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DOCTOR WHO Review: “Deep Breath”

SPOILERS: This review/recap is exactly that. It talks about parts of the Doctor Who premiere episode in depth as well as rehashes some specific scenes. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, we urge you to do so before reading the following analysis. You have been warned.

And we’re back. Boy, it sure did feel like the time between “The Time of the Doctor” and now was especially lengthy, didn’t it? Especially as we kept getting tantalizing news bites, casting reports, set pictures, and eventually interviews pertaining to Doctor Who Series 8. But, tonight, it all became real again. Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor, staggered out of the TARDIS and began what looks to be his manic and slightly dickish tenure as the lead of our favorite show. Not only that, but his companion Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman, had to come to terms with this new man, and it seems it’s going to be an ongoing drama. “Deep Breath” had a lot to do, and the fact that it did that, plus added wackiness, cracking dialogue, and tense if not downright terrifying moments just solidified once again why this is my favorite show.

The episode, written by Steven Moffat and directed by Ben Wheatley, plays less like a feature film, as its length and screening in cinemas would have us believe, and more like a Christmas special, despite nothing having to do with Christmas going on. It’s Victorian London, which probably aids in that, and therefore allows for a few key things to happen: 1) some awesome costumes on both the heroes and antagonists, and 2) it allows the Paternoster Gang to come back. This is integral to the working of this story. If the Doctor is going to be all weird and aloof and crisis-y for a good portion of the story, Clara’s going to need someone to talk to, and who better than Vastra, Jenny, and Strax?

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Victorian London is in a tizzy (which is to say standing around and gasping) over the sudden appearance of a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex-looking thing in the Thames. Nobody knows how it got there, though Madam Vastra says she remembers those from when she was a little girl. Suddenly, the dino coughs and out flies the TARDIS, landing on the ground nearby. The Twelfth Doctor emerges ranting about dinosaurs and things and it becomes immensely clear that he doesn’t really remember anything, referring to Vastra, Jenny, and Strax in weird ways and then calls Clara “the not-me one,” and “the asking questions one.” He also thinks she’s Handles… so stuff’s going on with him. They eventually get him into a bedroom, where he rants about it being a bedroom, and Clara says for the first of many times that she doesn’t know who the Doctor is, which Vastra gets very huffy about and decides they need to do the veil thing again.

She forces Clara to “see through the veil,” accusing her of missing the younger-looking Doctor because she liked flirting with him, and says she’d have a better time flirting with a mountain range. This leads to Clara telling her off good and proper, which was my first favorite scene in the episode. The Doctor decides to go out and talk to the dinosaur only to see it burst into flames. The Doctor is horrified and quickly joined by the others who begin asking questions that aren’t the right ones. The Doctor says the right question is “Are there any other murders like this?” Which is a weird question, except there HAVE been. Some steampunky-robot people are murdering folks, removing pieces of their anatomy, and burning the bodies to hide the evidence of removal. People are saying it’s spontaneous combustion.

Eventually, Clara and the Doctor reconvene at a restaurant that turns out to be a front for these clockwork people, and they take organs from organic life forms to try to upgrade themselves. The Doctor determines that the only way to fool the dumb repair droids is to not breathe (hence “Deep Breath”). The Doctor abandons Clara at a certain point and she’s forced to outthink the droid, despite her tremendous fear. The Doctor returns, having disguised himself as a droid, and talks long enough to allow Vastra, Jenny, and Strax to find their way down underground and help defend, which is easier said than done. The Doctor and the lead droid end up high above the city in a balloon-powered escape vessel, and the Doctor knows that only the death of the lead droid will stop the others and so either the Doctor throws him out of the pod, or he throws himself out. Which actually happens, we don’t know.

Deep Breath 4

I’ve skipped quite a bit and haven’t yet talked about the denouement, but I wanted to address certain things separately. Plus, I’m assuming everyone’s seen the episode, so from here out I’m really going to talk openly. Be prepared.

Title Sequence
Holy crap did I love this. This sequence actually focuses on time and it swirling around, which I thought was gorgeous, and Murray Gold’s new, slightly whiny version of the theme tune is perfect for the more mysterious and less friendly version of the Doctor. Loved to bits.

