Sunday, 24 August 2014

O Doctor, My Doctor!

Last night Doctor Who returned with Season 8 and an episode titled 'Deep Breath'. And trust me, I had a lot of deep breathing exercises to do to cope with Matt Smith and 11's departure from the show.

Peter Capaldi's abrupt entrance in last year's Christmas Special left me both shocked and scared. It took me countless replays to understand his thick Scottish accent. Not to mention that face...
He's not exactly a poster boy like David Tennant and Matt Smith were. But this is something they address so well in his first episode of the show, and to be honest, after a string of young Doctors, they needed to.

But back to last night's plot. I love dinosaurs so the opening scene with a dinosaur vomiting up the Tardis was definitely thrilling, but the link between a spectacular T-Rex and the rest of the episode's story wasn't very strong. But hey, at least we got an exciting start to the new era.

A Victorian London setting with hot air balloons and mechanical body parts really played into  Capaldi's Steampunk re-styling of the opening titles and the Tardis interior. Although I'm withholding judgement on both these changes until the next episode.

In an episode centered around body parts, showrunner Steven Moffat set about rebuilding the Doctor.
Since the reboot of Doctor Who in 2005 The Doctor has always been a young man. The casting of Capaldi was a shock to fans of the reboot, many of whom weren't born when the Doctors averaged about 60 years of age. We're told there is a reason 12 looks as he does, but what that reason is we'll just have to wait to find out.

My favourite scene was Madam Vastra's speech to Clara about the similarities between a veil and The Doctor's faces:
'He looked young. Who do think that was for?' 

It was partly for me. I've fancied all of the last three Doctors...

With grey hair and 'attack eyebrows', Capaldi's Doctor offers us a break from everybody fancying The Doctor. Everyone has had a crush on The Doctor lately, even when Amy Pond married Rory it took a whole other series for viewers to be certain she wasn't actually in love with 11 (and making her his mother-in-law finally cemented that). Madam Vastra even points out that Clara considered 11 to be her lover, Capaldi's Doctor points out 11 was her boyfriend.
I for one welcome less romance on the show. +1 point for Capaldi.

But number 12 really did struggle with his new look. If we ignore the typical and expected jokes about the Scottish accent meaning he hates the English, and Capaldi wearing a tramp's coat, there were some lovely moments where we saw The Doctor coming to terms with regeneration:

"Take a broom. 
You replace the handle and then later you replace the brush, and you do that over and over again. 
Is it the same broom?
Answer: No, of course it isn't. But you can still sweep the floor with it."


While the jury's still out of the new Tardis, I am a fan of Capaldi's little armchair. It's rather super-villain -esque, but I can see it being a lot of fun during the series. And of course The Doctor's new outfit also plays into the Victorian London theme, while bringing a vampish red and black cape quality with it.

I also spotted a timely 'Captain, My Captain' Walt Whitman reference from The Doctor, one that most people are familiar with in the past few weeks as it has been repeated  since Robin William's death in relation to his role in Dead Poet's Society.

Madam Vastra and Jenny also kissed (or exchanged breath??) pre-watershed. Can this be considered an LGBT victory?

And let's not forget that 11 called Clara. I wasn't expecting any Matt Smith in this episode, but it was very sweet and seeing how attached fans seem to be to him, it was needed to help ease the transition to 12.
However, Capaldi's Doctor standing in front of Clara asking her to 'Just see me' reminded me too much of Julia Roberts' speech in Notting Hill:

'I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her...'

-1 point to Capaldi.

'It's Times Like This I Miss Amy.' - Me Too...

I am not a Clara fan. Normally I warm to new companions and new doctors after the first episode. But poor Clara has once again failed to win me over. I just find it hard to like the girl? Too much of the episode revolved around how good looking she is, and Capaldi's right; she is either ego-centric or Moffat thinks she's the prettiest girl he's ever seen.
The scene were Clara learned as a teacher how to talk-back and not give in to fake threats while up against killer robots was very strange, and I just can't understand if it was meant to be amusing or not? She's a character I just cannot relate to. If only Handles could have been  a longer-lasting companion...
My dislike of Clara made me very team Strax in this episode, as he teased her and threw a newspaper in her face. Really, I'm just team anyone who is anti-Clara.
I for one was quite glad of the news that Clara is quitting Doctor Who this week. Without Madam Vastra, Jenny and Strax tagging along, I'm not sure I could have stuck Clara for much longer.

In Conclusion
I didn't actually keep a points system on this episode.

I liked Capaldi far more than I thought I would, but in typical Moffat fashion 'Deep Breath' has left a lot of questions to be answered in the rest of the series. With a new companion though, I think 12 could be a lot of fun. (Although we do have to wait a while for this)

'I think you might be scared', said a pre-regeneration Matt Smith Doctor. And I am. I loved 11, but if he 's right, and Capaldi really does need me, then I'm in.

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