Doctor Who: 12 Things I Want to See from the 12th Doctor
** Spoilers for all episodes and specials of Doctor Who Below, including the most recent Christmas Special **
For those of you Whovians out there, we are in a tumultuous period of change. The 11th Doctor has passed on the torch to the 12th, played by Peter Capaldi. While the showrunner (Steven Moffat) remains the same on Doctor Who, the introduction of a much older Doctor is a serious change of pace and the first time we’ve seen anything of the sort since the series was revived from dormancy in 2005. I’ve made a few minor complaints in recent history about the direction the show has been going. But the addition of a fresh face is the perfect time for a fresh start.
So in 2014, here are 12 things I want from the 12th Doctor.
Turn the established Clara-Doctor relationship upside down
Even before she figured out that she was an insane Dalek that one time, Clara Oswald has been flirty with the Doctor. Matt Smith and Jenna Louise-Coleman both strike us as young, charming figures and have spectacular on-screen chemistry. Clara was positively delightful teasing the Doctor about his blue “Snogbox” and playing hard-to-get. In “The Time of the Doctor” during a scene mere moments after the above picture, Clara openly admits to “fancying” the Doctor, but mostly just because of a truth field that is in effect in the town of Christmas. It was nice to hear this, as their tentative romance – which seemed to blossom in the first half of the season – sort of petered out in the second half as we rolled up to the end of the eleventh Doctor.
While their relationship is hardly a case of unreciprocated romance like it was with the Doctor and Martha back in the day, it certainly is no platonic Doctor-Donna either. There’s something more. So how will their relationship change moving forward, now that the apparent age of her beloved Doctor has doubled? I put this item first because it’s the most obvious and most necessary. When it’s Capaldi and Coleman in the TARDIS, their relationship will be forced to change. Gone are the days of flirtation, and here are the days where the rumors of a different love interest for Clara might come to fruition.
What I want to see from their dynamic is something much more akin to a father-daughter, which will be easy considering the Doctor is always a protector before anything else. But I also think that Capaldi’s Doctor will likely take on a more ruthless and blunt personality, so he’ll need a softer touch to temper that. After all, we’ve seen what a Doctor born in battle can do before.
Get Clara a love interest / bring a man into the TARDIS
This is coupled with the previous item, but Clara needs to have a love interest now that the Doctor has gone all…aged. Clara had a very endearing little crush on the Doctor, and it’s going to break both her heart and mine for her to move forward lamenting the loss of her Doctor. Whether or not Matt Smith was your favorite Doctor, Amy and Rory should have been your favorite companions because they were, quite simply put, the best. Even when it was Jack and Rose or Rose and Mickey in the TARDIS, the “Power of Three” is the most effective set up for the show. We need a new male companion, even if it’s just the two guys going out and enjoying some good old fashioned bromance.
Bring back River Song as a consistent returning character
We – much like the Doctor – knew the end of River Song before we knew anything about her, but that didn’t stop her from being one of the best parts of the Amy-Rory years. In those times, Matt Smith was always awkwardly young set up as the romantic partner of Alex Kingston (who is 50 years old now, mind you). Their marriage worked on a thematic level for the story but visually it just never really clicked for me. Kingston is a cougar with close to 25 years on Matt Smith. If only the Doctor were a bit older and their romance would be age-appropriate on screen. Not only would this work seamlessly with what I said in #1, but it would be a delight to have one of the best characters in the show back in action.
Last we saw of River was the “saved” version projected into Clara’s mind in “The Name of the Doctor”, but even before that there was the sad ending to “Angels Take Manhattan.” River might be far away right now, but she’s never gone. I reckon it’s only a matter of time before we hear the words “Hello Sweetie” once again.
Reintroduce the Doctor’s clone-daughter Jenny
The last time we saw this Jenny, she was left for dead by the Doctor before resurrecting (not regenerating) and stealing a ship to go off and “save planets” on her own, just like her dear ole dad.
Reportedly, it was Steven Moffat (the current showrunner) who urged Russell Davies (the showrunner at the time) to keep Jenny alive at the end of the episode. So far, we have no idea why, which may or may not be the big clue here.
I want this to happen perhaps even more than anything else. I want Jenny and Clara to compete for the Doctor’s affection and attention. He’ll be the adventurous, protective father to them both, a dynamic that hasn’t been seen in the TARDIS yet – at least not in recent history. Why do the companions always need to be fully human? What if the Doctor had someone like Jenny who was capable of similar physical feats? Wouldn’t that be something to see?
Use the Fez as an objective correlative
In the above scene, the Doctor reiterates, for the last time, his affinity for wearing a fez. In the cute little back-and-forth, Clara teases the Doctor about it and he reassures her that he could never ever walk past a fez without snatching it to wear.
Just imagine with me for a moment how awkward the beginning of the next season will be for Clara. Her beloved Doctor, now a cranky older man, fun-loving personality all turned akimbo. Now he’s stern, serious, severe. No nonsense. She plays along and supports him, even helps him figure out the new “him.” But inside she’s still sad, because the 12th Doctor will never be “her” Doctor. This fact will be most evident when the two of them stumble upon a fez in their travels. With a bright, nostalgic smile, Clara will scoop it up, “A fez!” she says, giddy. “Don’t you want to wear it?”
“Why in the bloody hell would I wear that thing for? I’d look a fool!” the Doctor says. And then, all the tears. The Doctor will always be there, but he’s also gone forever for her.
