The Doctor: “Why are you calling me ‘madam’?”
Yasmin Khan: “Because you’re a woman.”
The Doctor: “Am I? Does it suit me?”
Yasmin Khan: “What?”
The Doctor: “Oh yeah. I remember. Sorry. Half an hour ago, I was a white-haired Scotsman.”
The Season 11 premiere of Doctor Who debuted on every variety of screen across the globe earlier today, and I’ve already watched it several times. Who knows (pun intended – nyuk, nyuk), I may even go for a fourth or fifth round before this night concludes. As a matter of fact, it’s playing as I type this. Is it that good, you might be inclined to inquire? Yes, yes it is. It’s that good.
I can’t express just how much I love Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor. She’s quirky, adorable, and instantly lovable, not unlike Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. As a matter of fact, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” shares a similar tone to that of Smith’s own inaugural episode, “The Eleventh Hour”. Like Matt Smith’s Doctor in that episode, Jodie Whittaker’s has the fervor of someone who’s uncompromising in their excitement to be alive. Already, the 13th Doctor has established herself as someone whose personality is in stark contrast with that of her predecessor’s. As much as I loved Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, I really grew to love Matt Smith’s more playful demeanor. Even David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, by comparison, wasn’t as seemingly congenial. I wonder if the writers will delve into the 13th’s past lives, and which ones hold the most sway over how she conducts herself. When Peter Capaldi had his first episode, I wrote then about how he, to me, presented himself as more of an amalgamation of John Hurt’s War Doctor and Chris Eccleston’s 9th Doctor. I’m curious to see where in the line of past lives Jodie Whittaker’s falls. It would also be interesting to see how (or if) the Doctor’s most recent losses (Clara and Bill) affect her decisions throughout the season. They may even have had something to do with her current form. I still believe that Matt Smith’s Doctor regenerated as a Scotsman because of his guilt and sadness over losing his beloved companion, Amy Pond, who was also Scottish. I don’t think that the regeneration process is as random as we’ve believed it to be. The Doctor has a say in what comes next for him/her.
Speaking of “regeneration,” these episodes are always fun because we spend a majority of the story observing the Doctor at his/her most vulnerable and disoriented. It’s like watching a child learn to walk and master their body’s motor control, making it simultaneously funny and anxiety-inducing, since they’re always thrust into the mouth of danger from the commencement of the rebirth.
With this season also comes new companions (which is always as exciting as getting a new Doctor). I’m still recovering from the loss of Bill from last year’s finale, but the introduction of Ryan, Yasmin, and Graham has helped to assuage a teensy portion of that sadness. I’m looking forward to seeing how their roles guide the Doctor, and, more importantly, if they’re resourceful enough to survive what’s to come; because it’s never anything good.
I’m also loving the diverse representation, not only with our time-traveling hero, but also with her supporting cast. And I feel this has only gotten better with every proceeding Doctor. It seems like ages ago (even though it’s only been a mere four years since) that I was at this same space, discussing how great it would be to finally have a female Doctor. And here we are, at last. It’s almost surreal that Jodie is the new Doctor. Progress, it appears, has a way of moving at a glacial pace, but eventually arrives just when it means to. Like it’s a fan of Gandalf, or something.
The episode itself had a surprisingly theatrical feel to it, from the cinematography, down to the score. It felt like the producers invested a lot of money, time, and love into getting their most important episode – to date – just right. Additionally, the pacing was on-point. Unlike other Doctor’s “regeneration” episodes, namely the 10th and 12th, we didn’t spend a lot of time with the Doctor being lost, and either aimlessly wandering about trying to figure out who they are, or lying in a bed unconscious while their body completes its regeneration cycle. This season’s already on a great trajectory.
That’s all I have for now. I’m looking forward to catching up on some Doctor Who podcasts to see what other Whovians out there, in the digital cosmos, are thinking. Until next week, keep a change of knickers handy, because I think this season’s gonna blow them right off every Sunday.
Categories: Doctor Who