Peter Capaldi as the Doctor as I watch: S8 E1 Deep Breath

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Peter Capaldi as the Doctor as I watch: S8 E1 Deep Breath

The First of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doc­tor Who

Sum­mary: Can Clara and the Doc­tor deal with his new regen­er­a­tion and a series of mur­ders in Vic­to­rian Lon­don at the same time?.

Plot: In the mid­dle of Vic­to­rian Lon­don a Flesh eat­ing Dinosaur appears liked agi­tated both by being dis­placed in time and a TARDIS in its mouth. While the com­pletely baf­fled Lon­don police are rely­ing on Madame Vas­tra to deal with it the Doc­tor is still try­ing to fig­ure out who he is, what he is and how to tell Clara and Strax apart. But when the when the Dinosaur meets an unex­pect­edly vio­lent has some­body saved the day or it is another in a string of unlikely mur­ders and will Vas­tra, Jenny, and Strax live long enough and Clara stick around long enough to find up.

— — — — — — — — — — — –

Writ­ing: The two regen­er­a­tions of Steven Mof­fat are at war in this episode, the adult writer who wants to put together a tight qual­ity script and the fan­boy still play­ing with his Doc­tor Who toys on his bed. Half of the episode seems like a fan film and the other half is sim­ply spec­tac­u­lar. These aspects were mixed together in such a way that it’s almost impos­si­ble to divorce the one from the other. It reminded me of Robot the 1st Tom Baker 4th episode which was writ­ten like a run of the mill Jon Per­twee 3rd Doc­tor episode with a regen­er­a­tion thrown into it. The major­ity of the set­tings, char­ac­ters and even the vil­lain were throw away char­ac­ters as if Mof­fat had writ­ten a script and then said, “it would be cool if we did this.” It’s as if Doc­tor Who doesn’t employ an edi­tor or said edi­tor was on hol­i­day leav­ing Mof­fat to play with his dolls on his desk (Who knew Peter Davi­son nailed him so com­pletely in the fiveish doc­tors reboot?)

Act­ing: Like the prover­bial British sol­der who gives a good account of them­selves in an impos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion the two leads take this mate­r­ial and absolutely shine in it. I sim­ply didn’t real­ize how good an actor Capaldi was but I know it now and his scenes with Jenna Cole­man are so riv­et­ing. I sus­pect I’ll be fast for­ward­ing to them on demand for years. McIn­tosh, Stew­art and Starkey char­ac­ters do a decent job with the car­i­ca­tures their char­ac­ters (Vas­tra, Jenny & Strax) have become, with Starkey hav­ing the eas­i­est time because of the comic scene steal­ing nature of the char­ac­ter but their pri­mary job is to serve bat­ting prac­tice to slug­gers and given how Cole­man & Capaldi knocked it out like Ortiz in a World Series they cer­tainly did their job. And the sur­prise guest star at the end was strong too.

Mem­o­rable Moments: The same size, Any other mur­ders like this one, Going gray, A room just for sleeping?

Really cool moment: The appear­ance of Matt Smith in new scenes at the end of the episode was pretty much a fan wet dream.

Odd­i­ties: Is any­one not both­ered by the fact that Jenny doesn’t mind Vas­tra eat­ing peo­ple? Is it not odd that the Doc­tor isn’t both­ered by it?

Pet Peeves: Unlike Cyberb­men Dinosaurs are not bul­let proof and Vic­to­rian Lon­don was not unarmed nor were they sheep. That large rep­tile wouldn’t have got­ten 100 yards before being shot dead either by the army, or by the var­i­ous armed cit­i­zens tak­ing pot­shots at it from every pos­si­ble angle.

Fur­ther­more I’m really get­ting sick of the car­i­ca­ture of Vic­to­rian Eng­land, the time of their country’s great­est eco­nomic, sci­en­tific, indus­trial and social years as a bunch of big­oted back­ward dopes as opposed to the inspi­ra­tion of those who saved France in 1914 & the world in 1941 by not giv­ing in to the Nazis when all else did.

Great Quote(s):

Strax: How do you know?
12th Doc­tor: Come on Clara you know I speak Dinosaur.

Clara: [indi­cat­ing Strax] He’s not clara I’M Clara

12th Doc­tor:We’ll you’re very sim­i­lar heights, maybe you should wear labels?

*************************************************

12th Doc­tor: Door, bor­ing, not me

*************************************************
12th Doc­tor: So who is it?

11th Doc­tor: [Speak­ing on the phone] Is that the Doctor?

12th Doc­torIs that the Doctor?

Clara: [To both] Yes.

11th Doc­tor:He sounds old, please tell me I didn’t get old, any­thing but old. I was young. Ohhh. Is he Gray?

*******************************************************************
12th Doc­tor:Well

Clara:Well what?

12th Doc­tor:He asked you a ques­tion, Will you help me?

Clara:You shouldn’t have been listening.

12th Doc­tor:I wasn’t, I didn’t need to. That was me talking.

Final Ver­dict: Three Stars out of Five Capaldi’s act­ing and the multi doc­tor aspect that appeals to the Doc­tor Who geek in me forces a third star onto this episode. What really upsets it is it could have been a five star episode if it had been edited and cut to 45 min­utes. Fur­ther­more this was the worst new Doc­tor intro episode since the revival of the series.

Rank­ing of Sea­son: 1st of one and I sin­cerely hope it doesn’t stay there oth­er­wise in ten years Capaldi will spend his life­time fight­ing to get ahead of Colin Baker & Sylvester McCoy on the favorite Doctor’s list.

1. Deep Breath

Because of the unex­pected guest star at the end of the episode I’m going to for the fun of it rank it in the last sea­son of Matt Smith, I won’t rank it as a “spe­cial” as it’s a reg­u­lar (albeit long) episode.

