Saturday, 23 August 2014

Doctor Who: Deep Breath

So. That happened.

Guys, I’m one of the biggest Doctor Who fans around, and I wanted to come in here gushing and screaming about the new season. I really did. I mean, I was so excited all day. It was Doctor Who day, and I spent all day in front of my TV, watching last season before the Deep Breath premiere.

I’m so sad to have to tell you…I can’t gush. I can’t scream. I actually pretty much hated this premiere. In my opinion, this was the worst premiere of the New Who.

I mean, haven’t we seen this exact episode before? Only then it was called The Girl in the Fireplace, and it had better writing, better directing, better editing…and Madame du Pompadour. And no Clara. Ugh, Clara.

WHY does Moffat insist on writing her so badly? Must she always need saving? Why is she such a shallow character?! And really, it’s all about her when the Doctor regenerates? The guy is confused and going through hell, and Clara’s all, “me, me, me!” Grr.

I will say, however, that Capaldi was a bright light that shone through the horribleness. When he flapped his jacket and asked, “What do you think?” That EXACT moment was when he became the Doctor to me. I’m so glad it didn’t take long. Heck, it took me 8 or 9 episodes to love Eccleston!

Okay, on to the episode itself! Here we go!

Victorian London. A huge t-rex is wandering the city. But it’s okay! Vastra, Jenny and Strax are on the case!

How did the dinosaur get to Victorian London? Well, we figure that out when it coughs up the TARDIS.

Out pops the Doctor—the NEW Doctor, and he’s still very much confused. Out pops Clara, who’s also very confused. And upset. And then the Doctor faints.

Queue the new opening credits. I love them. They’re really, really well done. They’re modern, and just really cool.

So we go on for a while—much like what happened in Tennant’s first episode--with the Doctor being confused and crazy. It’s boring, and old.

Clara, much like Rose in Tennant’s first episode, wants to change the Doctor back into the man he was. Vastra gets pissed at Clara and gives her hell. Basically the lizard lady tells Clara to grow up, he’s not her boyfriend, he trusts her, and now he has a real, true face, and not one he’s hiding behind to make people accept him.

Clara argues back, Jenny claps at Clara, and the Doctor writes in chalk on the floor of the bedroom for some reason. I get that that’s going to become his “thing”, but I didn’t get the point of it in this episode.

Oh, and then there are also clockwork robots. Yep, kinda like the ones in The Girl in the Fireplace. And these clockwork-type robots are also cutting up people—and dinosaurs?-- for parts to improve themselves. Déjà vu much?

The Doctor escapes out a window, because the door is too boring for him, and watches as the dinosaur spontaneously combusts for no apparent reason.

He steals a horse and goes galloping through London in his nightshirt, and the Paternoster’s and Clara also head to the scene of the dinosaur’s death.

The Doctor is very upset that the dinosaur died, and after Vastra tells him there have been similar deaths, he jumps into the Thames to, um..try to solve the crime? Okay, I have no idea why he jumped into the Thames. Because he’s still confused and crazy, I guess.

The next day, Clara finds a message in the paper to “the impossible girl”. She figures out the code, and she and the Doctor meet at a restaurant.

The two have a heated exchange—Clara’s acting like a child, and the Doctor is trying to make her see his side of things when he realizes they’re not in a normal restaurant. The restaurant is full of non-breathing clockwork robot-things.

And they also realize that neither of them placed the ad in the newspaper for them to meet.
Clara and the Doctor are trapped and taken under the restaurant. After an obligatory former companion reference—Amy is mentioned—they escape with the help of his sonic screwdriver, and the Doctor leaves Clara to fend for herself after they’re separated by a door.

Clara can’t hold her breath long enough, and she’s caught. Luckily, she still knows the Doctor, and he still has her back. Too bad she wouldn’t have his now that he’s old.
The Doctor saves Clara, as always, and when she says the code word (Geronimo!), the Paternoster’s glide (and fall) down from above.

The Doctor goes after the clockwork leader’s escape capsule as Clara and the Paternoster’s fight the rest.

