Deep Breath

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    Arbutus @arbutus

    @whisht  You know, I never really believed that Clara was interested in Eleven in “that way” (even after the little “reveal” in TotD). I never got that vibe from her. What I did get was that she treated him a bit like a “guy friend”. My teenage son isn’t especially interested in girls at this point, and last year he hung out a fair bit with a female class mate who treated him very much like Clara treated the Doctor, that is, in a sort of “safe guy” way. She dragged him around here and there, and took a bit of advantage of his easy-going nature at times, which he put up with as he enjoyed getting out and doing things. They drifted apart after awhile, and he was quite clear that they were never anything other than friends. But TotD seemed to set up a similar relationship between the Doctor and Clara, with her asking him to bail her out with the TARDIS, and pretend to be her boyfriend, and so on. A lot of women have male friends that fill this kind of role, usually when for whatever reason, the woman is pretty confident that the guy won’t start hitting on her. I always felt that Clara’s feelings about the Doctor were a bit that way. And now, he has regenerated, and that relationship will definitely not work anymore. This is a new man. It might explain her sudden determination to connect with Danny Pink. It’s like when your guy friend gets married, suddenly he isn’t around to have coffee with anymore and listen to your issues, and get up on a ladder to change your light bulbs for you, or whatever. And maybe you decide that being single is no longer quite as relaxing as it was!  🙂

    None of this negates your and @timeloop‘s basic point, of course. It just occurred to me. Personally, I still take the view that his “your boyfriend” line was meant to be ironic, as he had just told her “I’m not your boyfriend.” I am deeply conflicted about Missy, I will admit. In Deep Breath, she seemed psychopathic. In Into the Dalek, she just seemed mysterious. But we saw very much less of her the second time out. But whatever/whoever she turns out to be, I’m sorry in away that the word “boyfriend” has been used by her, whatever it ends up meaning, because it opens up a whole world of issues that we had only just laid to rest!

    Anonymous @

    @mikeofmcr I think that 11s call to Clara was meant to reassure her as well. Certainly, she appeared to need it with all the slightly derogatory and negative comments about the Doctor she confessed to the Paternoster gang. Especially Jenny who is less ‘grave’ and ‘royal’ in bearing. Clara virtually asks Jenny “where is he” to which Jenny replies “he’s [the Doctor] upstairs ma’am”. Clara still wants to ‘fix him’ so in the end whilst 11 held on to the romantic notion he could be human -cleaning up Craig’s apartment, visiting old friends (something he was wholly opposed to) and even being a ‘boyfriend’ type to Clara, 11 also knew that Clara would have difficulty communicating with this utterly new incarnation -one he didn’t expect to have (thinking he’d live out his days on Trenzalore) – and so he ‘planned’ the call.

    It needed to be done after she’d already met the new Doctor. It wouldn’t work for her to hear this from 11 face to face. She might say “Oh sure, I’d accept you, you dear boy”. When in fact,  standing in front of a ‘new face’ with many lines and grey hair, when she, Clara, is only 27 (and might view anyone over 35 as ‘old’) would be very scary when actually face-to-face with 12 during an adventure -when she must know to trust him-and completely. Without that trust and the problem solving they’d face together,  I expect both Clara and the Doctor would be dead!

    @timeloop and @whisht yes, I love the new theory. So Clara is Missy but a Claricle? Okay, but the phone call from the Doctor is routed through the Tardis (pretty much everything is) so it doesn’t destroy the possibility that Missy is the Tardis . The Dr and the Tardis are linked and who knows what a Tardis like Idris might do when faced with an apocalyptic regeneration divined as a gesture by the TLs (in tTofD).

    However, Missy as Claricle/Clara is a more obvious conclusion as I don’t think we’ll see anymore ‘female’ Tardis ‘impersonators’ or bodies! Kindest, puro.

    Anonymous @

    @arbutus and @timeloop so, bearing in mind that Clara also uses the word boyfriend sarcastically or -gently, when she sees him as guy-friend (cue Arbutus), then should she be Missy (perhaps hurled thru some timey-whimey destruction curve) her continued use of ‘boyfriend’ is also delivered in a way that is sarcastic?

    Considering other theories, such as ‘Missy’ as ‘Miss C’ or Missus, then there are similar clues which add strength to this hypothesis. As in ‘the Missus’ or ‘the old gal’ or ‘Miss in house’ (ooh, I like the last one!) can work as a de-facto married couple when they are riffing on a more modern interpretation. Kindest, p.

    Anonymous @

    @arbutus, apologies: I really meant to ‘find’ the word ‘ironic’ not *’sarcastic’. Ironic is by far the better choice in the first 2 eps, except in Deep Breath where ‘my boyfriend’ could be read as ironic, sarcastic or ‘total nut job’. I’ve seen a few of the latter, lately, or the lately latter 🙂

    Timeloop @timeloop

    YES! I am glad someone agrees! @whisht @purofilion <3

    I think you missunderstood me. I am not saying that @arbutus. I am not saying that that means they are romatically involved. I am just saying they reference each other like that in that episode, much like in the relationship you described. They are just very close to each other, understand and trust each other.

    I don’t know if it is a Claricle and I haven’t considered it, might be though.

    I had another thought. The Doctor said: ‘I’ve made may mistakes. And it is about time that I did something about that.’ SO far we haven’t seen him acting on that promise, have we? (+Gallifrey is somewhat vanished from view two, thats a bit odd as the Doctor recognized a new goal….. but thats just btw)
    I just watched the Name of the Doctor [and realized how much I love River and 11 (not as an item but in general)] and I think that the mistake he  reffers to are the consequences of jumping into the time stream. It might have influenced to us unknown things?
    Who ended up in that timestream?

