to take his memories.

Favourite quotes-
Dave Oswald: "...this exact leaf had to grow in that exact way, in that exact place, so that precise wind could tear it from that precise branch, and make it fly into this exact face. At that exact moment. And if just one of those tiny little things never happened, I'd never have met you. Which makes this the most important leaf in human history."

Clara: "So we're moving through actual time? So what's it made of, time? I mean if you can just roll right through it, it's got to be made of stuff. Like jam's made of strawberries. So what's it made of?"
The Doctor: "Well not strawberries, no. No no no. That would be unacceptable."

The Doctor: "Hey. Do you mind if I tell you a story? One you might not have heard. All the elements in your body were forged many many millions of years ago in the heart of a faraway star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so many millions of years, these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. And on and on it went. The elements came together and burst apart, forming shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings. Until, eventually, they came together to make you. You are unique in the universe. There is only one Merry Galel. And there will never be another."

The Doctor: "Can you hear them singing? Oh you like to think you're a god. But you're not a god. You're just a parasite. Eat now with jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of others. You feed on them. On the memory of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow, so... so come on then. Take mine. Take my memories. But I hope you're got a big a big appetite. Because I've lived a long life. And I've seen a few things. I walked away from the last great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time, no space. Just me! I walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a madman! And I watched universes freeze and creation burn! I have seen things you wouldn't believe! I have lost things you will never understand! And I know things, secrets that must never be told, knowledge that must never be spoken! Knowledge that will make parasite gods blaze! So come on then! Take it! Take it all, baby! Have it! You have it all!"

Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Saul Metzstein

I actually really like this episode (then again, I really like/love all of them). After the heartbreaking farewell to Ponds, we see that the Doctor is as devastated as us and who better to bring him back into the world of the living than the Impossible Girl aka Clara? Jenna Coleman is an absolute doll in this, going from barmaid to governess in seconds. Her chemistry with Smith is magnetic. The supporting players in the form of Madame Vastra, Jenny, Strax, and the villain Dr. Gideon, played by the eeriely brilliant Richard E. Grant, are all excellent too. This episode also had one of my most favourite visuals in Doctor Who- the winding staircase to the TARDIS in the clouds. Just magical.

Favourite scene- The Doctor pretends to be Sherlock Holmes (fangirl fantasy come true).

Favourite quotes-
The Doctor: "Over a thousand years of saving the universe, Strax, you know the one thing I learned? The universe doesn't care."

The Doctor: "I'm the clever one. You're the potato one."

The Doctor: "No, I do the hand grabbing! That's my job, that's always me!"

Clara: "It's smaller on the outside!"

Written by Chris Chibnall, Directed by Saul Metzstein

I recently read an article in which the writer claims that "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" is an unsung classic. I am beginning to see what he/she meant. Yes, it is a bit crazy and childish, but we have some great moments in this episode. And I'm not only talking about the Doctor-Rory kiss. We meet Rory's amazing dad, Brian. We see Amy play Doctor. We get to witness a very dark side of the Doctor when just moments ago he was acting like a kid discovering dinosaurs on a spaceship. We have David Mitchell and Robert Webb playing robots. We also encounter one of the most sinister villains in recent Who history, Solomon played by Walder Frey David Bradley. Pretty awesome episode.

Favourite scene- Rory, Brian and The Doctor on the beach.

Favourite quotes-
Brian: "What sort of a man doesn't carry a trowel? Put it on your Christmas list."
Rory: "Dad, I'm thirty-one. I don't have a Christmas list anymore."
The Doctor: "I do!"

The Doctor: "Go Tricey! Run like the wind! How do you start a triceratops?"

Riddell: "Dinosaurs ahead. A lady at my side. About to be blown up. I'm not sure I've ever been happier."

Written by Stephen Thompson, Directed by Mat King

Again, I loved this episode but seeing how the TARDIS is infinite, there was just *so* much more we could have seen. Having said that, it was another gorgeous-looking episode. Both Coleman and Smith were on top form and had amazing chemistry together. In all the topsy-turviness of the TARDIS, we even got a nice little emotional story with the salvage brothers. And of course, the Doctor's precious relationship with his one true love, the TARDIS.

Favourit scene- The Doctor and Clara in the heart of the TARDIS.

