Well, let's just start at the beginning and when I come to the end, I'll stop. I loved the dinosaur. That was adorable and I wish there was a bit of prequel showing how the heck the Doctor got into that situation in the first place. I've maintained since "Dinosaurs on a spaceship" that the Doctor can speak dinosaur - I actually put it into one of my fan fiction pieces - and was thrilled to hear him say that in here. I hate that the dinosaur died, but that push woke the Doctor up better than anything else could.
Having Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Strax in here was genius. I love all the references to Sherlock Holmes, down to the name of the restaurant where the alien ship was hidden. I think my favorite early line was when the dinosaur coughs up the TARDIS, the inspector says it just laid and egg, and Vastra comments on his lack of a grasp of basic biology. I also love that she's the only one not shocked by the regeneration. Strax was, as always, total win. I'm not sure of my favorite part with him, it could well be everything, just because he's always so lost with human behavior, human clothes, humans in general that he seems to never know what's going on, but he'll happily destroy everything and sort it out later. I don't think this episode would have been half as good without those three in.
Clara, more than any companion in a while, was the audience again. I know that's the role for the companion in general, but her shock and mixed feelings as the new Doctor were perfect for me. Then again, I like Clara a lot more than most of the modern day companions (Jack is an exception) and that could well be why I'm relating to her so well once again. It's like it's the Doctor but it's not the Doctor and it's hard to work out exactly how I feel about that. Clara was truly brilliant in this episode. Her belief in the Doctor, even when she's isn't sure who he is, never wavered that he would come back for her and save her from the alien robots.
I'll admit that I didn't get the immediate reference to the robots attempting to rebuild themselves. As soon as the name popped up on the tube though, that got my mind working and I figured it out. I also really liked the references to the episode with 10 and Donna where they saw that face before. That reference I did pick up. I have a feeling that I missed one more classic reference, but it could well be an episode I haven't seen, so it's really quite possible that I did miss something important. Might have to go on one of the fan sites, cut through the bull and see what I can find.
Now to the Doctor himself. Like I said above, Peter has insane down. That might well be the easy part. The episode right after regeneration, the Doctor is always confused and trying to figure out who he is this time around. They might have overplayed that one a little, but it didn't take away from the show overall. At least I don't think so. I can't imagine what it's like to go through something like that, and given that this was not a standard regeneration, it's possible that there's more going on in there than anything thinks. Which regeneration was it where the Doctor spent a few episodes trying to convince his companion it was still him even though he was completely different? Five into Six, I think. I haven't seen that one, so I might be misremembering. I could still see traces of 11 in 12, and I hope those stay. Not that I want 12 to act like 11 because that won't work, but every so often it seems like they still pull on their previous regeneration and that part comes out. It's when the fandom always says "your...........is showing." So something like 11, your 10 is showing. The ramble referencing the long scarf was fantastic.
He's still the Doctor. I think he always stays the same at the core, even with everything changing, in his hearts it's still him, and that helps everyone get past the shock of regeneration. I think this is going to be interesting. Do I think I can come to love Peter, probably. Not nearly as much as I love Tom and Matt, but I think I'll find a place for him in my heart. With Clara leaving the show, it'll be interesting to see how the "Impossible Girl" storyline is wrapped up. I hope the Moff had enough warning to be able to play that out completely because it'll be a let down otherwise. Yeah, I know it was partly explained last season, but I have the feeling there's more to it than that. Just something nagging at me as a writer myself. It's like some piece is still hiding from us, and I'm curious to see if I'm right or not.
I'd forgotten they shot a phone call from 11 to Clara for the end of this episode. I was in tears the whole time because it just drove home that 11 is gone and 12 is now the Doctor. It's going to take some getting used to. It really will. I did love when Clara hugged him and he said he didn't think he was a huggy man this time, and she said he didn't have a say in that one. She keeps him in line, and that's something the Doctor hasn't had in a while. The reference to Amy was unexpected, and with Clara's reaction, I don't think she knows about the Ponds. I remember reading somewhere that the Doctor purposely regenerated to this face because it looks like an older Rory and he's Scottish like Amy. That was a fan theory, and it's heart-breaking to think about if it is true. We all know he never got over losing the Ponds like he did, and I know he blames himself for what happened. That's one of the problems with the Doctor, he's so good at hiding his pain, it's always hard to impossible to know what he's really thinking about.
So, I'm still curious. I want to see where they take this Doctor, how they're going to work with him. I'm sure I'll be commenting on things because it's lonely down here. Two Whovians at work, one isn't watching the current season (hasn't seen the 50th or end of 11's run) and the other is super-busy and I only see him every couple of weeks or so. *sighs* It makes me miss Zeppoz and the group of Whovians I worked with there. I'll have to hit Facebook and see what they think of things. I might be able to get a discussion going over there. Maybe.