1. The Day of the Doc­tor
2. The Bells of St. John
3. The Crim­son Hor­ror
4. The Power of three
5. The Name of the Doc­tor
6. The Snow­men
7. Night­mare in Sil­ver
8. The Doc­tor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
9. Dinosaurs on a Space­ship
10. Jour­ney to the Cen­tre of the Tardis
11. Deep Breath
12. Cold War
13. A Town Called Mercy
14. Asy­lum of the Daleks
15. The Rings of Akhaten
16. Hide
17. The Angels Take Manhattan

The First of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doctor Who

Summary: Can Clara and the Doctor deal with his new regeneration and a series of murders in Victorian London at the same time?.

Plot: In the middle of Victorian London a Flesh eating Dinosaur appears liked agitated both by being displaced in time and a TARDIS in its mouth.  While the completely baffled London police are relying on Madame Vastra to deal with it the Doctor is still trying to figure out who he is, what he is and how to tell Clara and Strax apart.  But when the when the Dinosaur meets an unexpectedly violent has somebody saved the day or it is another in a string of unlikely murders and will Vastra, Jenny, and Strax live long enough and Clara stick around long enough to find up.

———————————–

Writing:  The two regenerations of Steven Moffat are at war in this episode, the adult writer who wants to put together a tight quality script and the fanboy still playing with his Doctor Who toys on his bed. Half of the episode seems like a fan film and the other half is simply spectacular. These aspects were mixed together in such a way that it’s almost impossible to divorce the one from the other. It reminded me of Robot the 1st Tom Baker 4th episode which was written like a run of the mill Jon Pertwee 3rd Doctor episode with a regeneration thrown into it. The majority of the settings, characters and even the villain were throw away characters as if Moffat had written a script and then said, “it would be cool if we did this.” It’s as if Doctor Who doesn’t employ an editor or said editor was on holiday leaving Moffat to play with his dolls on his desk (Who knew Peter Davison nailed him so completely in the fiveish doctors reboot?)

Acting: Like the proverbial British solder who gives a good account of themselves in an impossible situation the two leads take this material and absolutely shine in it. I simply didn’t realize how good an actor Capaldi was but I know it now and his scenes with Jenna Coleman are so riveting. I suspect I’ll be fast forwarding to them on demand for years. McIntosh, Stewart and Starkey characters do a decent job with the caricatures their characters (Vastra, Jenny & Strax) have become, with Starkey having the easiest time because of the comic scene stealing nature of the character but their primary job is to serve batting practice to sluggers and given how Coleman & Capaldi knocked it out like Ortiz in a World Series they certainly did their job. And the surprise guest star at the end was strong too.

Memorable Moments: The same size, Any other murders like this one, Going gray, A room just for sleeping?

Really cool moment: The appearance of Matt Smith in new scenes at the end of the episode was pretty much a fan wet dream.

Oddities: Is anyone not bothered by the fact that Jenny doesn’t mind Vastra eating people? Is it not odd that the Doctor isn’t bothered by it?

Pet Peeves: Unlike Cyberbmen Dinosaurs are not bullet proof and Victorian London was not unarmed nor were they sheep. That large reptile wouldn’t have gotten 100 yards before being shot dead either by the army, or by the various armed citizens taking potshots at it from every possible angle.

Furthermore I’m really getting sick of the caricature of Victorian England, the time of their country’s greatest economic, scientific, industrial and social years as a bunch of bigoted backward dopes as opposed to the inspiration of those who saved France in 1914 & the world in 1941 by not giving in to the Nazis when all else did.

Great Quote(s):

Strax: How do you know?
12th Doctor: Come on Clara you know I speak Dinosaur.

Clara: [indicating Strax] He’s not clara I’M Clara

12th Doctor:We’ll you’re very similar heights, maybe you should wear labels?

*************************************************

12th Doctor:  Door, boring, not me

*************************************************
12th Doctor:  So who is it?

11th Doctor: [Speaking on the phone] Is that the Doctor?

12th DoctorIs that the Doctor?

Clara: [To both] Yes.

11th Doctor:He sounds old, please tell me I didn’t get old, anything but old. I was young. Ohhh. Is he Gray?

*******************************************************************
12th Doctor:Well

Clara:Well what?

12th Doctor:He asked you a question, Will you help me?

Clara:You shouldn’t have been listening.

12th Doctor:I wasn’t, I didn’t need to. That was me talking.

Final Verdict: Three Stars out of Five  Capaldi’s acting and the multi doctor aspect that appeals to the Doctor Who geek in me forces a third star onto this episode.  What really upsets it is it could have been a five star episode if it had been edited and cut to 45 minutes. Furthermore this was the worst new Doctor intro episode since the revival of the series.

Ranking of Season: 1st of one and I sincerely hope it doesn’t stay there otherwise in ten years Capaldi will spend his lifetime fighting to get ahead of Colin Baker & Sylvester McCoy on the favorite Doctor’s list.

1. Deep Breath

Because of the unexpected guest star at the end of the episode I’m going to for the fun of it rank it in the last season of Matt Smith, I won’t rank it as a “special” as it’s a regular (albeit long) episode.

1. The Day of the Doctor
2. The Bells of St. John
3. The Crimson Horror
4. The Power of three
5. The Name of the Doctor
6. The Snowmen
7. Nightmare in Silver
8. The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
9. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
10. Journey to the Centre of the Tardis
11.  Deep Breath
12. Cold War
13. A Town Called Mercy
14. Asylum of the Daleks
15. The Rings of Akhaten
16. Hide
17. The Angels Take Manhattan