Sat
Aug 23 2014 10:00pm

Coffee or Chips? Doctor Who: “Deep Breath”

Doctor Who, Deep Breath

Doctor Who is finally back and Capaldi is here! Keep a tight hold on the reigns because “Deep Breath” is not pulling any punches. Let’s talk about it below! Spoilers abound!

Note: I am not keen on the reordering of Doctors. At all. So I will refer to Capaldi as Twelve, just in case people are wondering/confused.

Summary

A T-Rex arrives in the Thames and coughs up the TARDIS while Madame Vastra and Jenny look on. They arrive at the blue box’s door to find the new Doctor… and he’s having a very hard time remembering who he or anyone else is. Clara doesn’t know how to calm him and or deal with him. She’s entirely off-put by the new regeneration, which upset Madame Vastra. She puts Clara to an interview test to prove that she’s still companion material.

The Doctor wakes up in Vastra’s house and climbs on the roof to vow that he will return the dinosaur to her home, but she suddenly spontaneously combusts. He goes to Thames to get a better look, all the while degrading the human race for ogling the sight (Vastra, Strax, Jenny and Clara show up as he’s doing this). Then he jumps into the Thames. Strax has the TARDIS brought back to Vastra’s, under the logic that the Doctor will have have to come to them if he wants his beloved machine back.

The Doctor emerges the next day in an alleyway where he accosts a vagrant, demanding answers to his questions and generally bemoaning the current state of himself. He knows he’s seen his face before, and wonders why he picked it.

Clara changes into some more era-appropriate clothes, and finds a clue—an ad in a newspaper that reads “Impossible Girl: Lunch on the other side?” She knows the Doctor doesn’t do puzzles so she goes literal and flips the page over to a restaurant advertisement. She heads there, the Doctor shows up, and it turns out that neither one of them placed the ad. The Doctor notices that no one in the restaurant is breathing. Clara asks what to do and he asks how long she can hold her breath. They try to leave and are captured, taken underground. It seems as though the restaurant is an old spaceship that’s been there for a very long time. It’s filled with cyborgs who have been grafting human parts onto themselves (also dinosaurs parts, which is why poor Rexie had to go). The Doctor and Clara free themselves from their confinement and come across the control node cyborg. He wakes up and they try to flee, but the Doctor pauses in the room, trying to figure it all out. Clara comes back to get him, and as a result gets trapped in the room when the sonic screwdriver closes the door. The Doctor makes the choice to leave her behind.

Doctor Who, Deep Breath

Clara remembers the Doctor’s advice about not breathing to blend in, but can’t hold her breath long enough to escape. She is interrogated by the control node, who wants to know where the Doctor is. But Clara, terrified, keeps her wits about her, and insists that they can’t kill her if they want to know where the Doctor is, and they can’t harm her because she can put up with a lot of pain. She gets the controlling cyborg to give up a lot of information; his ship has been there since the age of the dinosaurs, they’re looking for “the Promised Land.” He decides to kill her, but Clara knows that the Doctor always has her back. Sure enough, he’s been there the whole time, disguised as another cyborg. He gets Clara to call Jenny, Madame Vastra, and Strax down (they’ve already made quick work of the cyborgs upstairs), and a fight breaks out. The control node makes to escape in the ship’s pod, and the Doctor follows him, saying he’ll kill the guy.

The control node asks how the Doctor would kill him, but the Doctor won’t answer—he’s more concerned with explaining to the cyborg that his mission is already a failure. The ship (the Marie Antoinette, sister ship to the Madame de Pompadour) will never reached the Promised Land, it’s doesn’t exist. The cyborg has replaced so many parts of himself that he’s no longer what he used to be anyhow. And when the controller claims he’ll kill the Doctor rather than be killed, that the Doctor won’t murder him, the Time Lord tells him that he’s protected the people of Earth for far too long to stop now. The cyborg ends up impaled on top of Big Ben and his fellows power down.

When Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Clara get back home, they find that the TARDIS has gone. Clara figures the Doctor has forgotten her. She goes to ask Vastra for a job, but Vastra points out that the Doctor is likely coming for her—Clara has already changed back into her clothes, and she knows the Doctor better than anyone in the world. Sure enough, the TARDIS materializes a moment later.  She gets in and finds a redecoration (nothing too serious this time), and the Doctor tells Clara that he’s different, but he still wants her along for the ride. Also that whoever put that ad in the newspaper is clearly keen on keeping them together. Clara tells him no. She’s not sure she’s knows who he is anymore. Then she gets the phone call and takes it outside.

It’s the Doctor. Her Doctor, the Eleventh. He’s calling from Trenzalore, knows he’s about to regenerate. And he wants her to know that, though she may be scared, he is scared, too. And he needs her. And he asks her to stay for him. The Twelfth Doctor exits the TARDIS, knowing who’s on the line. Eleven berates himself for getting old again, then bids Clara goodbye. The Twelfth Doctor knows Clara can’t see that he’s truly the Doctor and begs her to really look at him. She does, and thanks him for calling. She gives him a hug—somewhat against his will, as he’s not quite so cuddly anymore. Then they wander off to get coffee.

The control node wakes up somewhere beautiful and a woman is there. She apologizes for what her “boyfriend” has done, but claims that she does like the guy’s new Scottish accent. The cyborg asks where he is, and she tells him it’s the Promised Land. Heaven.


Commentary

There’s so much great in here accompanied by some real ugly spots. I’m going to dive in at the start—

Vastra and Jenny have a Lestrade it seems, though he looks more like a canonical Watson. I wonder if they’re suggesting that there was further mix-up in the Sherlock Holmes tales, and not only were Holmes and Watson women in the Whoniverse (and one of them an alien), but Watson’s appearance was taken from Lestrade for the books? Anyhow.... I’m waiting for people to start griping about how London could be filled with all this crazy alternate history again. That was a big deal in RTD’s era, everyone complaining about how so much had occurred in London, there was no way people could refuse to believe in aliens and monsters, etc. Having a T-Rex pop up in the Thames is not something a population would be quick to forget.

But never mind that. We’re here for the Doctor. The new-new Doctor.

Capaldi is a real force of nature, through and through. He’s not bubbly or charming or sweet, but he’s compelling. There’s no other word for it. And frankly, despite what are sure to be many unlikeable qualities (some already displayed in this episode) he’s still intensely likable. Every single scene that gives him focus is mesmerizing, thoughtful, and considered. He doesn’t dash about and flap his arms, he’s grounded and calculating. And with all that, there’s a real vulnerability—and that’s where we can connect with him. He’s not a child’s best friend, but he has a real softness there underneath that even he can’t always access. It’s going to be so much fun to watch as the season unfolds.

There are some super smart moves in this episode, and one of them is dealing with Twelve’s post-regeneration amnesia. Every Doctor usually has this problem to some extent, certain incarnations worse than others. (Five was a fainting wreck who had to be confined to the Zero Room, and Six promptly tried to kill his companion when he woke up.) But it’s never been written with quite the level of gravity it deserves. The way it’s played in this episode reads a lot like dementia, and it’s more frightening for it. The Doctor doesn’t know who he is, what anything is for, why he’s being hushed and handled, why no one says anything that makes sense. They keep having to tell him to calm down, and he’s not having it. The scene where they’re trying to put him to bed seemed more like something you’d see in a hospital than on Doctor Who. Very real and very unsettling.

It’s a handy way of making clear something that isn’t often articulated on the show; becoming someone else is frightening. Not just for the companions, but for the Doctor. His deconstruction of himself in the alley in front of that tramp—going on about his angry eyebrows and his worry over that face—it reminds the audience that suddenly waking up as an entirely new person would be beyond disorienting. It would be awful, at the start.

Doctor Who, Deep Breath

There are lots of touches in the script that make aspects of regeneration more explicit. Vastra says it outright to Clara—the Doctor was young before because he wanted to be likable. This goes along with my personal regeneration theory (*does a little dance*), that subconscious elements effect how the Doctor turns out. The Eleventh Doctor is dismayed to find himself old-looking again, but he’s not surprised that he’s rough around the edges and difficult for Clara to latch onto; something in him knew to expect that. He knows how he is feeling now, and how that will inform the next incarnation.

In addition, the accent adoption comes up again. Though it was never implicitly stated in the show, Russell T. Davies said that the Tenth Doctor adopted his particular accent because of the imprint Rose made on him. He changed to sound like her. Here we see the Twelfth Doctor do something heartbreaking; Amy always made him feel safe, and so he suddenly adopts her accent when he’s frightened, then keeps it. We know he’s still specifically missing her because he name checks her to Clara (while talking about how much more useful Amy would be in their current situation) when he can barely remember a thing. So that echo of Amy will always be there, with this Doctor. He kept a little piece of her to comfort himself.

Oof. Sorry, too many emotions. Must disconnect….

There are hints about his face, too. Whovians know that Capaldi has already been on the show (in “Fires of Pompeii”) and on Torchwood (“Children of Earth”), playing different parts. Davies apparently had a reason in mind for why this man’s face would show up more than once, and Moffat adopted that idea for Capaldi’s first season. Here, we see that the Doctor knows his new face is familiar, but can’t yet place it. He’s annoyed with himself for trying to hint at something with this regeneration without saying it outright. Where is this going to lead? It’s a fun mystery to play at, and subtly hinted, which is nice for a change.

For shoutouts, we’ve got a harkening back to “The Girl in the Fireplace,” as the antagonists come from the Madame de Pompadour’s sister ship. It didn’t really bother me that Moffat was reusing the idea—he does that a lot, but it felt less grasping this time around, just another look that didn’t change what the former episode had done. Hopefully we won’t see too much more of that, though.

Also, can we stop this new trend of putting meaningless flashbacks before important galvanizing character development? That recall to Clara’s classroom, where she’s completely lost control of the kids was just plain weird. And all just so she could take a page from one of her student’s books and talk back to the robots. It makes her look like a bad teacher, and is completely out of left field. She could have come up with that line on her own. Or the single flashback could have been multiple ones that were better situated in the narrative. (Also, the Doctor says you have to stop breathing to hide among the cyborgs, but all he does is put on one of their faces? How does that follow?)

