In the 21st century, Doctor Who has always put a heavy amount of focus on season premieres and season finales. When a new dynamic is being introduced, whether that is a new Doctor or a new companion, the narrative of their introduction is always supported by several circuses’ worth of outlying publicity and viewer anticipation. “Rose,” “Smith and Jones,” “The Eleventh Hour,” and “The Bells of Saint John,” all debuted with this expectation and more or less performed admirably, even though Doctor Who stories aren’t really designed to withstand such scrutiny.
An oft-unspoken result of that scrutiny is that we usually don’t get to see what impact the new companion/Doctor will have going forward until the episode after their debut. “The End of the World,” “Gridlock,” and “The Beast Below” all carry this peculiar tone and “The Rings of Akhaten” is no different. Even though the episode makes no sense.
“The Perfect Mate” Written by Rene Echevarria and Gary Perconte and Michael Piller Directed by Cliff Bole Season 5, Episode 21 Production episode 40275-221 Original air date: April 27, 1992 Stardate: 45761.3
Regeneration can be confusing for even the most ardent Doctor Who fan. Our intrepid hero literally becomes a new person and the adjustment is always a little heartbreaking, as though you have to say goodbye to one friend in order to gain another. The process itself is woolly; the Doctor himself admitting upon his seventh transformation that it was “a lottery” and that he had never been any good at it.
From the piece: (Since writing Leaving Mundania, Stark has become a great Larp supporter. “At this moment in time,” states Stark, “I definitely have roleplay fever, and the prescription seems to be more Larp.”)