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MINUTE REVIEW: Doctor Who "Deep Breath"

Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 1

Deep Breath

Review by Randal Silvey

The proper debut of the 12th Doctor as played by Peter Capaldi!


  • First and foremost, Peter Capaldi as the Doctor was fascinating!  I found myself riveted any time there was dialog coming out of his mouth.  It is hard to get a grasp on how a new Doctor’s personality will be portrayed in their first episode and this is no different HOWEVER, you do get a wide range of emotions and delivery from Capaldi.  Enough to tell me I’m going to love this new Doctor.  He does “wacky, silly Doctor” as he’s adjusting to his new body, but we also get “funny, witty Doctor”, “somber, uncertain Doctor”, and as promised by Moffat a dark and intense Doctor.  They all worked.
  • The episode follows two main plots.  The story of how Clara is reacting to the newly regenerated Doctor and the ‘monster of the week’ threat.  The latter worked well and contained a couple of real standout sequences that balanced the sci-fi concept with a healthy dash of horror.
  • The whole Clara storyline played out like a letter from the show itself to the Doctor Who fan girls.  I often enjoy some of the more meta moments, but they truly beat the viewer over the head with it.  While it offered Clara more personal conflict and character development than she has gotten, which is generally a good thing, she reacts to the regeneration in a way that is not only feels too far out of character but also makes absolutely no sense.
  • They spend the whole episode trying to “sell” the idea of an older Doctor to the audience when all they needed to do is let him do what he does.  They also have the Doctor doing all kinds of physical things (climbing out of the window onto the roof instead of taking the door, jumping off of said roof through a tree, riding horses, jumping off of bridges… and this is all within a span of 5 minutes) which is good and fine.  However, when you juxtapose this with the show begging you to accept that he appears older it comes across as overcompensation.
  • Vastra, Jenny, Strax… the Paternoster Gang, again.
As with every other Doctor Who fan on the internet I could rant and rave about a handful of things I liked and a Bessie-full of things that bugged me.  All while still essentially liking if not loving the episode at hand.  In the spirit of keeping this brief (I may still have failed that goal) I will wrap it up there with this final summation of thoughts on the episode.
  • Capaldi was great, his age isn’t as big of an issue as the show thinks it is, and I’m just as pumped for more 12th Doctor and Doctor Who in general as I was leading up to this episode.  It is not a perfect episode, but far from “Let’s Kill Hitler” and that keeps me happy.
Here is an article over at DenOfGeek.com about the episode’s many callbacks and references that I found interesting.  Also, I was going to criticize Deep Breath’s opening CGI until I recalled how forgiving I am, if not charmed by, the FX work in the classic series.

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