And what of Clara? I honestly haven’t been her biggest fan through her run; not because I have a problem with Jenna Coleman, but because it seemed to me that her character was barely written as a person. We knew next to nothing about her, only that she was quippy, cutely dressed, and sort of had a crush on the Doctor. In this episode, however, she was given some real meat to work with, and handled it gorgeously. Her scene opposite the head cyborg was just excellent, a real moulding moment for a Doctor’s companion. She is frightened, but she uses the fear rather than being overcome by it. That’s a real tell for the character, and gives her more depth than practically all her episode previous.

On the other hand… we’ve got some messiness with how Moffat handled her crush on the Doctor. When she shows faltering confidence in the man, Vastra shuts down like a lead gate. Suddenly Clara has to “prove” herself, show that she’s not just in it for the Doctor’s formerly pretty face. The hell? And Vastra’s dismissiveness of Clara finding him attractive indicates that anyone who finds the Doctor attractive is an idiot. It literally boils down to “You foolish girl, he’s two millennia old and you actually thought that a little flirting from him could mean anything? How small your mind must be.” To which Clara then has to go off at Vastra about only ever having a poster of Marcus Aurelius in her room (Moffat apparently really loves it when young women have a thing for Roman conquerers, and it’s getting creepy now), therefore not being into pretty boys. She then accuses Vastra of thinking badly of her because the Silurian thinks she’s attractive, and also now assumes she’s nothing more than a pretty airhead? Or something? Which ends with Jenny applauding and Vastra saying the Victorian equivalent of “You’re so cute when you’re angry.” And then everything’s settled.

Here’s my issue(s): if Clara honestly likes the Doctor in part for his looks? THAT’S OKAY. SHE IS ALLOWED TO. It doesn’t make her vapid or unworthy, it means that she’s human. And her head can be turned by a pretty face. Particularly when that pretty face is being real flirty. And it’s completely understandable that this man, who used to come off as an odd 20-something, would now be off-putting to her as suddenly middle-aged and very unstable. It should not be a put down. Not in any situation, with a 2000-year-old alien or otherwise. Really, how is this a conversation the story needs to have? Unless Moffat really wants to make sure that all the lady fans out there realize that having a crush on his big important main man character is daffy of them. Which would just be plain rude.

In addition, Vastra is misjudging Clara because she has now filed her away under the “pretty and frivolous” category? She thinks it’s her place to put Clara to the test? She’s specifically getting cold with her because she thinks Clara is hot, but no longer has substance? All of this is basically terrible. As is her potshot about men, after getting the Doctor to fall asleep: “Humans are apes—men are monkeys.” Ugh. Is this tired gendered humor still funny to anyone? Because I’m super done with it. And Jenny joins in on the Clara-bashing, too: when Clara asks Jenny if she’d still like Vastra if she’d changed into something different, Jenny points out that she’s doesn’t “like” Vastra, she loves her, and that the woman is a lizard. Which is funny and affirming of their same-sex relationship at face value, but again dismissive of Clara’s feelings. You only “like” him, that’s not a deep enough emotion to be truly hurt, and if you more than “liked” him it wouldn’t even be a question. Silly.

And if there’s one more “haha, Clara is naked due to this future technology!” joke, I might be physically ill. Also not funny. Just grossly distressing.

The only thing that really makes up for any of this is toward the end of the episode, when the Doctor tells Clara he’s not her boyfriend. When she indicates that she never thought so, he counters with, “I never said it was your mistake.” Here is the Doctor admitting that he’d wanted to think of Clara on those terms before, that the relationship has fundamentally changed and it’s on him. He’s taking responsibility for what’s lost between them, not indicating that she’s the problem, with her “fixation” on pretty faces.

The end of the episode is honestly perfect. The call from the Eleventh Doctor (what a beautiful surprise to all the fans having such a hard time letting him go) was an excellent send off, a great nod between generations. That the Doctor knows it’s him, that they echo each other, that it’s exactly what Clara needs to hear… And then Twelve’s request that Clara look and see him. The Doctor has tried so many different methods to get companions on board for the transition of regeneration. Ten was determined to prove himself through action and swagger, Five was helpless, Seven made pratfalls. But never before has a Doctor made that plea (and it’s always a plea, in its way) so simple and genuine. Here I am. It’s really me. Please don’t go.

In a parallel to “Rose,” the Ninth Doctor’s first episode, Twelve and Clara are left standing on a street corner, wondering where to go. The Doctor suggests they get coffee or chips. Clara opts for coffee, setting herself apart from Rose (who, of course, went for chips). They also argue about who will pay for it, but this time, it seems as though Clara will get the Doctor to pick up the tab.

The tone of the show has definitely shifted, and that can only be a good thing at this point in time. It will be quite the ride, seeing where the Doctor takes us. Less light in the darkness, a little more pure terror. There’s a hint of the Fourth Doctor’s more gothic adventures about it, and that departure could bring a certain roughness to Who that it’s never had before. Next week, please.

Also… what’s the deal with Dark River Song? (I think it’s pretty clear that she’s not actually River, of course.) Here’s hoping there’s more to this character than dark suits, arched eyebrows, and calling the Doctor “my boyfriend” all the time. Just, no.


Emily Asher-Perrin does not want Dark River Song. Ever. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

101 comments
Dr. Cox
1. Dr. Cox
An article so quickly on Tor. Cool! And good explanation of the Doctor's Scots accent.
First impressions:
Theme music: Better.
Scots accent: Meh.
Reference to Scottish separation vote: hysterical.
Victorian setting: Yay! Must.Have.Pattern.Of.Clara's.Dress. . . . and the address of a seamstress who could make it . . . in dark green.
Previous Doctor references: Fun :). But no reference to Five that I could tell; Five is The Doctor :)
Eleven's phone call: Tears! Five may be The Doctor but I didn't want Eleven to go :).
The woman in paradise: The Rani, maybe?
Conclusion: Looking forward to the rest of the season.
Dr. Cox
2. cbb
I loved the Doctor and Clara's first coherent interaction, when they meet in the restaurant. And I loved the bit of ambiguity about whether or not the Doctor actually killed the cyborg, or convinced him to kill himself. I think moving the Doctor in a darker, less human direction will be refreshing for the show, but I'm glad that they left a bit of vulnerability in the character. I know its too early to say for certain, but I think Capaldi could end up displacing Tennant as my favorite Doctor. I see the potential.
Christopher Bennett
3. ChristopherLBennett
I liked the fan-made opening title sequence better than the "real" one inspired by it.

A good beginning overall, and Capaldi has already made it his own. One of my favorite parts was his empathy toward the dinosaur and his sense of sorrow and responsibility when it was killed. That was what reaffirmed for me that this was still the Doctor.

My main problem is that trying to create a mystery about whether the Doctor killed or not is trying to close the barn door about 50 years too late. That line was crossed long ago, over and over again.

And yes, I have a problem with the mystery woman at the end being written like yet another woman romantically obsessed with the Doctor. If we ever get a female Doctor, I pray it's after someone else has taken over from Moffat as the showrunner, because he does have problems writing women.

I remember seeing fan video of the filming of that closing scene on the street in Glasgow, one where we could hear at least Clara's side of the conversation. I think it actually worked better when I could watch it as a single unbroken take; it felt more immediate and real that way. Although it was good to see and hear Smith's side of the phone call this time. I like it that we finally get a timey-wimey overlap between consecutive Doctors, not just via the stand-in of the Watcher in "Logopolis," but with the actual actors doing cameos in each other's episodes -- first The Brows of Capaldi in "The Day of the Doctor" and now Smith putting a coda on his role here.

The policeman is actually called Inspector Gregson, a reference to Tobias Gregson, the one Scotland Yard detective that Sherlock Holmes actually respected. He previously appeared in the "Vastra Investigates" short, a prequel to "The Snowmen."
Jan Kafka
4. JanKafka
Enjoyed your review, Emily Asher-Perrin. I'm very relieved someone else spotted what I thought of as fun-draining flaws - the "monkey" line, Vastra's misjudgeing Clara, all of Clara's informed attributes - have we actually seen her being narcisstic or controlling? It was a little funny when she called herself a bossy control freak in the last episode, but I never noted her acting that way.

It was very uncomfortable to hear her called on her "character flaws" again and again by all the other characters this ep, as though she's been a terrible person - when she's been an amazingly selfless, heroic and clever character. River Song was always the bad girl.

Speaking of which - yet another crazy middle-aged woman nemesis/girlfriend? After the show slowly turned River Song from an interesting character into one whose return I began to groan over, I am not thrilled. Yes, she could be something interesting, like the Rani or the Master, but I worry she will be presented as Dark River.

Did not like the opening credits. It was a shying away from something that had been new and exciting and felt revitalized to ... we get faces again?

And - if I recall correctly - the Tenth Doctor never realized Madam de Pompadour was the name of the ship in The Girl in the Fireplace.

I thought it remained a mystery to him, and was only revealed to the viewer in a last long shot. (I could be wrong.)

Edit: On a quick rewatch of the end, I think I'm right. They did not know the name of the ship.

Rough start for this viewer, hoping it gets better, as I was really looking forward to Capaldi's Doctor. If Jenna Coleman is leaving the series, I can certainly see why.
Alicia Dodson
5. LynMars
Moffat was a good writer under Davies' direction, coming up with some of the best episodes of those years; but as show runner, he is repetitive and creepy in a lot of ways. A lot of Doctor Who's problems are echoed--in exactly the same ways--in Sherlock, too, making it even more noticeable, particularly when things get sexist or poke at anyone who isn't straight.

I also wonder why, out of all the companions, Clara would have such a hard time with regeneration--she went into the Doctor's timestream and met ALL of his previous incarnations. She adventured with Ten and the War Doctor. She knows how he can be different and change, perhaps better than any other person who's traveled in the TARDIS--so why is this so difficult to accept for her? I'm not sure it makes much sense, even if she fixed on Eleven as "her" Doctor. Unless she can't actually remember any of her other lives inside the Doctor's timestream, I guess?

Still, Vastra almost seemed out of character for much of the episode, more a caricature than her actual self. Particularly in her harsh treatment of Clara, and then the way she treated Jenny. Much as I like Strax, he seemed almost extraneous for much of the episode, almost like many of his lines and scenes were an afterthought, aside from bringing the TARDIS to Paternoster.

