This is Part 3 of Doctor Who and the Rightly Broken Rule, which gives Mr. Capaldi a chance to start off his career with a bang.
When we last left our protagonists, the TARDIS had continued a recent trend of behaving oddly and was in the process of whisking them somewhere or somewhen. We'll cut right into the action.
THE DOCTOR: [Picking up a pebble and licking it] Oh yes. It's most definitely 2014. October I think. . . still getting a feel for these taste buds.
JEN: She left me with a message, too.
CLARA: A messsage?
JEN: For both of you. She says she's not coming back until you break the right rule.
THE DOCTOR: The right rule?
JEN: That's what she said. And that you had to do it spectacularly or she'd never see.
THE DOCTOR: She did not!
JEN: I'm pretty sure she did.
CLARA: What does she mean?
THE DOCTOR: I think we're in a lot of trouble.
JEN: We probably should get off the street while we're talking
THE DOCTOR: Let's follow your arm. [nodding to the herd, who had just fished their odd grooming routine and were getting in line behind Jen] They don't do that here, by the way.
JEN: What, the Bearsuit?
CLARA: I think he means they don't walk at all. They're just . . . teddy bears.
CLARA: [Looks around] Ah! Solved! Back in a moment.
[Cut to the group walking down the sidewalk. Jen is leading and pulling a Red Ryder wagon with her herd loaded in like a bunch of Teddy Bears]
GRIFF: So . . . I'd love to know what this bit about us being in trouble was about.
THE DOCTOR: I think she wants me to do something very naughty.
GRIFF: [To Clara] Is he always this hard to get straight answers out of?
CLARA: I don't think he'd know a straight answer if it . . if it. . did a thing like one would do.
[Everyone looks at The Doctor]
THE DOCTOR: Oh! Look! We're here! [Strides ahead of Jen to the door and knocks]
[After a moment there's various behind-the-door sounds and the door opens]
CRAIG OWENS: Who are you?
THE DOCTOR: I'm the Doctor!
CRAIG: I don't need a doctor with a bunch of [looking at assemblage] . . . are you selling something?
THE DOCTOR: It's ME! The Doctor!
[A shortish alien appears at the doorway]
STRAX: Clara! Did you bring enemies to slay? [Nodding to the future earthlings] [hopefully] Are these them?
CRAIG: [To Clara] You know him? Do you know why he's here?
THE DOCTOR: Strax!
STRAX: Doctor? Did you get a new head?
THE DOCTOR: I did!
CRAIG: Doctor? Is that really you?
CLARA: [To Craig] It really is.
THE DOCTOR: In the flesh! Well, different flesh, I regenerate . .did I tell you that? You knew that, right? I can never keep track. Do you like?
CRAIG: Well, It's a lot less . . .
CRAIG: Exactly. [To Clara] Who are you?
CLARA: I'm his companion!
CRAIG: [Whispering] Isn't he a bit old for you?
CLARA: [Loudly] What, and not for you?
CRAIG: I. . . what?
GRIFF: [To Kaylee and Jen] Are either of you following this?
JEN: I hope not.
THE DOCTOR: I'm so sorry! Where are my manners. [Steps inside Craig's house]
CRAIG: I kind of recognize the barging.
THE DOCTOR: Clara, this is Craig. Craig helped me save the Earth at least one and a half times. Craig, this is Clara. She's impossible and quite amazing. Future Earth-people, this is Craig, who I've just described. Craig, this is Griff, Kaylee, Jen, and her teddy bears who have many names. [Pausing] Did I miss anyone?
[Clara points at Strax]
THE DOCTOR: Strax? Oh! Strax! Yes. This is Strax, loyal friend, Sontarran warrior, and nurse.
KAYLEE: [Partly to herself] He's an alien, isn't he? He's an alien and I'm not surprised. I actually have a surprise cap, don't I? Like. . there's only so surprised I can be in one day before I need to reset or something? Yes, that's probably it.
STRAX: So why am I here, anyway?
CLARA: You don't know?
STRAX: I do not! I got a call from Madame Vastra to come to this address because she said you'd be here and her and Jenny were solving a case that required they go clubbing tonight. I made it quite clear I felt quite qualified clubbing people but she would not budge.
[Strax gestures dramatically at Craig]
STRAX: Instead when I got here there was just this huge boy and his tiny clone.
CLARA: [To the future Earthlings] Madame Vastra's a . . . well, she's kind of a dinosaur. Like the sort you were talking about. Jenny's her wife. I'm pretty sure Craig doesn't have a tiny clone . . . he probably means a baby.
STRAX: Baby! That's what he called it! It certainly isn't very useful whatever it is.
KAYLEE: Never mind. It's back. I'm surprised again.
CRAIG: Does anybody have the slightest idea what's going on?
JEN: The TARDIS sent us. She said that you'd be perfect and that you were one of the best people she met.
CRAIG: Me? She's a she? She talks?