Vastra and Jenny
I love these characters, and I love that they’re unabashedly married in the 1800’s in England, despite them both being women and one of them is a lizard. I liked Vastra’s point that in public they have to pretend Jenny is just the maid in order to fit in, and how she related that to the Doctor and his recent series of young faces. I do worry though that Moffat is slightly running the “they’re married” thing into the ground; not THAT they’re married, but just that they mentioned it a LOT in this episode and made sure they said kind of off-handed randy things to each other just to make sure people get it. “THIS IS A LESBIAN COUPLE EVERYONE!” As if anyone was still unclear. Also, I kinda think Vastra was unduly cruel to Clara at the beginning, but I’m glad Clara got to monologue at her as a rebuttal.

Strax
I had worried Strax was getting TOO silly, but I think in this one he’s just the right amount of silly. He still just flatly doesn’t understand things, but he at least knows Clara better now. Though I’m not sure why he constantly wanted her to get her clothes off. That was a bit weird. Funny lines, though.

The Dinosaur
That dinosaur sure didn’t do a whole lot other than be a dinosaur, did it? It just sort of stayed in one place and roared at the Doctor before getting set on fire. Kind of a waste of an interesting idea if you ask me, but it got the ball rolling in a new and different way. Man, this show is a jerk to dinosaurs; two murdered in as many series.

Dinosaur

The Droids
An interesting idea to have them be kind of reverse-Cybermen, constantly getting new organic parts to replace the ones that have gotten old. Also liked that they’re from the sister ship to the Madame du Pompadour from “The Girl in the Fireplace,” but the Doctor can’t remember it.

Hold Your Breath
Effing terrifying.

Clara
Clara was again amazing, as she has been almost her entire run on the show, certainly for the last three episodes. We see a different side of her because she’s obviously much more on edge with this new Doctor and he brings out other parts of her personality, he pushes her buttons a lot more. She gets to shine in a few moments: the telling-off of Vastra which I’ve already spoken about, the scene in the restaurant which I’ll talk about in a moment, and the fantastic scene where she is scared but effectively outthinks and out-talks the droid who doesn’t negotiate very well. That’s Clara’s shining achievement if you ask me, and it’s made even better by the fact that as far as she knows she’s been abandoned entirely by the Doctor but still won’t give up the information.

Clara Deep Breath

The Doctor
Now we come to the biggie, a whole new Doctor complete with a whole new set of weird foibles and peccadilloes. I thought Capaldi came out of the gate guns blazing. He’s very strange and shouty and, a bit like a know-it-all kid, doesn’t care all that much if he hurts someone’s feelings or effectively leaves his friend to die. He does have really nice moments with Clara, too, though where he talks her up good and proper to the villains. The scene when the Doctor is talking nonsense to the vagrant in the alleyway is great. He does the usual New Face barking (especially his can-opening eyebrows that are independently cross) but this time he says he remembers this face but can’t quite place it and wonders why he’d chosen this face specifically. Clearly, they’re going to tie in Capaldi with the person he played in “The Fires of Pompeii,” probably entirely ignoring how Capaldi also played a character in Torchwood, but no matter. It’s also explained that the Doctor is Scottish now, actually Scottish apparently, and that explains his accent and his general grumpiness. Nice touch, coming from a Scottish actor and Scottish writer.

The Restaurant Scene
I’ll admit, as much as I liked a lot of the elements of the first half of the episode, the scene when Clara and the Doctor meet in the restaurant after both “figuring out” the puzzle in the paper, is where the episode really came to life for me and kept me invested for the rest of the run time. It’s just a brilliant and hilarious bit of writing and acting. I love this scene to no end. Every line lands perfectly and the two characters have a good ol’ row about Clara’s apparent egomania. They’re catty to each other in a way that only good friends can be and I let out a belly laugh a couple of times. Then it suddenly switches into serious “Oh crap it’s a trap” mode but they don’t lose their verbal edge toward each other. It’s so important that this scene is here and goes on as long as it does. It establishes their relationship and gives them a buddy comedy to work through, and both actors really shine with this kind of dialogue.

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The End Bits
After being gone awhile, and Clara maybe thinking she’ll be stranded with the Paternoster Gang (though in her heart knowing she won’t), the Doctor comes back and says he needs to make up for the wrongs he’s done. He says he’s not Clara’s boyfriend; she says she never thought he was, to which he replies that he didn’t say it was her mistake. This is very weighty, you guys. The Doctors of the New Series, obviously without every expressing it, always did seem like they considered themselves the beau of their young and pretty companions. There was a jealousy when other guys were involved, even a bit between the Eleventh Doctor and Rory. This tells us that everything is going to change and he’s not going to be that guy anymore.