I do love Capaldi, though. The post-regen confusion was good, and wondering why he picked a familiar face is intriguing. Was not expecting Eleven's cameo, and it made me teary-eyed. So while much of the episode fell flat (or felt repetitive rather than making cute callbacks, which seemed the intent), I DID like Capaldi and Coleman's performances and playing off each other. A lot of times, the actors can elevate the material and sell it, at least.
F Shelley
6. FSS
Hey! When did the Doctor regenerate? I almost missed this episode. Why doesn't the BBC advertise, for heaven's sake.

/sarcasm

anyway, I am hoping, hoping, hoping Missy is indeed revealed as the Mistress. It could be the show trying to test drive a future gender change for the Doctor by trying it on the Master first. In season 6, the Doctor talked about the Corsair changing genders. This would show a time lord changing genders. Next stop, the Doctor doing it him/her self.

At at any rate, I kind of liked the slower pace. Moffat has kept things fairly frantic the past few years, so it was a welcome change for me. Looking forward to next week!
Paul Rando
7. SerDragonReborn
Over all, I was majorly impressed by Capaldi's official debut. I loved, as you called it, his compelling qualities. I always wanted to know what he was going to say next, but it was okay that the words didn't all come at ten million miles a minute.

But the woman in "Paradise?" She's a Dark River Song for sure. But so was Tasha Lem in literally the MOST RECENTLY AIRED EPISODE. What's with all these women in love with the Doctor being villains and why can't there be a new one? Although it would be cool if she turned out to be the Rani.
Ron Hogan
8. RonHogan
Over at another website, it's suggested that "Missy" is the one who placed the ad in the paper getting Clara and the Doctor to the restaurant -- but, and I could TOTALLY be misreading this, I thought the implication of the Doctor's veiled explanation to Clara was that he'd figured out the TARDIS itself was working to keep them together. Anyone else pick up on that?
Ben Johnston
9. AlcairNovall
I could definitely feel 12's less than likeable attributes throughout the ep, much though I like him overall. My comment to the friend I watched with was that I liked him, but would need time to acclimate to him. Glad to see that the sentiment was shared to an extent.
Ben Johnston
10. AlcairNovall
@8, I'm more of the mind that Missy was the one placing the ad (and from the shop who gave Clara the Tardis' number.
Erik Harrison
11. ErikHarrison
I could make lots of comments about the episode, but the thing I found most striking was that the whole thing seemed to be an extended look at aging.

I'm not exactly an old man, but I've certainly experienced looking in the mirror and wondering what man did all that frowning, because it certainly didn't feel like me. Where did that old face come from?

And not being seen? Maybe a pretty lady never looked on my face and saw something she liked, but one day you turn around and realize that they've stopped even disliking because you're not even there. You're just an old man. Not just pretty ladies, either, but your not the wunderkinder in the room. You're not the place anyone looks for fresh new ideas, you no longer have the gravity to bend the social space around you, even a little. You're just background noise.

The similarity of the Doctor's state to dementia has already been mentioned.

Sometimes something can come along that can make you feel young again, and that's nice! That's not bad, but don't make the mistake of thinking you are young again. You can make a fool of yourself at best - no one around you is confused because they can always see your face. "I never said it was your mistake."
Thomas Thatcher
12. StrongDreams
Is Dr who on any of the premium online steaming services? (Prime, Netflix, Hulu Plus?). I don't get BBC America and a season pass on iTunes is US$40..
Walker White
13. Walker
It would be awesome if Missy turns out to be a Dark Romana.

Given the sexual chemistry between Romana II and Four, it would be very easy to retcon her as a girl friend.
Amal El-Mohtar
14. amalmohtar
SO MUCH AGREEMENT. Thank you, Emily!

Everything to do with Vastra and Clara's "interview" was SO AWFUL. Also nonsensical: Vastra herself has crushed on the Doctor and not seen anything wrong with it. It was a whole Thing between her and Jenny during Demon's Run. Also I WANTED SO BADLY to love Vastra/Jenny, but their interactions had all the nuance of Moffat mashing two action figures together while shouting FAN SERVICE over and over.

Moffat: wrong on kink, wrong on lesbians.

And women.

Augh.

Completely agreed about Capaldi's magnetism, though. And the Scottish thing. AND THEN GLASGOW! Ahh! That was totally Buchanan street WHERE THERE IS FOR REAL AN ACTUAL POLICE BOX THAT IS BLUE AND TARDIS-Y! I walk past it almost every day! <3 <3 <3
David Cranmer
15. dcranmer
Marvelous write-up, Emily! And I couldn’t agree more on all your points pro and con. If I can emphasize one item that I found somewhat odd is that Clara would be so astonished by his latest physical incarnation because after all she is the one person who had seen all the previous time lords including the War Doctor. Still, great episode. Go, Capaldi!
alastair chadwin
16. a-j
Well I'm running with the idea that Missy is Susan, dark and vengeful after being abandoned by Doctor One.

Weakest introduction story of Nu-Who but already liking Capaldi and the altered Dr/companion relationship.
Dr. Cox
17. Mike Cugley
Over at another website, it's suggested that "Missy" is the one who placed the ad in the paper getting Clara and the Doctor to the restaurant -- but, and I could TOTALLY be misreading this, I thought the implication of the Doctor's veiled explanation to Clara was that he'd figured out the TARDIS itself was working to keep them together. Anyone else pick up on that?
...Could "Missy" be the TARDIS? I was seeing parallels between "the promised land" and the TARDIS console room...
Christopher Bennett
18. ChristopherLBennett
Almost everybody's expecting Missy to be a corporeal person or Time Lady, but she did purport to be a representative of a supernatural realm. I'm speculating she's the Black Guardian, or something similar.

As for Clara's difficulties with acceptance, it's not that she's unfamiliar with the concept of regeneration, it's just that she'd gotten particularly attached to Eleven and has trouble letting go. And while she's seen all the other Doctors, that's not the same as really knowing them. A couple of her time echoes have had occasional contact with them, but she herself doesn't remember those experiences. So while she's understood regeneration in the abstract and seen the faces of all his other selves, that doesn't mean she understood how different they really were from one another.

More fundamentally, though, she's the surrogate for the audience members that have spent the past eight years getting used to the Doctor being a young, romantic figure and might find Capaldi's arrival something of a shock. Clara working through that would hopefully help those viewers work through it as well.
Walker White
19. Walker
Now that I have had some time to think about it.

The reason why the Clara interview is so heavy handed is because this is (once again) not about giving Clara a personality. Vastra (and 12) are talking to the TV audience.
Dr. Cox
20. kidentropia
Great review; I particularly absolutely agree with the unsettling feeling of the bedroom scene: it can easily be read seen as an uncomfortably real depiction of dealing with a dementia patient. That scene really really felt like dealing with a patient during a psychotic crisis. My father suffers from dementia, and last november he had his (hopefully) last big crisis. And the general atmosphere when dealing with it was exactly like that. Very, very unsettling.

On to the cheerful moments: it´s great that this Doctor behaves absolutely different. I like Clara and all, but I don´t think it would have been a bad idea to have a completely new companion right from the start: they did it five years ago with 11 and the Ponds; right now would´ve been a good opportunity to try that again. And the question with Clara, I feel she did not get quite enough time to form a solid enough bond with 11 and now she has to go through this very challenging experience with a rather harsh version of the Doctor. So, as a character, Clara has not had it easy. On the other hand, perhaps this also helps the writers solidify the notion of change.

Overall a great introduction to 12, even if sometimes the episode felt a bit too long. However, it is a good sign that there were so many character moments. I´m all in if this Doctor is going to be more cerebral than physical; bring it on!
F Shelley
21. FSS
@18 - Moffat spent the regeneration scene last Christmas having Matt break the fourth wall and talking to the audience. It's a bit annoying, really. Almost as annoying as older Who fans whinging about the younger fans whinging about how the Doctor is so old.

What at scares me at this point, frankly, is how Moffat, to the cheers of older Who fans, keeps trying to take the show back to where it was before. You know...when the audience declined and the show was cancelled. It's one thing to change to keep the stories fresh. It's another to change to go back to nostalgia land . I hope Moffat and his successor have the wisdom to know which is which.

I've some fans say they liked the new intro. Count me with the folks who do not. It makes me miss the "space colonoscopy " intro of Season 5.
Jan Kafka
22. JanKafka
@Walker - I think you've hit on the reason I found that scene (and a few other scenes) unenjoyably clunky - the characters were, I felt, being used as mouthpieces for the writer to apologize for and explain what may have been misteps in previous eps instead of allowing them to be characters who had experienced those episodes as people.

There's also a bit of a problem when you're dealing with recurring characters who have attributes invented for a quick laugh - the reveal that the two women were married, and that one of them dines on the species of the other - but Strax always makes me laugh, so bravo for attempting to continue to do something with these rather impossible people, even if it's sometimes awkward and/or weird.

I also sensed a bit of a dichotomy when the Doctor, who, in Moffat's hands, can't really stop being flirty, keeps yelling that he's not flirting.
He just needs to stop flirting. It's really that easy.
Dr. Cox
23. Juanma
One thing I liked a lot was the "mistakes" part at the end. I read that scene not just as the Doctor accepting he's made mistakes and wanting to correct them, but (more important) also as Moffat's aknowledge of his own mistakes ("I didn't say the mistake was yours").

Also, the parallels between the cyborg and the regenerated Doctor (if you replaced all your parts again and again... would you still be you?).
Walker White
24. Walker
@21
What at scares me at this point, frankly, is how Moffat, to the cheers of older Who fans, keeps trying to take the show back to where it was before. You know...when the audience declined and the show was cancelled.
He is taking it back to 4 (a rating peak), not 6.
JOSEPH HOOPMAN
25. hoopmanjh
I did, for the most part, enjoy it, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Capaldi when he's no longer in transition.

But after seeing the preview for next week, am I the only one who's ready for an entire season without Daleks?
Dr. Cox
26. ShellyS
I had an entirely different take on the Clara and Vastra scene. I saw it as Vastra trying to get Clara to think beyond the physical appearance of "her" Doctor to see he's still The Doctor. That was reinforced with the mask Vastra wore/didn't wear. Clara starts to understand, but it takes the call from 11 to really get the point across. I like how over the course of the episode, Clara came to terms with the fact that while he's changed, he's still the Doctor, still "her" Doctor.

