As December approaches, so does the Doctor Who Christmas Special and Peter Capaldi’s final episode. Here’s what we want to see in his last adventure as the Doctor.
The last few seasons of Doctor Who were equally loved and disliked by the fandom, but most people can agree that season 10 was amazing. It brought out the best of the show, and we now find ourselves falling in love with the show again just as both Peter Capaldi and longtime showrunner Steven Moffat are leaving.
Capaldi’s last episode will be the Christmas special, scheduled to air on December 25, 2017. In it, we’ll get to see the Doctor meet his first self, William Hartnell’s First Doctor, played by David Bradley. He’ll also regenerate — and introduce us to Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor in the episode’s last moments.
It’s going to be a bittersweet goodbye. While we’re happy to see Doctor Who turn a new page and evolve, with a new showrunner and an exciting new Doctor, Capaldi has been with us for three seasons, and over the years has made us love his gruff, irritable Doctor, whose heroism and kindness are never entirely eclipsed by his inexplicable desire to play the electric guitar while wearing sunglasses.
We’re already starting to see exciting sneak peeks for the Christmas Special. So as we say goodbye, here are some things we want to see from the Twelfth Doctor before his time runs out.
The Doctor changing
With each new Doctor, we see a new personality develop. Regeneration is, in a way, how the Doctor grows. We saw him go from hot-headed Nine to quirky, emotional Ten; then to soulful Eleven and finally short-tempered Twelve. They were each colored by their experiences, their heartbreaks and their wisdom, and they carried all of that into their new form.
Capaldi himself seems to disagree with the idea that the Doctor can grow in the story, because of his immortality:
“[He’s learned] nothing. Because he’s not human. The Doctor has a knowledge of past and future, he feels echoes and ripples through time and space. He knows what’s going to happen, he knows what human beings are, what they do and what becomes of them. He play-acts being surprised, he play-acts being present in that moment. He knows, so he doesn’t learn. He knows already. He has nothing to learn.”
That might be the perspective Capaldi has when playing such a self-assured Doctor as Twelve. But the Doctor is always changing, especially around the time directly before his regeneration. At the end of season 10, we see a Doctor that has finally confronted the Master and is becoming more willing to deal with the emotional weight of pain he’s sustained in the past, and finally move forward.
Capaldi will have to bridge the gap between his own character and the more colorful Doctor that Jodie Whittaker will play. And seeing that character development take place is going to be fascinating.
According to Capaldi, the Christmas Special will find the Doctor refusing to regenerate. He’s been through a lot, in the company of many different companions, but he doesn’t want to leave just yet.
It’s somewhat reminiscent of Ten’s own struggle with knowing that he has to regenerate — one of the most painful scenes in the entire show. We know already that these moments, at the end of each Doctor’s life, are the most poignant and indicative of what was learned in the past, and what is to come. It probably won’t be much different with this Doctor.
Capaldi is an excellent actor with the ability to blow us away with the emotion he projects. His final conversation with the Master in The Doctor Falls, defining what he stands for — just be kind!— is definitely one of his best performances ever. The Doctor is still reeling from his experiences in that episode, and his identity and feelings are becoming more defined as he nears the end.
A loving farewell
Whether we were on board with Twelve since the very beginning or not, this Doctor has certainly grown on us. The finales of each Doctor are always nods to what has happened in the last few seasons, and in a way, a comfort. Whether the companions are afraid of see the Doctor go, or the Doctor himself is afraid to go, their emotions always reflect our own.
We’re going to miss Twelve, and as excited as we are to meet Thirteen, we do have a little fear of the unknown as we watch the show we’ve loved for so long transform into something new. The Christmas Special will hopefully gently usher us forwards, give us a hug and tell us that it loves us. And Capaldi’s performance, always the perfect measure of kindly and grumpy, might even make us cry. It’ll be a good end to a great Doctor, and the kind of episode that we’ll look back on fondly for years to come.
In the meantime, get hyped with the new Doctor Who sneak peek.