I’ve been obsessed with Doctor Who since I was about ten years old. As a kid, the series got me into reading and writing. As an adult it continues to inspire me, influencing my writing. So I greet each new season with much eagerness and enthusiasm. I will often comment on each new episode on social media after watching… but this year I posted mini-reviews and took silly photos to go along with them. It was a lot of fun! And since I went to the trouble of doing all that, I thought it might be a cool idea to collect those reviews and pics into a blog post.
Overall I was really impressed with Series 12. I am continuing to love Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, who brings such exuberance and a sense of fun to the role. I like all three companions – and I like that the number of companions echoes the early days of the series. I was also really happy to have more historical episodes again.
After an absence of returning monsters/villains last season (which I thought was a breath of fresh air), it was nice to see some of them back again. I thought there was a good mix of old and new this season. And for the most part, I liked the season’s story arc.
SPYFALL PART 1
So good to have her back!
Such an exciting return!
Loved the whole James Bondiness of it all… particularly the music. A really fun way to kick off the new season.
- The music.
- “Worst Uber ever!”
- “I’ve had an upgrade.”
- Stephen Fry… although I wish he had longer.
- Lenny Henry.
- “I’ve made ice tea. Possibly.”
The BIG reveal at the end.
SPYFALL PART 2
Yes, this is a laser screwdriver. What can I say? I don’t own a tissue compression eliminator.
Okay, so it was not quite as good as the previous ep… but still pretty great! Particularly loved the Master. Sacha Dhawan is so good in the role; and so different to the last version. The Kasaavin were a bit anticlimactic, but Lenny Henry’s announcement speech was so good. As was his little encounter with his mum. I wish Ada and Noor had more screen time. But the best bit? Jodrell Bank.
Green hair for a green ep!
This episode lacked the wow factor of the 2-part season opener, but it was a good, solid, disaster movie ep with an environmental message. Yes, the environmental message wasn’t exactly subtle… But given that polar icecaps are melting at an incredible rate, weather extremes are increasing and Australia is literally on fire (while greedy politicians and stupid science-deniers are pretending everything is just hunky-dory), I’m fine with subtlety being thrown to the wind on this particular topic. And the Doc’s little speech was quite powerful.
Benni and Vilma were my fav characters. The moment Benni’s proposal was interrupted I shouted, “they’re gonna die!”… cause that’s what happens in disaster flicks. Sylas was my next fav and I really liked the subplot with him and his dad.
The creature design was really good, with their name being a bit of a hint as to what they really were.
The only character who didn’t really work for me was Bella. Her motivation seemed flimsy and the pseudo-romance with Ryan struck me as a bit forced.
All up… a pretty good ep. But not as good as Ed Hime’s ep from last season, “It Takes You Away”.
NIKOLA TESLA’S NIGHT OF TERROR
LOVED IT! In fact, I loved it so much, my eyes went red and I almost turned into a Skithra.
Such a well-paced, exciting, interesting story. Thoughts…
- I am loving that the Chibnall era has seen the return of regular historical stories. Having said that, I would now love to see a Hartnell-era style, pure historical.
- Although Bowie will forever be my fav Tesla, Goran Visnjic delivered a fine performance, as did Robert Glenister as Edison. I loved the interaction between these two and their interaction with the Doctor.
- The Skithra were interesting. I kept waiting for the Doc to say something about them being related to the Racnoss… but no!
- Great to see Anjli Mohindra returning to the Whoniverse as the Skithra Queen.
- The way the Skithra used the tech of other races was nicely in snyc with the way Edison used the creativity of others.
- There’s some great dialogue: “You’re too blind to see that my factory is the best idea either one of us ever had.”
- “Oi, AC/DC!”
- “Have you ever seen a dead planet?” The look on the Doctor’s face.
FUGITIVE OF THE JUDOON
“You missed me, right?”
OMG! I am still in shock! What an audacious ep. So much to love…
- The return of the Judoon.
- The return of Captain Jack.
- The kiss!
- The return of the Chameleon Arch.
- The BIG reveal! OMG! Another previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor. And isn’t she magnificent!
- Adored the big confrontation between the principal players. And I’m sure the fact that it was four powerful women facing off, will further piss off the #NotMyDoctor nutters.
- Really liked the indiscriminate killing. Especially the old lady. Made it all feel more dangerous.
- Really liked Gat. Such a pity she was killed off.
Watch out for the plastic!
I am loving the environmental theme of this season. And I really enjoyed this ep. It suffers a little from following a mind-blowing ep, but holds up pretty well. Co-written by Peter McTighe who wrote “Kerblam” for Series 11. He seems to have a bit of a plastic obsession, doesn’t he… from deadly bubble wrap to a plastic loving bacterium.
- The homage to Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS.
- Adam and Jake. Great characters. Loved them a lot. So pleased that they were both saved. I actually cheered when the Doc saved Jake.
- Graham’s chat with Jake. Blimey, Walsh is such a good actor. That melancholy little smile as he thinks of Grace… heartbreaking.
- “Look at you, going off on your own and not getting killed.”
- The revelation of Suki as the villain.
What I didn’t like:
- The travel vlogger Gabriela. She got over the death of her best friend a tad too quickly and she was generally annoying.
- Everyone seemed to be able to operate alien equipment a little too easily.