I'm a new Whovian, btw; first episode I saw (and was utterly confused by) was "The Doctor's Daughter." Matt Smith is my Doctor. And I love how Moffat handles the show. I love how he plants things in early episodes that pay off later. So many people found what they thought was a mistake in one episode during his first season as showrunner, but it was explained nicely when the Doctor rebooted the universe. For this, the bit with the phone being off the hook when Clara puts it back as she enters the TARDIS at the end of the Christmas Special got its payoff in this episode when we find out why the phone was off the hook. The Doctor didn't hang it up -- didn't have the strength? -- after he called her in her future. I love how Moffat's mind works, how far ahead he plans things.

As for Capaldi, I saw bits of Tennant and Smith in his performance, and having seen at least one adventure of all the others, I saw some Colin Baker in his performance, too. There was probably more that I didn't catch. I've seen it only twice so far, after all. ;)
Paul Keelan
27. noblehunter
If the Clara/Vastra scene was audience insertion maybe the scene in the restaurant was author insertion? Egotiscal gameplayer, indeed.
Matt Stoumbaugh
28. LazerWulf
I enjoyed Capaldi, and this episode was great, but I never put too much stock in a Doctor's first episode to tell you who The Doctor is, because invariably, there's all this "who am I" stuff going around. The Christmas Invasion, The Eleventh Hour, even, to a certain extent, Rose, are all trying to introduce us to a new Doctor, but that new Doctor hasn't quite found his personality yet. Sure, there are pieces, but its usually not until their second episode until you see them in their entirety.
Del C
29. del
Juanma@23, the scene where he hands the cyborg a silver plate and says "look, look at your own face, you've changed so many times, do you even exist anymore?", and the face we, the viewers, see reflected in the plate is the Doctor's. Heavy irony is heavy.
Christopher Bennett
30. ChristopherLBennett
@28: That's true of the new series, but it varied with the older Doctors. William Hartnell, of course, had his personality clearly in place from the start, although he'd mellowed by the end of the third serial. Patrick Troughton was a little erratic at first, but was in the swing of things after just the first half-hour installment or so of his first serial, as far as I can tell. Jon Pertwee needed the majority of his debut serial to get his act together, the first slow adjustment, though that was more a physical recuperation than a questioning of his identity. Tom Baker, conversely, was going strong within half an hour and had left a clear and indelible impression on the role well before the end of his first serial. Peter Davison was kind of the template for the modern, struggling regeneration, unsure of his identity and even whether his regeneration would succeed, and spending much of his first serial out of action and recuperating. Colin Baker rebounded almost immediately by contrast, but was erratic in behavior at first -- there were doubts about his stability, but he made a clear impression as a distinct personality. Sylvester McCoy also got his act together pretty quickly, although the clownish persona he started with in his first season evolved into something darker and more complex in his second and third. And Paul McGann had a much more difficult regeneration again, complete with amnesia, so it wasn't until the second half of the movie that he really emerged as the Doctor.

Really, it's interesting when you realize how much in the modern series is essentially building on the precedent of the McGann movie -- the difficult regenerations, the romantic interplay with the companions, the storytelling from the companions' POV, the more action-oriented and cinematic style, the title sequence with the TARDIS spinning through the time vortex, the steampunkish elements to the TARDIS interior (though that had an earlier precedent in season 14's secondary console room), etc. The movie may have been a failed pilot, but it's been surprisingly influential despite that.
Dr. Cox
31. RobinM
@16 Missy isn't Susan. Susan is his GRANDAUGHTER not an ex-girlfriend.
I like the fact that the Doctor is played by someone older than me again. All is now right in the universe. Having the Doctor younger than I am was just weird. Of course I've been watching this show since around 1983. Capaldi is going to be less frantic and bit darker I think than the previous new whos. Judging from Musketeers its going to be interesting.
Clara's reaction to the regeneration is understandble but odd. She knows he changes and has met or seen all of the other incarnations. I guess it's the difference between theory and practice or thinking that it won't happen to me, my Doctor won't change. The other thing is the way Vastra treats Clara for being upset and confused. She has a right to those feelings and doesn't have a crush like Rose or Martha. I find having a crush on the Doctor odd but not wrong. Clara's relationship may have been flirty but different from Rose, Marthara or Amy. It's a bit more like Donna's.
Steven Halter
32. stevenhalter
It was a good episode. Like others, I didn't really like the Vastra interview. The "dinosaur" was rather too large. Swallowing a Tardis would be quite the feat.
I liked Capaldi once he had gained coherence. The Scottish bit was fun. He also isn't exactly old. Capaldi is only 56 after all.
Vincent Yin
33. vinsentient
@8 I've only seen the screener and not the completed episode, but my impression was also that the Doctor theorized the TARDIS brought him and Clara back together.

I also thought that a lot of the dialogue in this episode was actually directed at the audience. Convincing Clara to accept the "new" Doctor and give him a chance is essentially telling the audience to do so.
Alan Brown
34. AlanBrown
The episode was OK, in my opinion, but not the greatest first episode of a new Who season. I found the early part of the episode extremely unsettling, and not in a good way. I think you put your finger on it, Emily, when you compared what the Doctor was going through to dementia. It definitely did appear that way, and I suspect that my recent experience with my own mother's dementia was the reason I found it so unsettling.
The clockwork men were satisfactory opponents, and the nod back to "The Girl in the Fireplace" was good. The balloon made of human skin (at least that is what it was hinted to be) was creepy. The scenes in the balloon gondola reminded me of the scenes at the end of "The Next Doctor," with the Doctor trying to reason with an evil lunatic high over the streets of 19th Century London.
But in other ways, there were themes and echoes that didn't work quite as well. Moffatt definitely has certain story beats he likes to hit, and not all of them are positive. I definitely disliked Madame Vastra in this episode, I think the only thing that Moffatt writes worse than women is women interacting with other women. I didn't like her having Jenny pose for her when it turned out that it wasn't for a painting--that played as manipulative and creepy in the worst possible way. I didn't like Vastra being judgemental with Clara, in fact, couldn't even see the point of what she was driving at. Come to think of it, I didn't like some of the things the Doctor had to say about Clara. I think one of them was 'control freak', and I definitely don't see that about her character. And as others have pointed out, that scene of Clara in the classroom was totally out of the blue, and didn't really serve the story all that well.
Capaldi is a very compelling actor, and I think, once his personality settles down, he will be a quite satisfactory Doctor.
My favorite scene in the whole episode, however, had nothing to do with the plot. It was when the always reliably funny Strax asked Clara if she wanted the paper, and when she said yes, he threw it so hard, he knocked her over with it.
Christopher Bennett
35. ChristopherLBennett
I think if there's something that disappoints me about this, it's that it was treated as just another regeneration. I mean, this is the beginning of a whole new cycle of incarnations for the Doctor. It's something nearly unprecedented. It would've been nice to have that acknowledged as part of the Doctor's uncertainty about what he would become now, whether he was still the same person he'd been, or whether the old Doctor had died and given way to a new one. It might've been more appropriate if he, rather than Clara, had been the one who wasn't sure he was still the Doctor.
David Kirkpatrick
36. DavidK44
I interpreted the Clara/Vastra 'interview' as Vastra's attempt to shake Clara up enough to snap her out of her regeneration funk - it was a deliberately provoking setup, and not everything said by Vastra should be considered to be how she actually thinks about things.

I'm also still convinced that the meta-Clara, the Clara who is still stuck in the Doctor's timeline eternally rescuing him, is the seed that becomes the Tardis' consciousness. Sure, the 12th Doctor 'rescued' Clara, but he only pulled one aspect out - she's still in there, continually doing all of the things she's always done to save the Doctors. That's how the Tardis always knows where the Doctor needs to go, rather than just wants to go (as said in The Doctor's Wife). There's tons of little gems hidden throughout the series that support this idea. Here's a couple: Clara can open the Tardis' doors by snapping her fingers; Clara's wearing hexagonal earrrings that look like the Tardis Control Panel in The Name of the Doctor.
Alan Brown
37. AlanBrown
Interesting theory about a 'meta-Clara' still being out and about, in addition to this particular, much more ordinary, human Clara. And that there might be a connection between the meta-Clara and the Tardis. Not sure I buy it, but it is interesting. A bit too timey-wimey for my taste. A little of that stuff goes a long way, and I would not be upset if the show sticks to more straightforward stuff with well drawn characters interacting in odd times and odd locales rather than tricky razzle dazzle plot twists.
(Oh, and completely off the topic, one thing I like about the show that I forgot to mention in my first post is the new opening credits, the clockwork stuff is very nice.)
Christopher Bennett
38. ChristopherLBennett
Well, technically the "meta-Clara" is definitely still out there, because she exists throughout the Doctor's timestream, past and future. Not his subjective future, presumably, but the universe's future. And its past, which the Doctor frequently wanders around in. So it's possible there could be a crossing of paths.
F Shelley
39. FSS
@38 - are you sure? I was thinking that with the changing of events in the Christmas special last year, the Doctor's glowy-grave-thingie would limited to the Doctors 1-11 (plus war). So, that would be inclusive of 11's future to his "death" at Trenzalore, but nothing after that.

That said, there could be a splinter-Clara who saved the Doctor or even pointed Clara to the Doctor, but honestly, I've ben rather underwhelmed by Moffat's "reveals" when it comes to his mystery/impossible women. His set-ups are so much better than their resolutions, in my opinion. I'm sort of intrigued by Missy, but not really by the question of who gave Clara the Doctor's number. It could literally be anyone at this point.
Christopher Bennett
40. ChristopherLBennett
@39: Yeah, that did occur to me -- that time had been rewritten. Still, the Doctor and Clara remember the whole "impossible girl" thing, and clearly whoever left that ad ("Missy," evidently) remembers it too. Time travelers (or at least the Doctor and his companions) seem to remember the original history even after it's been rewritten. But this just spans so much of the Doctor's history that it's hard to believe all of that has just been effaced.

