When the newly regenerated Doctor arrives in Victorian London (with a dinosaur), he investigates a series of spontaneous combustion cases.
1 h 19 m
I want to preface this review by saying that Peter Capaldi is great as the Doctor. I am beyond excited to see where he will take the beloved character. That being said the season 8 premier “Deep Breath”, his maiden voyage as The Doctor, was not a strong one.
The episode definitely had its strong moments, so I’ll start with those. Minor spoilers ahead.
Peter Capaldi: Capaldi killed it. It’s hard to say if we got a true glimpse of what he’ll be like as The Doctor because for most of the episode he was really loopy and crazy, but we do see some traits that I hope continue. He is selfish, rude, angry, and confused. He might even be capable of killing now. He is an old man, and they made it clear in the episode that he chose to be that way. It was an interesting take on the regeneration process, and gave new meaning to the appearance of the 11th Doctor. I can’t help but think that if The Doctor truly does have some choice in his regeneration, maybe Amy Pond has something to do with his new Scottish accent.
Clara: I’ve never really been a fan of Clara, but I have to admit she was great in this episode. I’m excited to see where her relationship with The Doctor goes this season.
Strax: Strax was on point this week. His antics were just wacky enough to keep from being cheesy. Can we talk about the newspaper? It was so uncharacteristic of the show, but hilarious nonetheless.
The Cyborgs: The villains in this episode were a great throwback to the season 2 episode “The Lady in the Fireplace”. The best part of this episode is actually the sound effects that they use with the cyborgs. The gear and clockworks noises were a perfect addition to the characters.
The Music: My favourite piece from the Doctor Who score is “I Am the Doctor”, better known as The 11th Doctor’s theme. Knowing a new Doctor was coming I figured we would never hear it again. The new theme they use for when The Doctor is doing something “Doctory” is more of a reimagining of “I Am the Doctor” then a new song completely and I really enjoyed it.
The Cameo: SPOILER TIME! There’s a cameo in this episode that none of us expected. Clara receives a phone call from The Doctor. Matt Smith returns to call Clara to beg her to accept his new face. He may have been calling Clara in the episode, but it felt very much like Matt was calling us, the audience, begging us to accept the new Doctor.
Its unfortunate, but this episode did have some weak points.
Stephen Moffat’s Script: This wasn’t a strong adventure for a first time Doctor. There wasn’t a lot of emotional investment, and I felt he really didn’t get to prove his limits. There were a couple scenes that were really well written like the scene with the homeless guy and the scene with the veil, but I didn’t think it was the greatest first impression for the season. Keep in mind David Tennant suffered from a similar issue with his first episode. People didn’t really like “The Christmas Invasion”, but that didn’t stop Tennant from quickly becoming a fan favourite Doctor.
Vastra and Jenny: Don’t get me wrong, I love these characters and I’m glad they were in it. What bothered me was how much they were trying to shove the fact that they were married down our throats. It seems like every line of dialogue the characters spoke had to remind us that (A) They are lesbians, (B) they’re married, and (C) Vastra is a lizard. All of those things are obvious and we completely accept them at this point. There’s really no need to remind us. It’s 2014 and you’re speaking to an audience that instantly fell in love with Jack Harkness. That being said, Vastra’s life saving kiss was beautiful.
The Dinosaur: The dinosaur was underutilized, and it did not look great. Twenty years after Jurassic Park and it looked like it was made twenty years prior. He also didn’t seem like as much of a threat as a dinosaur in London should have been.
Overall, this episode was great. It was a brilliant introduction to what is sure to be a unique spin on a beloved character. The darkness of David Tennant, mixed with the goofiness of Matt Smith, the old crankiness of William Hartnell, the tragic brokenness of Christopher Eccleston, and the rage of Colin Baker. I think this wild ride through time and space is going to take us to some new very exciting and very dark places.
+ Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
+ Hilarious Strax slapstick antics
+ Surprise cameo!
- Not a strong story
- Weak special effects