Favourite quotes-
The Doctor: "Don't get into a spaceship with a madman. Didn't anyone ever teach you that?"

The Doctor: "Smart bunch, Time Lords. No dress sense. Dreadful hats. But smart."

Clara: "What do you keep in here? Why have you got zombie creatures? Good guys do not have zombie creatures. Rule one, basic story telling.

The Doctor: "There's no way I can save her now. She's just always been there for me and taken care of me and now it's my turn and I don't know what to do."

The Doctor: "Running away with a space man in a box. Anything can happen to you.
Clara: "That's what I'm counting on."


Written by Neil Cross, Directed by Jamie Payne

I loved all the different genres that this series of Doctor Who explored. "Hide" was an old-timey horror story, which was actually, as we find out in the end, a love story. The supporting actors, Douglas Scott and Jessica Raine, were some of the best of this series. The contrast between their relationship and that of Doctor and Clara was one of the many highlights of this episode. This episode also had some of the most incredible quotes from this series. The entire concept was just lovely and so meaningful, especially seeing the kind of life the Doctor has lived.

Favourite scene- The Doctor and Alec discussing the ghosts of their past.

Favourite quotes-
The Doctor: "You know I do love a toggle switch. Actually I like the word. "Toggle." Nice noun. Excellent verb."

Alec: "He's certainly got the right demeanor. Capricious. Brilliant."
Emma: "Deceitful."
Alec: "Yes. He's a liar. But you know, that's often the way that it is when someone's seen a thing or two. Experience makes liars of us all. We lie about who we are, about what we've done."
Emma: "And how we feel?"
Alec: "Yes. Always. Always that."

The Doctor: "How does that man, that war hero, end up here? In a lonely old house looking for ghosts."
Alec: "Because I killed. And I caused to have killed. I sent young men and women to their deaths. And yet here I am, still alive. It does tend to haunt you. Living after so much of... the other thing."

The Doctor: "The TARDIS is like a cat. A bit slow to trust, but it'll get there in the end."

Clara: "To you I haven't been born yet. And to you I've been dead a hundred billion years. Is my body out there somewhere? In the ground?"
The Doctor: "Yes, I suppose it is.
Clara: "But here we are talking. So I am a ghost. To you, I'm a ghost. We're all ghosts to you. We must be nothing."
The Doctor: "No. No. You're not that."
Clara: "Then what are we? What can we possibly be?"
The Doctor: "You are the only mystery worth solving."

Emma: "What did you see?"
Clara: "That everything ends."
Emma: "No, not everything. Not love. Not always."

The Doctor: "Every lonely monster needs a companion." 

The Doctor: "It's the oldest story in the universe. This one or any other. Boy and girl fall in love, get separated by events--war, politics, accidents in time. She's thrown out of the hex or he's thrown into it. Since then they've been yearning for each other across time and space. Across dimensions. This isn't a ghost story, it's a love story."

Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Colm McCarthy

Series 7 part 2 started off with a bang with this episode. It was both slick and fun. We meet both- the real Clara and Eleven's new costume. There were a slightly satirical tinge to the story, and a number of  salutes to Skyfall in the look and concept. Miss Kizlet was a creepy and sexy villainess who made it all so much better. Plus, I do love the Doctor on vehicles other than the TARDIS, in this case the plane and that awesome motorcycle.

Favourite scenes- Every exchange between the Doctor and Clara, from the phone call to the window to the "snog box".

Favourite quotes-
Clara: "It's gone. The internet. Can't find it anywhere. Where is it?"
The Doctor: "The internet?"

The Doctor: "Do you remember me?"
Clara: "No. Should I? Who are you?"
The Doctor: "The Doctor! No? The Doctor?"
Clara: "Doctor who?"
The Doctor: "No, just The Doctor. Actually. Sorry. Could you just ask me that again?"
Clara: "Could I what?"
The Doctor: "Could you just ask me that question again."
Clara: "Doctor who?"
The Doctor: "Okay, just once more."
Clara: "Doctor who?"
The Doctor: "Do you know, I never realize how much I enjoy hearing that said out loud. Thank you."

The Doctor: "Imagine that. Human souls trapped like flies in the World Wide Web. Stuck forever. Crying out for help."
Clara: "Isn't that basically Twitter?"