Certainly from a story standpoint it's still assumed to have significance, so it could be revisited.
Derek Broughton
41. auspex
@8, @10, @33

You're all right. I'd figured that Missy is the TARDIS

And I liked “Humans are apes—men are monkeys.” Sure it's "tired gendered humor", but face it — an awful lot of Doctor Who, since 1963, has been pretty tired humor. That's one of the things that makes it work.
Christopher Bennett
42. ChristopherLBennett
@41: I have no objection to a character who lives in Victorian England having un-modern attitudes toward gender. Granted, the character in question is somehow gay-married in a society where that shouldn't even be conceivable let alone legally recognized, but being progressive in one way doesn't guarantee being progressive in others. And given the way she and Jenny are presumably treated by most of the men around them in Victorian England, I can't blame Vastra for having a low opinion of the human male sex.

As for Missy, my speculation is that she's some sort of angel of death or keeper of the afterlife, and she's in stalkerish love with the Doctor because he's sent her so many new recruits over the centuries and she mistakenly believes he's been intentionally sending them to her as gifts or courtship offerings.
S Cooper
43. SPC
Slightly off-topic, but does anyone have a suggestion of how best to watch this in the U.S. if one doesn't have BBC America? Legally, preferably. I'm choking at the $5.99/$7.99 price on Amazon Prime. Does that go down eventually? Does somewhere else have it cheaper? I know if I wait for Netflix, I'm going to end up with every episode spoiled.
Dr. Cox
44. kidentropia
You know what would be awesome? To know what both Capaldi and Coleman thought about this episode, right during filming but also as the season went by. I guess we will have to wait until they´re no longer tied to Doctor Who, in a few years.
Brian MacDonald
45. bmacdonald
@43: According to Amazon, the special price for "Deep Breath" was only because of its extended length. They say that all future episodes will be "regular price," which is $1.99 for standard-def, $2.99 for HD.

That doesn't excuse the fact that Amazon misled their season-pass subscribers by charging them for an "episode" that was really just a documentary, and then charging over twice the standard price for "Deep Breath" with no warning. I complained about this, and was able to get a refund for both episodes, but then they removed "Deep Breath" from my library, and I had to buy it again to watch it.
Allana Schneidmuller
46. blutnocheinmal
@43 At iTunes for a Season Pass it's $30 SD / $40 HD. So that's $2.50-3.34 per episode, plus the extra behind the scenes stuff.
Luis Milan
47. LuisMilan
My conspiracy theory about Twelf's face:

In the Whoniverse Marcus Aurelius was actually Lucius Caecilius Iucundus's (who, as we all remember, was played by Capaldi) real grandson. Sometime between Pompeii and Marcus Aurelius' rise to power, Quintus' son replaced the real Marcus Aurelius (perhaps being switched as babies? ) and Marcus Aurelius looks a lot like his grandfather.


Clara admired Marcus Aurelius, but, in her 15-year-old mind, she imagined him a lot older (more regal?) than the poster depicted him. Clara's connection to the Doctor caused her mental image to imprint itself on the Doctor's regeneration process and therefore caused him to look so very similar to a face he already knew from before (Lucius Caecilius' face).


... or Daleks. We can blame Daleks for anything unexplainable.
Maxfield Gardner
48. maxfieldgardner
Maybe the point's been made here already, but my take on the Vastra/Clara scene wasn't about Vastra judging Clara half as much as it was about judging the fanbase -- which might have been petty, had it not come down pretty firmly on the side of the fans. Vastra thinks Clara is a bad fan. That she's saying "OMG HES NOT HOT ANYMORE IM NEVER WATCHING AGAIN!!!!" But it turns out she's not intolerant or shallow at all, and by proxy neither is the majority of the fanbase. She calls Vastra out in turn on the presumptuousness of her assumption that it's her right to pass judgment in the first place.

It was also nice to see Vastra and Jenny actually being married, instead of just kind of knowing it as a piece of background information.

My take on "Missy" is that she's the Rani. Which would actually kind of annoy me, the way it's played out so far, because the Dr. Moreau / "tyrant scientist" archetype is one of my favorites, and it's so rare to see a woman in that role. To make her into yet another Moffat lady-in-black femme fatale with a crush on the Doctor would do a disservice to her. And God forbid we go an entire season without everything coincidentally feeding into some kind of convoluted story arc that Moffat has no idea how to resolve in the end. Can we have a season where the episodes aren't somehow connected?
Deana Whitney
49. Braid_Tug
@25: No you are not. Or at least, let’s not have them shoved in our faces so quickly. Daleks got overused. Just like the Weeping Angles and 11 got overused.

@43: If it's available in your area, tonight some movie theaters are showing the episode on the big screen. Doesn't really help for the rest of the season, but is a start.


Re: opener, I rather like it. Even if it is rather steampunk-ish. But will see how I feel after a few more episodes of it.

Re: Clara & re-gen acceptance issues. I agree with other here and some friends. She’s the one Companion who should not be as bothered by the change. But his amnesia dementia would be rather startling. Give the girl a few minutes. But yes her focus on “why is he old” look was a, Really? issue.

Re: Missy. So happy I wasn’t supposed to know what I was going on. Because the whole thing was on the edge of familiar. The actress, Michelle Gomez, looked like several other crazy females we’ve seen on Doctor Who before.
Dr. Cox
50. beastofman
I can't be the only one who's over Vastra & co. I enjoyed them in "A Good Man Goes to War" and it makes sense for them to be his caregivers while he's mourning the Ponds, but this Victorian Three Investigators thing just bores me. Anyone agree?
Mike Conley
51. NomadUK
beastofman@50: but this Victorian Three Investigators thing just bores me. Anyone agree?

I don't know if I'm bored or not, but what I am is thrilled that someone else besides me remembers who The Three Investigators are.
Dr. Cox
52. skylark
Jenny disses Clara for liking 11, as if she is superior to Clara because she loves Vastra, not merely likes her. So, Vastra is hideous?

Vastra is hot.

So is Doctor 12.
Christopher Bennett
53. ChristopherLBennett
@52: I can't blame Jenny for being defensive about her relationship with Vastra given how they're presumably treated by the people around them in Victorian London. Being a lesbian couple in that day and age -- and many much more recent ages -- is a constant act of defiance.
Chris Meadows
54. Robotech_Master
Capaldi reminds me more than a little of Tom Baker. 4 was the first truly alien, rather than avuncular, Doctor figure. Capaldi looks like he might combine both.

Something I'm surprised no one has mentioned yet, what with 12's face being familiar to himself, is what the museum curator said in "The Day of the Doctor" about him finding he might come back to a familiar face. Does that turn out in retrospect to be short-term as well as long-term foreshadowing? Was Moffat being even sneakier than we thought?

One thing's for sure; I'm looking forward to seeing further episodes. You can't really tell much from the first post-regeneration episode of recent Doctors, it seems; they've always got that whole "coming down from a bad drug trip" thing going on to some degree or other. But that seems to be a fixture of the modern Doctor Who.
Dr. Cox
55. Lunaris
I felt a lot of the dialog was directed at the audience. There has been a lot of criticism around Capaldi being an older gentleman, and I felt much of the script cleverly challenged the audience on that. Perhaps it seemed out of place for the characters at times, but I personally appreciated it. Clara's overall dismay; Vastra's speach (Try listen to her side of the conversation again as though she's talking to us. I feel like Clara claiming herself as more than a pretty face was also directed at the audiences criticism of her); the boyfriend comment; even the Eleventh's phone call felt like it could have been audience directed. I wondered why Clara (being The Impossible Girl) would be hit extra hard by the Doctor's transition, but I think she was essentially portraying the audience. Which I think is quite clever and thus I'm willing to excuse character deviations.
Sky Thibedeau
56. SkylarkThibedeau
I don't think the Girlfriend is the Rani. 'Heaven' seems to be a place positronic souls seem to be so far. I'm wondering if Mystery Woman is the Tardis herself.

The Dinosaurs Forelimbs were too long. That had to be an Acrocanthrosaurus or a Giganotosaurus carolinii not a T rex.
Dr. Cox
57. beastofman
@ 51 If they leave question marks in different colored chalk, then all will be forgiven
Alan Brown
58. AlanBrown
I already dislike this "Missy" person because Moffatt has given us too many mysterious women who are interested in the Doctor in a sinister manner. The clockwork people weren't the only recycled material in this episode...
Heather Dunham
59. tankgirl73
Okay, I need to watch the Rani episodes. Of course I knew that Time and the Rani is where 6 became 7, but I haven't actually seen them. I just read the wiki article on her and wow, that's a tantalizing and compelling theory.

The thing about "Missy" is that if she's there at "heaven" for the droids, then she must somehow be involved with their creation. I confess that throughout Deep Breath I was like the Doctor -- "this is familiar but I'm not placing it" -- but of course it's The Girl in the Fireplace, the same kind of droids, the same kind of ship.

But we never did learn what the ship was for. Why there were time windows in the first place (I doubt that the droids invented time windows just to repair the ship), why was it named after Mme Pompadour, why were there these low-tech droids there in the first place as well? What was its purpose?

So now I'm thinking... Missy created the ships, for as-yet-unclear reasons. And the droids. When the droids die, they get ether-uploaded to their own version of the Library -- paradise, heaven. So the irony is that in order to reach the Paradise they had been seeking for millenia, in reality all they had to do was just die/shut down. So all the dudes from Girl in the Fireplace are in Heaven too.

The ships had something to do with interference in time. One had the windows, the other actually went back in time itself (perhaps as a catastrophic accident).

All this 'tinkering' with time-travelling ships and self-healing droids sounds like something the Rani would do.

Plus, there were hints in her episodes that she and the Doctor had a past relationship. "My boyfriend" indeed. Hey -- maybe she's Susan's grandmother? Wouldn't that be a twist. (Or not. Heh.)

PLUS -- the Rani was first 'defeated' (though not permanently) by a TYRANNOSAURUS REX growing in her Tardis. Um, hello? Big T Rex in the Thames? Is that a big hint?

And she was trapped in the Tardis with the TRex and the Master. So maybe she did take to calling herself "Mistress" from spending time with him.

I do not think she is 'the woman' who gave Clara the number. I don't think she's the Tardis either. We've seen the Tardis' consciousness before. It is much more... indirect. It has great difficulty interacting with the 'normal' time stream, and difficulty communicating properly. I don't believe for a moment that the Tardis has any ability to manipulate things outside of her own time-sphere, to become corporeal , or to be 'heaven' for droids that have no connection to the dr at all.

