Answering that anon made me remember how much insane variety there is in classic Who companions. Like, I’m not knocking new Who for its desire to ground the show through the companions. It’s probably necessary for making the show nowadays. But let’s take a second to appreciate how few fucks the classic Who producers gave. There was…
a genius astrophysicist from the future with perfect memory
a warrior from a primitive society that developed on another planet after the Doctor fucked up real bad one time
a stuck up time lady
a boy genius mathmetician from another reality
an alien aristocrat whose dad’s body was stolen by the Master in her first story and he. just. kept it?
an exiled political prisoner from another world pretending to be a school boy and who’s being manipulated by the avatar of all evil
a shape-shifting robot that the Master found on another planet that the Doctor reprograms and then everyone just forgets about until the Master shows up again (oh and the Master is still running around in that one girl’s dad’s body by the way)
a perfectly ordinary teen who just happened to swept up in time storm and transported to another planet in the far future and starts waiting tables there all as part of the plan of yet another cosmic evil in its ongoing chess match with the Doctor
I hope to post a few Heaven Sent-related items in the days leading up to the first anniversary of its broadcast (new job permitting). I thought I’d start with the saddest.
To show how amazing and award-worthy Peter Capaldi’s performance was in this episode, take a look at this screen capture. Two things I want to point out. First, contrary to what some naysayers harped about, the Doctor is crying. Look at his eyes. This goes for his farewell to Clara in Face the Raven - some folks think that crying means streams of tears. No it doesn’t. I’ve done the exact same thing. You get hit with massive grief from the loss of a loved one the regular rules of crying do not always apply. Yet another piece of evidence (as if we really needed it) that Clara was not just a friend or a lost companion. People kept saying “he was never like this when Adric died.” Exactly. No offence to Adric, but the Doctor wasn’t in love with the guy. The Doctor was in love with Clara Oswald. Seriously, how many times do we have to convince people of this fact? Is it that hard for people to grasp the concept of?
Second, and this gets me every time I watch this: Peter Capaldi has spent the last two seasons trying to belay the fact that he’s in his late 50s. Playing guitar, being dynamic, flirting with Clara (in Series 9 anyway), being a bit action hero-y from time to time. And it has worked. In this one scene, this one moment, Peter allowed the Doctor’s grief to age him. He does indeed look like a sad old man here. If anything, Peter Capaldi managed to make himself look even older in this one moment. And then, once Clara orders him to get off his arse and win, he immediately snaps back into being the dynamic Doctor we’d seen in the rest of the episode and the season (he even manages to remain dynamic after he’s burned to a crisp and crawls up the castle to die). It was almost as if … his batteries had run out of charge until Dream!Clara put her hand on his face, gave him his marching orders, he remembered why he was doing this (to save Clara - a fact we as viewers didn’t know) and he was brought back to the height of his powers.
Remarkable television. Remarkable writing. Remarkable performance. And I will never forgive the Appreciation Index voters for giving this a lesser AI score than that bloody 2006 episode with the kid’s drawings that come to life…