The 5 Greatest Weaknesses of Series 9
Guest contributor Harpal Khambay explores what made this year’s run not-so-great.
It was very easy to write about the strengths of Series 9, and slightly harder to write about the weaknesses, because I found it didn’t have as many as Series 8, in my view. So, here goes…
5. Clara’s Exit(s)
I loved Clara’s exit and found it to be a fitting in to such an important companion, but if I look at it objectively, there are flaws. Now, the impact of ‘Face the Raven’ and ‘Heaven Sent’ has been diminished a large amount, as one minute she’s dead, but then she’s ‘alive.’ For all we know she could be travelling with Ashildr for a million years, so, to us, she could never die. This takes away the emotion and closure of ‘Face the Raven.’ Clara was very well used in ‘Heaven Sent,’ but the reason that ‘Hell Bent’ felt like a cop-out was because Clara dominated forty minutes of it. I did not think she would be around that long, and considering there were no definite conclusions drawn on the hybrid, she didn’t need to be there at all. The reason Clara died in ‘Face the Raven’ was because she tried to be the Doctor, which is a hard task, and she failed. Her recklessness got the better of her, and it was tragic but also massively true to her character. Clara’s most heroic act ended in her demise, and this irony was well plotted and foreshadowed, and I like that she failed as it showed there were consequences to her actions and reckless nature. This has been undone to an extent, and one wonders why she couldn’t have succeeded and stayed alive. Having said all of that I still love it. As I said, I was being objective!
4. Changes to the 12th Doctor
I know I will get some flak for this, but I really felt that Capaldi’s Doctor was largely different from his Series 8 self. Last year he was delightfully pessimistic, cynical and sarcastic. This is what made him different, cunning and clever. This series, he appeared immature and at times, clueless and contradictory. For example, last year he cleverly named a device the 2Dis, yet this year he is thrown by the name of the Curoscanner. He also considers his Ray-Bans more important than his confession dial, and before murdering a man he tells people not to take a selfie on pain of death. That was supposed to be a serious, dramatic moment, so why is the Doctor making cheap unfunny jokes? Is it necessary? Are we meant to take that seriously? Don’t get me wrong, 12 was fantastic and ‘Face the Raven’ and ‘Heaven Sent’ because he avoided the above pitfalls. I saw it as a massive disappointment, and frankly I didn’t understand why he had changed so dramatically. Why on Earth does the Doctor suddenly like hugging now, as we saw in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’? Yet in ‘The Girl Who Died,’ he claims he doesn’t. Then he contradicts this. I don’t understand the giant leap. I found myself not caring about the Doctor every week, as he has lost his brilliant intensity, which made him an interesting and memorable Doctor.
3. New Villains Were Lacking
I feel we were lacking decent new villains. First we had the ghosts, who were good, but the real villain of the piece was the Fisher King. Part of the reason I didn’t like ‘Before the Flood’ was because I felt he was massively underused and underdeveloped, which was a shame, as he looked fantastic. The Mire or the ‘deadliest warrior race in the galaxy’ was easily defeated with trickery, making them look insignificant. We also only got to see the Mire’s true form very briefly, which was a shame. Then he had Leandro, who could have been a worthy adversary, but was again, underused. If he had been developed further, he could have been very menacing. I like the concept of the Sandmen in ‘Sleep No More,’ but at the end of the day, they were just millions of specs of dust. Couldn’t someone just have punched through them, ignited them or froze them with a ice extinguisher? Where’s Rose when you need her? Luckily the Morpheus machine itself took precedence in the story. As for ‘Hell Bent,’ I found no villain. We all thought it would be the hybrid, but when that let us down, I don’t know what we were left with. I didn’t feel the Time Lords were villains, and I had gone off the Doctor so completely that I didn’t care about him, but I wouldn’t class him as a villain if I had. A poor show on the ‘New villain’ front in my opinion.
2. Hell Bent
Now, I really liked ‘Hell Bent’ for what it was, but that was not what it should’ve been. In my view, after all the teasing build-up there should have been complete clarity on the identity of the hybrid, as well as how and what it was going to do. Answers should have been given about Gallifrey, and how it rebuilt itself after the Time War. How did Missy escape? Did the Time Lords know? There were many other questions fans wanted answers to, and really Gallifrey should’ve been at the heart of the story. Instead it was used as a lot device for Clara’s return, and this degraded it. Also, did Ohila need to be there? Was she relevant at all? It didn’t deliver on what it promised, and what is should have delivered on at all. It was still good, heartwarming and, heartbreaking, and that’s what saved the episode. Clara dominated the plot too much as I mentioned, and a lot of the things said, from an objective point of view, didn’t need to be said again. A lot was already said in ‘Face the Raven,’ which added to the emotion and impact, which was stripped away during ‘Hell Bent.’
I have never encountered a series that came with so many leaks, spoilery trailers and spoilery synopses. From Clara’s goodbye in episode 10 to Davros’ shock return, lots of it seemed to be leaked or publicised without consideration, and it was Series 9’s biggest fall. The information released about the finale episodes by the BBC itself was so spoilery, that it dented my trust in the corporation. It felt like a desperate attempt to raise the viewing figures, but quite frankly it was an insult to majority of the fans as the hardcore ones will always be loyal to the show, so it will always have viewers. The BBC continuously kept ruining Series 9’s biggest and most shocking moments, and perhaps it did get the fans more excited, but I’d rather the shock more than the build up. No spoilers next year please, BBC!
Thank you all for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it!