HomeAll postsDoctor Who s08e01: Deep Breath

Doctor Who s08e01: Deep Breath

Deep BreathA review by Nalini Haynes

Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Steven Moffat
Stars: Peter CapaldiJenna ColemanNeve McIntosh
Running time: 1 hr 17 minutes (approx)

A tyrannosaurus rex appears in London, attracting gawkers because, y’know, oversized dinosaur roaming London’s streets won’t scare away the populace. The T-Rex coughs up the TARDIS; apparently the TARDIS was caught in her throat. As she wanders the streets of London we see her compared to Big Ben. Surely no T-Rex was ever that big?

The doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) emerge from the TARDIS to be greeted by Silurian Madam Vastra, her wife Jenny and Sontaran Strax, currently living in Victorian London.

Confusion befuddles the Doctor’s mind. As with other recent regenerations, he wanders around clothed in his pyjamas. As is traditional, the doctor behaves erratically while working out who he is. Apparently the doctor’s new eyebrows terrify him because he’s angry. He’s also (very slightly) Scottish.

Why does it take an impending referendum that may result in Scotland seceding from the United Kingdom for the doctor to become Scottish? It’s not like David Tennant wasn’t a Scot.

Peter Capaldi emerges as the new Doctor and — eventually — finds a new wardrobe reminiscent of Jon Pertwee but without the frills. I love this new look.

Before the Doctor finds his new wardrobe, however, he buys clothes from a tramp.

Clara sees an advertisement in a news paper. Believing it to have been placed there by the doctor, she solves the riddle to meet the doctor in a restaurant. The doctor sees the advertisement and believes Clara placed it there because she’s narcissistic; thus we learn what the doctor truly thinks of Clara.

[Spoilers, Sweetie]

Here’s where the plot goes sideways. The restaurant is populated by robots. The doctor uses a strand of Clara’s hair to test air currents, finding there are no air currents in the room at all, although the robots are all moving, simulating eating and drinking.

The doctor and Clara are captured by robots who take parts of people to clothe themselves in human flesh. As soon as I saw the first one steal a guy’s eyes, I thought ‘Girl in the Fireplace’ and I was right. Sadly, these robots aren’t nearly as steampunk-pretty as those robots. Instead of using people for parts to sustain their ship, these robots clothe themselves in people-parts to sustain themselves because they can’t steal cogs and stuff to maintain themselves, being in Victorian London and all.

The robots’ goal is to enter the Promised Land. This travesty is the current season’s story arc. Queue rant and throwing things at the television.

Meanwhile, Clara moves around while holding her breath because MOVING DOESN’T CAUSE AIR CURRENTS BUT BREATHING DOES.

[End of spoilers]

I liked about half of this episode. I love the new doctor, his attitude and his looks. I love that there’s not going to be a romance between this new doctor and Clara. Madam Vastra, Jenny and Strax are always light comedy, never meant to be taken seriously. The robot story arc is a disappointment.


Deep Breath Intro: 6 minutes (approx)
Behind the Scenes: 11 minutes (approx)
Doctor Who Live: 31 minutes 20 seconds (approx)

The extras include Strax giving a detailed report to his home planet about the doctor and his ‘degenerations’ in ‘Deep Breath Intro’.

‘Behind the Scenes’ is kind of Doctor Who Confidential but it’s more talking heads than special effects. As they’ve just introduced a new doctor, there was much fanfare about the new doctor, his first read-through, his first day on set and his new look.

‘Doctor Who Live’ is the exclusive (formerly live) reveal of the new doctor.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

My review copy of ‘Deep Breath’ is a DVD from Roadshow.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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