    • The Doctor
    • GI
    • Clara
    • and bear with me River (because she was still liked to Clara as she went in

    So my guess MIGHT be that in that timestream something was created by that interference. Who in the WORLD would know the Doctor better than this creation?
    Earlier I said that Missy reminded me of the Dreamlord, who turned out to be the darker side of the Doctor. What if the evil/dark-ish elements of the Doctor and the GI are tamed by the infuences of River and Clara who obviously would do anything (including sacrificing themselves) to keep the Doctor alive.
    Missy is talking about him a bit possesive, with loads of self confidence though, isnt’t she. A bit like River… not saying she is possesive but she did say that she lives for the days when she sees the Doctor. The ‘he loves me so much’ was obviously fake and something a villain would say, so that would fit the GI….
    Maybe it is a bit too much like a super-hero thing like “the things your actions create”.

    If Missy really is connected to Clara AND was the woman in the shop then we have another BAD WOLF thing on our hands. Hopefully no repetition of that.

    Am I just rambling? Any of it good? Did i miss something that makes this theory impossible?

    @purofilion There can’t have been a lot of planning regarding the call. He had a few minutes only.  That’s probably what you meant anyway.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @timeloop    My ramblings about the Clara/Doctor relationship came off of something that @whisht said in response to you, rather than anything you said yourself. And as I said, it really didn’t have any bearing on your theories, just thoughts that occurred to me. The Missy theories are making my head spin a bit! I am inclined to agree that Missy is something/someone not exactly corporeal (or perhaps a construct as some have suggested, either of the TARDIS, the timestream, etc.). Beyond that I cannot guess.

    It occurs to me as I write that we may have been given the name “Missy” not just as a clue, but so that we could more easily refer to her in our theorizing!  🙂

    I don’t really know what to make of the line about the Doctor’s mistakes. He has certainly made them, that we know. But I’m not sure what he means when he says “It’s time to do something about that.” Does he mean go back on his timestream and change them? Does he mean stop making them? Hard to say.

    Also, regarding Gallifrey, I doubt that he has forgotten it. I’m with those who have suggested that all of the equation-writing is connected to finding/rescuing Gallifrey. It inclines me to wonder if those people are right who have suggested that Missy is connected somehow with Gallifrey. Or perhaps the Gallifrey arc will be a longer one?



    Anonymous @

    @arbutus yes, I know you meant the girl-friend issue was not connected to the Dr and Clara. A guy friend, I agree. Gosh I just woke from a nap and there’s more!! Hoo-hee!

    So, in this discussion @timeloop the board and the chalk (a good theory btw -with the smelling of same) that the Drs calculations are very constant and almost aggressive. He wants to get to Gallifrey. Laughing, bantering tight-wearing gents are not going to thrill him. The reference to the ‘blerbler ladies who do things in 14 different time thingamees.. I have a polaroid’ might have held a clue (doubt it, but it was fun…sounded like something he needed to do…).

    I don’t know about Missy in the end -part Tardis -yep, but that story line is complete

    River = story line complete

    GI= mmmm. Once already or twice, therefore story line complete (I sound like a Cyberman)

    a weird connection to Clara -25% remaining

    a Gallifrey person or another timelord who has, like an earthworm, inched thru the cracks in the crack… =35 %

    new baddie = 35%


    Whisht @whisht

    @arbutus – guy-friend is not the same as boyfriend??!!

    Erk -I need to reappraise my relationships!


    Actually your description is excellent and reminds me of friendships I … erm a ‘close personal friend’ had in their youth.

    As for missy, I still want to tie together Madame de pompadour and the Papal Mainframe, along with robots the Doctor has promised something to…


    Anonymous @

    @whisht – this Papal Mainframe thing is really gettin’ to you, innit? There must be something to it as it was evident last year. The Promised Land, given the religious over-tones, might well have something to do with the Papal m’frame  -Missy, are you in there somewhere?

    wolfweed @wolfweed


    Spider @spider

    Hello all,

    My first post in an episode forum. So apologies if I don’t properly quote everyone who has made these points already. Just throwing my fez in the ring.

    Having read though some (but not all) of the posts seeing a lot of chat about Missy being the Master. To be honest IMO if she if going to be a Timelord…I think she’s the Rani. If its not that direction, I like the CAL or Matrix theories. But no doubt there is some sort of radioactive piano Moffat is ready to drop on our heads we haven’t even thought of XD

    With the ‘promised land’ location looking so much like a previous episode I think there HAS to be a link there. If they were just going for ‘generic garden’, even if they had used the same location they could have easily disguised it (as others have pointed out).

    For me, the Clara/Doctor dynamic is far stronger with 12 than with 11. Up until now I had considered her to be a bit forgettable (apart from one or two very good performances..but in both of those she died! Snowman one and the Dalek one). The scene in the restaurant with these 2  is probably my favourite in this episode. Oh, apart from the earlier line “Don’t look in that mirror, it’s absolutely furious” LMAO at that one every time!

    Oh and, Strax is fast becoming one of my favourite characters.


    Oblique @oblique

    I would have appreciated Deep Breath opening with the combustion of a victim, with Vastra investigating: cue the Doctor.

    I didn’t appreciate the dinosaur, but then again I’m not 7.

    A longer episode that did nothing to enhance the story.

    Awful reworking of the theme; there was a time when it sent a tingle down my spine; how times change.