The other mysterious woman we have not seen explained yet is the woman who lifts her head when Gallifrey is trying to break through. There was some speculation that it was the Doctor's mother, but we really don't know. Maybe it's her doing all this.

Vastra was definitely goading Clara, not *actually* judging her. At the end Vastra wasn't all "omg you're right I'm sorry" -- she's absolutely like "there, you see, you knew it all along, you just needed a push to remember it yourself."

@39 -- I agree with your assumption. When Clara entered his time stream, at that point in time (heh) that particular time stream ended at Trenzalore. So her splinters could only possibly be scattered up to that point. She has no splinter-Claras for Capaldi. (That's also why there were no future doctors in the time stream)

That time-line where the doctor died at Trenzalore and created the timestream for her to enter in the first place has indeed been erased by his not dying. But it still "happened". Wibbly wobbly and all that.

And also, I believe that she was only consciously aware of the splintering effect while she was in there, connected with her other 'selves'. Once she was pulled out, she snapped back to the present reality- - just her, the Ur-Clara, with nothing but some vague memories of her moments in the doctor's timestream.

@35 "I think if there's something that disappoints me about this, it's that it was treated as just another regeneration. I mean, this is the beginning of a whole new cycle of incarnations for the Doctor. It's something nearly unprecedented. It would've been nice to have that acknowledged as part of the Doctor's uncertainty about what he would become now, whether he was still the same person he'd been, or whether the old Doctor had died and given way to a new one. It might've been more appropriate if he, rather than Clara, had been the one who wasn't sure he was still the Doctor."

I agree about the whole new cycle. But I think the question of whether he's still the same person was well explored with the replacing-bits metaphor -- which, I confess, COMPLETELY went over my head that it was also about HIM. Hopefully they'll explore the 'whole new cycle' aspect in coming episodes.

Oh -- and the new opening music is TERRIBLE. As in, I physically cringed. It's even worse in full theatrical stereo (I went tonight). The video sequence is cool (though I wish they'd included the Seal of Rassilon that was in the original fan vid), but the music is atrocious.
Heather Dunham
60. tankgirl73
@30 "Really, it's interesting when you realize how much in the modern series is essentially building on the precedent of the McGann movie -- the difficult regenerations, the romantic interplay with the companions, the storytelling from the companions' POV, the more action-oriented and cinematic style, the title sequence with the TARDIS spinning through the time vortex, the steampunkish elements to the TARDIS interior (though that had an earlier precedent in season 14's secondary console room), etc. The movie may have been a failed pilot, but it's been surprisingly influential despite that."

Yes! I was actually just thinking the same thing this weekend. I watched the movie after not having seen it since it originally aired. Of course loads of it was horrifically bad. But with the benefit of post-new-Who insights (as opposed to watching it in contemporary time when it was new and different) -- it *completely* felt like new Who. I especially noticed the Tardis interior, the cinematography, the romance, and the *music*. There was a recurring background theme that was almost EXACTLY the same as one of the modern themes. Can't be a coicidence.
Dr. Cox
61. Juanma
Couldn't "Missy" be a post-library River Song, with a new appearance (regenerated), and the "promised land" just the virtual reality where she's trapped, and having "saved" there the cyborg's consciousness?
Dr. Cox
62. James Moar
@42:
Granted, the character in question is somehow gay-married in a society where that shouldn't even be conceivable let alone legally recognized
My theory is that Vastra considers herself married under Silurian law, and good luck trying to convince her that that doesn't apply.
Dr. Cox
63. Dr. Thanatos
1) Examining Clara's thorax "such as it is?" Strax, you dog...

2) I didn't get a "Dark River" vibe at the end. Mysterious woman, says the Doctor loves her, and calls herself "Missy." Missy for Mistress? As in "Female Master?" After all, in the Pertwee era, the Master's disguises and aliases were always obvious, as in: "Maestro Smith? Hey, Maestro is latin for...MASTER!!!"
Dr. Cox
64. leslie ellen jones
After brooding about this for several days:

"Narcissistic control-freak game player" doesn't fit Companion Clara, but it does fit the first aspect of her that the Eleventh Doctor meets, Oswin. And in many ways, it's arguably those characteristics that allow Oswin to maintain her sense of self and keep herself alive despite having been turned into a Dalek, so these are not necessarily bad things. It makes a kind of sense that in his post-regeneration confusion, the Doctor isn't capable of distinguishing all the different shards of Clara that he's encountered over the eons, and it also seems to reveal--in terms of the "look at me, see the real me" motif--that the Doctor has never been able to see Clara as simply herself, despite her stated recommendation that he do so, but rather, all the aspects of her run together in his mind, especially Oswin and Victorian Governess/Spy Clara. Again, he never said it was her mistake.
Dr. Cox
65. SofiaP
I feel like the scene between Clara and Vastra may have been talking to us as veiwers. I know that the true fans, like me, don't care what the doctor looks like and are able to look past that and love him for his personality. Sadly, some fans were complaining about Peter Capaldi being older unlike Matt Smith and David Tennant. I think that the scene was trying to get a very important point accross to us as veiwers that looks are not important. I know that this is corny but it really is more important to be beautiful on the inside than the outside.
Christopher Bennett
66. ChristopherLBennett
@62: I always figured that the Doctor popped Vastra and Jenny forward in time to someplace where they could get married, then brought them back. Although I don't think a marriage license would be legally recognized a century or two before it was issued.

@64: I can see elements of controlling behavior in Clara before this. I mean, look at her interaction with the Doctor relative to other companions. Most companions commit fully to the experience (not always by choice); they leave their everyday lives behind and settle in as full residents of the TARDIS, at least until they decide they need to move on. But Clara has never committed in that way. The Doctor occasionally drops in for a visit, they go off on an adventure, and then he delivers her back home and she resumes her everyday life. She's the one companion who, more than any other, has required the Doctor to adapt his life to hers instead of the other way around. Okay, Amy and Rory did this to some extent in their later tenure, once they had a settled home life of their own, but it didn't define their entire relationship with the Doctor the way it has Clara's. The only previous companions who were able to continue their home lives uninterrupted were Liz Shaw and Jo Grant with the Third Doctor, but that wasn't their doing, it was because the Time Lords had stranded the Doctor on Earth.
James Milton
67. Jagami
Ultimately, though, the "narcissistic egomaniac game-player" remark was in answer to Clara's question, "Who would invite someone to lunch with a mysterious newspaper ad?" So, while the Doctor attributed that to Clara, it was (presumably) Missy who placed the ad and Missy that we're being told is an egomaniac. I'd allow it anyway, mind, just for the hilarity of, "Nothing is more important than my egomania!"

One thing about Missy is her asking the robot if he'd jumped or been killed, as it was "so hard to tell." But it was only hard to tell because the TV show cut away from the scene. If her awareness took in what happened at all, she should *know,* because her awareness wouldn't have cut away. Combine this with her describing the Doctor as being new, and her liking his new accent, and it looks as if Missy is experiencing the Doctor as we are, in a linear, episodic, story-like fashion. That makes me tentatively call Master of the Land of Fiction (or that the Master of the Land of Fiction is the named boyfriend, if he somehow imposed Scottishness on the Doctor and death on the robot) as either Missy's identity or controlling authority. When I think about it, he also had clockwork robots and a controlling computer system, so there are familiar elements in his story.
Christopher Bennett
68. ChristopherLBennett
@67: "If her awareness took in what happened at all, she should *know,* because her awareness wouldn't have cut away. Combine this with her describing the Doctor as being new, and her liking his new accent, and it looks as if Missy is experiencing the Doctor as we are, in a linear, episodic, story-like fashion."

Not if her "awareness" simply comes by watching and listening from overhead, say. The fight took place inside the restaurant/gondola, so if she was watching from outside and didn't have a clear line of sight through the door at the key moment, she could've had incomplete information about what happened within. If she were monitoring conversations with sensitive microphones, she would know he had a Scottish accent and would know that he was newly regenerated.
Alan Brown
70. AlanBrown
Why is it that a woman who thinks for herself is considered "controlling?" That whole exchange was about as jarring as the scene in Guardians of the Galaxy where Drax called Gamora a "whore," for no apparent reason.
F Shelley
73. FSS
@70. Depends. If a woman sets clear boundaries, and defends hers, then all is well and good. If she crosses the boundary to tell someone else what to do, how to act, how to think/say/be, and is upset when she doesn't get her way, that's controlling. Same for a man, too.
Christopher Bennett
77. ChristopherLBennett
Honestly, telling someone they don't get a vote about whether they can be hugged is a bit creepy regardless of gender. That is a little invasive.
Bruce Arthurs
78. Bruce-Arthurs
Thru the miracle of DVR, I watched this right after the season finale of BBC's The Three Musketeers, where Capaldi played Cardinal Richelieu. I thought it interesting that Richelieu was portrayed in TTM as being utterly ruthless, but with that ruthlessness being based in a complete dedication to the best interests (as he saw them) of France. Someone you finally had to respect, as well as fear.

I see some of that being carried over to Capaldi's interpretation of the Doctor. We'll see in future episodes just how "dark" the new Doctor can be. For now, though, I'm inclined to believe the control-node robot didn't jump, but was pushed.

(And my first thought on seeing "Missy" was "Isn't that the Eyepatch Lady?" But a check of imdb shows it's a different actress, and presumably a different character.)
Chris Meadows
79. Robotech_Master
Really, when you get right down to it, pretty much every female Companion from Rose onward has been a "control freak" in one way or another—after they got their feet under them, they bossed around the Doctor and the male companions (particularly Mickey and Rory) quite a lot, because they were all kind of a mess and needed a keeper. It's about as different as night and day from most of the old companions, whose role is best described by this song
Christopher Bennett
80. ChristopherLBennett
@78: I'm surprised that people are seeing the new Doctor as ruthless. I think that comes more from expectations of Capaldi than from what's actually in the episode. I mean, he says he has a horrible feeling he'll have to kill the guy and needs a drink to cope with his distress about it. Sure, he's basically trying to talk the guy into suicide, but when Half-Face Man asks why, the Doctor says it's because he senses that HFM himself doesn't really want to go on, so it would be an act of mercy. And before that, he was showing enormous compassion and warmth toward a giant carnonsaur that swallowed his TARDIS. I think a couple of the earlier Doctors would've been much more angry at anyone who messed up their ride like that. And he was saddened and guilt-ridden by its death, feeling it was his fault -- "and look what I did to her."

