Friday, August 29, 2014

Doctor Who - Deep Breath Review By @TeganZAce

Doctor Who
Episode One
Deep Breath
Reviewed By Nyssa Ainley

First of all - Dinosaurs, Big Ben, Victorian London and a panicking crowd, who can resist?

Not to mention the not so elegant entrance of the TARDIS being spat out of the T Rex’s mouth.  A female so said Vastra to her wife, Jenny.  Oh did I not mention the return of the Paternoster gang?

On the muddied dock the gang ascertain that it is, indeed, the TARDIS.  In a wonderfully timed entrance 12 opens the door to Strax’s knock: “Ssh!” he says.  Then comes out in the rest of Matt Smith’s costume in a funny, garbled way describing Clara as the “not me one!” and “the asking questions one!” before confusing Clara for Strax due to their similar heights before swooning on the floor with a slightly dishevelled Clara holding onto the Doctor with Vastra quoting the Brigadier: “Well here we go again!” she says with a twisted smile her eyes gleaming with excitement as she does so.

Roll on titles of which I am unworthy to describe in a paragraph so I shall just say: Cogs, clocks, a more back to the older style of theme tune, 12’s face with that hint of space spiralling down in a few seconds of glory!  Awesomely done and made me jump up and down in my seat.

As all seasoned Whovians know - a regeneration never goes smoothly!  We had Pertwee mumbling about shoes, Davison unravelling the scarf and calling Adric Jamie, C. Baker throttling Peri and McCoy messing up earthly sayings - playing spoons on the RANI’s bosom, and tripping over everything and confusing Mel for the RANI.  Not to mention Tennant’s passing out and Smith flinging out food ending up eating fish fingers and custard. 

Here we had Capaldi not understanding the reasoning behind a bedroom and thinking Clara and Jenny had something wrong with their programming because they spoke English.  Accepting Vastra’s accent as normal she knocks him out with her mind

When Clara is perceived as a stranger by Vastra she puts her veil on summoning Clara to a questioning of how the regeneration happens - confusing Clara by describing it as a renewal because he looks wrinkled and grey she does not see it that way at all.  In a wonderfully written and acted scene we get Vastra ruffling Clara’s feathers.  I loved how interesting Clara is becoming as she reveals things about herself - one fact: She only had 1 pin up on her wall - that of a Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius showing her disinterest in “pretty boys” which follows on nicely from the Xmas episode where she states she hates boy bands so a lovely bit of character continuity there.

This is really where the adventure starts as the Doctor murmurs the Dinosaurs thoughts, draws cryptic maths on the walls and floors of his bedroom, escapes out of the window, relieves a carriage driver of his horse and chases along the misty night of old London Town.  Also sensing the T Rex’s distress the Paternoster Gang join the pursuit and meet up the Doctor as he is upset at the eventual destruction of the poor creature.  Then he puts Clara and the Gang to the test: “Have there been any similar murders?” asks the Doctor.  To which Vastra replies that there have been!  The Doctor then dives into the River Thames leaving Clara alone again. 

I shall say that I love the period detail in this episode - we have Clara washing out of a basin.  Wearing a long white nightgown and not complaining about how unfashionable it was.  I also liked how we actually have a story where a companion DOES spend more than one night in a time zone. 

I shall leave the action a bit and talk about the girly side of things like Clara’s hair and attire which she, again, had it like it was in Crimson Horror (which, to me, is similar to Tegan’s wig in Enlightenment) - Clara reminds of Tegan/Sarah-Jane with a little bit of Nyssa in this episode due to the velvet of her dress I suppose but I would love to see Jenna play Sarah’s and Peter’s daughter in something, if Sarah were to come back to acting.  I would love to have someone do a clever photoshop of Clara in Nyssa’s Traken outfit also  …

Back to the story; Strax invades Clara’s mind - exploring her inner thoughts and memories to see how much of a soldier she is.  The scan shows an image of ‘big muscular men in sport … at least, it looks like sport?’ which indicates slightly that Clara is fairly physical in one sense.

Cut to a scene in an alley where 12 is rummaging around in his dirty nightshirt trying to find clues where a very bemused and scared tramp stumbles into the scene.  The Doctor finally see’s what he looks like and then he realises he has a Scottish accent.  Once he does, a rather sexy drawl comes from the base of his throat, then he says: “I am Scots? That means I can complain … I can REALLY complain now!” (I loved the ‘Attack Eyebrows bit too, was slightly disappointed that the Planet Delphon was not mentioned again.)

