At long last Doctor Who is back on our screens, Deep Breath is the first episode of the 8th series of Doctor Who since it was rebooted in 2005. Not only do we have a new series but we have a new doctor, in the shape of Peter Capaldi. I don’t often review TV series, but in the past I have posted articles about significant Doctor Who episodes, there is a lot I want to say about this episode so I thought this was another occasion that I should post, so here are my thoughts.
For the first 30 minutes of this episode I was really not impressed, I was finding a lot of things really poor with the episode. To start with I wasn’t impressed with the new opening titles or the changes to the theme tune however I don’t anything will ever rival the sequence that I grew up with from 2005. After this opening titles I thought that a lot of the CGI on offer looked really bad and I thought the inclusion of a dinosaur was just lazy script writing, as we had seen this already in the Matt Smith episode from series 7, ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’. Another scripting issue I had was the familiarity of the plot regarding using human organs to rebuild alien technology. Along with these elements I was not liking Capaldi, he was irritating and didn’t seem to be right for the role. However I had to remind myself that the character hadn’t even come to terms with who he was yet so this irritation was probably to be expected. I have also never been a fan of the Paternoster gang (Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax) so their inclusion in the episode naturally put me off. Anyway things took a massive turn for the better when the events of the episode moved to Mancini’s Family Restaurant.
Here we saw more interaction between The Doctor and Clara and possible a glimpse into what their relationship will look like for the rest of the show. I really liked it, the bluntness that The Doctor had was fantastic and I really appreciated some of his lines, especially “It’s times like these that I miss Amy”. Long term fans of the show had a lot to enjoy in this episode, lines like the one I have just highlighted was just the surface. The scripting issue I had in the first half an hour actually turned out to be such a treat and a clever move. As the Doctor struggled to pin point where he had seen this before it became clear to the viewer that this episode had links to that of ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ in series 2. This just happens to be probably one of my Top 3 Doctor Who episodes ever so I really enjoyed the nods to this story.
Another part of this episode which was so great was the way that the Doctor and Clara both struggled with the regeneration. This has been touched on before but never has much time been devoted to it. This focus didn’t become boring or soppy but instead it evoked real emotion from Clara and really the first time that I could liken it to previous characters such as Rose or Amy. This plot point also lead into my favourite part of the episode and I would imagine most other fans too. Matt Smith made an appearance, as soon as I heard his voice I just thought, “that’s it, there he is – there is the Doctor”. I loved this and was so happy that Matt Smith got to feature here. However what it did do for me too was just remind me of what huge shoes Capaldi has to fill. Now saying that I have never liked a new Doctor from the start, I always have a fierce loyalty to the one who has just regenerated. Matt Smith is probably my favourite Doctor though so Capaldi has a job on his hands, every actor who has played the role of The Doctor since the reboot has been able to manage it though so I do have faith in Capaldi but I am not sold yet.
Anyway Deep Breath as an episode had so much going on but I really did think it was good. The fact that it managed to change my view after I was pretty certain that I wasn’t going to enjoy it is very impressive, and I even enjoyed parts of the Paternoster gangs involvement. This excites me for what is to come and although I didn’t enjoy every aspect of the episode there was so much that I did and it is definitely a solid foundation for series 8, as for the rest of the episodes all I can say is ‘Allons y’.
Rating – 8.5/10