Clara says she can’t stay with the Doctor because she doesn’t recognize him. She gets a phone call which she takes outside and *surprise* it’s the Eleventh Doctor, calling from Trenzalore right before he regenerates. He says that Clara should stay with the new man because he’ll need her, then laments his face getting older and his hair going grey. This is, I think, as much for the audience’s benefit as for Clara’s. The show, especially in America, really picked up momentum with the Eleventh Doctor and they wanted to make sure it was a nice sendoff and handover to Capaldi so people will accept him. Maybe unnecessary but at least handled in a classy way.

Clara finally “sees” the Doctor in Capaldi’s face and gives him a hug, though he’s not much of a hugger anymore. He definitely seems like a younger man in an older man’s body, the exact opposite of Smith. I like it.

The Denouement
We get the first look at what I’m guessing will be this series’ throughline: Heaven. Michelle Gomez, who we saw in production materials was playing a character called “The Gatekeeper to the Nethersphere,” makes her first appearance, claiming to be named Missy, welcoming the half-faced lead droid to his fabled Promised Land. She refers to the Doctor as her boyfriend, also. Intriguing. I’m interested to see where all this goes. Could it be River? Doubt it. Could it be the Rani? Eh, it’s possible. Could it be the Master now a woman? Seems unlikely. Could it be someone else entirely? That’s what I’m guessing.

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There are lots other little bits and bobs I enjoyed about this episode, but this is already 2,000 words long and who has the time? Just go watch it again. Overall, I think “Deep Breath” worked incredibly well for introducing a new Doctor, reestablishing his relationship with a companion, setting things up for the future, and giving us questions about what kind of a man the Twelfth Doctor really is. The dinosaur was unnecessary, really, but it did look cool, and ultimately the episode picked up when they got to the restaurant. Still, a really fine opening to a series. Away we go! Next week, an episode entitled “Into the Dalek” written by Moffat and Phil Ford and directed by Wheatley. See you then.

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266 comments

  • I think the dino bit and “conversation” played more into the doctor’s psyche of being out of place and alone, more so than just a tire to Vastra.  And why can’t paradise for a droid be Idris, or a tardis?  Idris called the doctor hers too. 

    • I was genuinely starting to worry I was the only one who saw the dino-translation/doctor monologue as a parallel. He’s saying he’s alone and that no one sees him (veil stuff) and that it’s all different and he doesn’t know his place.THAT’s the point of the dinosaur. He’s translating for the T-Rex but it’s also his own feeling at that point. 

      • I did think that too…and the roof scene where he’s promising the T.Rex to take her home was a bit slapstick, with all the sign language stuff (Ms. T.Rex was miles away), and strangely it reminded me of Dory in Finding Nemo talking to the whale….there is supposed to be a “prequel” scene in the movie theater version which I hope will set up the reason why they ended up being gobbled Tardis and all by the poor T.Rex in the first place…he did ask Clara if she knew how to fly the Tardis at the end of the Matt Smith regen to him…going Monday to see it and catch the other additional material only in the theater version!

      • Matt Smith was the 12th Doctor,not the 11th.Peter Capaldi is the first Doctor of the new regeneration cycles(13th).How many of you have forgotten about Paul McGann and John Hurt???

    • Time lords can only change genders by committing suicide to regenerate. That is against the rules in time lord society. That is a death sentence and the master is too prideful.

      • Yes but you’re talking about laws to a civilization that doesn’t technically exist right now (or it does frozen in a pocket dimension). Their laws no longer apply.  They no longer have any influence over events. 

      • Canon is extremely loose in Doctor Who, and that’s an extremely obscure part of canon. I doubt Moffat would reintroduce that, especially with the dodgy link between suicide and gender transition.
        Remember that would also mean the Doctor would have to kill himself to change into a woman, which Moffat has said will probably happen in the future, and I don’t think Doctor Who would ever show on-screen suicide (even the off-screen suicide of Adelaide was questionable)

        • There’s no reason he can’t come back as a woman. Gaiman’s episode was under Moffat’s watch. It’s solid canon. And the Doctor has killed himself numerous times, to save others. In “Night of the Doctor” the Sister said “the change doesn’t have to be random.” If the change is random without the Sisterhood’s assistance, then there’s no reason why not.

      • Not true, the Sisterhood of Karn’s elixir could make one anything one wanted to be, man or woman.  Check back with the “Night of the Doctor” webisode where Eight rengenerates into the War Doctor.

