He’s here! He’s finally here! After a year of anticipation, excitement and extreme curiosity, Peter Capaldi’s first steps as the 12th Doctor are finally here… and boy, was he something different! Dazed, confused and coughed up by a dinosaur, Deep Breath saw the 12th Doctor reunited with the Paternoster Gang in Victorian London. Unsure of his new persona, he’s flung, headlong, into a mysterious case involving spontaneous human combustion and a creepy man with half a face. Darker, more sinister but still as fun as ever, this was Doctor Who as it should be!
The transition between Doctors has always been difficult, and with a lot of the shows recent mythology looking deeper at the meanings behind his personas, it was inevitable that we’d get something far different. Since the show’s return, and in universe, since the Time War, the Doctor’s persona has become outwardly progressively younger. Last year's Day of the Doctor went some way to explaining that his youth and seemingly childish behaviour was the Doctor’s way of coping with the atrocity he’d committed and his lack of restraint in dealing with villains, shown most prevalently with the 11th Doctor’s multiple genocidal tendencies. When it’s revealed at the end of Day of the Doctor that they didn’t destroy Gallifrey, it sparked a flicker of acceptance in the Doctor, forcing him to grow up and realise that, although he saved Gallifrey, he’s still done a lot of bad things that he needs to atone for.
Angrier, threatening and sarcastic, we’re treated to a fantastic moment of self discovery as the Doctor tries (and fails) to recall where he’s seen his face before, dropping a potential story-arc for this series, before commenting on how his fierce eyebrows are so independently angry that they could leave his face and take up their own state – Scottish eyebrows. And his uncertain, potentially untrustworthy nature continues through the episode, when he seemingly leaves Clara to her doom, before returning wearing a dead man’s face and commenting on how Clara is better on adrenaline anyway. He’s ruthless and terrifying. He’s Malcolm Tucker, minus the swearing, which I think is what we all wanted to see.
Deep Breath didn’t have the best story, it was vastly different from Matt Smith’s introduction, The Eleventh Hour, swapping the fast pace and thrills for a more darker, more compelling tone that suits the new Doctor perfectly. The Paternoster Gang we’re on full form, providing some balancing comic relief as well as moments of tension as Strax contemplates sepukku and romance as Vastra and Jenny share Doctor Who’s first lesbian kiss. Finally, we’re treated to a glimpse of the classic Doctor Who story arc – “Welcome to Heaven”.
All we can really say is, Doctor Who is back, and we loved it!
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