Doctor Who returned to the screens this weekend with a strong episode that balanced humour, drama and fear and still managed to have introduce the new companion. Again. But this time it looks like we've finally met the real Clara.
This episode functioned very well as a reboot for the series, presumably designed to attract new viewers who have heard about the upcoming 50th anniversary. There were references to the past - I particularly liked the Jammie Dodgers and the fez - but the episode worked very well at introducing a new, slightly changed Doctor and explained exactly who and what you could expect from the two hearted alien this series. [SPOILERS]
It also had a darker side. There were echoes of Black Mirror with its message about the dangers of technology. Moffat may not be filled with the same bitter cynicism as Brooker but he told a nice tale of the possible dangers of surrounding ourselves with technology we don't understand and that eats up our lives.
Is The Doctor deluding himself or is he just so lonely that he'll risk someone's life for company?
The reveal that The Great Intelligence was the villain was a nice touch, and one I wasn't expecting. I'd spent most of the episode assuming it'd be The Wire from series 2's The Idiot Lantern but seeing Richard E Grant upgraded to (presumably) recurring villain status was even better. He was ably assisted by Celia Imrie, who was frankly brilliant. The final scene where Celia Imrie reverted to a broken child was so moving and quite chilling considering how effectively she'd played the villainous role.
I also liked the cameo from Amy Pond. Miss it? The book that Clara had at the beginning ("Chapter 11 is the best. It'll make you cry") was written by Amelia Williams. It looks like Rory convinced her to take his surname.
There was, however, one note that felt off to me. The Doctor told Clara he could take her anywhere and get her safely back the next morning. This is virtually word for word what he said to Amy and we all know he ultimately broke that promise to her. Is The Doctor deluding himself or is he just so lonely that he'll risk someone's life for company? He has been shown to have a dark side in the past, is this something that we can expect to see more of in future?
Overall it was a fantastic start to the series and shows that none of the magic has been lost during its time off.