A good, solid ep… but not as good as McTighe’s ep from Series 11.
CAN YOU HEAR ME?
So creepy, my fingers wouldn’t stay connected!
Such a wonderfully atmospheric ep. And I loved the way it handled the theme of mental health.
- The fingers. CREEPY!
- The animated storytelling bit. Gorgeous!
- Yaz’s backstory. It explains why she’s always trying to help people. She wants to be like the policewoman who helped her.
- Graham’s fears. Every moment he has on screen reaffirms his position as my favourite character of this era.
- I adore how one little throw-away speech connected this ep with Classic Who’s Toymaker, Eternals and Guardians.
- The coda. Beautifully done.
Not so great:
- The sonic-waving solution. The two dream eternals are just whisked away a little too easily without any real explanation.
The ‘socially awkward’ scene between the Doc and Graham seems to have caused a lot of controversy. I liked it. I felt so very sorry for Graham, who obviously needed a little reassurance… but couldn’t get it from the Doctor. As for the Doc, the scene indicated that she struggles with her own issues. It worked well within the context of the ep.
THE HAUNTING OF VILLA DIODATI
“The winds were wither’d in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them – She was the Universe.”
This ep had everything! Ghosts, a creepy house, historical figures, poetry and a really cool Cyberman. Loved it heaps! It was beautifully shot, especially the early scenes where the ghosts appear briefly. Very creepy and atmospheric.
- “Words matter!” They do indeed!
- The way they wove in Byron and Shelly’s writing.
- The inspiration for Frankenstein.
- The Lone Cyberman’s design.
- The Doc’s team structure speech.
- The reference to Bill Potts.
- Graham’s toilet quest.
Who were the ghosts that Graham encountered and will this be important in the future?
ASCENSION OF THE CYBERMEN
Is that high enough?
What an action-packed, tense and gripping penultimate episode. Yes, it was all setup – but such great setup. The Brendan stuff was intriguing. There’s a bit of a biblical feel to Ko Sharmus. For a moment there, I thought he might part the red sea.
- The opening – what a superb transition into the credits.
- The return to a more Classic look with the Cybermen Warriors.
- The Doc’s regret at getting her Fam involved in something so dangerous.
- “a Cyberman that makes other Cybermen scream”
- The Master’s surprise return at the end.
Not so great:
- The flying Cyberheads were a bit naff!
THE TIMELESS CHILDREN
’Tis all about the Time Lords!
On the whole, I really enjoyed this ep. It was fun and dramatic and emotional and really interesting. Having said that, I do have some mixed feelings.
The BIG reveal!
- It is a clever concept in that it changes everything and nothing. Although it changes her backstory and gives her more prior selves, the Doc is still the Doc. Still the same character. Her origins are just more mysterious now, putting the ‘Who’ back into Doctor Who.
- I actually found the reveal a tad anti-climactic. I expected something BIGGER. Something more canon-shaking. I will admit that my response is probably coloured by the fact that I REALLY, REALLY wanted looms!
- The big plus, of course, is that it validates the Morbius Doctors. Take that, you Morbius Doc deniers.
- Speaking of Morbius Doctors, wasn’t the Matrix overload cool. Although, I’m not sure why it worked.
- And it all fits with the more-than-just-a-time-lord elements of the 7th Doctor era.
The Cybermen storyline:
- Loved the lone Cyberman and I like how he was dispatched, but I really wanted to know more about him and his origins.
- Loved the Cybermen all up. So good to have them feel like a threat again. And them marching through the ruins of Gallifrey was pretty cool.
- The CyberMasters were such a super cool idea. And visually wonderful. But I’m not sure they actually make all that much sense. I mean, the Time Lords were dead, dead… so how come they could regenerate as Cybermen? And if they were just dead, as opposed to dead dead, why didn’t they regenerate before becoming Cybermen? My head hurts trying to work that one out.
- Sacha Dhawan is so good! Can we keep him for some more seasons? “I do believe you’re appealing to my better nature. And we both know I don’t have one.”
- I would have liked to know how he destroyed Gallifrey. I’m not the sort of viewer who needs everything explained (Hell, I love the fact that the Master keeps coming back after he’s supposedly been disposed of, without any explanation. It’s almost a running joke and I love it.), but the destruction of Gallifrey is kind of a BIG thing. Like, SUPER BIG!
- Loved the cliff-hanger ending. Not so loving the fact that we have to wait until Christmas (or New Year) to have it resolved.
- So, this ep, while explaining and revealing some things, still hasn’t answered everything. Like, exactly where the Ruth Doctor fits into things. Who is Brendan? And of course, we still don’t know what the redacted Matrix info is and what affect it will have on things. So, who knows where the story will go next season.
- And the BIG thing to remember is that information from the Matrix is not necessarily all that reliable. (see Trial of a Time Lord)
Wherever the series goes next, I am loving that Chibnall is playing the long game here… setting stuff up (remember the Timeless Child was first mentioned early in Series 11.) then following through. And he seems to have a plan – something I always felt Moffat lacked.
Well, there you have it… my opinions on each ep. My nomination of favourite ep would be “Fugitive of the Judoon”, closely followed by “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror”.
Now we have to wait until the end of the year for the next ep. Aaaaarggghhhhhh!