Deep Breath

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    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    BTW a colleague and Eng Lit scholar has just tweeted this: ‘Caught up with Dr Who. A dinosaur and spontaneous combustion in nineteenth-century London? Echoes of Dickens’s *Bleak House*!  ‘  I’d thought of the spontaneous combustion reference but had completely forgotten this quote from the beginning of the novel: “it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.”

    Kudos to Dr Amber Regis of Sheffield Uni for spotting this!



    Whisht @whisht

    Just re-watched and reminded myself how much I liked the beginning:
    “oh, what? we’re in prehistoric times… oh! Big Ben, erm dinosaurs in London, ok so… OH, Victorian London…”

    Completely disorientated within 10 seconds! Lovely!

    In terms of the intro theme – for me there’s not enough lower register ‘bottom’ from the horns and the signature wavering whoooooooooo that happens at the end which leads into each episode is very very understated to the point of not being there. And its this whooooooo sound which usually leads us ‘in’. But hey ho, its not like I’ll stop watching because I don’t think the intro is the best evah!

    I don’t usually think about Moffat’s writing, but on rewatching it does strike me he enjoys ribbing his actors in terms of their physical appearance (allowed in terms of a regeneration)! If memory serves, he gently mocked Smith for his chin, now he has a chance to write about Capaldi’s “attack eyebrows”. I loved it!

    Oh, and Neve McIntosh – yes. Using her Scots accent but just mainly ‘Yes’.

    Will “we will reach the Promised Land” be this season’s “Silence will fall”?
    No, but for a moment I thought maybe!

    and, mainly because wiser persons than I believe that Missy is the Master (and I’m sure they’re not wrong) but I’m going to bonkers her into the Papal Mainframe if its the last convoluted thing I do.


    (oh btw I think I found the song for the episode but feel free to suggest otherwise!)


    @whisht @thommck I tried holding my breath along with Clara and couldn’t remotely keep up with her. She must have lungs the size of a tank!

    The “waiter” explicitly complemented Clara on her lungs.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @thommck, @whisht and @pedant – just to point out that I can hold my breath that long – I started to struggle at pretty much the same point she was seen struggling.

    Speech training, singing training or she played a wind instrument. 😉

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    I’m slightly bemused by all the comments here and elsewhere about the Doc’s Scottish accent. It’s like Sylvester’s Doc never happened.

    Depressing isn’t it? It’s as if we can only accept a Scottish actor if they have a faux estuary English accent. I blame the English. Or perhaps, more accurately, trollism.


    I was harsh, perhaps, but no time to waste. We’ll get more of this, and I’m keen to send a signal out. We’re not digital spy, and I see no good reason to entertain people who can’t be arsed to form a cogent argument and instead rely on posting a “top ten internet opinions on why Doctor Who under Moff sucks” without qualification. There are other sites available, and I think we are happy enough to forego their observations on this, no ANY, occassion.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    One other thing I’d like to talk about was how beautiful all of the cinematography was.

    For the budget, I always find a lot of Doctor Who pulls miracles out of the box. For this, I loved the Clara perspective holding breath sequences, with the spectrum on the camera changing colour as she tried to escape. What a great sequence!


    I think you’re on the money about the Smith phonecall. It can be hard (as many old fans have explained) losing your Doctor.

    There are kids who will immediately associate Matt as “The Doctor” in the future. There are kids who will see this as the endorsement of the new bloke. It’s never been done before, but this is the first time we’ve had a Doctor who is so much older in the new show. Since 9, we’ve got younger.

    I think we can forgive the BBC for going down this route. Tell a 7 or 8 year old to “man up” at the sense of loss, and see where it gets you. I can imagine a younger generation of young (but potential future posters) being swayed by that scene.

    We’re watching Who!

    Whisht @whisht

    ah but @bluesqueakpip were you holding your breath while walking carefully out of a room full of danger and then walking even quicker down a corridor that you then realised had even more danger??

    Did you? Did you???????!!!?????

    omg – yes you did!

    God you’re good!


    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m a little fishily late to the party. I’m, alas, writing this from my sick-bed (allergic reaction to antibiotics, ended up in AandE, bit of a nightmare). Anyhoo, I’ve now seen the ep and read all your comments!