Have the Time War leak out of the cracks
I talked about this to some degree in my critique of the 50th anniversary special, but I’ll reiterate my displeasure at how the severity of the Time War that was so dramatically conveyed in “The End of Time” was essentially undone in “The Day of the Doctor,” a bombastic anniversary special that was so full of flair and bravado that it neglected to tell a story that accurately resonated with the show’s history. In fact, it quite literally undid perhaps the most compelling aspect to the Doctor’s personal history in the revived series.
You might remember in “The End of Time” how the normally peaceful Doctor is quick to take up arms when he realizes that the Time Lords might be returning, because he fears for the fate of the universe. Where was this fear during “The Day of the Doctor” when the Time Lords appeared to be little more than helpless and defenseless refugees?
Anyway, you might remember the 10th Doctor’s impassioned speech to the Master where he expressed his fears:
“You weren’t there. In the final days of the war. You never saw what was born. But if the time lock’s broken then everything is coming through. Not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations. The Horde of Travesties. The Nightmare Child. The Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres. The war turned into hell! And that’s what you’ve opened. Right above the Earth. Hell is descending.”
Granted, the dramatic potency of all these things lies perhaps entirely in their mystery. We have no idea who the Could-Have-Been-King is and we don’t know what made the Nightmare Child so nightmarish; we just know that the Doctor laughed in its face and that Davros flew his ship into its jaws.
But how about this for a plot line: one or more of these things leaks out of that crack in the universe. The Time Lords are trying to keep these things contained but have been crying out for help. But out comes the Army of Meanwhiles to destroy a legion of cybermen like they are nothing. Then, of course, the Doctor has to come and stop them somehow. It’s high time we got a new enemy for the Doctor. Here’s a handful right here!
Explain what happened to Rassilon and the Master after “The End of Time”
All we know for sure is that the Master sacrificed himself to subdue Rassilon long enough for the Doctor to close the loop and send them both back into the time lock. Presumably, the effort costed the Master his life, but we don’t know that for sure. If the two of them were sent back to Gallifrey then why weren’t they present in “The Day of the Doctor”? Did some other event happen in between the two occurrences? I want this loop closed, and perhaps for it to be used to both make Rassilon another villain and to bring the Master back into things.
Revive the Master
It doesn’t necessarily have to be John Simm again (although I’m sure they could explain it away if they wanted to keep him), but now that the Doctor has received a new regeneration cycle, why couldn’t the Time Lords also fix whatever abominable state the Master put himself in with all that Electro-esque chicken devouring? For all we know, maybe he killed Rassilon inside the Time Lock and now is king of Gallifrey and leading the charge trying to help the Doctor. A long shot, I know, but with a regenerated older Doctor, why not set him up against his rival with a comparable new body? Could be great fun.
The Doctor needs to have a companion die
I hate to say it, but it sort of needs to happen. It seems a bit silly in a way for everyone to always be in such grave danger and nobody ever really, truly dies. Sure, Rory dies a couple times but he always comes back! And we thought that Clara died but now there are a theoretically infinite number of Claras. With the weight of his people’s genocide now off his shoulders, I’d like to see the danger taken a bit more seriously.
The Doctor is always a healer, a protector, a savior. But his journeys are also great fun for him; he entices people to go along with him, not always with the purest intent. He’s a bit frivolous, and most definitely a madman with a box. I think it’s high time he felt the simple defeat of really losing someone. Not just losing them by being forced to wipe their memory, or leave them in an alternate universe with his clone, or have them get stuck in the past. He needs to really, truly lose someone. Maybe it needs to be Clara, and maybe, because the Doctor never died at Trenzalore, then Clara never got dispersed through his time stream. So she really might be able to die after all? Who knows!
Bring back Captain Jack
Sure, he’s got his own rather prolific spin-off series that I’ve barely even watched, but the Doctor Who episodes that include Captain Jack are some of my all-time favorites. While he was included in the obscenely long goodbye sequence of the 10th Doctor, that doesn’t mean this ageless, immortal, pansexual stud can’t make another appearance. I read somewhere about a great deal of enthusiasm surrounding a story line involving interactions between River Song and Captain Jack. While previously only the quivering dreams of fan fiction writers, I think it could make for some very dynamic on-screen chemistry that’s wildly entertaining to boot. Not only is Captain Jack amongst the most competent, capable, and useful of companions, but he’s just good fun.
And I would also appreciate some follow up with the Face of Bo so we can close that mystery and reassure ourselves that these two characters are indeed NOT the same being. Or at the very least, show us a bit of the transition.
New races and enemies
The Christmas special was something of a last straw for me. I’ve grown weary of overused plot lines and enemies and I want Doctor Who to return its focus to telling a story that isn’t strictly just about the Doctor. Maybe it’s just the bombast of the 50th anniversary and Christmas specials back to back but I want things to slow down a bit more and for the show to catch up to itself. I’ve seen the Daleks and Cybermen in too many episodes together and throwing in a couple Sontarans and Weeping Angels to boot was a nice homage to Matt Smith’s tenure but also completely superfluous. Not every story has to be a smattering of every villain ever. It’s okay to create new things and it’s okay to narrow the focus!
Why not bring back the Reapers?
Perhaps my favorite Eccleston episode is “Father’s Day,” in which a determined Rose saves her father from dying when Rose was just a little baby. The ensuing paradox causes reality to break down and Reapers appear and begin devouring everything in sight. After even the Doctor is killed, Pete Tyler sacrifices himself and sets things right so that the world can go back to normal again.
I’ve always found the Reapers to be a really interesting monster that was quite scary to behold. Imagine what they could do with updated special effects!
There you have it folks! 12 Things I want to see from the 12th Doctor. Do you agree with everything I’ve said? What ideas do you have? Let me know in the comments!