Sorry for the lateness on this, I had something typed up and ready to copy/paste, but I had to restart my computer and forgot to save it, so I’ve spent the last couple days trying to remember as much of what I initially came up with as I could, so this won’t be as in-depth a review as my others have been, but still.
I knew right away that a lot of people would be annoyed with this episode, though I myself was not, simply because it again, put all the emphasis on Clara, and very little on the Doctor. As you know, I’ve been a big complainer this series about that, as the show is called Doctor Who, not Clara Who. I get that the companions are important, or else why would he travel with them, but I haven’t been comfortable with the companion becoming so all-encompassing and so completely essential to the Doctor’s very life that it ends up doing end-runs around established canon. Overall, I really liked this episode. It was yet another fantastic episode in a long string of fantastic episodes, making Series 8 for me, the best since the reboot in 2005. Jamie Mathieson is a great writer, and I hope the new showrunner, whoever it will be, gives him plenty of opportunity to write more episodes. The special effects were great, and I loved the visuals of the people turning into 2D — it looked like something out of a video game. Really fantastically well done. I liked Clara finding out first-hand what it’s like to be the Doctor, if only to help her better understand why he does and says the things he does and says. When he told her that goodness had nothing to do with being the Doctor, I thought that was sharp and quite telling. Clara didn’t seem too upset about the fact people died, and the Doctor took it much harder than she did, which was a rather interesting role reversal from what we’ve seen out of these two characters in the past.
One of the things I didn’t particularly care for in this episode however, was the over-reliance on the sonic screwdriver. It went from being used sparingly, if at all, especially during the 1963-1989 era of the show, to being used all the time for a thousand different things since 2005. In The Day of the Doctor, the War Doctor (John Hurt) told Ten and Eleven that the sonic was a scientific instrument, not a weapon, but it seems that point hasn’t really sunk in. Much like the psychic paper, it’s been used far too much to get characters out of situations that cunning and intelligence previously had been. I mean, it made sense in the fact that it was quite useful in this story, but it was made to be too useful, which is the problem.