    The new steam-punk opening visuals cement the writing team’s attachment to Victorian Britain, and thus (hopefully) to Jenny, Vastra and Strax as recurring adjuncts to Team TARDIS this season. In my book The Paternoster Gang are a wonderful addition and I was delighted that Vastra and Jenny’s relationship was given so many layers, flirtations, domesticities in Deep Breath and was, frankly, delightfully rendered by  Catrin Stewart and Neve McIntosh. These two are great friends for the Doctor to have – smart and to be trusted. I love their history with him too – they are the people he went to when he was in mourning for Amy and River.

    In fact I’d say the highlights of the episode were the character interactions, particularly Jenny with Vastra and the Doctor with Clara. I loved the snippy banter between Coleman and Capaldi in the mechanoid restaurant – I hope they keep that new dynamic as I think it raises Coleman’s game as an actress considerably.

    I have some unease about Moff’s Victoriana – i.e. the Paternoster Gang’s easy celebration of the British Empire and the fact that Strax, albeit as  throwaway funny, expects Capaldi’s Doctor to be killed by the savage poor.  I miss RTD’s commitment to a Doctor Who world more conscious of race and class. However, the fact that there was going to be a murder in the pantry later, as Vastra dined on another London criminal (a poisoner this time) was intriguingly dark (hopefully not simply throwaway). Would Doctors past have approved of such summary carnivorous justice as a regular feature of a friend’s behaviour? Frankly Vastra is hard-core and somewhat dark herself.

    We are being set up to mistrust this Doctor, to wonder how dark he is, to wonder who he is, as he is clearly wondering these things about himself. Did he push the cyborg, or did the cyborg jump? Did he abandon Clara callously, or did he not? I’m quite happy with that journey. Capaldi is an accomplished actor and he carries his manic melancholia in the role (a shift from zany and comedic Smith) effortlessly, and yes @arbutus I think he’s very sexy in the part too.

    Why is he wearing the face of Lucius Caecilius from The Fires of Pompeii?  I think, because he saved him. Hence, he can save himself from whatever darkness, perhaps from within (perhaps the Valeyard) is coming.

    Whilst characterisation was well-served in this episode, I think plot was rather less so. The dinosaur was a bit of whizz-bang. The mechanoid from the SS Marie Antoinette was a crude mirror for our Time Lord and for existential questions about change, continuity and regeneration, sure. But honestly, I wanted a plot, not simply a plot device.

    I like @bluesqueakpip ‘s suggestion that Missy is the Master too. But Paradise did seem a lot like the Library…

    Finally, I thought the age issue was a teensy bit over-laboured. I don’t think we needed to be whacked quite so hard and repeatedly over the head with it, but I certainly prefer the Clara-Capaldi to the Clara-Smithy dynamic. Amy was Smith’s companion, from fish fingers to farewell, and Clara never really worked for him as a replacement IMHO.

    So farewell Smithy with your lovely slapstick wobbly dancing, your flashes of ire and your great romance with River Song, and welcome Capaldi, a little lost, a lot snarky, and a great deal intriguingly complicated.


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    but the impaling of Cyborg man on the church spire I took to be a reference to Troughton’s demise in The Omen.

    Surely a reference from your Granny?! But a brilliant reference all the same.

    @cathannabel (lovely new avatar, BTW)

    “it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.”

    Loving that. My congrats to Dr Regis for that one, and to you for passing it on. Billiant!

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip you’re right. I think that there are bodrhan (I think plural and singular are the same); the electronics sound like bagpipes for sure. But yes,

    @timeloop my family thought it was tedious simply because there wasn’t enough action. I asked: “a dinosaur; flying in a ship made of skin (they didn’t get that); running into a tramp; The Gang  flying down the hole to save the Doctor & Clara; the Doctor stealing a horse (the pet was not the horse) -none of this was funny to you or spoke of misadventure?”

    Apparently not!

    Were they tired?  Yes, my brother had left Sydney the day before so he had an 800 mile trip behind him when he arrived.

