When Peter Capaldi was given decent material to work with, the Twelfth Doctor was exceptional. To paraphrase the Ninth Doctor – he was fantastic. It was the darker episodes in which he excelled and, as you will see from this list, only two ‘lighter’ episodes made the grade. Capaldi can do comedy, yes, but the darker episodes of his debut run, suited him much more. As such, series eight is regarded by critics as a return to form for Doctor Who; though considering it comes after the lacklustre seventh series that isn’t all that hard to achieve.
Read on to find out our top 10 moments from Doctor Who’s eighth series.
10. Vastra Motivates Clara – Deep Breath
Much like the question-test of 2012, Vastra once more stoically stands frosty against a determined Clara. Only this time Clara is in the wrong. Her, out of every other companion EVER, should know of and accept the process of regeneration with ease. She is the most knowledgeable; having met 13 of the 14 incarnations. But she isn’t, and she needs some motivation. Step in Vastra. Never McIntosh is simply brilliant here. ‘Deep Breath’ was an exceptional episode for Vastra and Jenny. More of them please.- less of Strax though.
9. The Doctor’s ‘Monster Speech’ – Flatline
In a series heavy in “I am the Doctor” speeches, this one in ‘Flatline’ excels. Capaldi delivers his lines with complete relish as he gutturally tells the Boneless to do one. They are monsters, and it’s the Doctor’s job to stop the monsters; the darker qualities of the Twelfth Doctor were still evident here, but beneath all of that he showed sparks of goodness.
8. The Doctor Meets PE – The Caretaker
It took five episodes to happen but, the Doctor meeting Danny was brilliant. It was a refreshing change to have a steadfast character who despised the Doctor. In the past others have done so, but have quickly come to love him; not Danny. From the moment they meet until Danny sacrifices himself these two characters despise one another – though they do later come to appreciate one another too. Their meeting scene was particularly frosty as Clara was put in a difficult position. Did she make the right decision ultimately?
7. The Doctor Claims Earth As His Own – In The Forest Of The Night
Quoting Clara herself from ‘Kill The Moon’, the Doctor here states he cannot depart Earth because Earth is equally his planet. It’s his Earth, his air, his trees. Once more, it is a scene between the two leads which produced an epic notion. Capaldi and Coleman excelled together. This scene brought tears to the eyes, but it certainly wasn’t the only one.
6. Danny’s Sacrifice – Death In Heaven
Whilst love conquering the Cybermen never stands well with the fandom, Danny’s sacrifice still packs a punch. His final roaring speech in which he takes command of the Cyberman army is delivered brilliantly – the entire series, for Danny, was building towards the point. He was a born soldier and ultimately, though the Doctor bizarrely despised soldiers, it was his position as a soldier which saved the human race. Danny’s second sacrifice, in which he saved the boy he killed prior in battle, was also striking.
5. “You Will Never Step Inside Your TARDIS Again” – Dark Water
It was quite hard to pick Clara’ defining moment, but I think this scene comes in close. Clara, this series, has been brilliant. She is so much better than series seven. This scene from the penultimate episode summed Clara up perfectly. She is determined, steadfast, angry, obsessive, and ultimately loyal. She was completely willing to wrong the Doctor in order to save Danny. Heartbreakingly she realised she had made the right choice too late. She chose Danny, but it took his death for her to realise how much he meant to her.
4. “You Would Make A Good Dalek” – Into The Dalek
Helping to affirm the Doctor’s apparent darkness, Rusty the Dalek claims the Doctor would make a good Dalek. Capaldi is essentially playing against himself here but he delivers; boy does he deliver. But, the Doctor’s hatred for the Dalek’s sparks Rusty’s hatred too in what was a particularly powerful scene. A good Dalek indeed; surprisingly this was an exceptional Dalek episode, even if they have been overused.
3. Three Women Vs. The World – Kill The Moon
‘Kill The Moon’ may have divided fans but its premise was tantalising, as was Clara, Courtney and Lundvik sparring as they decided the fate of the world. What followed, was several tense and claustrophobic scenes as Clara finally began to see how dark the Twelfth Doctor had become. Her belief in the Doctor began to falter here, and it is these actions which shaped the rest of the series. Clara’s heartfelt speech to the world was spine-tingling.
2. Clara Stops the First Doctor – Listen
Likewise this scene divided the fans too, but Clara’s indirect influence upon the Doctor had already been revealed in ‘The Name of the Doctor’ so her influence here was secondary. That said it was impactful, and devastatingly important. Clara has shaped the Doctor since his childhood. She is, and always has been, important to the Doctor. Heartbreakingly, the Doctor doesn’t know this because Clara forbade him. Equally devastating is the look on Clara’s face as she realises what she has done, and that ultimately it must still happen; it has become a part of history.
1. The Missy Reveal – Dark Water
Not surprising in the least, the reveal of Missy takes the top spot. The Moff played his trump card here, and perhaps his most controversial move. Changing the gender of the Master could have gone against the Moff. It could have sparked the end of his tenure; interestingly though it didn’t. Though some were vocal, many barely battered an eyelid, which is striking considering some people complained about Vastra and Jenny’s kiss in Deep Breath. Same-sex kisses are apparently a no-no, but gender swapping is alright.
I digress. Missy being the Master is one of the greatest twists in Doctor Who. I think most thought it was possible but not many dared believe it would happen. Michelle Gomez has (SPOILERS) already revealed she’ll be back in series nine, which is brilliant news. She took this role and made it her own. Missy is fundamentally the Master, but she is so much different to her predecessors. Gomez was made for this role. The Mistress was sensational.