In the meantime Clara sees an advert where it states “IMPOSSIBLE GIRL” with a cryptic clue hidden behind.  The next time we see Clara and the Doctor together it is at a restaurant called ‘Mancini’s!’ where they argue about who put the advert in and she confronts him on his assumption that she is an ‘Egomaniac needy gameplayer!’ with a wonderful moment of mis direction the Doctor asks Clara what is different about the people in the restaurant.  After closer observation none of the clientele are actually eating … or breathing.  “How long can you hold your breath?” the Doctor asks Clara.

Creepy music set the tone for this steampunk/horror restaurant where the ‘robots’ copy 12 and Clara’s every move.  Suddenly, hand shaped clasps are wrapped tightly around our intrepid duo and they are elevated down into this eerie chamber where there are mechanoids standing still in archways awaiting for the Controller to awaken. 

This scene had undertones of ‘Mindwarp’ to me where we see the Doctor suddenly abandoning Clara as the Controller comes to life awakening the others.  Using her initiative Clara holds her breath and tries to copy, what she now knows as Robots turning themselves into humans rather than the other way around, deflecting from the norm.  Poor Clara fails at holding her breath and once she lets go she swoons giving away her humanity - the Controller tells the others to “bring her!” in her semi conscious state we see a flashback of her first day as a teacher failing to get her student’s attention.

Persistently she states to the Controller (note - do not know what else to call this character but he seems to be the leader and it works,) that she does not know where the Doctor is, which is truthful.  She only knows one thing: “The Doctor has my back!” she states.  Again a classic note could not help but trum inside my mind as I was brought back to Mindwarp and Curse of Fenric when the companions were seemingly ‘let-down’ by their Doctors - the only time I hate Six and Seven - I know Seven had a reason but it was still hard for me to watch as was the scene where The Doctor looked Clara in the eye and just ran off.

I do hope no one was too upset by this scene as this was completely opposite to any of the previous Doctor’s - including ‘Mr Grumpy!’ - that most newer Whovians would be used to.

Still, the Doctor was there in a wonderful sashay of movement in which face was ripped off and Clara was pushed out of the way: “That’s how you disguise yourself as a robot, Clara!” he exclaims.  “Well, I was not given much time,” Clara flounces back throwing the mask on the floor.  “Five foot one and crying you never stood a chance!” The Doctor states sarcastically.

Then all HELL BREAKS LOOSE as an elegant: Hunting Tigers-esque entrance by Jenny and Vastra is somewhat ruined by Strax falling to the floor and yelling.  The robots upstairs have been completely destroyed but, as is noted, were decoys for the ones downstairs who are battle trained and can not be killed.

The Doctor follows the villain upstairs by hanging onto a rail underneath the very same seat that brought him and Clara into this steampunk underground cellar.  As the gang continue fighting downstairs the Doctor is left to confront the villain upstairs where we now know the new complicated Series Arc … spoilers, hee hee!

In order to save the gang, Clara orders them all to hold in their breath…

For the overall feel I got from this first episode - lots of past episodes kept springing to mind and not just from 2005 even the first Nine and Rose BBC Novel The Clockwork Man seemed appropriate too, but from way back.  I am sure the ones with the complete Who collection will have noted others I could not.  Whether that was Steven’s intention when he wrote this episode or not I could not help but pull a pic ‘n’ mix situation which combined rather well.

To quote Madam Vastra: “Give him hell, he’ll always need it!” and I think this Doctor will certainly do that to us viewers bringing us along a roller coaster ride of what he will do next to surprise us.

Clara was allowed to prove herself in this story - she was given more of a character, her feathers were ruffled, she did not save the Doctor in the end and we were given a glimpse as to what she was like when she could not control a situation.

There is not much else to say: I loved this episode even better on a second viewing.  It did not seem like over an hour had gone.  Period detail was top notch.  An Amy reference which was in keeping with the Doctor’s past regeneration as I think Pertwee mentioned Jamie in his first story and, what was wonderful to me … the under used Sonic Screwdriver which we saw only three times and was not the solution to the problem but rather just used to un harness a horse, free Clara and the Doctor from the hand clasps and to partially open a door; NOT used to sync the ship up to a home planet or any other impossible use it has been given the past decade of the show!

I will give this episode an 8/10 because - well, nothing’s perfect straight away and I am erring on the side of caution. 

Tomorrow; Give him hell - Into the Dalek may just get him there!


My Blog

No comments:

Post a Comment