    But the main problem was that “everyone spoke too fast”. Normally, my boy would love it. He categorically didn’t though he knew I’d cry -I cry at everything. Number 12 in a nightgown was poignant. The slippers just made me howl.

    I did not notice the garden from the Two Streams ; how dumb is that!  it’s so obvious now (like a lot is).

    Good to see @pedant back with some ideas about the music, the linear plot (I agree) and the claricles.

    Having just woken up I would think now that we’re meant to see The Woman as The Master, but she might not be: someone above spoke of her as one of the Master’s acolytes? That would work. So, she’s not the woman in the shop? But I think she probably is….not….is… not sure. Moff could be building in a new baddie: the “he’s my boyfriend” scared the heck out of me.

    Wouldn’t it be super bonkers if Clara’s actual boyfriend having a visit on the TARDIS gets squashed up in some timeywhimey episode, has a thing for the Doctor and, like the claricles who could be ‘impossible’ and impossibly clever’, turns into something ‘opposite’. The crazy eyes indicate insanity rather than the occasional sane glimpses we had with Delgado (though not with Tennant’s Master I might add).

    Danny Pink is normal, a bloke, as ordinary as any guy (this is supposition of course) and having been sucked into a vortex turns crazy, changes gender; wears Mary Poppins outfits (instead of the cheap suit and tie of a teacher) and has a thing for the Dr….or as others have said, she’s actually poor Clara -having been sucked into a vortex turns crazy, and experiences some PTSD from hanging onto the TARDIS thru time & space during the Christmas special. And it catches up with her. Yeah, nuts, I know.

    @arbutus – I agree Capaldi is awesome and sexy. But I did need that phone call from Matt. Which, as I said, made me seem shallow. I liked it for myself. But others above recognise the need younger children have if it’s their first regen. My boy didn’t remember 10s regen into 11. Though he did remember Ten saying “I don’t wanna go” a lot. And crying.

    I need to think a lot more before I bonkers theorise! And watch again & again.

    Kindest, puro.


    Anonymous @

    I personally liked the episode. I do find the new doctor a bit weird but I have always felt that way with a new regeneration so I am giving him a chance. I really liked the last part with Matt Smith, I think it was a really good way to end the episode and I think it was a good way to pass over to the new doctor. I have watched the leaked prodction preview of the second episode (shameful I know) but I liked the way the new doctor was portrayed in it. Even though he has a new face I can still see the 11th doctor in him and that is not an easy task to acomplish.


    I also liked the way Clara was differnet in the deep breath episode and how we saw a different side to her.

    Anonymous @


    BanjoFiddler @banjofiddler

    At the risk of igniting an independence debate, it seemed to me that this episode had something to say on the subject. With quotes such as: –

    ” Independent state of eyebrows …

    I’m Scottish … I can complain about things …

    … I’d probably blame the English …

    … in the name of the British Empire …

    …. Glasgow, I think ….

    … Not sure you’ll get a vote … ”

    If Doctor Who is considered to be that much of a British Institution – as say the Queen or the pound, were the writers trying to use their influence on the independence referendum given the timing of the episode?

    — I’m not Scottish or have a bias either way – just an observation!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @whisht – Clara can beat me by about a second if I start walking about, but I suspect that – if I was surrounded by insane organ-harvesting droids – I could manage the extra second with few problems. 😉

    Giving you a test back: can you say

    Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves
    And barren chasms, and all to left and right
    The bare black cliff clanged round him, as he based
    His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
    Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels

    Without taking a breath? That’s a standard speech training exercise. 😀

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Just caught up with reading all the excellent posts as I’ve been in real life (aka work all day:( ).

    Had a bit of a thought and this has implications for both Missy’s identity and the possibility of the Timelady from TEOT being the lady in the shop, in that if memory serves me right the Master actually ended up on Gallifrey fighting Rassilon at the end of TEOT and ended behind what was then thought to be the time lock. Now we all know that Gallifey has ended up frozen in a pocket universe this would mean that if Missy is the Master he has found a way back into the mainstream universe perhaps but if not then it also has the implication that the Timelady from TEOT should also be frozen still.
    Yes yes I know the cracks are still present and this could work as the conduit to the mainstream universe but I thought the whole point in the TOTD was that the Timelords couldn’t use the cracks without restarting the time war.