The Doctor: "I'm The Doctor. I'm an alien from outer space. I'm one thousand years old, I've got two hearts and I can't fly a plane!"

The Doctor: "It's a time machine. You never have to wait for breakfast."

Written by Mark Gatiss, Directed by Saul Metzstein

Funnest episode of this series by a mile, which was great because we'd almost forgotten about it. Steampunk, fanatical villains, incredible female characters, old-school filming techniques, Matt Smith's northern accent, and of course, Strax- all of these helped in making this a super enjoyable ride. My favourite feature of this episode was the character of Ada, played superbly by Rachael Stirling, who reminded us of the great supporting characters that Doctor Who shows us every now and then who almost steal the entire spotlight, like a Joan Redfern or a Wilf Mott.

Favorite scene- The entire flashback made to look like an old cinematograph film.

Favourite quotes-
Strax: "I'm gonna go and play with my grenades."

The Doctor: "Hang on! Hang on! I've got a sonic screwdriver."
Clara: "Yeah? I've got a chair."

Written by Mark Gatiss, Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Not only did Gatiss write the most fun episode of this series, he also wrote the scariest one. Hell, this is one of the scariest episodes ever in new Who. The stakes are super high, the villain is an old one but with a new danger about him, the tension is just palpable all the way through, though not without some seriously funny bits thanks to Smith's fantastic timing. Again, it was a spectacular-looking episode, the kind that wouldn't have been possible a couple of years back. Really love this one.

Favourite scene- Clara goes to talk to Skaldak.

Favourite quotes-
Professor Grisenko: "Have I interrupted something?"
Captain Zhukov: "We were about to blow up the world, Professor."
Professor Grisenko: "Again?"

Captain Zhukov: "If The Doctor is right, then we are all that stands between this creature and the destruction of the world. Control of one missile is all he needs. We are expendable, comrades. Our world is not."

Professor Grisenko: "Ultravox! Do they split up?"

Skaldak: "You would sacrifice yourself?"
The Doctor: "In a heartbeat."

Written by Chris Chibnall, Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

This episode has been growing on me ever since I saw it. I was not all that impressed when I first saw it, but after the Ponds' departure, their last happy moments with the Doctor became all the more precious. It is a small, simple episode that focuses on the longest relationship the Doctor has had in the new series. The Ponds are his family and he actually lives with them in this episode- becomes a part of their lives as much as they have a been a part of his. Funny, touching and memorable, "The Power of Three" is one little star of an episode.

Favourite scene- The raggedy man and the girl who waited sit by the Thames and discuss their future.

Favourite quotes-
Rory: "What do you think we do when we're not with you?"
The Doctor: "I’d imagine mostly kissing."

Rory: "There are soldiers all over my house and I'm in my pants."
Amy: "My whole life I've dreamed of saying that, and I miss it by being someone else."

The Doctor: "I'm not running away. But this is one corner of one country on one continent on one planet that's a corner of a galaxy that's a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and growing and never remaining the same for a single millisecond, and there is so much—so much to see, Amy. Because it goes so fast. I'm not running away from things, I am running to them. Before they flare and fade forever. One day—soon maybe—you'll stop. I've known for a while."
Amy: "Then why do you keep coming back for us?"
The Doctor: "Because you were the first. The first face this face saw. And you were seared onto my hearts, Amelia Pond. You always will be. I'm running to you, and Rory, before you fade from me.

The Doctor: "I better get going. Things to do. Worlds to save. Swings to... swing on. Look. I know. You both have lives here. Beautiful, messy lives. That is what makes you so fabulously... human."

Brian: "Go with him. Go save every world you can find. Who else has that chance? Life will still be here."
The Doctor: "You could come, Brian."
Brian: "Somebody's got to water the plants. Just bring them back safe."
(*shakes fist* MOFFAT!)


Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran

So this was a killer opening episode. The look, the scale, the story- everything was as amazing as a Moffat story can get. I mean, talk about the surprises- the Ponds breaking up, the new companion showing up out of nowhere and then turning into a Dalek and then DYING! Also, that awesome opening when the Daleks ask the Doctor to save them. One of the best theories I have read about this show is how all the Daleks in the asylum were put there because they showed human feelings, like Oswin and like how tripped up Amy sees them (that ballerina Dalek, come on!). Also, as much as I love Clara, Oswin was really the best! Excellent, excellent episode.

