Yawn.. a little later than usual. Here's why.
1. The Late Doctor
Doctor Who is now late. Airing in the UK after Strictly Come Dancing it starts at 8.30pm and finished at 9.15pm. It is now a post watershed show – well most of it. This is new, for the UK at least. A darker Doctor has a darker timeslot to match
2. The Two Claras
We begin with the two lives of Clara Oswald in conflict, but somehow managing to balance them. And she's doing a grand old job, explaining away tans and seaweed with aplomb. And no wonder Danny is jealous, she behaves exactly as if she's having an affair – or even being a bigamist. And this is where it all falls down and she becomes the One Clara. But who will be there to pick up the pieces?
3. Time And The Doctor
The new titles let you in on this from the beginning. This is a Doctor who sees and experiences time in a different, more tangible way. A result of the new regeneration being gifted by the Time Lords perhaps? So death is less important to him, the people he meets as he travels in time are long dead from his perspective, if he was to mourn them, he would have done so long ago. And today he's talking "tick tock, tick tock" looking at the mortality of humans and wondering why they aren't in a "permanent sense of panic". For a man who can see the big picture though, he remains terrible at noticing the details. And not just Clara's age.
4. Caretaker, Doctor, Soldier, PE Teacher, Officer
So the Doctor goes undercover at a school for the second time. And he is even worse at it this time. And even less convincing than he was as a normal everyday lodger. Except this Doctor gives you the appearance he'd headbutt you if you pointed out the problems.
My brother is a PE Teacher, and he's heard all the jokes. Like "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach P.E.". (Sorry Edi). I'm sure he'll have been gritting his teeth through tonight, watching the show with his sons. The Doctor's prejudices on display, and Danny expert at rankling him over them. Being unable to reconcile a maths teacher and a soldier being the same person, he is the same about reconciling the identities of a soldier and Clara's boyfriend. The Doctor, who has spoken out against prejudice so often, finds himself defined by it.
And the accusation of aristocracy, of officership and then taking the piss out of it is my Official Favourite Danny Pink Moment. Lots of people have gone up against the Doctor, no one else has seen through to his hearts quite so effectively, in a fashion that effortlessly parries every response. Maybe Davros – the accusation that the Doctor turns people around him into weapons. He is not the soldier, he is the man in charge of the soldiers, of the weapons. And in Doctor Who, is there any difference? And is Clara just another bullet in his armory?
5. Having A Type-40
The kids notice Clara and Danny but even when it is spelled out in front of him, the Doctor can't see it. His ego much prefers her to be dating a guy with a big chin, floppy hair and a taste in bow ties.
6. Artrons, Artrons Everywhere
Artron emissions? Lots of them in this area? Well that would be down to the TARDIS and the Doctor which seems to emit it a lot, since he had plenty of artron readings in Deadly Assassin back in the seventies, as well as the House chomping on it from TARDISes in The Doctor's Wife. Travelling in time causes one to absorb it and release it, such as in Dalek and it was all over the place in Sarah Jane Adventures. The Doctor constantly popping in and around Coal Hill, may have had quite the effect on the area.
7. Skyvox Blitzer On The Rocks
It's odd that the Skyvox Blitzer one of the deadliest of weapons in the universe is buried near Coal Hill School and a) the Doctor didn't notice it when he was here in the sixties and b) or when he came back in the eighties with the Daleks in tow. Still, it is what it is. A handy plot device to expose far more interesting things about the show.
Also, deadly weapons are a terrible shot.
The launch of the Apple Watch seems to have been knocked off its perch by this little thing. And a handy plot device for Danny (twice) later on. You know, if the Doctor always has this on hand, it would have come in useful so many times…
9. There Must Be A Better Time To First Use The L Word
But now it's been said, the frog can't go back in the box. Also, it was in a handy context that didn't demand Danny say "I love you too". But at least soldier by was able to show it with actions….
10. Getting Into The Thick Of It
Paradise gets a new dweller and a new employee – reuniting Chris Addison and Peter Capaldi, if not onscreen yet, for the first time since The Thick Of It.
When they did this kind of thing.
And we finally get mention of the name The Nethersphere of what this Paradie, this Promised Land is. And looking far colder and artificial than we have seen before.
And more people who have lost their lives when being tangential to the Doctor. What are they being collected for? And why, this time, is she so busy?
Here's your Clara replacement… a new Ace? Once she gets over the timesickness….