So this Doctor may be curt and rude, but ruthless? I see just the opposite.
Dr. Cox
81. Drachasor
I liked the episode overall, but I do think it had a few problems.

All the gender "humor" really does fall flat. The romantic elements Moffat typically writes are also bad. But I don't think this is because he can't write female characters or romances per se. He just needs someone to point out that he needs to stop making a big deal out of gender. Because the jokes are stupid, and the only reason the romances have largely been awful is because Moffat leans on female tropes and stereotypes.

Moffat wrote Amy and River well for instance, except when he ventured into romance or gender-based humor. Once he went there the writing was just cringe-worthy (though River more so than Amy). Similar, Clara, while needing more depth, has been written fine...until this weird focus on her interest in the doctor. Madam Vestra? Well written until this episodes over-interest in her and Jenny's marriage/relationship.

He could fix this pretty easily, I think, by just writing the writing the female sides of romances like he writes the males. I'm not sure he'll ever figure that out though.

I think the only other problem Moffat has is his tendency to force "epic" moments. River's Wedding, the Time Lord's intervention and 11's energy beams, etc. All these were bad because they were forced, imho.

Otherwise* I think he's great as a Showrunner. Mostly his issues don't affect stories, though somewhat similar to Davies they tend to have their problems crop up at the end of the last episode of a given series/season. Very annoying. Davies Deus Ex Machina'd everything -- not cool. Moffat tends to force something "epic" -- which has more foreshadowing but still comes across as very unnatural.

*Other than his major flaws he's great! That might seem like faint praise, but I think he could become absolutely awesome if he just addressed a couple flaws in his writing.
Dr. Cox
82. Drachasor
Oh, I forgot, I also don't see why Clara of all people is having a problem here. It was indicated she remembered her experiences in the Doctor's timeline -- at least mostly. So why is she freaking out? Any other companion or friend of the Doctor freaking out would make more sense to me.

I sort of feel this just happened to jam in the Vestra conversation for people feeling uncertain about the change. And for the touching scene at the end. Those only make sense IF Clara freaks, basically.
Christopher Bennett
83. ChristopherLBennett
@82: It wasn't that Clara didn't understand what was happening; after all, she was the one who told Vastra and Jenny that he was the Doctor upon their arrival. It's more that she just hadn't expected him to change so much -- and maybe there was some disappointment that he wasn't as young and cute as he used to be.

Basically, as Moffat has pointed out, she had Eleven pretty much domesticated -- he was like her puppy who eagerly rolled over for her. You can see that in "The Time of the Doctor," where she's roping him into helping her cook turkey and be her pretend boyfriend. In her mind, he is her companion. She had this nice, settled, solved relationship where the Doctor was what she wanted him to be and did what she wanted him to do -- and then suddenly he changed without any advance warning and it's thrown her for a loop. She knew in the abstract that this was possible, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a shock when it actually happened. It's like the death of a loved one: we pretty much live in denial about it and treat it as a distant, abstract idea, until it hits us and we're angry and betrayed because we didn't believe it would ever actually happen.
Bruce Arthurs
84. Bruce-Arthurs
@80, not so much from "expectations of Capaldi" or from this particular episode as from the series as a whole. Remember, this is a guy who (thought he had) sacrificed his own entire civilization to stop a war. This is a guy of whom entire planets, species and civilizations are terrified.
Christopher Bennett
85. ChristopherLBennett
@84: But that's not ruthlessness. Ruth is an archaic English word meaning compassion or remorse, a word that's oddly fallen out of use while its negation has remained. (The given name Ruth is from a different origin.) To be ruthless is to be merciless, to have no compassion for the people who get in your way. That's hardly true of the Doctor. Yes, his enemies think he's a ruthless destroyer, but that's because they're ruthless destroyers; he's just the guy who tries to protect everybody else from them, and most of the time he's forced to do it through their destruction.

I mean, yes, he thought he'd sacrificed his whole civilization, but only as an absolute last resort to save the entire universe. He spent a long time avoiding fighting in the Time War at all, then reluctantly took up arms, then spent centuries trying to fight the good fight, and only then, once he discovered that Rassilon intended to destroy the universe in order to win the war, did he come to the painful conclusion that he had to destroy Gallifrey itself. So by focusing on the final act (which he didn't really do) without providing the context of what led up to it is misleading. You make it sound like he unhesitatingly embraced that option when in fact it was the absolute last resort after centuries of trying other ways.

If anything, ruth is the Doctor's primary defining characteristic. Even when he does harm, he only does it out of compassion, to protect innocents from the beings that seek to destroy them. And the reason he's defeated and destroyed so many bad guys is because he can't go somewhere and see someone in trouble and not choose to help save them from it. Only the bullies are terrified of him, because he will not tolerate their bullying.
Julian Hall
86. Jules
A couple of thoughts on the discussion above:
1. I doubt that "Missy" is the Rani; ISTR that Moffat has stated in the not-so-distant past that he had decided not to bring the Rani back. Although, of course, Moffat lies.
2. I also don't think the Doctor pushed the cyborg. Think about the preceding lines of dialogue: the cyborg states that suicide is against its programming, the doctor that murder is against his. Then the Doctor states that one of those is wrong. Combined with the Doctor's previous assertion that the cyborg's constant replacing of parts has left itself as not the same as its original, there's no reason that original programming should still apply. But the theme of the episode is that the Doctor is still the Doctor. Therefore, of the two statements, the cyborg's is the most likely to be incorrect: it is no longer programmed against suicide, as its original programming is all gone.
Dr. Cox
88. LoveSciFi
Although my earliest memory of The Doctor features Patrick Troughton fighting Cybermen on the moon, I guess my Doctor would have to be Jon Pertwee. Pertwee and his predecessors were the usual science fiction boffin casting - older, intelligent, professor-type characters - albeit with a quirky gimmick of some kind. But certainly not the hearthrob, pin-up types.

Roll forward a few decades and Sci-Fi has genuinely entered mainstream popular entertainment, becoming considerably more sophisticated in the process. Meanwhile, the marketing and presentation of TV, film and music has become more important than the content. Fascination with image and celebrity has taken over a generations mind.

At about the time of the exit of David Tennant - when Matt Smith had been identified as the next Doctor, but had yet to take control of the Tardis - my (late-teenage) daughter had invited some of her friends, mostly girls, to a birthday party she was having at our house.

Imagine my surprise when I overheard a number of these girls talking about, of all things, Doctor Who! However, they were not talking about the merits of a particular episode or villain. They were voicing their disappointment regarding the exit of Tennant and their views about his replacement. Most were unsure if they would continue to watch the programme.

So here we are once more, regeneration time. Everyone is eulogising over the exit of Matt Smith, with some Tennant fans even admitting Smith had been every bit as good, in his own way.

It is hardly surprising, in this age of image-over-substance, that Steven Moffat has felt it necessary to stage-manage the audience through this latest transition. I am sure, that given time, Peter Capaldi will prove to be equally as excellent as those that have gone before, adding his own facet to the Doctor Who character.

In spite of a few problems - the ridiculously over-sized Dinosaur, the lack of reaction by passers-by to a man with half a face, as well as the messy alternate history dilemma, to name a few - I thought this was a reasonably good start to the season.

I still find Moffats' need to insert quips regarding sexual orientation and equality (a habit inherited from his predecessor) rather unnecessary. But, looking at all the discussion on this forum, maybe that's just me.
Christopher Bennett
89. ChristopherLBennett
@88: "I still find Moffats' need to insert quips regarding sexual orientation and equality (a habit inherited from his predecessor) rather unnecessary."

Oh, there's a lot of difference between how RTD and Moffat handle alternative sexualities. RTD just included alternative sexualities as a normal part of the world and a part of how characters related to one another, as it is in real life. Moffat is more self-conscious and outsidery about it, tending to treat it more as a joke or a character quirk.
Dr. Cox
90. JohnElliott
(Also, the Doctor says you have to stop breathing to hide among the cyborgs, but all he does is put on one of their faces? How does that follow?)

Respiratory bypass. Time Lords can shut down their breathing for a lot longer than humans.
alastair chadwin
91. a-j
The T-Rex being too large:
Having re-watched the episode last night, there is dialogue about this. Jenny comments on it being too big, she's seen the skeletons and Vastra replies that she saw them in the flesh and who is Jenny going to believe.
The Doctor's comments about girlfriends and flirting:
This is, essentially, Capaldi doing an impersonation of Smith. Watch it again and it's very funny. He has a go at the latter's intonation and everything, even his body-language. 12's character only starts to assert itself on the bridge and doesn't fully coalesce until the restaurant scene.
Maxfield Gardner
92. maxfieldgardner
I don't think the new Doctor is ruthless either, he's just...abrasive, in his current body. I think he gradually became more open to the idea of killing and reconsidered the morality of his younger self. Seven, in the (now-canon) Big Finish audios, said outright that Four made a mistake by not committing Dalek genocide, while Eight told Davros "I'm going to kill you." Maybe he even regenerated into his more manic, jokey Tennant and Smith incarnations to deny that aspect of himself, and is finally dropping the act along with the young face. He's old and tired and not pretending anymore, but that lack of pretense seems to have given him newfound determination as well, if his line about rectifying past mistakes is any indication.

At some point in the future it would be neat to see a sort of" Trial of a Time Lord"-esque examination of the Doctor's current morality. Is he a hypocrite who brings down genocidal madmen and moralizes about the wrongness of killing while committing genocide himself left and right? Is he a largely benevolent and peace-loving man (or woman, possibly, sometime in future) who only resorts to killing when absolutely necessary? Has he seen so much killing and death over the past few millennia that his unwillingness to kill is just more easily compromised? And that's not even getting into the fact that one regeneration might occupy a different place on that scale than another.

