I enjoyed this episode quite a bit.
I thought it was a really smart choice to put Clara in charge, forcing her to become the Doctor by default. She’s been struggling with deciding whether or not he is a good man and now she got to see firsthand just how tough it is being him. She had to lie to people to make them feel safe. And she had to put them in danger in order to save everyone. She was firmly in the morally gray area that the Doctor lives his whole life in.
Of course, he was still interjecting his thoughts the whole time. And while I totally understand that the show isn’t going to have him sit out a whole week, part of me would have liked to see them go one step further and have Clara have to do it all on her own.
I do like that the final solution was hers though and that she did most of the work. As the Doctor himself admitted, she made a good Doctor in a pinch.
I also loved the shrinking TARDIS. Obviously, it was a means to put the Doctor on the sideline, but I loved the visual. Him sticking his hand through the tiny door never ceased to amuse me. And I loved the visual of the TARDIS wrapped around his hand like a hermit crab shell as he scuttled off the train tracks.
The monsters of the week were fun too. The episode had some really cool visuals that I’m sure were unsettling to any younger viewers out there. The paper-like 2D men chasing after them looked creepy even to me.
Rigsy, the graffiti artist with the heart of gold, was a great one-off character too. Not sure what made him stand out in the sea of rotating cameos on this show, but I liked his character a lot. I felt invested in him, which rarely happens with the one-off characters. It was nice that his art got to save the day in the end. (And that was a pretty creative solution overall.)
I continue to be annoyed at Clara lying to everyone about Danny being okay with her traveling with the Doctor. It’s needless conflict for conflict’s sake. And Danny seems to be remarkably laid back and understanding about the whole thing, so it just makes Clara look bad for not being honest with him. He doesn’t seem the type to tell her not to do it.
This episode also finally gave us a new wrinkle in Paradise storyline. We see the women in charge, Missy, watching our two heroes and saying that she chose Clara wisely.
Chose her for what? Who knows. Though this would seem to imply that Missy is the one who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number in the first place and who put the ad in the paper at the beginning of this season. For some reason, she is making sure that Clara and the Doctor stay together.
Of course, Clara was already vitally important to the Doctor’s time stream in the 50th anniversary special. So this could possibly be connected to that. Or perhaps it is something else entirely, though then that starts to get a little ridiculous that Clara is THAT important to the Doctor’s life.
It will be interesting to see how Missy’s plans for Clara come into play since Clara is getting closer and closer to quitting. Now that Danny knows she’s still traveling with the Doctor, I feel like that puts a ticking clock on her time as a companion. (Which, we know is true since it was announced that Jenna Coleman will leave the show after the Christmas special.)
So what happens if Clara quits? Will Missy find a way to keep her traveling with the Doctor?
I do enjoy this new wrinkle to the story. The quick flashes of people ending up in Paradise were getting a bit stale to me, so it’s nice to have a new development. It’s got my brain trying to figure out what it all means, which is always a good thing.
Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.