    The interior of the TARDIS… bitty. Take it back to the original vintage interior, or my favourite the secondary control room from Masque of Mandragora

    Oblique @oblique

    Jokey Sontaran?

    A far cry from the malevolence of Linx and Styre

    Timeloop @timeloop

    Has anybody commented on the commical noise when the Doctor puts himself to sleep? That’s rather unusual for DW, isn’t it?

    Also: ‘On the other side’ Is a reference to the promised land, the netherspere as well as the more practical restaurant location.

    Davros @davros

    Any possibility at all that The Doctor recognises the face as that of John Frobisher? I suppose we don’t _know_ that The Doctor has encountered Frobisher but he does generally keep tabs on major events on Earth. (Where the hell was he that week anyway?) Because there would be _plenty_ of important reminders that The Doctor would be sending himself via Frobisher’s face.


    But, if it is Caecilius’s face that he has stolen, perhaps he is just reminding himself of the events of The Fires of Pompeii, so that he remember there are limits to what good he can do, but that it is still important to do what he can.

    LordAllons-y @lordallons-y

    I enjoyed this episode but not as much as I have enjoyed beginning episodes for previous doctors. I wasn’t shown who this Doctor is as a person but I hope/suspect that will be revealed as the overarching stories unfold.

    Anonymous @

    @LordAllonys-y if that’s your tag line, welcome. I think. Having read your other comments, I aint so sure 🙂 Kindest, purofilion !

    ichabod @ichabod

    Hello, all — new to this discussion and *way* late to the party, but now that we’ve all done the whole season and have time to sit back and reflect on its beginnings, I thought I’d comment on the Phone-Call-From-Eleven scene.  I didn’t see its importance as a shout-out to the hesitant members of the audience to encourage them to accept PC’s new Doctor.  I just found the idea fascinating — the culmination of the idea of the difference between “mask” (face) and soul, if you will.  I found it both head-splitting and poignant that here was one man speaking in two voices — the voice of a dying avatar, Smith, and the voice of the new and very rocky version, the former saying “Accept that stranger/non-stranger over there because he’s petrified by the dislocation of his inner and outer worlds, and do it out of your regard for me and as a mercy to him/me,” while the other says , “Don’t tell me what he said, I know because that was me talking, which you would understand if you would just look *past* the new face/mask and see that *that* me and *this* me — standing in front of you, not on the phone any more — are two realizations of the same person.”

    Matt/Doctor can do nothing but go ahead and die; Peter/Doctor can do nothing but stand still and wait while someone he *sort of* knows (“the not-me one, the asking questions one”) decides whether or not to validate his existence by recognizing the Doctor in him.  I think he’s begun to see himself much better, because of the decisions he’s seen himself making in the course of this story; but he needs her to agree, to ground his new knowledge in something besides his own confused perceptions.  Then he can at last relax into further exploring and becoming this new version of himself.

    It’s an amazing moment, IMO; incredibly daring all round, and brought off beautifully.  Just think of the nightmare we could have had if she’d rejected him: a wildly sputtering, flaming tailspin down to the Valeyard, I’d guess.  Which would be interesting in its own right, and maybe we will see at some point; but meantime, Clara has just done what Clara “was born for” —  she has saved the Doctor yet again.

    Crikey.  That’s a lot longer than I meant it to be; sorry.


    ichabod @ichabod

    I think I need a little Clarafiction here, if someone can provide it: the Doctor leaves Clara to face Half-Face and goes down the hallway where more people/robots are standing.  What does he do there?  He deals with one of these semi-dead and puts its face/mask on, then goes back to somewhere behind Clara to listen while she pumps Half-Face for information while being scared out of her wits and not at all sure that he’s coming back.  But back he comes, yanks off Matt-like face, and says something like: “Five foot one and crying — you never stood a chance.”

    I think he’s talking to Half-Face (“you”) although he’s looking at Clara, assessing the effect of her “helplessness” and distress on even a cold villain like Half-Face.  He’s saying that he left Clara in that position because he surmised that poor old Half-Face was human *enough* to be unable to resist the spectacle of this terrified, not very tall, quaking and tearing-up girl and just slice her up with his blowtorch-hand.  He’s not chiding Clara for being short and scared, he’s justifying himself for having left her on her own with a homicidal, patchwork robo-person.  She was right: he “had her back” the whole time, since he didn’t actually “abandon” her at all.

    Although it takes other events to convince her that he’s not going to run off and leave her, out of confusion or a whim, and at the end she feels she has to lie to him to *get* him to run off and leave her so he can search for Gallifrey.


    Anonymous @

    @ichabod  I think the “Five foot 1 and crying, never stood a chance” is an interesting CapDoc comment. I don’t think she would have. Stood a chance, I mean. Half Face had the blow torch and there’s only so much talking Clara could have done to keep him patiently interested. But yes, there’s always room for interpretation and at that point, new to this Doctor, I was taking things very much at ‘face’ value.

    As to your original question: I’ve seen it twice many weeks ago so if the DVR is still working I should get it out. Hang On! Christmas present with Tardis noise! I haven’t opened it yet. I shall get to that (after housework, swimming -51 laps today – and sleep. “Oh, sleep, why dost thou leave me? Why dost thou leave me to this ….” Problem with sleeplessness is you forget lines to that little ditty).

    It’s quite a scary thing to see the Doctor on the other side of the door and not scrambling to get back IN to save Clara. Underscores the ‘Apprentice’ theme?

    Regards, puro.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @arbutus  post 30219

    [As humans, part of our understanding of people is based on what they look like, their eyes, their smile, their voice. If all of these things suddenly changed in someone close to me, it would feel as if that person were gone.]