    Well I hope some wiser head than mine can sort this out ass mine has started to throb with all this , I personally hope that Missy doesn’t turn out to be gender reassigned Master just because I would love to see the introduction of a completely new villan/hero. I think the jury must still be out on which she is as we haven’t yet received enough information on her exact intentions.

    Ps just a thought was the doctors daughter Jenni or even perhaps a tardises personality on that list of candidates for Missy’s identity

    Anonymous @

    the episode DEEP BREATH in my mind was amazing the doctor OMG I thought he was going to be like a boring old man but he was very alive, full of energy, and fun but this is the beginning who knows how he’s going act in 5 episodes in . Also I love how Jenny and lizard lady [SORRY DON’T KNOW HER NAME } were more then just helping or just there but showing themselves. And Clara she was very um different but a good different she kinda was opening this other side of her. That’s my idea on the DEEP BREATH!!!;)

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @banjofiddler lol yes I caught the reference I think it was SM’s way of accepting the fact that Peter is Scottish and that the episode was going to be going out around the time of the vote. However I think it was more he was poking fun at the fact and I belive the BBC has a policy of non bias towards the issue.

    Anonymous @

    @juniperfish I was wondering where you had gotten to these past months. I certainly hope you are feeling better; a trip to the Emergency Room? Sounds horrible! As always some marvellous comments and a kick start for me to recall the issues that I had missed the first time around.

    The idea of Vastra as a deep and darkly layered character dining on criminals in the larder was superb -the match up with the family restaurant was clever, then. I loved the throwaway lines: “I never remember you being a vegetarian”. In other words, his acceptance of other-worldly creatures is still the mark of the Doctor though his “I might have to kill you” pointed to a Doctor who makes quick decisions, waits for no man and allows others whom he trusts (like Clara: “the not me one, the one who asks questions”) to get out of sticky situations on their own but doesn’t desert them either.

    I wonder if this Doctor sees some things as expendable, disposable if necessary. Though in contrast, his speech to the droid was very severe: “these are small but important people to me”.

    I loved how he was able to move from confused to focussed: it was satisfying, full of striking environmental influences from the Doctor’s past, a colourful past like the episode itself and importantly it was accessible to strangers -new viewers. I spoke to a view people this morning who hadn’t seen Who since Eccleston and found Capaldi’s rejoinders -his jumbled up mind, his infuriated attitude towards his new face, the ‘pudding brained people’. They loved his dazzle  and razzle…brother has woken up…must go.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Genuine “Oh Noes!!” to your absence so far.
    Genuine “Yipee’s!!”” to the appearance of your Avatar.

    Hope you feel better soon. We have TWELVE weeks of excitement to cope with!! Get those pills down yer neck (as we say in Yorkshire)

    I’ll have some more robust arguments when I have more than four hours of sleep. Thatbe mid-day tomorrow then.

    Get well soon. x

    BanjoFiddler @banjofiddler

    @devilishrobby – I think you’re probably right on the BBC thing – the other theories I’ll have to give more thought to!

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @cathannabel   Wow. I would never, ever have remembered that line from Dickens. Take that to those who feel that the dinosaur was contrived!

    @juniperfish   I thought of the library as well, possibly because of the parallel “life after death” themes. (Hope you are recovered from your trip to the ER!)

    @purofilion    I didn’t need to hear from Eleven, but I certainly enjoyed it. I know that some didn’t, but I felt a tear, and thought it was quite nicely done. I completely agree that it was probably helpful for younger viewers.

    There were so many great little moments of character-building in this that I can’t remember most of them at this point. I’m planning a re-watch tomorrow and then I’ll probably be back on here with another load of thoughts. Altogether pleased with life just at the moment!

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip Tennyson was it?? I think it was ye Lord!

    Yes, I was trying to hold breath and of course after 2 mins nearly fainted. Funnily enough boy-Ilion also said he tried to as well so I immediately said: “you were connected to the show in some way, then?”. He sheepishly acknowledge he was. I personally think he misses Number 11 but as others say “get used to it; this is the nature of the series”.