        • True. But time lords hate the sisterhood. Actually Hate is an understatement. Breaking the regeneration rule will get you locked in a tardis with no way out or force you to become a renegade to avoid it. 

  • “The Doctor returns, having disguised himself as a droid…” And not just any disguise. Looking closely at that face – it looks awfully like a cast of Matt Smith’s features. Twelve was literally ripping off his old Eleven face to reveal himself. But of course, the whole episode was about looking beneath the veil or the mask.

  • I really like this review, thanks! I keep thinking about how Moffat keeps responding to fans through his work, though (Sherlock Season 3 ep 1 anyone?). I have heard, in the interim between series 7 and this premiere, that a lot of people aren’t into Clara (Amy is my fav, but I really like Clara and her sort of anti-Amy personality). 
    I think that came out a lot in the episode in the quick asides about her ego and passive aggressiveness. Also they seemed to decide that adding a bit more emotional weight to her role would draw audiences to her. Before letting her go, which is interesting. 
    Another example is the continued reference to the doctor being old. It leads up to the final scene with Matt Smith blatantly handing off the torch, and it seemed forced. I guess the writers were worried about how Capaldi would be received. I don’t know how necessary that was, because honestly, while I was cautiously optimistic about him, I think Capaldi’s going to be brilliant!
    Anyway, this is all nitpicking. I LOVED IT! I think Capaldi is going to be fantastic and I really hope there’s a push to find and re-open Galifrey into the mix. I suppose we’ll see.

    • Actually, I am thrilled that the doctor is more serious and the series looks to be ‘darker’. Felt the Doctor was getting too ‘bubbly/happy’ to be taken seriously — as much as I loved David Tennant and Matt Smith in the role, I felt they were trying too hard to make the series ‘popular’ with the younger generation, and for both of them, their best scenes (imho of course) are when they break away from that and show their darker selves, 

  • I agree with the bit that Missy might be the Master. The Master and the Third Doctor had a lot of battles, and that’s clearly who the Twelfth Doctor is patterned from. When he emerged from the Tardis, he was a grumpy old man in an old-fashioned suit, the First Doctor. By the second act, he was a vagabond, a witty tramp in a tattered coat, the Second Doctor. At the end, he was a more debonair gent in a dark suit with velvet highlights, the Third Doctor. So I think it will be revisiting the old days of the Third Doctor vs. the Master.

  • This review helped to clear up a few issues I had with the episode. I’m really going to miss Smith but, like he said, give 12 a chance, so I’ll try. Can’t wait until next Saturday.

    • Well her experience with the other Doctors was fairly limited, and it was all to save her Doctor. She may have known about regeneration, but it would be a lot harder to accept that her Doctor is gone and this new man is in his place. Just my take on it. Maybe I’m overthinking it.

        • Her consciousness was ripped apart and spread along his timeline.  Also, every incarnation of her other than her present one died.  Also, when Matt Smith’s doctor reached in and pulled her out of his timeline, she makes a mention of her memories of it being hazy…..So, even though she’s technically seen his other incarnations, she doesn’t have that memory and hasn’t been through the whole regeneration process like this.  Besides, she was in love with 11, but it wasn’t only his face that changed, it was his entire personality, and that would throw anybody for a loop.

        • “She” wasn’t in literally every point of his timeline as a single consciousness, she was ripped apart and spread along the continuum, she doesn’t know her other selves or have an understanding of her other lives.

        • yes, but fleeting glimpses of him, not prolonged adventures with him. Seeing someone for an hour every day isn’t the same as seeing them for a couple of days all at once.

    • I think it’s more in reference to the drastic personality change. I don’t think she saw that coming. That with his physical changes was just too much why I think they added that part in, for the her and audience.

  • Missy is most likely Tasha Lem, who is most likely Melody Pond.

    Missy oversees a “heaven” that robots go to.  Which I suspect their conciousness is uploaded to a server…most likely the Papal Mainframe.

    Which is headed by Tasha Lem, Mother Superious of the Papal Mainframe.  Who, as we know, has a history with the doctor (but not the 11th…she didn’t recognize his face a Trenzalore.)

    River’s conciousness was also uploaded to a computer system (Silence in the Library).  And she reaches out to the Paternoster gang in The Name of the Doctor after her death and upload in Silence in the Library.

