Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

It’s time to slow down and get a bit reflective. Inspired by Peter Capaldi’s “farewell tour” at New York Comic Con, Deb, Lynne, and Tansy take a thoughtful look back at Peter Capaldi’s tenure. We discuss the impact he’s had on the show, his legacy and examine his character arc as the 12th Doctor. Sure, we know he has one more story before the serious postmortem’s begin, but we’d rather do this while we can still smile!

What do you think Peter has brought to the role and, more importantly, what do you think his imprint will be on the show? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!


Also covered:

Bonus link:
The amazing Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia

Download or listen now (runtime 1:20:42) 

Comments on: "Episode 151 – We Don’t Want Him to Go" (5)

  1. Listening to Verity! over the years, Tansy was always the one I felt the most in tune with …until we got to series 10!
    It seems to me there is little in the actual plot of Doctor Who to suggest that the 12th Doctor has evolved into this human-attuned paragon of kindness. He’s just badly damaged and depleted through losing all the stuff relating to Clara. You all seemed keen on the theory that the university years had honed his connection with humanity but the encounter with the student at the end of the Lie of the Land implies he’s had waning interest in humans until Bill came along. The Doctor we get in series 10 has certainly not outgrown the cue cards. Striding away from the homeless students at the end of Knock Knock saying ‘better luck next time, suckers!’, grabbing the sonic from the dying child or laughing at the cruel hoax played on Bill simply does not fit this frankly fictitious character arc.
    Yes, it’s undoubtedly true that it’s a different Doctor in Capaldi’s 3rd series. He’s more distant, more vacant and much more sad. I guess it was an interesting challenge for Capaldi to play but boy was It hard to take as a viewer. You talked about comfort viewing; after series 10 I had to go straight back to series 8 and 9 to experience again the vibrant Capaldi Doctor that I had so loved. And not in fact to the nailed on classics of which there are at least 7 in those 2 series but the bread-and-butter episodes like Time Heist or Under the Lake which are still so much more accomplished than anything in series 10.
    Deb’s extreme take on series 8 baffles me. By the time Clara hugs the Doctor at the end of Listen, just 4 episodes in, the Capaldi Doctor seems to me to be fully formed. Yes, there’s still room for some explanation of his methods which we later get so brilliantly in Mummy on the Orient Express but the series builds to the ‘Do you think I care for you so little…’ speech which I think is the actual peak of Twelve’s kindness not that speech in series 10.

    The lowest point of the Capaldi era (even beating the monk trilogy) was the last 10 minutes of The Doctor Falls. Multiple, bombastic fake-out death scenes, all rendered redundant and pointless by showing Capaldi in the snow at the beginning of the finale. For that alone Steven Moffat really does owe Capaldi a great send off at Christmas. I always thought that resetting Matt Smith to young at the end of Time of the Doctor was a bit of a cop out but I can’t help hoping that before he departs, Capaldi gets some sort of a reset back to Twelve when he was at the height of his powers.

    • I disagree that S10 Capaldi-Doctor was all bad, but liked S8-9 much more than a lot of others seemed to. It seemed to me that the Twelfth Doctor was on a psychological journey to which I could relate, and I understood him, but have always been a pretty alienated person, so maybe was picking up on that and sympathizing with it.

      I also disagree that Capaldi’s lowest point was TDF; I’ll never forgive Toby Whithouse for the screwy mess of “Lie of the Land” (which I guess Moffat couldn’t deal with reworking the way he did rewrites on “Pyramid at the End of the World,” which is fair enough, as he was doing his “Pyramid” rewrites at his mother’s deathbed). That fake-out regeneration scene made me furious. I thought LotL was well-acted and looked pretty, but gods, that script. Let’s just say that Whithouse never noticed that compassion should exist in the Doctor’s personality.

      Capaldi probably deserved a better “Doctor Who” than he got, but also deserved a better fandom (we certainly didn’t earn a guy as sweet as he’s been at conventions and the like), better media reaction, and maybe some BBC support would’ve been nice, too. OMG, he’s not Tennant or Smith; he must be the Worst Thing Ever! Modern DW finally gave me a Doctor I really cared about (just about matching my Classic favorites), and reaction to him has proved that I’m not the intended or desired audience for DW. Good to know. I’m sure Jodie Whittaker will do a fine job next year, but I’m done with DW’s history of being mishandled and fandom’s history of shrieking with outrage over absolutely everything at any excuse.

  2. It’s hard to disagree about Lie of the Land. Which is why it’s sad to think of people (including, it seems, some Verities) not going back to S8 because of a lazy generalization that the Doctor is unlikable. He may be heavy-handed with his companion’s emotions in Kill The Moon but that’s nothing compared with that scene in LotL. And being a bit snarky to Danny Pink is hardly a crime placed against goading your companion into shooting you and then chuckling with your mates while she’s a sobbing mess.

  3. I think Capaldi has made a huge impact on the show. If the Tenth Doctor’s run was to show how hubris can ruin you, and the Eleventh Doctor’s run was to show that the Doctor’s reputation can harm as well as help, then the Twelfth Doctor’s run is pretty much Consequences: The Episodes. He’s the Doctor who’s not let get away with anything. Every choice he makes is questioned, both by others and by him. Even choices that previous incarnations made are up for debate. I’m rewatching his episodes at the moment and it really feels like Twelve is starting from scratch. He’s not just trying to be a good man, he’s actively questioning what good is. He is self-aware and self-critical, but, importantly, doesn’t turn it into a pity party. It makes me think of the line from Ms. Marvel. Good is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you do. Twelve learns that being The Doctor isn’t a guarantee of being the good guy, the hero, and learns that good requires a conscious effort to do good.

    It’s part of the reason I love him so much and understand his desperation at the end of The Doctor Falls. He’s put in the hard yards to become who he is and now he has to rip it up and start again.

  4. I have to, unfortunately, disagree with Lynne’s assertion that “I never really got to see the 12th Doctor happy. We’ve had the opportunity for the other Doctors to have at least a little bit of time to be happy… or at least content… but not the 12th Doctor.” Lynne uses the moment at the Eye of Orion with the 5th Doctor (less than two minutes onscreen) as an example.

    I would assert the opposite – that we’ve gotten *more* moments of the 12th Doctor content and/or happy than all other Doctors. We get glimpses of that happiness, which largely takes place off screen, in the final moments of The Husbands of River Song, which Tansy is quick to point out. It’s also more than 5 minutes at the end of that Christmas special, it’s 24 years of adventure and happiness with River at the Singing Towers of Darillium and beyond.

    We also get a look into the Doctor being extremely content (if a little confined from lack of wanderlust) in the opening of The Pilot. He’s teaching and passing on his knowledge for 80+ years, Professor Chronotis-style, and he’s working to rehabilitate Missy all that time too, secretly trying to reform her. 

    Based on this – 24 years plus 80 years spent teaching on Earth, I think you have a strong argument that Capaldi’s Doctor was the *most* content, not the least, with over a century of relaxing “downtime.” Of course, 104 years isn’t even a drop in the bucket when you look at the expanse of time he went through in Heaven Sent, but fortunately the Doctor only remembers a single trip through his confession dial. 

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