    Yes — but for me it’s the voice.  The voice — range, timbre, how it plays (“Lulu” vs. “Rusalka”, for an extreme and operatic example), accent, habitual turns of phrase, etc.  I was a very nearsighted kid, and maybe that’s why the voice is key for me, and that would be hard to get past if I were in Clara’s place re recognizing and accepting PC as the new version of MS.  You can *tell* yourself that yeah, it’s the same person in there, but your visceral reaction will depend on what your *senses* tell you.  Capaldi’s voice is very, very distinctive, to my ear; it in no way goes with Smith and his Doctor.  Clara does have to really *look* and *really see* Capaldi’s Doctor.  She has to rise to the occasion once he literally begs her to — and she does.  Good on her!  Great pair, these two.


    Anonymous @

    @ichabod regarding your phone call and ‘the not me one’. There’s a particularly lovely poem called ‘I am Not Me’. I think it starts ‘I am not I, I am the one walking beside me’. It’s sweet, poignant and vaguely…relevant.

    I have it in a book -somewhere – a group of stories and myths written by an author everybody despises (though not me) and typically, the author’s name has left my brain…for now. Ah, the book: Sibling Society. Robert….??


    ichabod @ichabod

    @arbutus  30224  — I also think Half-Face jumped, because at the end of that confrontation Half-Face *turns off his blowtorch hand flame* and the two antagonists step apart, one to each side of the open hatch into the balloon thingie, I believe.  Next thing you know, the hat floats down, etc.  He talked Half-Face into it, realizing that Half-Face really has been wanting his “Promised Land” very badly and was finally ready to die to get there.

    But oh, that was cold, cold — “I think I’m going to have to kill you,” as he sits having a drink, all fine-looking gent at his club with a glass in his hand . . . Wow.

    LOVE IT!  God, what a breath of fresh air.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @arkleseisure  #30250  — Wow, *thanks* for that insight — of course, only the Doctor would consider the killing of a ginormous dinosaur another murder in a string of murders!  That idea really, really tickles me — it’s like, “Beat THAT, Sherlock!”

    ichabod @ichabod

    @geoffers  30332 — How strange; your comments on the changes that come with any type of senile dementia, and just the changes in friends one hasn’t seen in forever — what’s that poem by Elizabeth Bishop?  First line: “The art of losing isn’t hard to master . . . ”

    There are moments when the Doctor’s whole saga is so pointedly about loss and “the art of losing” (that is, the art of surviving loss) that you would have to be a stone not to respond.  Isn’t that everyone’s story, once you’re old enough to look out of your eyes (instead inward so much, as when young and more ego-bound) and see how people fall away?  Friends, family, colleagues, hell, pets, whole streets and towns and parks.  You don’t even have to live a dozen lives for it to start mounting up.  I have had some examples of Alzheimers disease and its changes in my life lately, as is probably true of many of the people posting here; it’s so damned common now.

    I hadn’t thought of that as an aspect of the alienness of PC’s Doctor in Clara’s eyes, but as a human person she might well see unsettling echoes of that kind of confusion (from experience in her own family) in the new Doctor’s manic confusion.  But I think she’d have said; except we don’t want to scare the kids about gramps and so on.

    Happily, this is not *that*.  Deep breath, indeed.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @miapatrick  #30499  — Yes!  Vastra is talking about the long-running Doctor, the original person who has taken off one mask and personality after another over a string of long lifetimes.  That’s the person she can perceive.  Clara, despite the timeline jumping, is still only “seeing” the personality, the one just gone and now this new one that’s so erratic and confused that it scares her (and not without good reason — in this kind of haze, I think he could be very dangerous just in terms of not knowing his left hand from his right).  It’s as if she’s reminding Clara — remember who it is that you love, not the face you found so attractively young and cheery (well, a lot of the time) a little while ago.

    The message only gets through much later, though, when Clara hears it from the horse’s mouth — from 11, on the phone, and 12 “standing right here in front of you”, who are the same core person wearing different aspects of the immortal core and different bodies.  With Vastra, Clara gets defensive; but with Matt/Doctor, she listens, and responds.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  #30547 — Exactly; that scene, around the phone call, is golden.  They all three hit it just right: Matt urges Clara to help his new self; #12 asks for her help: still, hesitation.  So he simply drops all his defenses, even the will to defend (which is one hell of a thing to do when you’re pretty much petrified by the prospect of a firm rejection), and he says “Please . . . just . . . see me.”  That’s what I think Clara responds to: he needs the affirmation, from one who would really know, that he is who he now thinks he is, hopes he is, and has been trying to be.  So  finally she consents to try, walking right up to him and looking him over with her full attention.  (Just a side note: try looking at your face in your bathroom mirror, close up and really looking into your own eyes, for more than a few minutes — the longer you look, the more interesting the experience gets.)

    The hug is an outward sign of something that has already been accomplished, just in the few seconds when she’s looking into his new/old face, and he keeps quiet and returns her gaze, until she “gets it”and smiles.  The contact from soul to soul is made, the intimacy based on trust is re-established.  By the time she hugs him, he’s already pulling back, can’t help it: true intimacy is rare for good reason and brief when it happens. Nobody can actually live at that level for more than a few seconds (it’s kind of like “enlightenment” that way, at least according to Zen Buddhism as I’ve encountered it).

    Uh, oh — I think I’m sounding just a tad nuts, talking mostly to myself to find out what I think.  I just keep coming back to this little scene because — hmm.  It’s so much bigger on the inside . . .  Thank you, puro, for opening this particular door a little wider so I could see and understand more of what I see behind it.

