Sunday, August 24, 2014

Deep Breath Review

Overall, I thought this was a great introduction to both the new series and Peter's Doctor. However, The Eleventh Hour will still be my favorite.

Steven has at least partway fulfilled his promise to explain Peter's multiple past appearances in the show. The Doctor recognized his face and knew he had seen it before. His conversation with the Half-Faced Man in the restaurant while holding the plate showed how neither of them really knew where they had gotten their face from. It also does seem to suggest that the face does come from somewhere. We already know that besides the Doctor, there are other Colin Bakers and Patrick Troughtons (and I think William Hartnells) out there in that universe. So there could be another Matt Smith or Christopher Eccleston as well.

Clara seems to have developed as a character since The Name of the Doctor. Back in series 7b, there were a fair number of fans complaining how she was two-dimensional and not very well developed. In Day and Time, we got to see some aspects of her personal life and family. Having seen the next four episodes, I can confirm that there will be more of this. Also, the description for episode 9 seems to suggest that it is Doctor-lite.

Finally, the mystery of the woman in the shop was addressed. To recap, all the way back in The Bells of Saint John, Clara was given the TARDIS phone number by a woman describing it as the "best helpline in the universe". Some fans speculated it was River Song, however since Clara has now met her, she would have simply said that it was River when the Doctor asked her. Since she did not, it implies that someone else gave her the number. Whether or not it was the same person who put the ad in the newspaper remains to be seen.

This episode gives us the definite beginnings of a story-arc. I thought the arc for this season would center around Gallifrey. It might still relate back to that, but Moffat seems to be intent on introducing a brand new character in the form of the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere (aka Missy). When I say "brand new", I mean brand new to us, since she appears to already know the Doctor. Unless, of course, she is actually the Black Guardian. I've got an entire conspiracy theory as to how the White Guardian was involved in The End of Time, so it makes sense to introduce the Black as well.

The opening credits were fantastic. I really liked the clock theme. The problem I have is that it's not been that long since the credits last changed. Back in 2012, if Moffat knew Matt was leaving soon, he should have kept the credits the same until Matt left. Either that, or start switching the credits out when the companion leaves instead of the Doctor. I just think two shifts in as many years is too many. The other thing is that they use the credits in-show to display the time vortex. So whenever they change the credits, the vortex changes appearance, too. Some phenomenon of nature isn't going to just randomly change appearance like that.

Someone in the 51st century has a thing for pre-revolutionary French women. Probably Captain Jack. The question is, why are they staffing their ships with homicidal robots? The robots seem more intent that the ship reaches its destination than that the crew does. The first parts for the Marie Antoinette probably came from its crew, much like the Madame de Pompadour. Also, if you have sophisticated temporal engines, why are you making mechanical droids? Why not build a complex electronic one (like Data from Star Trek)? One possible explanation is that someone was trying to build a large fleet of ships to search the cosmos for the Promised Land. It wasn't that important that the crew return home, just that someone transmit the information. The mechanical droids originated from stretching resources out as far as possible.

This episode also saw the Doctor drawing some chalk scribbles. They featured rather prominently in both some promo shots and the script for episode 4. It appears the Doctor transferred them from Vastra's floor onto the new chalkboards in the TARDIS. I'm guessing he's trying to complete the calculations that were done in The Day of the Doctor.

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