I’ve been a bit behind here, so this is a rather delayed reaction. I was watching in real time, then got to “Kill The Moon” and sort of dropped off… I got bored truth be told, and there were so many other shows. But Netflix just added Series 8 so I decided to catch up! I finally watched Mummy On The Orient Express straight through to the finale.
Ahem: *Spoiler Alert*
So much of Doctor Who rests on your connection to the companion/Doctor relationship and I was so bummed with how badly the relationship between Clara and Twelve has been written. If I were a Clara fan (which I’m not) I would have been infuriated with how they wrote her this season. She’s been ALL OVER the place and melodramatic. The inconsistency of the writing was really apparent in the Mummy episode (which should have been her last one, honestly) because it was otherwise a cool episode- the train, the mummy mythology, the humor in the script- it should have been great.
HI I AM SPOOOOOOKY
But the contrived drama between Clara and Twelve just ruins it. The whole episode sets up this sad-eyed, tragic Clara who doesn’t trust this Doctor, doesn’t like him anymore because he lies, this trip is their “last hurrah”, she’s gonna quit and go be with Danny, etc. etc. There is even a mechanic character on the train who is subtly set up to step in for her at the end… then in the last TWO MINUTES Clara changes her mind-
(upon finding out the Doctor ISN’T a heartless asshole- which apparently she didn’t know before, because what is continuity?)
-and decides to stay and keep lying to her boyfriend instead. Even the SCRIPT acknowledges it was an irrational and sudden turn-around, and Clara is basically painted to be an emotional, erratic person who can turn on a dime- and that characterization continues the rest of the series. When she tries to ransom the TARDIS to bring Danny back from the dead before she EVEN TRIES ASKING the Doctor for help??? Are you fucking kidding me? Every single companion, no matter which you like, whether the bond was friendship, romantic, whatever- they all had the same thing in common- LOYALTY. Even if the Doctor lied to them or they were pissed at him or whatever, they would never stab him in the back. Can you even imagine Donna, Rose, Martha, Jack, Amy, or even Mickey, threatening to destroy everything the Doctor loved, unprovoked, just to get their way- without even asking for his help first?
Even if it was an illusion, it was nothing more than a hissy-fit. Ugh. OF COURSE HE WOULD TRY TO HELP, which he does, even after she acts like a toddler.
Having Clara trying to “juggle” the Doctor and Danny was just a juvenile plot-point and for her to keep jerking the Doctor around and treating him like crap instead of just leaving seemed to be designed to turn fans against her. They make a big deal out of Twelve being grumpy to her, and he is- but it’s mostly on the surface, especially in the latter half of the series. You have a funny face, you’re short, etc. LOLZ. In the beginning it could’ve easily been said (and it was, by many) that he was the one being a total asshole to her by constantly criticizing her personal life and looks, but she is the one who truly mistreats her best friend in the end by constantly questioning his humanity. It honestly feels like an insult to her relationship with Eleven. Are we really meant to believe that Clara cannot see past appearances and know that this is the SAME PERSON? Whoever is writing her character does not seem to think much of her.
Keep in mind that all of this directly follows the reveal that Clara had jumped into the Doctor’s time stream and “saved” multiple versions of him (past and future). That would mean she was not only accustomed to seeing him in different bodies, but felt a connection to him that was so strong that she ran after him every time, no matter how “old” or different the body was. That entire story relied heavily on the notion that Clara’s connection to the Doctor was profound, and in fact that she literally “was born to save the Doctor”. Her behavior towards Twelve in the season premiere was slightly odd considering this, but since she had unarguably been closest to Eleven’s form it was understandable, and I thought it was handled very well and wrapped up nicely. In one episode. Which was then promptly and conveniently forgotten for the rest of the series. Having Clara’s confidence in the Doctor waver would have been fine, had they not set up the Impossible Girl narrative. But since they had, it felt like all previous characterization and story was forgotten, and this was an entirely new companion.
I HATED the fact that they killed Osgood off, and the way they did it felt pointless, abrupt, and cruel. She should have mattered a little bit for fucks sake, and it felt way out of character for the show to do her like that. The same show that gave us such beautiful notions as “Nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important.” and “There’s no such thing as an ordinary human” gives us this perfectly “ordinary” human who idolizes the Doctor and showed her bravery in the wonderful anniversary special; this now confident girl calmly states “Bow-ties are cool” in the finale, before SHE GETS VAPORIZED AND NO ONE GIVES A SHIT, THE END.
(We know you would have given a shit, bby)
The Good: The Mistress was great- Michelle Gomez plays her to be absolutely chaotic and over-the-top but I thought it worked, and Danny Pink’s role in the finale made it heart-wrenching. He was easily the best character of the entire season (sorry series, goddamn Brits), and even though I will never forgive Moffat for sacrificing him on the alter of convenience at least he went out like the honorable badass he was, saving the world in the process. That being said, it was incredibly frustrating to have this wonderful (and gorgeous) character written into this series and then placed in a position to be the Fun-Killer who doesn’t want Clara running off and having adventures. He deserved better.
One thing series 8 did very well was comedy- there were so many hilarious moments and lots of terribly funny bits of dialogue. “Flatline” was fun, along with a couple of other episodes, and “Listen” was straight-up terrifying.
Overall I was just really disappointed in series 8 because it started out so strong- I love Peter Capaldi so much and I think he did a wonderful job. I liked a handful of the episodes but the writing mostly ranged from uneven to terrible. I really, really hope something changes next season. If not the companion then for fuck’s sake, hire a writer that can develop her into something beyond a concept because otherwise the only impossible thing about the Impossible Girl is liking her. I am so sick of her giant teary eyes moping around the TARDIS, her frequent bouts of indecision sandwiched in-between sassy, cutesy one-liners. I try to be sensitive to the people who like Clara because (besides my best friend being one of them) Lord knows I get annoyed when people talk shit on my favorites. But as I said before, if Clara was *my* companion I wouldn’t be annoyed- I would be livid. Because the way they wrote her to be unbearable this season felt intentional. Half the fun of this show is watching the companions hurl themselves into space with the Doctor without a second thought. If you don’t want to be along for the ride, get the fuck off and let someone else on.
I understand they can’t all be Rory Williams, but this is getting ri-goddamn-diculous.