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod. Not a fan of mirrors. I’m always struck by my height -full mirror, not so good. Close up. Worse. My eyes: my Dad (poor old dad) described them as the colour of dishwater. He actually didn’t mean to be entirely rude. They change colour from grey to blue to green depending on my mood, my meds (just kiddin’) and my maquillage.

    Generally, I have to trim eyelashes (some weird heredity) and sort teeth. White strips for teeth. Is this blue-white teeth that much of a thing in the States these days? Seems like everyone here is gettin’ their teeth ‘done’. How annoying.

    Right, before I get modded off for being waaay off topic. It’s an existential thing, aint it? The idea that we hold within ourselves two people: “I am not I, I am the one who walks beside me and says yes when my other says no”. I’ve long held the belief that personalities are an odd thing and the Doctor’s and Clara’s even more so. We are created by the chronological space we arrive at. Our parents, our society, our gestalt have enormous influences too. Time-Lord (-iness) changes all that.

    As for true intimacy, it’s bloody scary. And as you say, for good reason. I’m at the stage, where, breaking down barriers is necessary. Gettin’ to the heart of the matter, imperative. I think that the Doctor is an intimate soul- hugging isn’t his thing but then how many people are into hugging these days? And for what? Is it yet another fad, like air-kissing? Or is it something we do to help ourselves? Does Clara do this for herself, or for the Doctor? Who benefits?

    Passing by answers, puro.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @puofilion — Seriously, your eyes change color?  I read about that in fiction sometimes, but have never observed it in anyone (except cats, but they’re flipping’ aliens, so what do we expect).  The too-white blue-white teeth thing is a huge fad in the US.  I’m sorry if it’s gone and contaminated other places.  To me, it makes everybody look as if their front teeth are false ones made plastic.

    The double-me thing presents itself differently to me, at least as an internal phenomenon: there’s reasonably smart me that knows what common sense is; and then there’s shadow me, my fatal flaw, the armor I suited up in as a kid for protection but that now strait-jackets me into all sorts of negative stupidity any time I’m scared.  Isn’t that Jung’s shadow identity?  I think of the sensible me as the me I chose to be born as, a stack of pretty good qualities suited to whatever course I decided to take in this life.  The shadow me, the armor, is what happens when my stack of goodness encounters The World — the concatenation of everybody *else’s* choices and perceptions: fear, defensiveness, wiles, self-justifying stories I tell myself, wincing all the while.

    In those terms, clearly the D already had a hefty shadow self of fear and defensiveness when we saw him in the barn in “Listen”.  Remember on-looking grown ups comment that he insists on sleeping in the barn because he “doesn’t want anybody to hear him crying” — crying out of fear.  So his fear of being shamed by others is stronger than his fear of monsters under the bed.  *That’s* certainly changed by the time we meet him as an adult, so maybe Time Lord College and experience changed him into someone who rarely considers being shamed a significant factor — although it certainly roared and showed its teeth when CyberDan said “Then shame on you,” didn’t it?

    ichabod @ichabod

    puro, part II: about intimacy, sort of.  Look at that little scene again — “see me”.  It’s powerful: an admission of deep vulnerability by a mighty Time Lord who finds the nerve and the humility to ask for what he needs, and a companion who’s up to the challenge of giving it.

    An intimate moment — for us; not for the actors, though.  It’s weird magic, almost dancing.  That entire emotional transaction happens not in the characters (which are fictions), or even the actors, who after all have rehearsed this scene and shot and re-shot it a bunch of times so the electric contact *we* see has long since worn off (if in fact it happened at all during the shooting of the scene) by the time the selected and edited version hits the screen.  That’s how you tell good acting from bad: the actors find just the right sequence of actions, words, tones, etc. to set off our perception of the emotions they need to communicate to us.  What *they* feel or don’t feel in that moment is immaterial.  They find the signs, the right cues, and we supply the meaning that they are signaling.

    I think this is more true in the UK than here in the States where Stanislavski’s Method took hold and convinced actors that if *they* feel a feeling hard enough, then the audience would be induced to feel it too.  But how many times can you really, authentically feel outrage, or grief, or horror, or mind-blinding joy, in the same scene, rehearsed and shot twenty times in front of the camera, or played out six times a week on a stage for 40 weeks?  You have to find the right outward signals that will reliably produce the effect you want to produce in your viewers.

    And that’s your hug, in “see me”.  It’s the concluding movement of the set of signs that these two actors have put together to produce the greatest effect on us, the viewers: how she slumps miserably against the door frame, saying goodbye to #11; how 12 paces forth, back, pivots, “Do you have any idea what that’s like?”.  The drop of volume on “. . . see me.”  It just blows me away, the elegant application of the precision tools they’ve made of their voices, bodies, and expressions.  That’s their craft at the top of its bent.  My job is to supply the “art” — to catch what they’re pitching so brilliantly, and feel “the feels”.  If she were *really* feeling saying goodbye to a beloved man who’s actually dead in *her* time, she’d be curled up in a sobbing heap on the sidewalk and, most importantly, *incapable of delivering her lines*.

    So, as they play it, *why* does she hug him?  Her hug tells him, “Yes, you are that man, I see it in your eyes and I accept your new form with all my heart.”  She gets her spectacular playmate back, her doorway to adventure, her freedom from a hum-drum life of teaching.  What does he get?  Well, he can stop holding his breath, can’t he?  It’s okay; she will travel on with him and help him stay sane.  He, both of him, has managed to persuade her that he is who he thinks he is — and what the hug means to him is, “She sees me, she trusts me to be the person I’m supposed to be.”

