Doctor Who Recap: Jurassic Start

The following contains spoilers from the Season 8 premiere of Doctor Who. If you haven’t watched it yet, don’t walk, RUN to another TVLine story. If you have, allons-y!

The TARDIS has landed — or, rather, has been spit up — bringing with it one familiar face, and one very new one. But the 12th Doctor and his friends have more than just his latest regeneration to deal with; a dinosaur has been transported to Victorian London!

Before you tell us what you thought of the 12th Doctor’s first episode, let’s recap the episode.

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Madame Vastra and Jenny bring Clara and the disoriented Doctor back to their place, where he freaks out about everything: the bedroom (“So you’ve got a whole room for not being awake in?”), the mirror (“Don’t look in that mirror, it’s absolutely furious!”) and especially the accents (“It’s spreading! You all sound so English!”). So Vastra feigns a Scottish accent and put the Doctor to sleep. She also has time to spout this gem of a line: “People are apes. Men are monkeys!” (Bring on the Vastra/Jenny spin-off already!)

Later, while Clara’s coming to terms with the Doctor’s regeneration — and being accused of considering the him her “boyfriend” — the Doctor jumps out the window and goes in search of the dinosaur. But just as he gets there, it spontaneously combusts. When Vastra asks who or what is responsible, he says the real question is, “Have there been any similar murders?” Then the Time-Lord-with-no-attention-span notices the mechanical man responsible for an earlier eye theft. So he jumps into the Thames after him.

The next morning, Strax brings the TARDIS back to their residence because he reasons that the Doctor will always come looking for his box and not be melted with acid. Then DoctorWho_S8Premiere3_DWhe “sends up” the newspaper, hitting Clara in the face. (Side note: I’ve always loved his Sontaran comic relief, but he is killing it this episode.) Later, just as Vastra figures out that the spontaneous combustions are being used to cover up what’s missing from the bodies, Clara rushes in with a newspaper advertisement inviting the “Impossible Girl” to lunch. Not long after she arrives at Mancini’s, the Doctor turns up, now dressed in a homeless man’s clothes.

As the Doctor and his companion have their first real post-regeneration conversation, they realize they both think the other is an egomaniac responsible for the ad in the paper. But it doesn’t matter because they’re in a trap full of more droids (put a different wig on some of them and we’d be in “The Girl In the Fireplace” territory). Before they can escape, they’re strapped into their seats and lowered into the “larder.” They both get free, but while the Doctor escapes, he leaves Clara behind to face the leader. She attempts to escape by holding her breath, but fails when she gives into her burning — pun intended — desire to inhale.

Never fear, though, the Doctor has her back. Having slipped into another mechanical man’s face skin, he returns — along with Vastra, Jenny and Strax, who completely fails at his aerial silk descent. As more droids arrive, the Doctor follows their leader into his hot air balloon escape capsule. Once above London, the Doctor tries to reason with him, before threatening to kill the control node, saying he’s already come a long way to protect humans.

Down on the ground, the droids have overwhelmed Clara and the Paternoster Gang. But just as it seems they’ve lost, the droids deactivate and we see that their leader has been impaled on Big Ben. (Ouch!)

When they return home, they see that the TARDIS has gone. Nonetheless, Clara still changes back into her modern attire — just in time for the Doctor’s arrival. Upon entering it, she notes that the interior has changed (there are more round things on the wall). As they discuss who put the ad in the paper (it’s the same woman who gave Clara the Doctor’s number) she gets a call and it’s none other than Matt Smith the 11th Doctor. Turns out he had time to give her a ring before his regeneration back on Trenzalore. He tells Clara not to be scared and asks her to help his newly regenerated self.

Hanging up, she turns to face the 12th Doctor, who asks her to see — really see — him as he’s still the man he’s always been. Once Clara does, she and the Doctor go out for coffee and chips.

But the episode doesn’t end there! Moments later, we meet Missy, the Doctor’s “girlfriend” (?!) who introduces herself to the still alive control node and welcomes him to heaven.

Thus ends our introduction to the latest incarnation of the mad man in a blue box.

So what did you think of Peter Capaldi’s first outing as the Doctor? Were you happy to see Matt Smith again? Is “coffee and chips” the new “fish fingers and custard”? Are you ready for a Paternoster Gang spin-off? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Al Padavano says:

    I will return as a viewer next season. I am extremely disappointed that Clara will aparently be removed. The sweetness of the Ponds and their daughter is lacking. I do not fault the new Dr. But that fool that is the writer. Let the mindless rave about this travesty . As I said , I will be back as a viewer next year.

    Al. Padavano

  2. Only thing I thought that did not fit was the opening sequence..It needs work..Over all the show was great it will take time for them to click.

  3. Missdarcy says:

    I just started watching “new Who” about six months ago, starting with 9. I enjoyed Eccleston but didn’t really appreciate the series until midway through Tennant’s first season. I consider him “my Doctor” as that is when I converted to Whoism. I never really got into Smith’s Doctor though everyone told me I would. I eagerly await to see Capaldi’s take on the character. I enjoyed what he did this episode though the actual plot didn’t fully hold my attention. I am excited for the season as I’m finally watching each week live and experiencing the buildup of anticipation for each episode!