    @arbutus your comment “altogether pleased with life just at the moment!” is great. You know, yesterday I was totally stoked & looking forward to the whole thing. I feel as if the episode delivered so much -that really, before I see the next one, I want to immerse myself in this one, fully. Sometimes with the episodes with 11 I didn’t want to do that -I admitted that rarely! Now, I feel great about Doctor Who. I really sense a festivity about the whole process of watching, analysing, rationalising and reading people’s gorgeous commentary. And good on you for telling the nutters off. I mentioned a comment to one (nutter) who disabled his account by the name I had submitted my post!

    Kindest, purofilion

    Anonymous @

    @devilishrobby makes good points about the transition for companions and I like that Clara is struggling with the change like most of us. That plot alone will keep me watching.

     @phoebe-phire – “11′s phone call kind of undermined her, questioning her ability to do this on her own”

     Yes, and underestimated our ability at the same time. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but for me it seemed unnecessary. @timeloop said it was sad, that could be what I felt. All I know is that my initial feelings were not positive. I think the reason was that I had finally prepared myself for the new doctor and learned that I liked him. Then SHOCK, seeing 11 again so soon, suddenly, unexpectedly opened up a wound that had healed. That is just what happened for me. However, just writing about it has helped me understand, that I’m just taking it too personally. Many children might not have been enjoying the new darker Doctor as much as I was, so 11’s call might have been for them, as much as it was for Clara. Clara might have needed the phone call after all and as we saw happen the call from 11 definitely changed her mind about leaving. So, if 11’s phone call gave children a little extra reassurance that this guy is O.K. then its good thing. Nice. 🙂 Thanks for making me think on it more @purofilion  and @arbutus.

    Old evil Clara is my favorite for Missy. She was a Mistress and so was a Claricle.  But then again I think to myself, do I really want an old evil Clara?  😆

    Jenna Coleman’s performance was her best yet. She keeps impoving.  I laugh everytime I see her exit the TARDIS with her hair all messed up.  I think its because until now she always appears to be perfect. And her scene with the monsters was as good as Amy’s with the Weeping Angels. I think there is much more to come from this new Clara.




    @phoebe-phire @Barnable

    The Doctor was fully aware that Clara expected him to die – and was wholly unaware that it was Clara’s plea to the Time Lords that turned things around. He would expect her to be confused and scared and it was in his nature to reassure (“under my protection”) – but also,  he knew how important Amy’s message to him, via the novel, was to his healing when he lost them (especially the bit about never being alone). “There’s a little girl waiting in a garden.”

    Not quite as TL;DR as expected version: It was in character for 11 to make such a call for all sorts of complex but entirely in-story reasons. Mostly becuase he has grown up from “I always rip out the last page of a book. Then it doesn’t have to end. I hate endings!”

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    One of the things I noticed on a rewatch was that Madame Vastra tells everyone ‘this is not a day to jump to conclusions’. Now, the Doctor does jump to one bloody great conclusion – when the Half Faced Man says ‘We will reach the Promised Land’, he presumes the Droid’s talking in metaphors (further encouraged by a mention of ‘Paradise’).

    The biblical nerd in me would point out that the Promised Land is and always has been somewhere you can find on a map. Likewise, there are several extremely physical towns called Paradise. And finally, a Droid who can’t manage ‘don’t’ after a couple of million years isn’t exactly the type of being you’d expect to launch into flowery metaphors about the afterlife.

    So yeah, I go with the people who say ‘The Promised Land’ is like ‘Utopia’. It’s a place.

    As well as The Library and The Land of Fiction, there is another rather well-documented Virtual Reality Environment in the Whoniverse. Anyone mentioned the Matrix yet? From The Deadly Assassin.

