Well after eight months it has finally arrived the first episode featuring Peter Capaldi as The Doctor! This marks the first Peter Capaldi story written by Steven Moffat. I will be honest this episode was so different than what I have been used to that it took time to adjust to, but I like what I have seen so far. The Doctor is not the only change in this episode, the format and the tone change as well. The show seems to be returning to its roots i.e. Classic Who, which is a very good thing. When watching Deep Breath, it felt at times like a horror film, it was very creepy and unsettling and I actually felt a sense of urgency in the episode as well.
*WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD*
Deep Breath pretty much picks up where The Time of The Doctor left off, The Doctor has just regenerated after receiving a new regeneration cycle from The Time Lords and somehow crashes his TARDIS inside a T-REX, who is stuck in Victorian London, because The TARDIS brought it while travelling through time. The T-REX coughs up the TARDIS sending it crashing into the dirt miles from the dinosaur. The Doctor is greeted by Madame Vastra,(Neve McIntosh) Jenny, (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey). It’s clear from the get go, The Doctor has some memory problems and ends up out of commission for a good 15-20 minutes of the episode. The Doctor tries to communicate with the T-REX assuring her (yes the T-REX is a she, The Doctor confirms this haha) that he will return her home, when suddenly she bursts into flames. The Doctor now horrified, but intrigued ends up running along rooftops until he ends up falling into a tree and steals a horse from a horse drawn carriage. The Doctor is met by Clara, Vastra, Jenny and Strax and says that the question they should be asking is “have there been any similar murders?” Of course there have been leading The Doctor to ask if everyone is captivated by the burning corpse why is that man across from them not really interested in the burnt dinosaur. The Doctor decides to investigate and jumps into a river, leaving Clara, Vastra, Jenny, and Strax to start investigating themselves. Clara finds an advertisement in the newspaper asking her to meet her for lunch at Mancini’s restaurant, Clara assumes this is a message from The Doctor and decides to go to Mancini’s.
The Doctor meets Clara and assumes she wrote the advertisement in the newspaper, but it becomes clear neither of them did. The Doctor notices that all the other people in the restaurant are acting strange and aren’t breathing, concluding they are not human. The Doctor and Clara try to leave, but are surrounded by the people in the restaurant. Clara and The Doctor decide to sit back down and are met by a waiter and he takes their order, but The Doctor takes off his face and reveals a machine behind the face! Not only that, but the face is a real face, it belonged to someone (how freaky). Clara and The Doctor are locked into their seats and the whole table moves beneath them to reveal an underground level! The Doctor and Clara try to break free and at this point because Clara’s legs are too short to move The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver to kick it to him, The Doctor says quietly “it’s times like this I miss Amy.” Haha The Doctor manages to break free and sees The half-face man who he believes to be dormant. The Doctor then goes down a corridor when the door shuts behind him separating him and Clara! Clara is left by herself, while the half face man is waking up! Clara remembers something the Doctor said to her that the robots weren’t breathing and then he asked “how long can you hold your breath?” Clara begins to hold her breath, but is on the verge of tears while the half face man examines her. Finally Clara finds the perfect time to make her escape and starts walking down the corridor because the door is now open again and she walks very slow like a robot and eventually makes it through most of the corridor. Clara cannot hold her breath anymore and falls down making all the robots including the half-face man realize she is not a robot. Clara is brought back into the previous room and the half-face man asks Clara to tell her why she is here and where the other one is. Clara refuses and remembers a moment which is her first day teaching a class and uses what the students said to her to help her deal with the half-face man. Clara tells the half-face man that he will have to kill her because she will not tell him anything and asks him why they killed the dinosaur and after a bit of prodding, the robot tells her they needed the optic nerve because they are trying to reach “The Promised Land.” Clara becomes scared and says that if The Doctor is still The Doctor he will always have her back and she reaches her hand behind her and after a few seconds you get scared that she is wrong, but then boom he grabs her hand! He was disguised as one of the robots and he pulls off the mask and has one of the best Doctor moments! “Hello, hello rubbish robots from the dawn of time!” Haha The Doctor then says a code word that only him and Clara know and of course it is Geronimo. Suddenly, Jenny, Vastra and Strax land in the room and begin fighting the robots, all while The Doctor chases the half-face man to the upper levels. The Doctor speaks to the half face man who pulls a lever, revealing a balloon (made out of skin, gross) while the restaurant floats up into the sky. The Doctor says he has a horrible feeling he is going to have to kill him and offers him a drink, but the half-face man keeps talking about reaching “The Promised Land.” The Doctor tries to convince the half-face man that there is no Promised Land and that because he has changed his body so many times that there is no trace of his original self, and that he cannot recognize the face he chose. The Doctor does this by showing the robot his own reflection with a food tray, but it is clear The Doctor is also talking about himself. The Doctor then sees a little metal piece that says “The S.S. Marie Antoinette, the sister ship of The Madame de Pompadour,” calling back to “The Girl in The Fireplace” an adventure with David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor! The Doctor realizes that this restaurant is the remnants of a ship that crashed in London millions of years ago explaining why the dinosaur was there and that the half-face man has been using human parts to repair the ship so that him and his fellow clock-work droids can reach The Promised Land. The Doctor tries to convince the half-face man to give up because there is no Promised Land and then the half-face man says this is against his basic programming, then The Doctor replies that murder is against his basic programming, then they begin to fight all while they are near the edge of an open door, miles above London. While all this is happening Clara, Vastra, Jenny and Strax are having trouble fighting the clock-work droids and Clara tells them all to hold their breath believing the droids will realize they are not human and stop fighting them. Then we are shown The Doctor and he tells the half-face man that one of them is lying about their basic programming and then we see the half-face man impaled on the top of Big Ben. It is purposely left ambiguous, so that we do not know what happened, either The Doctor convinced the half-face man to jump or he pushed him, either way this Doctor knows what he is capable of.