    Little scene; Big Stuff.  *Big, contented sigh* . . .

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod you’ve done it twice! Now on this thread: “hum drum life of teaching”.

    Get orf the grass!  This time, no smiley faces.  Naughty! Also, who benefits? From a hug? I don’t mean Clara, I mean in life, generally? Who are the huggers?

    Anyway, these are just rhetorical. I wouldn’t wanna lecture you with a Socratic.

    Regardez-vous, puro. 🙂

    OK. 1 smiley but not if you keep dissin’ teechers innit?

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod was I a bit harsh?  Apologies. I’ve read everything you’ve said and it makes a lot of sense. The teeth:  urgh!  My eyes!

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion — Once again, lack of clarity, my fault: I was trying to say (condensing too much because I know I tend to run off at the fingers here) — trying to say, what to Clara, given her magnificently exciting alternative existence hangin’ with the D, must at least some of the time seem to her to be “hum-drum”.  I don’t diss teachers; been one; still am, when the opportunity arises.  Maybe my Jung shadow-me got out there and said something dumb; if so, apologies back.

    Hugs: sorry, I misunderstood: who are the huggers?  Who (in general) benefits?  Depends on who’s doing it, and why, I guess.  I think sometimes hugs are like ape-pals grooming each other — sharing warmth, solidity, the comfort of “Yes, here we are, and we are us”.  Or there’s the more or less formal greeting-hug that I think is still common in Europe among friends, goes with the familiar form of pronouns and verbs — “Good to see you and feel your physical presence and look, we’re both still alive.”  We hug to discharge the energy of joy, victory, success.  We hug for comfort, mutually or one comforting another.  Maybe because we don’t have telepathy, and sometimes circumstances are such that we can’t get words out and are half-blind with tears, the body speaks for us with a very simple gesture instead: “let me hang onto you, I need someone to hang onto for a minute.”  From the other side: “You look as if you could use some strength; here’s some of mine, holding you up for a bit.”  Pretty versatile, actually, and mostly beneficial (unless somebody is faking, using hugs as crafty manipulation).

    Much of this is from observation — I’m not much of a hugger myself; I seem to wear some coat of distance on me that leaves the initiation of a hug up to me, and that’s only for my intimates — family, old friends and colleagues.

    Who gives hugs and who benefits in DW?  I just watched a clip of Tennant backing Simm’s Master to the wall in what looked like a blaze of punishing  judgment, and then crouching suddenly to embrace his collapsed enemy (“I forgive you”), and the gesture is — protective, shielding, reading (if I’m seeing and interpreting right — quick clip, blurry) “I’m not going to tear you apart, I’m helping hold you together”.  It’s an extreme example, simultaneously moving and over-the-top in a slightly distasteful (to me) Jesus-y way, but also bold and striking.  Lots more of the usual kind, too.

    Witter, witter; sleep time.  You were not harsh, you were defending something that should be defended.  Not to worry . . .


    Charlie Cook @charlie-cook


    I was just about to say that.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @ichabod @Purofilion

    Interesting discussion between the 2 of you.

    I agree the “just .. see. me” scene is incredibly powerful, and beautifully played. (yes it’s just actors doing the thing they get paid for and there’s a lot of technique, but at the same time there’s a little bit of magic that happens sometimes that you can’t completely rehearse. Capaldi has it in spades  – so many shades of meaning in a phrase, a look. And he and Coleman work really well together. It’s also to do with camera angles, lighting, direction… and something undefinable).

    It’s a wonderful thing when a stupid old TV show makes such a thing about seeing the “real person”.  Ties into some of the discussion on Last Christmas thread as well.  And in Deep Breath the Doctor has no real idea who he actually is. Loved the scene when he’s working out where he stops and the rest of the world starts – “You, yes, the not me one, asking questions one”. It reminded me of a description of how babies and  some people with autism are thought to see the world. They find it hard to pick out which shapes and patterns are significant.

    Hugs. Sincere hugs from friends are great.  But we’re not very good at hugging in Scotland 🙂

    ichabod @ichabod

    @scaryb — That initial scene reminded me of the stage of infancy at which the new person starts being able to distinguish itself from Mom and v.v.  Well, he is sort of new-born and growing rapidly, isn’t he?

    When I wrote about actors’ skills, I didn’t mean to ignore or deny the huge contributions of the whole production crew, or what happens when it all comes together so brilliantly that that magic pretend/reality thing happens, and the performance transcends the level of “actors at work”and becomes something more.  I know I’ve had a few moments like that when the first draft of a scene or a bit of dialog in a story just unfurls in perfect mind-silence, without any conscious decisions of craft, and I look at it afterward and not one word needs to be changed (unusual for me; I rewrite a *lot*).  Doesn’t happen that often, but when Harlan Ellison talked about writing a particular story in a suspended state of creativity he called “blue fire”, the writers in the audience were nodding, knowing exactly what he meant (this was at an SF convention in Pheonix, I think, many years ago).  Is that what they call “flow state”?  “Blue fire” sounds more, ah — dramatic?  But Ellison is a very dramatic guy, so those terms could equate, for him.

