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Saturday, 23 August 2014

S8E1: Deep Breath

This episdoe, rightfully so, had a lot of hype surrounding it. Not only was it a series premier, but it was the premier of the new Doctor.

I don't think many people had much doubt that Capaldi would be fantastic, aside from the people who are still upset that he's not young like Matt and David were. But let that go. He was absolutely fantastic, as most expected. The character's arch through out the story was clear: he starts out confused and disoriented from regenerating, and becomes more and more coherent as the story goes on. That was done beautifully, not only in the acting, but it was a finer moment for Moffat's writing as well. The scene about the bedroom was just perfect.

One "mistake" Moffat made with the last regeneration episode, "Eleventh Hour", was that there were no points-of-reference to any of the Doctor's past, except for the fact that he was in 10's outfit and also what the Atraxi showed and spoke of at the end. Here, he corrected that in several ways, most prominently is that he is still with Clara and also Vastra, Jenny, and Strax were along for the ride as well. He made a nod to Amy Pond and went very far back with a subtle (and then more clearly stated) reference to "Girl in the Fireplace", all making it very clear that he was still the Doctor and we are, in fact, watching Doctor Who. What a concept!

Although I think this will go down as one of Moffat's better episodes, there were still some questionable points. The dinosaur was an interesting choice. It had it's reasons, sure, but it reminded me of that so-bad-it's-good Sherlock Holmes movie I reviewed in April or so. It seemed to be a bit there for spectacle. Moffat could have just as easily said that the whatever in the dinosaur's optic nerve was in some other thing. I found it entertaining, but rather unnecessary. It was also a bit of a misdirect in terms of publicity.

I personally think that it's very important to have the first episode with a new Doctor focus on the Doctor himself and also the companion(s). This did that. The plot was a jumping-off point for their relationship to change and grow. It was plot-driven, but the characters were driving, and we could start to see, especially at the very end, how their dynamic might be.

And now I come to the unavoidable: the phone call.
I see why it happened. Although some aspects of it didn't make too much sense, like the fact that he's predicting the regeneration like 300 years before it happens and when he knows he has no more left, it's there to help Clara--and therefore the audience as well--be okay with the new Doctor. 11 tells Clara that he is basically not as confident as he appears and will need all the help he can get to become more comfortable in that new skin of his. Hopefully Clara be able to do that, although these rumours of Jenna disembarking the TARDIS may say otherwise.

See you next week!

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