After all this an unknown amount of time goes by and Clara is still with Vastra waiting to hear from The Doctor. Clara hears The TARDIS materialize and walks in to notice that The Doctor redecorated, there are bookshelves in The TARDIS and there is a chair, and the time rotor/column is a bright orange now. The Doctor walks over to Clara and says “I’m The Doctor. I’ve lived for over 2,000 years and not all of them were good. I’ve made many mistakes and it’s about time I did something about that.” Then The Doctor continues to say “Clara, I’m not your boyfriend,” and Clara responds with “I never thought you were,” then The Doctor says “I never said it was your mistake.” Wow, so The Doctor admits that when he was his previous incarnation that he was the one flirting, interesting. After this The Doctor asks Clara to remember who gave her the number, the help line, the number to his TARDIS, calling back to “The Bells of Saint John.” Clara says a lady in the shop and The Doctor says that this woman whomever she may be is very keen on keeping them together.
“I’m The Doctor. I’ve lived for over 2,000 years and not all of them were good. I’ve made many mistakes and it’s about time I did something about that.”
Clara tells The Doctor she does not know who he is anymore and The Doctor seems saddened by this. Suddenly Clara’s phone rings and she walks outside The TARDIS, which has now landed in a busy square. Clara is surprised to find out that she is talking to The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) who is still on Trenzalore in the past right before he regenerated into Twelve (Peter Capaldi). Clara asks why he called her and The Doctor says because he believes she will be scared once he changes and that there is no one else more scared than The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and he asks her to help him through this new regeneration. Eleven says goodbye to Clara and she hangs up. Twelve asks if Clara will help him and he says he made the call, he remembers doing it, but realizes Clara cannot see him, even when she looks at him and it’s upsetting him. Clara looks at The Doctor and finally sees him, hugs him, and they walk off to get coffee and chips or chips and coffee. But wait, the episode is not over yet! The half-face man awakens in some garden and is greeted by a Mary Poppins-esque character (Michelle Gomez) and she asks if her “boyfriend” (referring to The Doctor) was mean to him and comments that she likes his new accent and that maybe “she’ll” keep it. This woman calls herself Missy and tells the half-face man that he has made it to The Promised Land/Paradise and she begins spinning around like a crazy person. Apparently we have our big bad for season 8, color me intrigued!
Overall, I really enjoyed the episode, it was very different and seems to be setting up the tone of the overall series. I have been watching a lot of Classic Who lately, and I really felt like I was watching Classic Who at times during this episode. I think it’s about time Doctor Who returned to its roots and started going back to the format that made it great and exciting. I’m not knocking on Matt Smith, David Tennant, or Eccelston’s eras of Doctor Who, I just think it was time for a change. Peter Capaldi was fantastic and I cannot wait to see where he takes this new Doctor! I really like the idea of The Twelfth Doctor being a young man in an old man’s body as opposed to The Eleventh Doctor being an old man in a young man’s body. Based on the episode the Twelfth Doctor seems to be trying to make up for past mistakes or maybe the whole Eleventh Doctor being the one “who forgets,” or more accurately “the one who tried to forget things from his past.” I will admit that this episode could have been a little bit shorter maybe an hour, there were parts that felt unnecessary. But here’s to hoping the next episodes are good and give Capaldi a chance to show his acting skills and what he can bring to this new Doctor! I loved Deep Breath and that’s why I am giving it an 8/10!