    The Matrix is where the memories of dead Time Lords are uploaded. Or, it’s where Time Lords go to when they die. 😉

    Danic @danic

    I’m not sure if anyone’s thought of this. But I think the lady at the end is River. I mean, paradise could be the Library computer she got saved in. She also refered to the Doctor as his boyfriend. A new different Doctor, why not a new different River? Also Matt Smith said he didn’t want to see Alex Kingston’s River go with Capaldi but Moffat kept the character and changed the actor. And I know you’re thinking: “How did she regenerate, didn’t she use up all her regenerations to save Eleven?” Well the Doctor got a new set of regens, why not River?

    I hope you found this theory interesting and maybe even believable and if you did, please spread it around.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    You’ve got to laugh.

    First Deus Ex Machina claim – from Digital Spy – is somebody BTL insisting that the phone call was a DEM. 🙄

    Now, let me see. Was it a previously un-revealed character? Why no – I think I’ve seen Matt Smith in the show once or twice.

    Was it an un-revealed ability? Nope. We’ve seen that the TARDIS phone can make phone calls through time and we’ve also seen that the TARDIS is quite capable of diverting the call. So the point that the call arrives when Clara’s thinking of leaving is almost certainly no coincidence.

    Did it come out of nowhere? Nope. As the flashback helpfully reminds us, we saw the phone out of its box in Time of The Doctor.


    Anonymous @

    @devilishrobby and @banjofiddler — With regards to the independence thing, the BBC have been emphatically very much biased on the issue. (Surprisingly Frankie Boyle was very eloquent on why this might be at the Edinburgh Festival this year.) However, with regards to the ceding eyebrows references in the episode (coupled with those in The Beast Below and others) I get the impression that Moffat is a gently mocking No supporter, but I don’t think he’s ever intending to make any kind of serious point. He’s more interested in a good or funny line really, I think. (As is also the case with his take on Victoriana. I shared a bit of @juniperfish‘s disquiet with some of the Paternoster Gang’s utterances but I’m tending to think that — rightly or wrongly — Moffat just isn’t taking the subtexts behind them terribly seriously.)

    On to the episode itself:

    I really liked it. It’s not as breathlessly excellent as The Eleventh Hour but I’d still rate it as above The Christmas Invasion in terms of regeneration stories. I agree with @phaseshift about the subtlety of using the Cyborg as an analogue for the Doctor’s situation. It was really well done and the final confrontation between the two brilliantly done.

    (A couple of observations here – 1. is it just me or is there still something slightly, vaguely Malcolm Tucker-esque in the new Doctor in this confrontation– this and the ‘if I see anything I don’t like’ line earlier made him think that after all the jokes etc. there is something ever so slightly like Tucker in this new Doctor. 2. I was struck by how solitary this new Doc was. He spent much of this episode on his own, compared to Doc 11 who was constantly rushing to surround himself with others.

    It’s probably too early to tell but I’m still wondering if we’re going to see a Doctor who perhaps owes a little to the Seventh Doctor in his brooding loneliness, and his steeliness.

    When I first read the script, I was not convinced by the whole SS Marie Antoinette thing and thought ‘jeez, he’s being a bit lazy here’. But I thought it really worked and could see a definite point for it being there. I quite like the suggestion that maybe as his era comes to a close, that Moffat is going to pull some even longer threads together. It’s an idea I like but not sure how he’d manage to do it.

    I initially shared @thommck‘s reservations about Clara’s attitude to the new Doctor and that she of all people should be cool with regeneration but @pedant‘s arguments have swayed me (good to see you back btw).

    Matt’s cameo. While I knew it was coming, my first impression was that it was kind of intrusive. Now, I loved Matt’s Doc and I’ve been surprised at just how much I took to him. And I was certainly sorry to see him go. (And part of me is really looking forward to seeing him interact with PC in a future multi-Doc story) But I felt it a little unfair on Capaldi to be usurped a little just as we’re getting to his first real Doctor-ey moment, in his new costume, in his new TARDIS. How would it have been if Tennant had shown up while Matt was about to give his ‘I’m the Doctor. Basically, run.’ moment?

    But on reflection, I think there’s actually something more subtle going on there. It’s not just a call-out to young fans to ‘please like him. He’s the Doctor really’. It’s also to emphasise how different a Doctor he is. Again, we see how solitary and vulnerable he actually is. But paradoxically he’s also much less needy than 11. Matt’s Doc is reaching out, anxious to hoover up moments of connection, of emotion, with his companions, even when his time has past, when he’s stealing them from his future incarnation essentially. It’s not just reinforcing that this is the same character, but also his sheer difference as well.