    SO…I suspect that River, Tasha, and Missy are all the same character…or that Missy is an aspect of Tasha’s personality who resides in the Papal Mainframe.

    Haven’t quite figured out if Tasha is a regeneration of River before she died, or a manifestation of her after she died.  She could be a hologram (if they can project holographic clothes in the time of the Church of the Papal Mainframe, a holographic body is concievable.  However she underwent a dalek conversion process.  So that rules out hologram.

    Ganger with a personality graph maybe?

    • Comments from other sites that I’ve been reading have called her an “evil Mary Poppins.”

      But did we ever learn WHY Madame Kovarian had such a hatred for the Doctor that she used Amy and Rory to create Melody Pond/River Song to kill the Doctor?

       Anyway, Missy at the end of the show called the Doctor “her boyfriend” ~~ and immediately I thought that she reminded me of a much younger version of Madame Kovarian. If the Doctor jilted her at some time, perhaps this is a younger version of her, seeking revenge. Perhaps she (like River Song) is living in an opposite timeline than the Doctor’s timeline, so as he seems older, she seems younger.

    • You may be on to something re Tash being River–11 DOES make a comment to here about controlling her ‘inner psychopath’.  Melody was the psychopath engineered to kill the Doctor, and River even referred to herself as a psychopath.  Still, don’t want anyone but Alex Kingston playing the role.

    • This is what I told my kids.  I think there are a lot of clues to this from her possessiveness over him right down to the visual clues like the fountain in the middle of the room/garden…  my Kids think I’m wrong as usual.

  • During our watch party my friend asked if the robot things had ever been around before. I responded with “Well, there were these clockwork robots in 18th century France during the 10ths era.” Low and behold, I was right (not to brag, but I felt SUPER clever after that)…All-in-all I loved the episode, Capaldi’s accent was a bit hard for me to understand at the beginning, but that quickly passed. I could have done without the Matt Smith scene at the end, I love Matt but I felt it took something away from Peter’s coming out party. Finally, I was a bit disappointed that Capaldi didn’t get a big “I am the Doctor” speech like Tennant gave to the Sycorax or Smith gave to the Atraxi. 

    • I was disappointed that he didn’t come to himself in the end as well. However, I like that they left that to be developed later because he is still suffering from regeneration sickness and he still has not figured himself out quite yet. It is a interesting dynamic. I hope some of the ADDness and the madness still sticks a bit, I like it.

      I feel the phone call was important to the story because Clara really, really liked Eleven(13), so she needed some closer in order to realize the the man in front of her was the still the man she cared about. I feel that the scene reinforced Capaldi more than taking away his thunder.  

      I liked that we got to see Clara cross and not so sure of her self or the Doctor that was interesting to see. Over all it was a good introduction to the new face of The Doctor and I look forward to all the Saturdays to come.

    • This is his first regeneration in a new cycle, so it’s going to come with complications we may not have seen before and will just be tougher on the Doctor. Considering the whole episode was about lifting veils and the Doctor trying to remember who he was and find himself, I think it would have been way too soon for him to have an “I am the Doctor” speech when he’s still figuring it all out. Give it time – I’m sure we’ll get one, and when we do, it’ll be worth waiting for.

  • Maybe they will mention his TW character. It’d be more like him. I can’t remember his accent for the show, but it’d be far closer to actually being Scottish than his Roman character would’ve… And since he’s actually properly Scottish now, it makes more sense.

    But then the show would have to explain why he ignored that whole series of events that he could’ve helped out with… Or how else would he know that random nobody?

  • I’m curious to see how P. Capaldi will work out and am eager for him to do well. But I am _SO_ sick of steampunk storylines in Who!  Okay, it’s been done to death, but beyond that it’s so absurd in its rewriting history routine that it’s gone far beyond annoying.

  • I don’t know yet… Definitely don’t hate him and he’s piqued my curiousity… Love the accent, though and I know I’ll grow to love him as I have the rest of them…

     
    There is a bit of #10 in his mannerisms, who knows if that is because he’s also Scottish or because he originally “met” #10… and he faced an enemy of #10…

     
    I like to think he’s Scottish because the last person that #11 saw was Amy… and he does talk about Amy a bit. And he mentioned the long scarf, I wonder if it was because #4 was Capaldi’s Doctor growing up or was it because Tom Baker appeared in the 50th anniversary?

