A Day Late Review of “Deep Breath”

Well it finally happened.  Something Doctor Who fans have been anticipating for what seemed like forever. Series 8 finally premiered.  We finally got to meet the 12th Doctor and spend more than just a couple of minutes with him and get to know him a little bit.  The question now that it’s all over is, do we want to get to know this Doctor better?

The first thing I noticed while watching this episode is that the opening credits have been upgraded.  I know they change with each Doctor and sometimes during a Doctor’s run, but this time it seemed like they put a little more budget behind the credits.  They were crisper and cleaner, and just a little more “made for HD.”  Overall, visually, I liked them.  The song for the opening credits was updated as well, and this didn’t score well for me.  It was still the same song, essentially, but they tried to vary it enough that it almost didn’t sound the same.  Like having a best friend in grade school, moving away and not seeing them for 20 years.  When you see them again, they look familiar, you can tell it’s them, but they are also very different.  Overall, the changes to the song were not needed and I wasn’t a fan.  Maybe it will grow on me.

I was looking forward to the episode.  Like many fans, i had speculated about what this new Doctor was going to be like, and I couldn’t wait to see it.  I was hoping this episode would begin to answer some questions about the Doctor’s new self.  I forgot that it was being done by Steven Moffat.  He likes asking questions way more than he likes answering them.  Just when you think you might actually get to the bottom of something, you realize it’s all just a tease and there is a lot more to go before getting to the bottom.

Before you go any further, I must warn you there will be spoilers ahead.  This is not a review that comes out just in time for the episode to premier for the public, or just after the episode has aired.  It is a “Day Late” review, so i assume most people who are interested have seen “Deep Breath” by now, but if you haven’t, maybe you have it recorded, or it’s in your download queue, or whatever, then be warned, there will be spoilers ahead.

The episode begins in almost silly fashion.  A dinosaur mysteriously appears in Victorian London.  Nobody knows how it got there.  Enter Moffat’s favorite Doctor Who characters ever, Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.  It seems like these are the only supporting characters Moffat knows how to write, because they keep popping up.  All the time.  Seriously, am I the only one who is beginning to get sick of them?  Maybe I am, and that’s why they keep them around.  In any case, Vastra brilliantly deduces that the dinosaur must have time traveled.  Then Jenny notices it has something in its…excuse me, Vastra does point out, her throat.  She coughs (the dinosaur) and out comes the TARDIS.  The Doctor comes stumbling out followed by Clara and we get the classic modern regeneration episode, where the Doctor has no idea who he is or what’s going on.  He apparently also has a thing for big, sexy dinosaurs.  It’s a good thing they have arrived in Victorian London and that Vastra and Jenny and Strax are there to help Clara through this rough regeneration time.

This whole sequence began to get absurd and strange for me.  I had heard all about how this Doctor was going to be all serious and dark compared to number 11, and this was serious or dark, it was silly and strange.  He kept flirting with this dinosaur and his lack of Doctor like skill was just obnoxious.  The good news is that the episode did get better from here.

Well, not all of it was better.  Clara has seen all the Doctors, 1-11, and even the War Doctor.  This whole idea of regeneration should not be strange to her.  She, out of all the companions ever, should get it.  She has spent time with each of the Doctors, yet she cannot accept that this man is the Doctor.  She saw him regenerate, and she can’t accept it.  The whole episode is her wondering if he is really the Doctor and moping because she just doesn’t know if she knows who the Doctor is anymore.  I just couldn’t buy it.  It takes a call from 11 on her mobile at the end to convince her, and she still hesitated.  It was just confusing to me.

In any case, the dinosaur gets murdered as the Doctor is trying to figure out a way to send her home, while win his night-shirt.  The murder puts him on the case and he begins to investigate, and we begin to see that his Doctor means business.  As he is beginning to investigate, I really started to appreciate this more serious Doctor.  And, we see a moment where he blurs the lines between right and wrong, as he steals a coat from a tramp, using the line “No point in us both being cold.”  He and Clara both reply to an ad to meet for lunch in a specific restaurant.  An add they both believe the other placed in the paper, but neither one did. And as they are both discussing Clara’s egomania, they realize that none of the other diners happen to be people.  They are all robots, and  this restaurant is a front for cyborgs harvesting human parts to power their ships. (Yes, these are the same robots we see in the “Girl in the Fireplace”, and you will get frustrated as the Doctor cannot remember where he has seen it before) Clara and the Doctor get brought into the basement and meet the lead cyborg and discover what is happening.  They head for the door, and the Doctor seemingly leaves Clara behind, to face the cyborgs alone.  She tries to hide among them and escape by not breathing, but eventually gives in and is discovered.  She has a great face off with the lead cyborg and the Doctor ends up being there to save her, hiding as one of the cyborgs.  As the army of robotic men and women descend on the pair, Clara says the magic word, and Vastra, Jenny, and Starx come down from the rafters to save them.  The Doctor and the lead Cyborg break off from the group and have a great back and forth argument.  The Doctor is pleading for the cyborg to end it by jumping from his escape pod, and threatening that he might end it for the machine.  They go back and forth, and it all ends when the lead cyborg ends up dead, having either jumped or been pushed out of the escape pod and landing on a spire that does him through.  We don’t know, and it is left ambiguous, if the Doctor pushed him, adding to the intrigue of this new Doctor.

The cyborg ends up in some paradise, we don’t know what it is with a girl named Missy, who claims to be the Doctors girlfriend.  I didn’t recognize her, so I don’t know who she is, but she seems to know a lot about the Doctor and what he will and won’t do.

By and large, this episode does why it is supposed to.  It introduces the Doctor to the audience as well as his companion and cast of recurring characters.  It also introduces some of the story for this upcoming series.  It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.  We definitely saw that the Doctor has a darker side now, more serious.  We also get confirmation that there will be no flirting with Clara and this new Doctor, which is a plus for me.  Overall, I liked the new Doctor so far.  He isn’t my favorite, but to be fair, he has only been in one episode, so I need to give him some time.  I think this series will be going in a different direction.  A lot of people were saying that this new Doctor would be somewhat similar to Tom Baker, and I can see that a little bit.  Maybe a little like Colin Baker, a little darker, minus the clown suit.  I am interested to see where it goes, and personally can’t wait to watch next week.

What were your thoughts?  Love it? Hate it? Wait and see?  Share them with us in the comments, we would love to hear from you.

Jake Dietz
Jake Dietz is a humble bank employee by day, and super dad to 5 little monsters by night. He enjoys all things geeky. That's why he started this blog. He considers himself a member of many fandoms, and dreams of the day when all geeks, everywhere, can find a way to live together in harmony.

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