BWW Recap: New DOCTOR WHO Starts Journey into Darkness in Premiere
The season premiere of "Doctor Who" has now aired on BBC America, so it's time to talk about the much-anticipated episode! From dinosaurs on fire, to cyborgs needing human parts, "Deep Breath," the first episode of Season 8, has given us a lot to talk about. If you haven't seen last night's episode continue at your own risk, because you know, SPOILERS!
First, a quick plot summary to refresh:
The episode opens up with a T-rex on the Thames in Victorian London and Vastra, Jenny, and Strax on the scene. We then see the dinosaur spit the TARDIS out of it's mouth, answering the question of how the T-rex could have time traveled in the first place. The Doctor and Clara exit the TARDIS, and the newly regenerated Doctor confusedly rants for a few minutes before fainting.
The next scene finds the Doctor complaining about who would ever create such a waste of space as bedroom, and saying that mirrors infuriate him. Vastra calms him down and gets him back to sleep. Our poor dinosaur friend spontaneously combusts, leading the Doctor and his cohorts to realizing this, and the other spontaneous combustions that have happened throughout London, are connected.
We come to find out that "Mancini's Family Restaurant" is actually a front for Clockwork Robots who are taking human skin and organs to repair themselves and their ship in hopes to reach "The Promised Land." After a brief confrontation between the robots and Vasta, Jenny, Strax and Clara, the Doctor is able to shut the robots off when the lead Robot falls out of his escape ship (made with an unsettling amount of human skin, I might add.)
We are left to wonder if The Doctor killed the Clockwork Robot or if it committed suicide, a scene that calls into question the Doctor's morals. However, he isn't dead long, for we find the Clockwork Robot in "Paradise" with the woman who saved him, Missy. She seems to know a lot about the Doctor, including his new accent. Many questions arise with Missy, namely, who she is and how she knows the Doctor. We could speculate for hours, but since it's only the first episode, I figured the best course would be to wait for more clues into this character.
Since I'm guessing most of you have already watched "Deep Breath," let's go deeper into this episode, since it has given us a lot to discuss. There was a lot character development for the Doctor and his current companion, Clara Oswald.
For starters, our new Doctor is an interesting one. He spends most of the first half of this episode very confused as to who he is. He also doesn't seem to recollect his past memories that well. He has also become very rant-y, complaining about many little things, like beds and British accents. He seems annoyed more easily than before, and he isn't holding back. I enjoy the angrier side of the Doctor, especially after coming off of Eleven's childlike demeanor at times. I can also see where the "rebel Time Lord" description comes into play. Twelve seems a little less worried about others, especially Clara. He's left her behind three times already, and it's only been the first episode. It's still probably too soon to tell, but if this trait is going to be permanent, it will definitely cause trouble for the Doctor.
One particular scene seems to hint at coming storyline. The Doctor is rummaging through some garbage trying to find clues about the dinosaur, when he starts talking about his face. He kept asking, "Why did I choose this face?" I believe this is addressing Capaldi's previous role on the show as Caecilius, from "The Fires of Pompeii." This hints at the fact that the Doctor can choose his new face, and also points to future questions as to how that decision ties into his future.
For an introductory episode, the Twelfth Doctor didn't do as much saving as the previous two. In David Tennant's first episode, "The Christmas Invasion" his Doctor had saved the world from the Sycorax, and Matt Smith's first episode "The Eleventh Hour" his Doctor stops the Atraxi from destroying the planet. Capaldi's premiere had no dramatic flare like the others. His showdown was with one robot, and it was more about killing than it was about saving. There was no big showdown or display of his strength and willingness to protect the Earth at all costs. To me, this is the biggest indicator of what's to come with the Twelfth Doctor.
In this episode, I really enjoyed Clara's character for the first time since she was introduced as the newest companion. My favorite scene was her confrontation with Vastra about the Doctor's new older appearance. Vastra believed Clara was only with the previous Doctor because she had a crush on him, to which she said, "You may as well flirt with a mountain range." Clara stood up for herself saying she isn't with the Doctor for his looks, much to Jenny and Vastra's approval. This scene also seemed to address the voice of the young female viewers, like myself, who also love Doctor Who for the substance, and not only for the attractiveness of the previous Doctors. I really enjoyed watching Clara stand up for herself and for her relationship with the Doctor.
Another scene of Clara's that I really enjoyed was when the Clockwork Robots captured her. After a clever, yet ultimately unsuccessful, attempt at escaping, Clara is held captive by the robots. The head robot tries to threaten her for information on the location of the Doctor. Thanks to flashbacks of her not so great first day as a teacher, Clara is able to hold her own against the threats of the Clockwork Robot. Showing a very real and relatable moment, she stands up for herself, while still being scared. In the end her trust in the Doctor allows for the situation to be resolved.
I liked the use of her everyday life at school to help her in her life with the Doctor, and I can't wait for her storyline as a teacher to be pursued. I was not a big fan of Season 7 Part 2, and I felt like Clara's storyline was quite flat, so I'm hoping this is a sign that she will get more great moments like the ones in this episode.
For me, the funniest scene in "Deep Breath" was the one in Mancini's. Clara and the Doctor end up in the restaurant due to an "Impossible Girl" newspaper ad and begin to bicker with each other. Clara angrily addresses the Doctor about how to properly get in contact with someone, while all the while the things she's saying about him, he believes to be about her. This causes for some funny moments, like Clara's "nothing is more important than my egomania," line. I really enjoyed this exchange because it was full of the Doctor/companion banter that makes the show for me.
Speaking of "The Impossible Girl" advertisement, there is a lot of mystery around who placed that ad, signaling for another major plot point in this series. Was it the same person who got the Doctor and Clara together in "The Bells of Saint John," is it River Song, or someone else completely? From the way the episode ended, Missy seems like a viable candidate as well, but who knows.
I can't finish this recap without talking about that one scene, yes, THAT scene. Clara is about to leave the Doctor when she gets a phone call, from...the Doctor? Eleven calls Clara from Trenzalore, right before he is to regenerate, and he asks her to help him. Eleven reminds her that however scared she may be, Twelve is even more afraid. This is the push and the reassurance Clara needs to stick with the Doctor. Clara realizes that she is meant to be with the Doctor, at least for the time being. After an awkward, but cute hug, the two of them walk away together and begin their new journey.
I am not going to deny that I got a little emotional when Eleven showed up in the episode. I have a weak spot for regenerating Doctors. To this day I still can't hear, "I don't want to go," without getting a little teary-eyed. But, I liked the use of Matt Smith's Doctor to reassure Clara, and the viewers, that everything will be OK.
This premiere episode signals at a darker season, with a new Doctor who is a little more morally ambiguous. From leaving Clara, to not seeming upset about the idea of killing, the Doctor is quite far removed from his superhero like past selves. If the format of this episode is any indication, this season will be filled with moments that test the Doctor and his previous beliefs and practices. We still quite don't know who this Doctor is, and it will definitely be interesting to find out!
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