Favourite scenes- The first time and the last time the Doctor talks to Oswin- the first is fun and the latter is scary and superb.

Favourite quotes-
Rory: "So how much trouble are we in?"
The Doctor: "How much trouble, Mr. Pond? Out of ten? Eleven."

Oswin: "Happy Birthday, mum. I did make you a soufflé but it was too beautiful to live."

Prime Minister: "It is offensive to us to extinguish such divine hatred."
The Doctor: "Offensive?"
Prime Minister: "Does it surprise you to know that Daleks have a concept of beauty?"
The Doctor: "I thought you'd run out of ways to make me sick. But hello again. You think hatred is beautiful?"
Prime Minister: "Perhaps that is why we have never been able to kill you."

The Doctor: "What have you been doing on your own against the Daleks for a year?"
Oswin: "Making soufflés?"
The Doctor: "Soufflés. Against the Daleks. Where'd you get the milk?"

The Doctor: "How can you hack into everything? It should be impossible. You're in a crashed ship!"
Oswin: "Long story. Is there a word for total screaming genius that sounds modest and a tiny bit sexy?"
The Doctor: "Doctor. You call me the Doctor."
Oswin: "I see what you did there."

Oswin: "Loving this. The nose and the chin. You two could fence."

Amy: "Don't you dare talk to me about waiting outside a box because that is nothing, Rory, nothing! Compared to giving you up."

Oswin: "Run, you clever boy. And remember."

Dalek: "Doctor who?! Doctor who?!"
The Doctor: "Fellas, you're never gonna stop asking."

Written by Toby Whithouse, Directed by Saul Metzstein

Oh this episode just blew me away with its landscapes, its symbolism and its exploration of the Doctor's light and dark sides. I love it when we question the Doctor's morality. It just shows how complex this madman with a box really is. And Matt Smith just brings his A-game. His anger is absolutely terrifying. And Adrian Scarborough as Kahler Jex is the perfect yin to his yang here. Plus, that is one stunning episode. Saul Metzstein's direction in this entire series has been remarkable. An all-round incredible episode, one of the best in new Who.

Favourite scene- The Doctor talks to an imprisoned Kahler Jex.

Favourite quotes-
The Doctor: "Anachronistic electricity. Keep Out signs. Aggressive stares. Has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?"

The Doctor: "Tea. But the strong stuff. Leave the bag in."

The Doctor: "I speak horse. He's called Susan. And he wants you to respect his life choices."

Kahler-Jex: "Looking at you, Doctor, is like looking into a mirror almost. There's rage there, like me. Guilt there, like me. Solitude. Everything but the nerve to do what needs to be done. Thank the gods my people weren't relying on you to save them!"

The Doctor: "Every time I negotiate, I try to understand. Well not today. No, today I honor the victims first. His, The Master's, the Daleks'. All the people that died because of my mercy!"

The Doctor: "Frightened people. Give me a Dalek any day."

Kahler-Jex: "It would be so much simpler if I was just one thing, wouldn't it? The mad scientist who made that killing machine. Or the physician who's dedicated his life to serving this town. The fact that I'm both bewilders you."

Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran

Now this took a lot of thinking. The top two episodes are neck-in-neck in terms of storytelling, emotions, acting, stakes, pay-offs- just everything really. The heart-rendering "Angels Take Manhattan" only comes second by a tiny margin because it *is* a GREAT episode. I did not write a recap for it because I was that devastated by the Ponds' farewell. This show continued the series's trend of genre episodes, this one being a noir-esque tale. I love the way it opens and how naturally it moves from one act to another. The Weeping Angels are as terrifying as ever and Moffat really brings the danger back in this episode. Also, the tearworks this episode lead to were ridiculous. I have never cried in a television show like this. Of course, there was Amy's farewell and the breaking down of Eleven. But there was also Rory- amazing, wonderful Rory, willing to give his life again for the woman he loves. I mean that rooftop scene just kills me. And oh, the ending. Amy's letter. Eleven running to it. I can't even. Such a beautiful episode.

Favourite scenes- The rooftop scene and the farewell at the graveyard.

Favourite quotes-
The Doctor: "Oh I always rip out the last page of a book. Then it doesn't have to end. I hate endings!"