THE DOCTOR: [Acting a smidge put off] You'd think she'd have just told me.
CLARA: [Snarkily] Did you regenerate into a better listener?
THE DOCTOR: Hey now! I listen . . .
[Clara stares at the Doctor, arms crossed]
THE DOCTOR: What? I get around to it eventually!
JEN: So, now that that's explained. . . what are you going to do?
CLARA: What WAS that about anyway? Breaking the right rule?
KAYLEE: [To Jen] She didn't say?
JEN: Nope. I've got a guess, but given that it's his rules we're talking about, his thoughts are what matters here.
THE DOCTOR: It's not my rules, it's my peoples' rules!
CRAIG: There's more of you?
THE DOCTOR: Not at the moment, no.
CLARA: So what are we doing?
THE DOCTOR: Well. . . that depends.
THE DOCTOR: Whether we change the future.
CLARA: All of it? [points to the future Earthlings] What happens to them?
THE DOCTOR: Not quite sure. . . little changes tend to work themselves out. Big ones . . . less so. They might cease to have existed, or not. This is kind of messy territory.
JEN: We could cease to exist?
THE DOCTOR: That's assuming we do anything, which I haven't decided yet.
KAYLEE: It doesn't matter. [Looks to Jen and Griff, who both nod] We have.
THE DOCTOR: Right, there's got to be some other way to get back to the TARDIS.
JEN: She means we're going to try and change the future, whether you help or not.
THE DOCTOR: Really? I'm pretty sure that's not the sort of thing I'm used to hearing.
KAYLEE: What would you do? We don't live by many hard and fast rules . . but the ones we do matter to us. We always try to do the best things we can do in any situation we're in.
CRAIG: But you might die!
JEN: But we'll do it with songs in our hearts and clear consciences.
STRAX: That's the spirit!
CLARA: [To the Doctor] Are you going to stop them?
THE DOCTOR: [The Doctor holds up a hand for a moment while finishing a thought] No. No I'm not, in fact. I think I'm going to help them?
CLARA: But what about some kind of paradox? What about them ceasing to exist if they succeed?
JEN: Stop worrying about us. Now that things are on the table we couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't try.
CRAIG: And neither can I. Look, I know I'm not some alien warrior or time traveler or person from the future or anything like that. I'm just a regular person. . . and I'm British on top of that. . . but I think I finally get it.
THE DOCTOR: Oh?
CRAIG: Well, that's it, isn't it? I'm just a regular person. But almost everyone is just a regular person, right? We're all waiting for important people to do things, but there are seven billion of us. It's all the rest of us that matter, and we keep not doing anything and just letting the noisy ones make all the decisions.
JEN: Wow. . . really? Is that how it used to work?
CLARA: You don't know? You're only a couple of hundred years from now!
KAYLEE: A lot changed when the coasts started to flood and the water shortages hit. When we recovered we changed our focus a bit.
GRIFF: Kaylee's a bit of history buff. We don't spend too much time on specifics of history by default except for discovery timelines and such. . .either that or it's tied to one of our passions and roles.
CRAIG: So you don't learn history? The Roman empire? What about World War 1? Or 2?
JEN: Why would I care about a bunch of wars? What good are they to know? Sure, we pick up bits and pieces playing games but honestly the thought of people killing other real people on purpose really freaks me out.
CRAIG: [Pauses] See? I want to live in a city full of people like them., or who want to be like them. I want to be like them. And I bet if there was one of them then almost everybody would want to make more. All my life I've been just a dot. Just a punctuation mark. . but that's all almost all of us are, isn't it? We're all just single letters or tiny words or dots. Sure, maybe some very important people are whole sentences or even a paragraph, but that's still nothing in the grand scheme of things, is it?
CLARA: I quite like that way of looking at things. What's a few wayward sentences in what. . a few Harry Potter books? They're not important unless the other sentences are paying attention to them.
CRAIG: [Blushing a little at the praise] Exactly! We just need to find a way to all ignore them, right? A way that protects people while they just. . go somewhere else. Offer them all some way to be surrounded by people who also are trying to be [he pauses, then looks over at the future Earthlings] like them. Who'd say no to that? Everybody that I wouldn't want around me anyway. I want to help them try.
JEN: [To Strax] How about you?
STRAX: Well, I kind of like wars, but [Looks at Doctor and Clara, both of whom are looking at him very seriously] . . . yes, yes. I'm in.
CLARA: [To the Doctor] Well then, there you have it. Are you really doing this?
THE DOCTOR: Trying to save billions of lives and completely change the future while breaking the most sacred vow I ever made?
CLARA: Something like that, yes.
THE DOCTOR: I'm beginning to think this was what I was made for all along. Let's see if we can turn a world full of mixed-up letters into some stories, shall we?
[Coming next: The Doctor and friends scheme in Doctor Who and the Rightly Broken Rule - Thinkery.]