If you don’t like Twelve, then we can’t be friends. Sorry. Those are just the rules. I didn’t make them, you can’t blame me.
Of all the Doctors to take the part in the Modern series, Twelve is definitely the most underrated. Sure, some of his stories were… not so great… but the character himself is one of the most interesting versions of the character in the show’s entire 60 year history! Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is absolutely brilliant!
Except for Hell Bent. But we don’t talk about that. We’re just gonna pretend that episode doesn’t exist.
Twelve is a very different take on the Doctor from what fans of the Modern series had gotten used to. Whereas Ten and Eleven were very goofy and charming and friendly, Twelve is rude and unsociable. He’s a pragmatic character, always putting his maximum effort into the task at hand, often at the expense of those around him. Yet he still very clearly cares for the people around him; he just views things like empathy as a waste of precious time, which he could spend actually saving people.
Does that sound morally dubious? That’s because it is. Twelve is far from a moral paragon. That’s at the heart of his character arc in all three seasons: his own self-doubt about whether or not he’s a good person.
His arc is a surprisingly powerful one. In his first episodes, he’s gruff, callous, and cold. But as things go on, he gradually opens up, becoming more gentle, kind, and compassionate. His entire regeneration speech is all about being kind. He went from a grumpy old fart with a knife for a tongue to one of the most sweet and caring versions of the character to date!
I especially love his regeneration scene. He essentially acknowledges that he got off to a rough start, so he’s giving his next incarnation advice on how to avoid the mistakes he made starting out. It’s a perfect way for his character to go out.
If only Thirteen actually listened to that advice…
On the subject of speeches: those are easily the best moments of the Twelfth Doctor. Peter Capaldi has a way with monologues that no other actor to ever play the character has ever had. His speech in the Zygon Invasion storyline singlehandedly escalates that from a mediocre storyline to one of his best. Hell, his best episode, Heaven Sent, is just him monologuing!
Speaking of whom: Peter Capaldi is an absolutely incredible actor. Not just because of his eyebrows and his accent. The man has a gravity to him in every scene. Be it one of his aforementioned speeches or he’s trying to crack a joke, he has a natural pull to him that makes it hard to pull your eyes off of him.
Sure, the stories he was a part of were inconsistent at best in terms of quality. But even at the era’s absolute worst, Capaldi’s Doctor was always a highlight. Twelve is incredible, fight me.
Except for the entirety of Hell Bent. But we. Don’t. Talk. About. That.