     
    As Real_Ski said, I was hoping for that speech moment, but I think it was sweet that he showed that vulnerability in the end…

     
    As much as I love #11 and as happy as I was to see him again, yes he did steal some thunder from the new guy. And he did the speech instead! But I think for new viewers, it helps them to tie it together and have some closure for #11 and to accept #12.

     
    As for who Missy is, I’m definitely sticking around to find out. Congrats to the Moff, he does know how to keep you interested.

    At the end of the day, I’m sticking around because I love the Doctor, no matter who he becomes.

  • Loved loved loved this episode! Thought it was cool that he mentioned Amy “times like this I really miss Amy”. Doesn’t happen often that the doctor brings up previous companions. Also that the “heaven” scene looked exactly like the garden scene from “two rivers” facility where Amy was trapped. 

  • Absolutely giddy with Capaldi!Independently Cross Eyebrows!!!
    I’m probably so wrong about this, but the clockwork guys in this episode kept screaming Cybermen to me…then I’m seeing all the clues to the Fireplace clockworks which makes so much sense. But…could the 2 be somehow related?Gatiss on After Who, somewhat under his breath, kind of confirmed what Alton Brown guessed that Missy might be the same Missy from Nightmare in Silver who was attacked by a Cyberman and not seen from again.Could this be another link to Fireplace Clockworks and Cybermen?Then again, Gatiss is tricksy. Rule #1: The Doctor lies. 
    Speaking of Gatiss…Loved the Paternoster Gang and all the Sherlockian references!
    Sorry about this, everyone is in bed and I needed to get this off my chest!

  • Overall enjoyed the episode. I thought the dialogue funny, quick, and smart.  I know that in many episodes there are underlying messages and I’ve yet to read that anyone else saw a VERY large one here!  Or at least there was one that REALLY hit home for me.  As a middle aged woman, I feel marginalized by society – we aren’t ‘seen’ as anything but old, past, ‘wrinkly’, plain, ugly, etc. Maybe not EVERY women feels this way…but MANY of us do – plenty of women I know have said this and I’ve read a lot about it. Getting Clara to see BEYOND the grey hair and wrinkles was HUGE! When she finally sees that he is basically the SAME person but different – like so many of us older people..well, it was very emotional for me.  Some of you won’t see this until you too are older. Trust me…one day it will hit home!

    • YANA :-) I saw that at the end and thought that was a beautiful eloquent message. However I also took it to mean we should look beyond the surface, beyond the face into each others hearts. Who we truly are and accept each other beyond what is considered cool or hip or beautiful in popular media. Underneath the superficial we are all beautiful, unique and worthy. This is because I dont believe we do stay completely the same underneath. Experiences temper our own mini regenerations, goals, personality, etc can and do change over time but our base temperament does not. A person’s deeds and heart/soul are important not words which can be lies or a face which can be a mask/veil

  • I hear a lot of people calling the interaction between Jenny and Vastra excessive but I think it’s vastly important. Even in media where LGBT relationships are accepted and prominent, they often reduce and sideline the physical and sexual aspects in comparisons with straight couples. In the same situations that straight couples kiss, gay ones hug, etcetera. They are often shown more as roommates who love each other. I thought for the show to beat us over the head with “hey they are married and in love and sexual with each just like any other couple” was huge.

    • Yeah, people can critisize Moffat all they like for all the cheeky jokes, but at least he’s equal oppurtunity in that regard. Good to see some lesbians on screen just being a couple and not a (usually miserable) plot point. Even the difficulty of being a lesbian couple in Victorian London is glossed over with a couple of jokes. The serious stuff is between the lines of Jenny and Clara’s conversation, with the veil. Doctor Who is good for sneaking in emotional truths that kids get, rather than bashing you over the head with big issues that will sail over the heads of younger viewers and confuse and turn off narrow-minded older viewers. It’s like the cool uncle who just makes the world make more sense when your parents just don’t get it.
      I know a lot of older, more narrow-minded people who would never let their kids watch a show with a happy lesbian couple if it wasn’t Doctor Who, let alone watch it with them.

  • The latest Dr. Who I’ve been able to view is the last episode of Season 5: I don’t have tv reception, as I live out in the Oil Patch, some 40 miles North of the nearest ‘open air’ broadcast stations, and I can’t afford satellite……so the Net is it.

    I’d hoped they’d done away with the ‘in your face’ homosexual story lines and actually, shock, concentrated on GOOD STORY TELLING!!

    How about we leave the cultural politics to the Political Venue and just provide some good, solid, sci-fi story lines, shall we?