I have no idea. It would be interesting if they actually asked those questions on the show itself, as much as it's discussed in the fandom.
Dr. Cox
93. TraeCat
OMG I LOVE THIS THREAD.
Christopher Bennett
94. ChristopherLBennett
@92: Just because a canonical production alluded to a few characters from the audios, that doesn't mean the entire audio series is canonical now. That's not how it works. The only thing that's canonical is the canon, which literally just means the core work by the original creators or franchise owners as distinguished from tie-ins, pastiches, and fan fiction. Elements from tie-ins can be incorporated into the canon, but that just makes those particular elements part of the canon, not the entirety of the stories they were borrowed from. For instance, comic books have adopted many characters created for their tie-ins -- Jimmy Olsen and Perry White from the Superman radio series, Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya from Batman: The Animated Series, Phil Coulson and his SHIELD team from the Marvel Studios movie/TV franchise -- but the comics are still their own separate continuities with separate, often altered versions of those characters (for instance, Jimmy Olsen was originally a blond copyboy turned cub reporter, but in the comics he became a redheaded photographer).

Although it has been said that Doctor Who has no canon, at least not in the sense that it's come to be used by studios like Lucasfilm -- i.e. it offers no opinion about what supplementary works are or are not in continuity with the canon. And of course even the series itself has a very flexible continuity, which has been codified in recent years with the establishment of the idea that history is constantly being changed by the actions of time travellers, and that only certain "fixed points in time" are exempt. So any attempt to define a rigid listing of what stories "really happened" and what stories didn't would be kind of pointless, since some future episode could rewrite history again. One can easily pretend that all DW stories "happened" in various alternative realities, but that doesn't make them binding on the show. So it's not really a series that lends itself to the kind of continuity cataloguing that fans like to do with other franchises.
Dr. Cox
95. SteveL
I wonder if the Doctor has adopted Capaldi's face for his latest regeneration because Missy is someone Caecilius (Capaldi's character from The Fires of Pompeii) knew who had a crush on Caecelius and the Doctor looking like Caecilius will prove to be useful (as a distraction?) in his inevitable confrontation with her. The High Priestess could have survived (through the agency of the Pyroviles) and been changed and driven slightly mad and obsessed with the Doctor over the years.

Alternately Missy could be someone who knew John Frobisher (Capaldi's character from Torchwood: Children of Earth) and the Doctor's face will be useful for the same reason.
Dr. Cox
96. wrkinprogress
@StrongDreams I don't have BBC either. I watched it on cokeandpopcorn.
Dr. Cox
97. LaceyS
I also wondered why Clara of all people would have such a hard time with the Doctor's regeneration. Then the conversation with Vastra, and it occured to me... Clara having a pin-up of Marcus Aurelius... maybe she's getting a little scared now because the "young" guy who she played house with has turned into someone who is more than capable of controling her. And of being someone that she might actually develop romantic feelings towards. Feelings that would not be reciprocated. IF she's a control freak (which I never saw before outside of Oswin), then that would be enough to throw her far off kilter. Screams Daddy-issues, but *shrugs*. All that said, I really hope I'm wrong. My favorite Doctor-Companion paring was 10 and Donna because they were just good buddies. I was hoping to get back to a dynamic like that.

I did enjoy seeing Clara actually have more lines and character development than she has pretty much had to date. I never disliked her, but I didn't think her character was written to Jenna's potential. I mean Oswin and The Snowmen showcased her as an incredible character, then.... nothing.

For all the sexist bits that had me rolling my eyes, I didn't have a problem with Vastra using Jenny as a piece of living art. That I found funny. It seemed like the kind of thing that could happen in a loving, teasing relationship. Especially a relationship where one of them is so much older than the other, and can value the aesthetic of youthful beauty while also playing a prank.
Nicky Kay
98. NickyKV2
Missy might turn out to be Clara – that would be a neat way for Moffat to write her out if she does leave the show and also give him his story-arc. After all, near the end of the episode, Capaldi Doctor does say: “Clara, I’m not your boyfriend”. Well, not any more but he might have been if the Matt Doctor had lasted a bit longer. Whereas Missy describes him as “my boyfriend”.

I enjoyed the episode over all. I don’t know Peter Capaldi’s previous work apart from “Torchwood” and “Fires of Pompeii” and he was different enough in those to appear “new” to me here. He is a fine actor, great facial expressions – his echoes of previous Doctors were superbly done and, mostly, quite subtle. I had no problem believing he was the new Doctor even if the character were unsure!

I liked the title sequence (opening credits) visuals but not the music. The episode seemed a little “plodding” until the Doctor and Clara are in the restaurant and the descent into the basement which, unhelpfully, reminded me of James Bond “Live and Let Die”: “I once had a funny turn in a booth”. I didn’t like the Vastra interrogation of Clara for the same reasons as expressed in the review. I understand that Vastra felt a need to do what she did (he is the same as he has always been, just different so see through your eyes, not your heart), but perhaps it could have been done better. Vastra came across as being unkind and mean, rather than challenging.

There were some attempts at humour in the opening “mad Doctor” bit and one or two were funny. As for the sexual-orientation jokes and quips, Moffat seems a bit self-conscious at times, almost as if he is trying too much to be cool and appeal to a younger generation.

One of the finest touches in the opening phase was the death of the dinosaur. It upset me because Moffat cleverly humanized the animal by making the sleeping Doctor translate its fear. I felt similarly emotional with the phone call from Doctor Matt to Clara. Another very good moment which cemented the new Doctor as The Doctor.

I give the episode an 8 out of 10. It’s worth remembering that there is not enough quality drama (not just SF) on TV, so we should be grateful when we get something like this and all can disagree massively!
Brian DOYLE
99. Cypher_UK
I got the impression that Vastra wasn't looking down on Clara in the interview per se, she wanted Clara to get out of the funk she was in after losing 11, and if the best way to do that was make her think about appearances and acceptance and get angry so she stood up for herself, then so be it. Vastra is pleased that Clara is now bloody furious at her, because it means she's thinking for herself and about herself, not just about the "lost" 11. (Well, that was my reading of the scene anyway)

I was slightly disconcerted by Clara being weirded out over regeneration, but then again, I have no idea how much of her seeing the other Doctor's she actively remembers, and even though she met three at once in "The Day of the Doctor", this is her first personal experience with regeneration, losing 11 and dealing with the messy aftermath immediately after the arrival of 12, that's a rather different experience from just meeting other people who she knows are the Doctor.
Christopher Bennett
100. ChristopherLBennett
@97: I take the Vastra/Jenny weirdness as being meant to reflect the fact that Vastra isn't human; like the Doctor, she has attitudes and a view of the world that often seem strange and inappropriate to us. I took the "posing" sequence as being merely eccentricity rather than kink.
Dr. Cox
101. hazmoid
My take away ( and I need to re-watch it after almost falling asleep because I had been camping all weekend) is that overall it was a strong episode. Had to laugh at Strax "sending up the paper" , and there were a few other things that were strange ( The Doctor abandoning Clara to the control cyborg?) but overall the episode worked.
Missy = Mistress= Master? Also in the episode where The Doctor cremated the Master's body after the Toclofane/Paradox machine, whilst the body is burning there is an evil laugh and female hand as it picks up the Master's ring?
Christopher Bennett
102. ChristopherLBennett
@101: It was the Master/Saxon's wife who picked up the ring, as I recall.

And the Doctor didn't abandon Clara; he just needed to regroup and trusted her to hold her own until he could get back to her. Which she did rather brilliantly. In fact, I wondered if maybe he was deliberately testing her ability to handle herself on her own because he wasn't sure of himself anymore.
Dr. Cox
103. Dr. Cox
@102 Wasn't it Miss Trefueusis (sp?) who at some point picked up the ring that contained the Master's DNA? It was shown in Part One (I think) of "The End of Time."
@101 The newspaper throwing, lol . . . why not just send off Strax to be one of the companions? lol . . . he and the TARDIS could keep the Doctor in all sorts of trouble (that's how I saw the show when I first started watching it--a show about a time traveller whose ship kept getting him into different perilous situations . . . I didn't see the UNIT episodes 'til later, and haven't seen all of them).
dustin mcclelland
104. dustin3278
I didn't read all the comments so Im not sure if this was addressed, but I have a question. How did 11 know that he was going to regenerate and call Clara? At the end of his last episode, he only got the new regenerations from calling his people in and he was surprised by it - he seemed to really think he didn't have any regenerations left. Also, did anyone think about the possibility of the woman in paradise being Clara? with all the hints at "boyfriend" I thought it could be a foreshadowing of something happening to Clara in the future and sarcastically referring to the Doctor as her boyfriend because he said he was not.???
Christopher Bennett
105. ChristopherLBennett
@104: In "The Time of the Doctor," the Time Lords sent the Eleventh Doctor a big burst of regeneration energy that erupted from him and caused a huge explosion. When the smoke cleared, there was no sign of the Doctor in the rubble. Clara went in search of him, found the phone off the hook in the TARDIS door, then went inside and found him young again as the new regeneration cycle "reset," and then he got in that big self-indulgent speech before zapping into Capaldi. Now we know why the phone was off the hook: Because after the big explosion and before Clara reached the TARDIS, he used the phone to call Clara in the future and reassure her. He'd already started to regenerate when he called, which is why he was young again.
Dr. Cox
106. mutantalbinocrocodile
@48, you have one good (if very involved theory) on the question of "Why this face?" I was very surprised that they addressed that quite so head-on. I had heard a few months ago from SM that casting Capaldi in "Fires of Pompeii" and now as the Doctor was not without meaning, so I've had a while to mull it over. My take is. . .Caecilius was the person the Doctor saved not only when he didn't have to, but when he was certain he wasn't allowed to. The Doctor no longer consciously remembers the events in Pompeii or meeting Caecilius, but he subconsciously took his face to remind himself that he is the person who saves lives whenever possible, even at fixed points in time, even when it seems like breaking the rules.
Dr. Cox
107. the mad monk
the doctor was able to hold his breath that long because of the respiratory bypass system, which is part of a time lord's physiology. the 2nd doctor used it to survive on mnemosyne, the 4th doctor used it when being strangled by a service robot, the 5th doctor used it to survive the airless cave on androzani when recovering the bat's milk, the 6th doctor avoided breathing poisonous gasses after he shut down the ventelation systems in the mine on onyakis, the 7th doctor used it to avoid being overcome by either and the 11th doctor used it to get into an impact suit in low orbit....even though he put it on backwards. interestingly enough, timothy dean gained this system when he was infected with the 7th doctor's dna.

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