    As for Capaldi, he’s uniquely gifted and is playing a part beautifully suited to him, so I want to pay very close attention — you don’t see that every day.  He’s got that striking, unusually mobile and expressive face, a build with the simple elegance of a 6 foot painter’s ladder (but flexible), well-shaped hands big enough to semaphore effectively on any scale, and a voice — well, that voice, it would take paragraphs (as I said, voices are key for me).  And then there’s the hair (god damn it, I’d *kill* for hair like that!); and the intelligence, muscular as well as mental.  Moffat has apparently said that he wrote the Season 8 Doctor with PC in mind, and he seems also to have written Coleman a Clara with the force and vitality to hold her own (at last!), so — are we all in luck?  We are!

    Those who can’t see it — that’s a pity; for them.



    lisa @lisa

    @ichabod You are seriously crushing on CapDoc ! Yep – definitely in heat !
    just saying…..:)

    ichabod @ichabod

    @lisa  — Ya think?!  So does that mean that I can have his hair?  Just the hair part, you know, not the, ah, um, actual head.  Good grief — so now that I’m 75 all of a sudden I like *younger* men?  That’d be new.  I must have just regenerated or something . . . And I get crush-capacity back?  Who knew?  No, wait — that’s the whole reason for the existence of AARP, to judge by their magazine.

    Okay, best quit while I’m ahead.

    Which reminds me — I want that hair!  Next time around, I swear — I’m putting in my order *now*.




    Anonymous @

    @ichabod @scaryb

    I think it’s Robert Bly? I was mentioning him whole decades ago before The Hobbituation. This in ref to the poem and the book in which it was first found by me: before the inernet.

    Ichabod:wittering is fine. Crushing on Hot Dude: also fine. I like Prof Brian Cox. @pedant mentioned this stunning series and the first episode aired this week.

    I got an impression PC dives into the role straightaway. I understand viewers are of the opinion it was a 12 ep regen story but I didn’t feel that -entirely. Though I will mimic people’s opinions.

    I just remember the chalk: when the Doctor drops to the floor and sniffs it. Then, the board in Listen and then more boards in Last Christmas. Interesting. Lots of little connections like the tube map @pedant linked us to. That was quite awesome.

    Stop with that word. I’m not 16: grumps.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion —

    What’s the Brian Cox series, and where found?  Probably UK etc. only, but I’d like to check it out if I can.   We’re in a really deep pit of nothing to watch around here right now which is okay — I just go over to and watch some UK mystery series, and all’s well.  Still, I’m paying for this _)*((^T*&)(I**&$#% Dish antennae service, and it SUCKS.  They keep running ads for new shows that look promising — all scheduled to start in March!  If this goes on much longer, I might actually have to get down to some work, here, and how fair is that?

    Yeah, the “handwriting on the wall” is interesting, and, comfortingly, the “wall” is slate, not whiteboard.  Homey, in a time period sense.

    The idea of a 12 ep regen story is exhausting just to think about . . . you mean Matt Smith is regenerating from the first episode of his final Doctor season?  I should go back and take a look, if so.  I missed some of that, too manic, wore me out .  I should be watching The Good Wife — excellent performances, fine actors — but oh god, not another *lawyer* show!  I’ve been married to a lawyer for 45+ yrs; enough already.

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod (‘Human Universe With Brian Cox’. Aired in Oz on Wed last. Several eps I think. Out-bloody-standing).

    Yes, the peeps tell me tele in the US is expensive. But then good tele -well, you gotta have it!

    I meant PC’s regen story – many of the episodes until The Flat People (it’s what I call it) and then I spose at the end with “I’m an idiot. In a box. ….”. Now he knows who he is. That’s what’s being said around here, anyways. Fair. I’m on board.

    Regardez, puro (mods, sorry: waaay off this thread, now)

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  — Right, got it; Human Universe; I’ll look it up.

    Okay, got it now — I liked the scattershot approach of different kinds of stories — horror, fairy tale, crime caper, etc. — to come at the question  from a number of entertainingly different angles.  So the one big shock regeneration moment is the unleashing of the process of getting to the point of the D becoming his new self so we can take off at any speed from reasonably firm ground with ep 1 of season 9.  Sounds good to me.

    And thanks, mods, for your patience with the rambling, and for helping with inadvertent multiples of one post, on this thread or one of the others.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    I got an impression PC dives into the role straightaway.

    That is how I saw it too; and the ‘see me’ moment was the point at which I felt he had nailed it.

    What we saw in the following eleven episodes did not strike me as a continuation of the post-regeneration crisis, but as a process of self (re)discovery. In Time of the Doctor he had come to terms with the fact that he was approaching the end of his allotted spans: there would be no more lives.  Then suddenly, shockingly, he is granted a new set of regenerations and he is, in a sense, reborn; starting again from the beginning, whatever his outward appearance suggests.  @scaryb ‘s observation that he seemed at first to be establishing his sense of self  from first principles, as a baby would, hits the mark exactly IMO.

    The initial post-regeneration fugue, though deeper than usual, is, I think, pretty much over by the end of Deep Breath, but the exceptional and unexpected regeneration has left him profoundly unsure of himself. Much as an adolescent might, he examines and explores and tests his identity from ‘Am I a good man?’    until he reaches the point where he feels he can state, ‘Yes, this is me, this is who I really am’  or, in his case  ‘ I’m an idiot, in a box…’

    I read somewhere that Peter Capaldi said that he wasn’t approaching the part with any fixed idea about how he was going to play it, but wanted to work his way into it.  If so his attitude locked perfectly into the twelve episode arc.


    Good grief — so now that I’m 75 all of a sudden I like *younger* men?

    You too, huh?  And what is also disconcerting is that the ‘younger man’ has grey hair and I, by some freak of heredity, don’t.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @ichabod    Thanks for taking us back to the beginning of the season… I really do want to watch the whole thing through over the next few months! I’m just getting caught up on the conversation here and it’s lovely.

