I know, I know it’s been, like, forever since I blogged here. I seem to gravitating toward Facebook more. I have promised myself, though, that when my new ClamCase for the iPad Air arrives in the mail that I will start book reviewing here again.
Anywho, I seem to sharing my thoughts of the new Season of Doctor Who on Facebook. So I thought I’d cut and paste those thoughts here. Of course, if you’ve already friended me there then feel free to ignore. Or friend me on FB. In anycase I will be cutting and pasting my deep Doctor Who insights here.
I liked Deep Breath.
It does have its problems though. The first half is poorly paced. There a couple of scenes – like the one where Strax is examining Clara – that feel more suited to an extra on the DVD then being part of the episode. And when the Doctor does a runner, jumping off a bridge into the Thames, the subsequent scenes lack any sense of momentum or action. It’s as if everyone, except for maybe Clara, are going on with the rest of their day as if the Doctor hadn’t vanished and a T-Rex hadn’t caught on fire in the middle of London.
Even the opening feels jerky and wrong. The opening credits – which look gorgeous but sound dreadful – should have crashed in as the T-Rex vomited the TARDIS onto the shore (there’s a sentence you never expect to write). And yet the scene goes on for another three minutes.
Having said that, there’s some nice comedy moments in the first half hour that make Deep Breath watchable. But it’s not until the restaurant scene that the episode picks up and goes from a bit rubbish to good.
The last thirty minutes are great, and apart from a poorly directed action scene toward the end, I loved the fact that this was an episode with a proper ending, rather than the Doctor doing something obvious with the sonic screwdriver. The fact that the Doctor sits down with the villain of the piece to talk before he might have to do something terrible feels interesting and new. I just can’t imagine either 11 or 10 pouring a drink for a baddie while requesting he sit and have a chat. (Maybe 9 would have…)
And that leads onto my assessment of Capaldi. He’s magnificent, but not in the way I expected. His Doctor isn’t like any of his predecessors. Oh, some of the language has a Tennant feel, especially early on, but there’s something unique about Capaldi, how he deals with the moment, how he delivers the lines, how he pours whiskey for the villain, that feels nothing like the Doctor we’ve seen in the last seven years. Yes, his costume has Pertwee overtones but I can’t imagine this Doctor wanting to get into a hovercraft to chase after a spider possessed baddie. And we know he thinks scarves are silly.
Capaldi’s Doctor isn’t just mean or dark or brutal or bad. He has aspects of those things, but like any well rounded character he also has other sides to him. He can smile. He can look anxious. He can have a laugh. And yes, maybe he can kill as well.
Finally, I happen to like Clara. Always have. The bit where she’s hoping, praying the Doctor is behind her, while standing up to the bad guy, is great stuff. But I’d already been sold. And I like how this episode is about Clara dealing with the fact that her best friend is gone forever. She understands what regeneration is but she’s always had her Doctor standing next to her when she’s seen his other faces – more or less. Dealing with the new Doctor is a shock to the system because her dear friend isn’t there to help with the transition… well until that lovely cameo anyway.
So it’s no Eleventh Hour, but Deep Breath (has anyone called it Bad Breath?) is the sort of flawed episode that has enough good and great that you want to see more. Roll on Season 8.