Amy: "Beware the Yowzah! Do not, at this point, yowz."

River: "Didn't you used to be somebody?"
The Doctor: "Weren't you the woman who killed the Doctor?"
River: "Doctor Who?"

River: "When one's in love with an ageless god who insists on the face of a twelve-year-old, one does one's best to hide the damage."

Rory: "I always wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty. I guess she got impatient."

Rory: "To save you, I could do anything."

Amy: "It'll be fine. I know it will. I'll be with him like I should be. Me and Rory together."

Amy: "Raggedy Man, goodbye."

Amy: "There's a little girl waiting in a garden. She's going to wait a long while, so she's going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she's patient, the days are coming that she'll never forget. Tell her she'll go to see and fight pirates. She'll fall in love with a man who'll wait two thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she'll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived. And save a whale in outer space. Tell her, this is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends."

Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Saul Metzstein

I was almost certain that "Angels Take Manhattan" was going to top this list. Reason- heart over brains. However, on a rewatch, I came to the realisation that "The Name of the Doctor" is as poignant as it is brilliant. I was and still am completely blown away by this episode. The ambition, the various threads that tied together so spectacularly, the acting, River, John Hurt, THAT AMAZEBALLS KISS- it was an episode that really shows the greatness Doctor Who is capable of. As much as one wants to hate on Moffat, the man is a friggin' genius. And he knows how to write a cliffhanger. That last shot is still fantastic. There couldn't have been a better episode to lead to the milestone 50th episode.

Favourite scenes- Clara meeting the various Doctors, River and Eleven, the revelation of the secret.

Favourite quotes-
Clara: "I blew into this world on a leaf. I'm still blowing. I don't think I'll ever land. I'm Clara Oswald. I'm the impossible girl. I was born to save the Doctor."

Vastra: "Time travel has always been possible in dreams."

The Doctor: "The little Daleks!"

Strax: "Surrender your women and your intellectuals!"

Strax: "The heart is a relatively simple thing."
Vastra: "I have not found it to be so."

GI: "Welcome to the final resting of the cruel tyrant. Of the slaughterer of the ten billion. And the vessel of the final darkness. Welcome to the tomb of the Doctor!"

GI: "The key is a word lost to time. A secret hidden in the deepest shadow, and known to you alone. The answer to a question."
The Doctor: "I will not open my tomb."
GI: "Doctor. What is your name?"

Vastra: "The universe without the Doctor. There will be consequences."

River: "How are you even doing that? I'm not really here.
The Doctor: "You're always here to me. And I always listen. And I can always see you."

The Doctor: "There is a time to live and a time to sleep. You are an echo, River. Like Clara, like all of this. In the end, my fault, I know. But you should have faded by now."
River: "It's hard to leave when you haven't said goodbye."
The Doctor: "Then tell me, because I don't know. How do I say it?"
River: "There's only one way I would accept. If you ever loved me, say it like you're going to come back."
The Doctor: "Well then. See you around, Professor River Song."
River: "'Til the next time, Doctor."
The Doctor: "Don't wait up."
River: "Oh there's one more thing."
The Doctor: "Isn't there always?"

River: "Goodbye. Sweetie."

The Doctor: "My name, my real name, that is not the point. The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose, it's like, it's like a promise you make. He's the one who broke the promise. He is my secret."
The Old Man: "What I did, I did without choice."
The Doctor: "I know."
The Old Man: "In the name of peace and sanity."
The Doctor: "But not in the name of the Doctor."

         So that's it. Very late post but I hope it was worth it. Now we just wait for November 23rd.


  1. No comments yet? I'll have to change that.
    Your post makes me realize how much I miss Doctor Who already. Although it's by far not my favorite season, I really liked the ambition of this one, and like you said, its attempt at being cinematic. The first half was my favorite too, and how could it not be - it's got the Ponds. But there was some cool stuff in 2, especially the horror and the funny parts. They certainly missed some cool opportunities with the TARDIS but whatever, it was still great.
    I just hope that Clara's character will shapen more in the next season or that otherwise, we'll get a new companion.

    Fabulous post, and better late than never!

    1. Aww thanks :D

      I miss it too. Na I want Clara to stay and see her react with Twelve. I'm just hoping for a more rounded character development.