    Should they keep up with the ‘in your face’ politics, I’ll have to leave the Dr. until some less dogmatic producers and writers show up to move the series along.

    I’ve ween watching the Dr. since the 70’s and have loved it quite dearly; the whole concept is marvelous and quite entertaining, the actors truly talented, and most of the time, the writing is top notch.

    What a pity they’re trying to ruin it all with political dogma.

    • J. Russell Bailey.

      I don’t think that the Vastra Jenny relationship is any more in your face than the Amy Rory relationship. I would admit that it is a bit of a cliche however , I mean the old Lizard finds Maid, Lizard looses Maid, Maid finds Lizard, Lizard and Maid find Sontaran story how often have we seen that one before?

    • people who say “leave politics out of __________” generally have terrible politics, so thanks for outing yourself as a homophobe so no one ever has to take you seriously ever again!

    • My sentiments around this are that Russell was soooo much better at it that Moffatt. To me, it’s like Moffatt overuses it to get brownie boys, while RTD did it naturally because he knew what he was talking about. To be honest, I prefer it`s kept out of the story if you`re not going to do it right., Spoken by a hard core Torchwood fan.

    • So,  if I understand your objection,you find references to jenny and Vastra’s marriage to be objectionable on the basis of gender?  Yet you don’t seem to have an interest in the fact that they are of different species?  Interesting, apparently the Oil Patch is a different world entirely, where what you consider is truly different?

    • There haven’t been any “homosexual story lines” as you put it. There have been homosexual characters, and some really great ones too, just like there are in real life. If that bothers you, well then, leave The Doctor. Nobody’ll miss you

    • Bailey, I’m afraid I must respectfully disagree. Vastra and Jenny are a couple — and yes, they play it up, but they’re still just a couple. Maybe I’m not seeing the whole story, but I take things at face value. No different than Leela and…Andred? Was it? Cross-species, and all. I haven’t gotten that far in Leela’s stories yet. But.

      Anyhow, Vastra and Jenny aren’t in every episode. They’re a nice part of a semi-ensemble kind of thing, but not there constantly. I think you are hunting snipe there, friend.

  • Love the episode and LOVE the new title sequence!

    I like how the end of the conversation between Clara and Vastra about 11 being young for everyone and to be accepted seemed to be the shows way of saying ‘we used young actors to attract an audience and make the show popular and now we’re going back to our roots’.

    I also found a bit strange that Clara is so thrown for a loop by the Doctor’s regeneration.  She went into his time stream and saw him in his other incarnations.  I could see her being a bit shaken, especially with such a quick change, but I don’t understand why she would be so doubtful.

    • She didn’t remember her other selves until her time stream experience, so she doesn’t technically remember the regens fully. Think about it. She only remembers them as an after effect after 11 jumps in and pulls her out. She didn’t remember the war doctor when she saw him because he also seems to be an after effect. By after effect, I mean after she experiences the whole wibbly wobbly of time change.
      My point is that she never had close personal exchanges with the regens. She just helps them along the way. And usually dies doing it. Not the same with the 11th. He saves her. Big deal there.

      • Here is my thing- she knows of at least 10 and 8 3/4(John Hurt) from the 50th anniversary. She didn’t seem offended of the fact that he was old back then. ((And she portrayed a rather informed character compared to others he had traveled with. When the Doctor was going to hit the red button and destroy Gallifrey, she was all, “I knew you did it, but I didn’t see you doing it”)) ((I compare this to Rose, who barely knew any of his history and did not have a clue he could regenerate when he did and behaved like anyone would in her shoes.))

        If they wanted to play the distrust angle, I would have opted to put forth blame on the Doctor’s standoffish behavior rather than his new face. Honestly, the majority of the episode seemed to be pandering to the fangirls who are so obsessed with Matt Smith by means of abusing Clara’s character. Good grief, she was possessed by the legion of fangirls… o_O

        And I know, I know, 11 is HER Doctor and whatnot… she didn’t exactly act that way with any of the other Doctors. She was kind to even John Hurt’s doctor, who was responsible for the death of Gallifrey.

        The way Moffat is saying goodbye to his Doctor is similar to a mediocre play taking three too many encores. 11 was fantastic, but the next time I say goodbye to him is when I have a Doctor Who marathon and his time to pass is revisited.

        Oh.. I remember 10’s departure. Back when “I don’t want to go” was too much.

