RANKED: Doctor Who Season 8 (Part 1)

Well folks, another Doctor Who season is in the can. There are only so many Tumblr .gif compilations you can reblog, so we’re here to give you something to sate your thirst for more Who chatter. Before you get too excited, this is not a list of all the best sites to purchase waistcoats from; if you want help with your Twelve cosplay you’re going to have to commission your grandmother to sew you something just like the rest of us. No, we’re actually going to tackle the best and worst of season 8. Which instalment deserves multiple re-watches and which episodes should die in a fire? To part one of the list!

12) Episode 5: “Time Heist”

It’s a bit difficult to write about this episode because I honestly tried to forget it ever existed. Whereas most episodes tried to explore the theme of companion self-sacrifice by adding on new layers of meaning, “Time Heist”’s felt like a mere reminder that the issue existed. Saddled with an overly complicated plot (especially once you realize the Doctor could have used the TARDIS to rescue the endangered alien) and bland side-characters, this episode was, much like a Facebook poke, pointless and forgettable.

Worst moments: Guys, the Doctor basically made his friends want to kill themselves in this episode. Also, I’ll say it again: why would a bank have person-sized ventilation ducts????

To revisit this episode in more detail, hit up my recap.

11) Episode 6: “The Caretaker”

While it had some funny moments, “The Caretaker” ultimately suffered from an uninteresting baddie who looked like a Johnny Five knock-off. With no complex motivation from the villain, the focus turned to the predictable fight for Clara’s affections. Although I’m a sucker for triangles (romantic, platonic or equilateral), the conflict here felt purely expository as the characters revealed to one another what we had known for half a season.

Worst moment: But seriously though, did an intern make that robot or…?

Highlight: The Doctor thinking Clara had fallen for a discount Eleven.

10) Episode 1: “Deep Breath”

The biggest problem with this episode was that it was so unfocused. As the season’s introduction, “Deep Breath” should have zeroed in on the altered bond between Clara and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Instead, we got a patchwork episode that seemed to shift gears from an anachronistic beast story to a nonsensical tale about murderous Victorian robots. Which one is it, Moffat??? We did, however, have some lovely character moments from our resident lesbian detectives and some fantastic scenes exploring the Doctor’s internal conflict of identity.

Worst moments: Hot air balloon made up of human skin for no reason. Also, not breathing defeats century-old killer robots? Cool story, bro.

To revisit this episode in more detail, hit up my recap.

9) Episode 8: “Mummy on the Orient Express”

All right, so this episode wasn’t bad so much as it was dull. Yes, the set, the costumes and the music were phenomenal. But was there really that much to this one? While it hit the right emotional notes with Clara’s decision to keep traveling with the Doctor, the bulk of the episode centring on the week’s mystery was a snooze. Come on, we’re supposed to be scared of a Mummy that reaches for the camera like Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys? I won’t be rewatching this one ever. Instead, I’ll stick to using photos of Clara’s bob as my hairspiration at my next salon appointment.

Highlight: “Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones. But you still have to choose.” #wisdom

8) Episode 12: “Death in Heaven”

Sigh. This should have been so good. Perhaps suffering from heightened expectations, Season 8’s finale was a muddled affair that had more plot holes than Lost. Although the narrative didn’t make much sense I have to admit it was fun to watch, primarily because of the actors’ brilliant performances. Michelle Gomez in particular was magnetic, her devilishly unhinged villainess eliciting a surprising amount of compassion from the audience. As well, I very much liked that the finale didn’t reinforce the Doctor’s larger-than-life persona but instead tore it down, revealing his inherent weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I still think with some tweaks this could have been magnificent.

Worst moment: There are a lot of doozies, but my favourite goes to the child that Danny sent back from the Nethersphere (or wherever that is, because if the Nethersphere was created by Missy using the Matrix Data Slice and she’s gone, I’m not sure where that dead kid would appear out of). Seriously though, poor Clara was saddled with a supposedly dead child. Can you imagine the difficulty in trying to locate his parents and prove to the authorities you didn’t kidnap him?

To revisit this episode in more detail, hit up my recap.

7) Episode 3: “Robot of Sherwood”

This episode was a hoot. Yeah, it had some inconsistencies (gold arrows fix all of life’s problems!), but it was a fun instalment of Who that will merit lots of rewatches. The jokes here, although somewhat derivative of Mel Brooks and Rob Reiner’s Princess Bride, still hit the mark and put a big smile on my face. I loved seeing the Peter Capaldi flex his comedy muscles while grating against someone as goofy as Robin Hood, and enjoyed getting to know Clara’s medieval fangirl side.

Highlight: Peter Capaldi giving Robin Hood the finger.

To revisit this episode in more detail, hit up my recap.

To find out which episodes were our favourites, go on to Part 2 of Dork Shelf’s ranking!

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