So what I'm about to say is probably going to be considered complete and utter blasphemy.
I HATE the last couple of seasons of Doctor Who and its writing. And here's why...
I feel that the writing has become very stale and unimaginative the last few seasons. Now, I'm not saying that the individual episodes are bad or unwatchable, but it has become apparent that the writing team has given up on trying to tie in the "big mysteries."
What I am referring to are the "Impossible Girl" and the "Why This Face?" storylines. (I'll admit there could be more to the Face line, as they only just "answered" the question this past week, but please listen first.)
The first major storyline that I was completely disappointed in was Clara Oswald's Impossible Girl. It occurred during Matt Smith's reign as Doctor, and simply put had the most unfulfilling (and confusing) conclusion possible. For those that don't remember, the Clara's character had appeared in a few episodes prior to becoming the next companion, but she appeared as separate, unconnected characters. This remained a mystery until they explained it all away as Clara getting ripped apart in the heart of the Tardis, which in turn sent her through time to help the Doctor in various ways.
This was a very poor explanation in my opinion, since Clara could have become much more as a character (whom many are not thrilled with already) simply by putting some time and effort into solving the mystery. Not to mention, I didn't actually realize that the show had finished the storyline at first, it wasn't until I watched the episode again that I understood that it was their attempt at a conclusion. This is in part because they then set up William Hurt's appearance as the War Doctor immediately after this all occurred, distracting me from digesting the information provided.
So, what could they have done differently?
I had many different theories as to what was really happening with this storyline (as I'm sure many of you did as well). But one of my favorite theories involved the discovery that Clara was, in fact, a time lord herself.
Now bear with me here.
Imagine if Clara was a time lord, but instead of changing appearances whenever she regenerates, she appears the same but with no memory of her previous life. We have seen it to some degree before, with David Tennant regenerating himself using the psychic energy of the world's population, and also in the Doctor's inability to remember things quite the same way after regeneration.
So let's assume that Clara is some sort of mutant time lord, and that she has been following the Doctor her entire life, helping from the shadows. This not only explains the flash back of her helping the First Doctor pick the TARDIS, but would also allow for us to discover that she has kept track of the TARDIS (which she picked out) the whole time. The only reason that she even becomes the Doctor's companion is to further help him in a moral way (she already has the role of essentially playing his conscious to degree). Seeing how Matt Smith's Doctor was struggling to overcome the loss of Amy and Rory, Clara stepped in, following the one instinct and memory that she has each life, which is to help the Doctor.
Now, for the horribly sad but fantastic part of this tale. If you remember, one of the first times Clara is introduced, she turns out to actually be a human that was turned into a Dalek, slowly losing her ability to control her mind. Now flash forward to this season, when Missy puts Clara into a Dalek's armor, and then attempts to have the Doctor kill the Dalek. This could have been the ultimate full circle on Clara's storyline as a Companion. Now, if I were a writer on the show, I would change a couple things about this. Namely, I would let Peter Capaldi figure out that Clara is in the Dalek, but soon realize there is very little he can do to help her. Clara, recognizing her time is running out (and knowing about the Doctor's past encounters with her previous lives at this point) remembers the first time they met. It dawns on the newly named time lord that their first encounter was, in fact, also their last, and that it was not a previous life of hers, but actually her last life. She boards the TARDIS one last time, as a Dalek, and says her fair wells as she drops herself off aboard the Dalek ship in which they first met, feigning her ignorance of the oncoming events.
I don't know about you, but I would have cried like a little girl if this had happened.
This not only makes for a far more interesting take on the character of Clara Oswald, but also for a fantastic send off for Jenna Coleman, who is rumored to be on her way out soon anyway. It also would bring back some of the darker tones that seem to be missing from newer seasons. I for one would love to see some more anger and darkness that existed under Eccleston and Tennant. Anyone remember the "Are you my mummy" episode? It's still creepy and fantastic to this day.
Now, as for the mystery of Peter Capaldi's face.
In the last episode that just aired, it is finally touched upon that Peter The Doctor is not the first time that we have seen Peter Capaldi in the show. He was in fact the patriarch of a Roman family that David Tennant saved from Mount Vesuvius many years ago. Now, the show tried to make it out as this significant revelation that The Doctor is sending himself a message about his duties and abilities, but it really only acts as a means to justify keeping Maisie Williams around for multiple episodes. Let's face it, if The Doctor wanted to save her life, he would have done something about it.
Quick side note, I actually like the idea of her character becoming immortal, but the fact that she can't age (based off of the teaser for next week's episode) is annoying. Unless she just ages slowly, this could have been the perfect moment for the show to answer another age old question, which is how Captain Jack Harkness is immortal. At some point, an older Maisie Williams meets a young Jack and falls in love with him (who is actually trying to con her), and she gives him the other field kit that makes him virtually immortal.
Just spitballing here.
Anyway, back to Peter's face.
The fact that the writers took this golden opportunity to create an elaborate story and threw it away as a lesson in morality is simply poor writing. They could have even kept in the whole "ripples, not tidal waves" concept, and gone even further with it. Let's say that, in fact, the Roman Peter is not actually just a Roman but is The Doctor instead. Through some unforeseen means, he is trapped the same moments before Vesuvius erupts, and is forced to cross his own timeline in order to save not only himself, but possibly prevent something from happening to Clara or David Tennant's Doctor. Not only would he definitely be creating tidal waves, but as long as the stakes are high enough, you could create some very tense action on screen.
This obviously could just be the tip of iceberg as far as the writers are concerned, since the season is still young. But Capaldi is a fantastic actor, and he is in need of a much fuller and more compelling storyline that what they have given him so far. Either way, it is time to step your game up Doctor Who. I will continue to love you, but let's take some risks and pull on some heart strings, because even when you do (the premiere was great), you still play it safe and refuse to rock the boat. Have a little fun, because even though fanboys hate making drastic changes, sometimes you can win them over if they are done right.