The escape capsule is the restaurant, powered by a human skin balloon, and the Doctor makes many references to everything being very familiar. Again, déjà vu, much?

The Paternoster’s and Clara are overwhelmed, and very quickly losing the battle. The Doctor, after listening to the clockwork robot talk about reaching “paradise” and the “promised land”, flings open the restaurant doors and the two struggle.

Down below, after a beautiful Vastra/Jenny kiss, the rest of the clockwork robots fall still, dead.

And above, the clockwork leader is seen impaled on the spire of a building.

The Paternoster’s and Clara return home to find the TARDIS gone. Clara has given up hope of his return, but of course, the Doctor comes back for her.

Once aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor and companion realize that there’s a woman out there who’s trying very hard to keep them together. The woman who placed the ad in the paper, who’s probably the same woman from the shop who gave Clara the Doctor’s number so many months ago.

Alas, Clara makes the decision to go home, and stop travelling with a Doctor she no longer knows.

But, wait…things are about to change for her, and for us, forever. All the feels happen when the Eleventh Doctor phones Clara from Trenzalore, just before he regenerates. He asks her for help, and tells her he’s scared. Him, as in the new Doctor he’s become. He knows she’s afraid too, but he’s still himself, and she just needs to look to see that. I sobbed. I SOBBED. Yes, yes, this was a total fanwank scene, but it was really lovely. It was a lovely way for us, and for Clara, to say goodbye to Eleven, and finally welcome Twelve in the way he deserves to be welcomed.

The following scene is brilliant. Capaldi is brilliant. “I’m right here. Standing right in front of you.” Welcome, Mr. Capaldi. You *are* the Doctor, and you’re wonderful.

But, of course, this couldn’t be a Moffat-run show without a season-long story arc. Le sigh.
Apparently this season’s arc is…heaven? Someone named Missy—oh, the River Song fans are going to go wild with speculation now! Is she…? Isn’t she…? Is that the CAL? Ahhh, is River still alive?! 
OR: Rani. Gotta be the Rani. Right? I'm right, right? Guys? Guys?

Bah. Bah, I say.

So the clockwork guy wakes up in heaven, where Missy greets him and apologizes for her ‘boyfriend’.

Some thoughts:
-I’m so very glad Capaldi was able to keep his accent.
-So, why the Doctor choose that face? What is he trying to tell himself? We, of course, know he saw it in Pompeii .
-Did the Doctor push the clockwork dude? I think he did. I think this is a much darker Doctor, and a much more ruthless Doctor.
-Who’s Missy? Is that really heaven? What does that have to do with anything?

Best lines:
“Who frowned me this face?”
“These are attack eyebrows”
 “Oh! You’ve got a dinosaur too!”
 “Don’t look in that mirror! It’s furious!”
“Door. Boring. Not me.”
“I don’t think that I’m a hugging person now.”
And pretty much everything that came out of Strax’s mouth.

Okay, guys, tell me how wrong I am about this episode. I completely expect to be yelled at and told how crazy I am for disliking it as much as I did. But don’t forget to tell me WHY you liked it, too.

See you here next week for, Into the Dalek


  1. Laurie Riesberry24 August 2014 at 01:34

    Well, we enjoyed the episode, but I think it was really that we were enjoying Capaldi! I pretty much agree with everything you said about Clara. I was quite surprised with all the deja vu to The Girl in the Fireplace to be honest. Vastra, Jenny and Strax were fabulous as always but Capaldi was the shining star, and the ending was beautiful and I wanted to hug him so badly.

  2. Man do they need to stop bringing back these three insipid, gimmicky characters. They never made sense to begin with. Why they keep recurring is beyond me. ESPECIALLY Strax. He's pointless. Utterly, completely pointless. He's not even comic relief - for that he'd have to be funny. And the fact that he's NOT funny actually makes him WORSE than useless. He's actually harmful to the quality of a story.

    I get that Clara is a rather meagre character, because she was little more than a plot device/ratings stunt for the latter half of the second weakest season the series has had since its revival (the weakest being Ten+Rose). But I don't understand the venom so many fans have towards her. I just don't get it. She's not THAT bad a character. Certainly not in the face of such pithy characters as Jenny and Strax (Vastra could have potential in another time and another place, but Victorian London? Really? Stupid). Seriously, there are multiple levels of suck, and Clara is not the most severe case.

