A dinosaur appears in 1890’s London, and that’s not even the weirdest thing Capaldi must investigate in his debut adventure as the Twelfth Doctor
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The grimy gawkers of 1890s London are aghast to see a dinosaur stumbling its way past the Palace of Westminster, but rather than heading into one of the Lords’ bars as customary, it coughs from its throat a curious blue egg, and from this egg hatches the newly regenerated Twelfth Doctor, yet to regather most of his marbles.
The Paternoster Gang once again take the case, but what seems a simple matter of mind-smiting Doc back to health is soon interrupted by the lonely lizard’s apparently spontaneous combustion in the plentifully wet waters of the Thames, and Doc’s disappearance into the night after the one witness with brainpower more potent than a pudding’s.
Clara, meanwhile, can’t fathom why her former colleague is suddenly 20,000 years older. Things look bleak as Madame Vastra must alternate between quick bouts of sleuthing and mentoring on the merits of unclouded vision, Clara must recognise the Doctor for who he really is, and Doc must deal with seditious eyebrows and furious mirrors if the Half-Face Man is to see justice.
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Now this was a dinosaur episode I enjoyed!
I found Capaldi’s performance wonderful, and Strax was his usual delightful self. “It’s hair.” “No, I think it’s a hat. Would you like me to check?”
We’ve also been gifted with another episode of Clara in 1800s finery, and Missy. Missy! Not only are we to the point in Doctor Who where I get to watch my favorite companion Clara, my favorite Who Villain Missy is here to join the party too.
4.2 out of 5 steampunk droids either pushed or jumping out of skin blimps. It’s unclear. Missy thinks he pushed them.
• Strax, Jenny and Lizard Lady! Entertaining as always. But where’s Thomas Thomas!?
• Combusting T-Rex.
• Best moment: cyborgs in the restaurant (#Totescreepy), closely followed by Clara getting hit in the face with a newspaper.
• Best line: “Destroy us if you will, but they’re still going to close your restaurant!”
• A balloon made of human skin. You sick puppies, you!
• Missy and her batshit-crazy eyes.
• Director Ben Wheatley (Legend).
• Coleman & Capaldi. Baftas please.
• Missed opportunity: having an earlier incarnation of the Doctor phone Clara. For instance, a cheeky phonecall from The Seventh Doctor would have added more pathos.
Summary: By far and away the third best new Doctor story ever (after 1987’s Time and the Rani and the 1996 TV Movie, of course).
Rating: 4.5/5 flaps of human skin sown together to make a balloon. Albeit unnecessarily. Regular balloons were readily available in the Victorian era, right?