    It’s a very interesting speculation that a rejection of the new Doctor by Clara could have led to a Valeyardification. I wonder if a new regeneration cycle contributes to this, because you’re right, it seemed as if it wasn’t just the companion needing to accept the new persona, it was the Doctor himself. And I don’t remember this being a huge issue in the past. I am reminded of The Christmas Invasion, where Ten feared that Rose might not want to travel with him anymore, “because I changed”. But he didn’t seem to have any problem himself with his new incarnation, he seemed quite pleased with it on the whole.

    I enjoyed what you wrote about voices. I agree that voices display huge amounts of personality. Think about Eleven and his scattered, frantic diction, and the sense of wonder and childlike amusement that always came across when he spoke. I could probably listen to one of his episodes all the way through without any visuals at all and still get the sense of him. Twelve has a wonderful measured way of speaking, somewhat monotone and with lots of space, that makes him feel very intense. (I am also reminded of a moment in Human Nature, when after listening for most of the episode to Human Ten, we were suddenly treated to a brief burst of “Doctor”; it really was a different person speaking!)

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @purofilion   I think most of us probably have an inner version of ourselves, and sadly, as we get older, that version differs from reality more and more! In my mind’s eye, I am about twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter (and maybe a wee bit taller!). Less grey in the hair, as well.  🙂

    @ichabod   Love your point about Method acting. It’s especially true inasmuch as many people do not broadcast their emotions in a physical way. Far better technique to work out the subtle ways in which the character would show emotion, and use those, as you describe so well with Capaldi and Coleman.

    Loved the thoughts about hugging. A small boy of my acquaintance told me very seriously that he himself is a “hugging and kissing boy” but his younger brother definitely isn’t– an impressively insightful remark from a four year old! There are those who are and those who aren’t, and I suspect that for those who aren’t (not me, btw) a hug is an incredibly powerful gesture.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @lisa   You can count me in with those who find Capaldi’s Doctor seriously attractive!  🙂  And @ichabod and @mudlark, I hope I am never too old to enjoy a bit of a crush (see above remarks about inner self vs. outer self).

    Thanks @purofilion (and @pedant elsewhere) for the mention of the Brian Cox series. We have “Science Sunday” in our house, when we watch a DVD every week after dinner. We have just about finished Cosmos, and have a three-episode series called “Your Inner Fish” still to do, and will then need something new. I see that “Human Universe” is available on DVD, so I think we are now covered until spring!  🙂

    By the way, “Deep Breath” is a fabulous title for this episode, isn’t it? So many ways in which it is meaningful.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ichabod  Just realised that I should have acknowledged you as well as ScaryB when making reference to the Doctor/baby analogy.  My apologies.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @arbutus ” Thanks for taking us back to the beginning of the season… I really do want to watch the whole thing through over the next few months! I’m just getting caught up on the conversation here and it’s lovely.”

    You’re welcome and thanks yrself!  One reason I like to go back and go over things is that I often miss stuff the first, second, etc. time around, sometimes just because the background music is too loud or the sound indistinct.  Poking around in “Deep Breath” last night listening for voice range, for the first time I actually got the one word that Clara says just before she hugs the Doctor in the “see me” scene.  She says, “Thank you!”  He says, “What for?”  She says, “mmmfffnim”, and gives him a big hug.

    Got that word (I think I read it off her lips): it’s”phoning.”  Thanks for making that crucial phone call from Trenzalore (while you were actually starting to die, which makes it kinda special).  There it is, the continuity from 11 to 12 confirmed by Clara, for herself and (as you pointed out) for CapDoc himself.  The episode’s main question for Clara is, “Is this different guy the same guy as that guy was, the one he’s so different from?”, and the answer is, finally, yes.  The rest of the season asks, “So what’s the nature of the differentness?  And what roles are natural to him now in in a situation like this, or like that?”

    Honestly, the structure of DB as the kick-off for the season is a thing of beauty.  I am all admiration re the writing, too.

    As for hugging itself: Speaking as a non-hugger (sort of), It’s not that I dislike hugging per se.  It’s that I don’t much like to be touched, and it’s not as negative a thing as I originally thought it was.  I like thinking about things (you may have noticed, er, a bit, as in sometimes worrying them to death and beyond).  I’m usually doing that on some level (my “noisy head” problem), and a touch very often feels like a *distraction*, especially unwelcome now that the mind is slowing down a bit with age and needs more focus to keep steady (I mean, really — what a word to miss, see above).  So if we meet up, the first thing I want is not to hug you or be hugged, but to find out what you’ve been thinking about, or what you think about what I’ve been thinking about or about some large topic that most people are thinking about right now (say, Charlie Hebdo).

    When a hug is an indispensable part of a significant interaction, I find the hug itself overwhelming, in a (temporarily) ego-dissolving way.  I can think of precisely two such incidents in my own lifetime.  They were humdingers, but I wouldn’t have minded maybe less intensity spread over more hugs . . . Well, we are what we are.  Luckily, circumstances have forced some barriers here (regular massage, chiropractic, phys. therapy for the broken arm), so the inbuilt touch-aversion has been modified well down from levels others might see as freaky or even pathological.  Love your story about the very aware 4-year-old!

    @mudlark — Don’t worry about it, please!  I’m often a bit patchy with acknowledgments myself, but people don’t seem excitable about that sort of thing here, thank goodness!


    ichabod @ichabod

    Long ago and far away now, but I just fell across this, thought it might be interesting to look at after we’ve done some re-watches and discussions.


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