    Ultimately I disagree with the assessment that this is the worst premiere of NuWho. That has to be a tie between Partners in Crime and New Earth. I'd put it third, with Eleventh Hour being the best and Rose being the second.

  3. I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it.

    I'm still not used to Capaldi. I don't hate him, but I definitely do not love him like I loved Smith and Tennant. And I'm not used to him yet, although he had his entertaining moments.

    I guess that's why I don't view Clara as shallow. We've seen the doctor change over the course of several seasons. This is the FIRST time she's seen him change. Of course she is having trouble accepting it. Even those of us who are expecting him to change and used to him changing have trouble accepting it when it happens.

    My favorite part of the whole episode was the phone call, like you said. If it wasn't for that phone call, I wouldn't have cared for the episode very much.

    And I also liked the metaphor with Vastra. "Why did your veil disappear?" That was one of the best parts of the episode and I'm surprised you didn't write about it. Only people who can't stand her face see the veil. No one else does. I found that really interesting and neat. A veil that reveals more about the person looking at it than the person wearing it.

    Also, now I feel like I have to re-watch the entire episode, although I don't have a way to do so right now. But when I can, I will. My Mom and I thought that the similarities with this and the girl in the fireplace episode were done on purpose. That this creature was the same as those creatures. An earlier version of them. Are my Mom and I the only people who got that impression?

    I mean, those creatures obviously had the ability to time travel and were spying on that woman, so even if this episode took place at a later time in history, it was possibly for them to travel back to her.

    I mean, it's been awhile since I saw that episode, so maybe I am remembering things wrong.

    But didn't they ever spy on her through a mirror? Wasn't that one of the objects? And I kept thinking about that while Capaldi kept staring at the mirrors he was coming across. I swear he said one of those mirrors looked familiar and I thought that must be the same mirror that they used on the ship to travel back and forth and that's why he was saying that and saying he needed to remember something.

    Because his memory was shot and he was trying to remember that these creatures were the same as the ones who he dealt with when it came to the girl in the mirror episode.

    And those parallels made the episode seem more awesome to me.

    But Doctor Who is also hard to fully understand unless you watch episodes repeatedly, so I may be completely wrong.

    But this is why the familiarity with the creatures didn't bother me.

    The only part of the episode that bothered me is that Clara was holding her breath so long that she passed out, which is literally impossible to do no matter how much you want to. You'll also breath before your version gets blurry like hers does.

    1. So many replies. Hahaha!
      Okay, first, you can find me covering more shows over at
      She was awesome enough to take me on as a staff writer, and I'm having the time of my life over there. Come check it out!

      Secondly, I don't think I saw what you saw when it comes to Vastra's veil. It's just a veil. She took it off, and Clara didn't notice.
      At least that's what I'm sure happened.

      The Clockworks--yep, this episode was a 'sequel' of sorts to The Girl in the Fireplace. Don't care. Didn't want a sequel, and it wasn't even a GOOD sequel. :(

      I didn't see the mirror thing as being important to the episode. He was seeing himself in many mirrors because the writers were reminding us that he's a different man, and that he also has to accept that fact.

      But I did love Capaldi!

      Good to see you again too, E.B.! :D

    2. Ooooh! I will definitely check you out on that site. You are great at writing recaps!

  4. "I mean, those creatures obviously had the ability to time travel and were spying on that woman, so even if this episode took place at a later time in history, it was possibly for them to travel back to her." When I said this, I meant the creatures in the episode about the girl in the fire place. I think the creatures that we saw in this episode become those creatures, even though those exist in the past (both storyline wise and history wise.) There was too much evidence in this episode that they could pick up time travel from watching the doctor and also that they noticed all the mirrors he was looking at.

  5. By the way (sorry to comment three times in a row), but I just noticed that you are blogging again and that makes me so, so, so happy. I always loved your posts about my favorite tv shows. Even if you hate things I like or like things I hate, I feel like I have someone to talk to about all of it.