  4. Godzilla2000 says:

    I really enjoyed Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. He has a bit of edge and darkness to him that I don’t think has been in the show since the 80’s. It’s about time people realized just how dark and dangerous the Doctor and his vast, centuries long knowledge can be. I think this is how the 6th Doctor should have been with more support from the BBC and better writing.

  5. Ana says:

    The story was adequate and it gave us great hints of the Doctor to come, as his last regeneration phase clears, but Capaldi failed to impress. The Paternoster gang and the cameo by Matt Smith gave the episode comic relief, character and pathos, and the bit with the dinosaur was well done, but after loving Dr. Who since I was in my twenties, I feel like this modern take on the story, has hit an low after the success of Dr’s 9, 10 and 11.

  6. morn1960 says:

    i was very disappointed in this one; so much potential wasted by moffats writing; he subjected us to amy bloody pond for over 2 seasons and now with Capaldi cant write a decent introduction to the character.

  7. JR1234 says:

    I was apprehensive about Capaldi when he was first announced because I didn’t care for him in “The Fires of Pompeii” and I’ve not seen him in anything else, but I am pleased with him by the end of the episode when he finally pulled himself together. I love that I can see shades of Pertwee and Baker (Tom, not Colin…never Colin) in his doctor. I’m very pleased to have a Doctor that is not frantically bouncing off every wall like Smith and to a lesser extent Tennant. He has the maturity that has been missing. Not sure about the chemistry with Clara, but I didn’t think she had any real chemistry with Matt Smith either…we’ll see.

    One thing that has me a little annoyed with the entire new series but I’ve not seen anyone else discuss it is that, with the exception of River Song, the never address the fact that the Doctor can appear in someone life in any order. Capaldi could pop up in Vastra/Jenny’s lives today and Tennant could show up next month. They treat it like he always pops up in “the right order” and that just shouldn’t be.

    One little nit pick with the recap, Vastra did not really “put on” a Scottish accent since the actress (Neve McIntosh) is actually Scottish. It was more that she got to use her actual accent.

  8. Charles says:

    I loved the episode while not one of the best it was still good and the writing was good too.The first part was more exposition of the characters and the Doctor slowly getting better from the regen. Great character scenes letting the new doctor come to grips with his new self. Clara had great scenes getting to know the new doctor and coming to grips with him being older and scrappier or angrier. nice touch having the Matt Smith call at the end – nice little handing the torch over bit. not sure about the new “villian” if that is what she is, but only “time” will tell, eh. I think Moffat, et al, took to heart the fact that this change from the youngest to oldest Dr. was a big one for many to take and that got reflected in Clara’s difficulty with it, which I think she handled very well and I enjoyed those scenes – I don’t think she was over the top at all. Clara may have been saving the Doctors but she never really interacted with them on the same level as she did with the 11th. remember she says something like that. and so actually being there for this big change was a bit shocking for her. and for all those fans of 10 or 11 out there like myself, the new Doctor who is to be a bit older and more “dark” than those, well we needed that catharsis. When the Doctor and Clara are at the restaurant arguing that was brilliant. And I thought Clara got to be more of her own character than she ever did before in this episode. [SPOILERS for some] I am now even more sorry to see her eventually go as they say she might be.

  9. Sheldon W. says:

    I am so ready for a Paternoster Gang spin-off!

    “When did you stop wearing your veil?”
    “When you stopped seeing it.”


    • JeffDJ says:

      That whole scene was superb. I too wondered why Vastra was wearing her veil in front of Clara at that point, so the payoff at the end was great.
      And I too would totally watch a “Paternoster Gang” spin off, although I find some of Strax’s schtick becoming a little tiresome now. Surely by now he should know females are not boys — unless he’s doing it just to get a rise out of his associates, for his own amusement. Loved his “melting with acid” dialogue.

  10. Loner says:

    I was one of the doubters as to how well Peter Capaldi would do as the new Doctor. I am so glad that I was proven wrong and I liked him from the minute the episode started. I was, and always will be a huge fan of Tom Baker as the Doctor, but once David Tennant arrived on the scene he became my favorite. However, I really like Capaldi and I’m looking forward to what he will bring to the role. As for the comments regarding how well the episode was written, I will say that my friend and I enjoyed it. It may not be the best written episode but it was enjoyable and it certainly helped us accept the new Doctor.

  11. Nah says:

    “People are apes. Men are monkeys!”- the usual feminist claptrap infecting Auntie.

    What if the Doctor had said”People are mammals. Women are dogs!” – just imagine the outrage that would have caused.

  12. ruby says:

    I don’t feel this one episode is the full story line, i think episode two “into the darkness” will be the tone of this season

  13. Luis says:

    All of this speculation about “Missy” being short for “Mistress,” as in a female version of the Master, has me confused. Given all the hullabaloo behind the selection of Number 12 and the complaints about the selection of Capaldi, would Moffat open himself up to the kind of criticism he’d get by introducing a female version of the Master after casting Peter Capaldi as the Doctor?

  14. Al says:

    Just a minor point, but Vastra didn’t fake her Scottish accent. She speaks the way she normally does. The joke is she’s played by a Scottish actress.