    • Here’s what you’re forgetting.  Eleven is HER Doctor.  Remember, in the Day of the Doctor she looked at Eleven and said that even though she knew he blew up his own people, she could never picture HIM doing it even though he’s the same person.  That is the entire difference.

        • I think it’s got a lot to do with how he reacted to her too. 11 was so touchy feely and gentle with her physically where as 12 is… standofish. I think she does love him. As she loved 11. Even if that was/wasn’t romantic love it was deep, strong love and I think it’s still there, she just got thrown a curve ball and when she tried to reach for him he balked at her touch. That’s all. Give it time. :)

    • That’s why I disliked Matt Smith’s cameo – Clara’s trouble with accepting regeneration was ooc and entirely for audience’s sake, all so that they could do the fanservice of one more scene with 11th. Her overreaction made little sense to me otherwise.

    • I think even though she has seen all the other ones, 11 is her Doctor. He’s the one she met first, and even though she knows he regenerates, she’s never experienced a regeneration first hand. She didn’t just witness a regeneration, she watched her best friend be replaced by a man who barely knows her. Consider it like the difference between watching someone read a book, and reading the book yourself, the book in your own hands, in your own eyes, would have such a stronger impact.

      • I agree that she shouldn’t have been so surprised about his regen since she saw the other 10, but when she went into his timeline it was a timeline where he had died at trenzalore. My thought is when the time lords gave him a new set of regens they changed his future, a future she did not see in his original timeline.

  • That moment in the restaurant when the Doctor and Clara stand up and all the robots stand with them was the exact point this episode went from “Ok, this is an interesting start” to “Oooooh this just got gooood”

  • Great review. Finally, somebody who didn’t have to be convinced on Clara still! Although I’ll just be happy if more are as enamored of her as I am, now, really. I think she was stunning in this episode.

    Honestly, it took me twice watching to actually understand about half of what was happening. Loud family didn’t help, but I wonder if it could have been easier to follow — although that could just be a bruised ego. I’m usually the only one watching it with me who gets it all first-go.

    LOVE the interesting vibe this doctor has so far. I don’t at all feel like I have a handle on him, yet, but what I see I like. Capaldi is so freakin’ fantastic. He’s spectacular. I thoroughly enjoy he and Clara’s fight for the upper hand; that she won’t back down just makes me smile. His exceedingly grumpy faces when she confuses him are hilarious. Poor angry old bear.

    Curious as to what they’re doing with the same-face thing. Not as curious about Missy. Honestly I’ve had my fill of mysteries. Things only stay unique for so long, and all.

    The subtle (or…maybe not so subtle) despairing over poor short Clara as opposed to giantess Amy was hilarious. I could go on, but I think instead I’m going to go see if I really DID hear ‘Alton Brown’ on the guest list for the after show. Maybe I was hallucinating…

    • I’m fairly certain that the “I’ve seen this face before” line will tie in eventually to the character Capaldi played in “the Fires of Pompeii”…..Probably has something to do with the new doctor’s lack of real remorse when somebody obviously needs to die.  They’re probably using that as a grounding tool for The Doctor, so that he can remember what he’s fighting for, that it’s all the people he can help and save that makes everything worthwhile.  Because if you remember in “The Fires of Pompeii” they had to let the volcano erupt to save the world, but in doing so, destroyed Pompeii, but Tennant was persuaded to save that one family……..

    • Liz – great comment – I’m really looking forward to this season.  I’m hoping the discussion between The Doctor and Clara at the end foreshadows the entire season, “I’m The Doctor, I’ve lived for over 2000 years –  and not all of them were good.  I’ve many mistakes, and its about time I did something about that.”

  • Great review, Not only did we get a new Doctor but we also got a new Clara and what a wonderful performance by Jenna, i do hope the rumours about her leaving at christmas are not true

  • I’m going to like the new Doctor I think……and I don’t need to convince myself that Missy is River….wishful thinking I know but that is what I chose to believe until we are told otherwise lol

  • I absolutely love the new Doctor. There is a wonderful edge to him and I know I am going to really enjoy watching this season maybe even more than I loved season 1. Clara really got to shine and had to find that trust in the Doctor that she had within herself. They will make a splendid pair to watch.

  • Thanks for the review and spoilers as it may help to continue watching this episode.  I must admit to not liking it for some reason and switched off.  Maybe I was getting tired of the Doctor’s confusion or, I apologise, not like him.Again, I’m sorry.