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Deep Breath

ShowDoctor Who / Series VIII / Episode 1
First Broadcast2014/08/24 - 04:50 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeThe Time Of The Doctor
Next EpisodeInto The Dalek

Doctor Who is now big business and there has been a long build-up to the new series. Capaldi, Coleman and Moffat have toured the world, including Sydney, touting the new Doctor. We've been told repeatedly to expect a different, darker Doctor and we saw a little of that. But we also saw much of what we're used to. Companions adjusting to a regenerated Doctor; a confused, regenerated Doctor questioning who he is; lots of madness and running; a mystery to solve; and phrases and items from past episodes.

The episode began with a new title sequence featuring a more clockwork time vortex. It was interesting but lacked the energy and spark of recent versions. The first scene revolved around a dinosaur in Victorian London that eventually spits out the TARDIS. Madam Vastra, Jenny and Strax are there to greet the Doctor and Clara as they emerge. Once the dinosaur is contained the pace slows and there is a lot of dialogue around change, especially between Vastra and Clara.

The Doctor's regeneration has not gone smoothly (as usual) and the almost standard issues arise out of this, eg. confusion, the Doctor not operating at 100% and so on. The Doctor spends quite a bit of time wondering about his new face. It seems he has some level of choice and wants to know why he chose such an old face. It also seems familiar to him but he's not sure where from. (Could this be a reference to The Fires of Pompeii given that Peter Capaldi played one of the characters?) Coincidentally (?) the Doctor also asks the half-face robot where he got his face. I wonder if any more will come of this.

The pace eventually picks up when Clara goes to meet the Doctor for lunch. Eventually we discover that both think the other has invited them via a little puzzle in the Times. The Doctor has discovered he's Scottish and he's very blunt with Clara. Eventually they wonder why they are there and discover they are surrounded by robots. They are eventually trapped and brought down into a lair. They try to escape, but the Doctor abandons Clara when he realises they both might not make it out safely. A devastated Clara tries to escape by herself and engages in a battle of wits with her captor. Her faith in the Doctor is restored when he is there to help when she believes he should be.

The robot behind it all seems to be related to the clockwork robots from The Girl In The Fireplace - a sister ship perhaps. Eventually this robot is destroyed and everyone is safe. It's hinted, but never shown, that perhaps the Doctor murdered it rather than it self-destructing. I wonder if we'll find out.

The Doctor disappears for a while and Clara seems resigned to living with Vastra. However he returns with a redecorated TARDIS and his new garments. Clara doesn't like it and asks to be taken home. Upon exiting the TARDIS she receives a phone call from the eleventh Doctor (a cameo by Matt Smith) just before his regeneration on Trenzalore, asking her to stay with the Doctor to help him out. The twelfth Doctor, remembering the call, asks her if she will. She agrees.

This seemed to be where the episode should end naturally, but there's a final twist. The half-face robot is not destroyed and is now with a mystery woman identified only as Missy. She claims to know the Doctor very well. It seems that she is the woman who placed the ad in the Times and also the lady in the shop who gave Clara the phone number to the best help line in the Universe in The Bells of Saint John. It seems she's been in the background for a while. What's her story?