    The Paternoster Gang. Loved them. I really hunger for a spin-off now. Especially as the mother show looks as if it’s going into slighly darker territory now. The mania and breakneck action can perhaps be transferred to them. And the sheer amount of Paternoster background we saw this time does make me think that it might perhaps be in the offing. And bemused and slightly depressed to see some of the reactions to The Kiss. Are we really still stuck in that place? Just don’t venture BTL on the Telegraph’s review if you value your sanity, that’s all I’m saying…

    New TARDIS interior. Not as different as some have been trying to make out but I far prefer it. The orange light gives it a warmth as opposed to the sheer coldness of the neon blue and I like the bookcases and blackboards. It’s once again somewhere I can imagine people actually living. I didn’t really like Clara getting the ‘you’ve redecorated’ line. For me, that has to be a line spoken by a (not the) Doctor and it has to be given a certain over-emphatic dismissiveness. She sounded too serious when she delivered it, I thought. A small thing, I know. But it still kinda bugged me.

    New opening titles. Great. I hated the last ones. But as others have said, the new theme arrangement is a bit flat. Maybe @bluesqueakpip is right and it might be a grower, but it’s just a bit too low-key and a bit too like the McCoy-era one for my liking. The opening titles should be a rush into adventure and the new music is a bit too subdued to convey that.  I’ll probably change my mind though.

    All in all, a fine start to a new era.  I suspect it may turn out to be another quiet classic of Nu Who. Not quite as visceral as the opening of the Eleventh’s. But that might be a good thing. I seem to remember The Beast Below being something of a let-down after The Eleventh Hour. Hopefully the next episode won’t represent quite such an anticlimax. Especially as it seems to have such an interesting premise.

    (PS. Good to see you back, @juniperfish. Get well soon.)

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @phaseshift Thanks very much for the get well wishes x I really need them.

    I love your clarion call to twelve weeks of excitement 🙂

    And you too @Purofilion – thank you.

    @cathannabel Ooh the Bleak House reference is GREAT – and is it a clue? In that novel, a woman finds a daughter she thought was dead… I’m still sold on Clara as the Doctor’s granddaughter, esp now they’ve put the flirting back in the box. In the process, their dynamic instantly became much more interesting – snarky and hurt and tender – very familial?

    @bluesqueakpip The Matrix is a great idea, particularly as the Doc is on a quest, however meandering the route, to find his own, albeit ambivalent, Promised Land – Gallifrey in its bubble universe – that was Eleven’s intention, and I noticed that Twelve’s TARDIS redecoration includes Gallifreyan patterning on the console room walls.

    I’m going with Twelve as the Valeyard, or rather, afraid that he’s the Valeyard, as we move through this season.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @jimthefish – his reuse of the organ-stealing droids isn’t as lazy as it looks. He makes it look lazy by the Doctor’s constant ‘this reminds me of something’. But in fact, the Girl in the Fireplace droids are after one human part (only) and we don’t see the other ones they’ve murdered. They’re clockwork in appearance. They’re based on a ship that still has time windows.

    These droids are using any parts they can find and we see them killing people. They look like corpses. They’re based on Earth, and they’re time travelling by the long road. Basically, Moffat’s just reusing a monster (and we tend to not complain that reusing, say, the Ice Warriors is really lazy).

    Did you notice that when the Capaldi Doctor was trying to remember where he’d met these droids before, he picked up a bunch of roses? Then he threw them away.

    That ship has sailed. 😉

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip — Absolutely, as I said on a first reading it seemed lazy but on actually watching the episode, the differences leaped out at me more and the point of what Moffat was doing became much more apparent.

    The more I rewatch this episode, the more I think it represents some of Moffat’s most interesting work on the series. It’s a subtle and multi-layered piece, I think.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @juniperfish – in favour of your ‘Clara is related’ bonkers theory, I did note that the description of ‘An egomaniac needy game-player sort of person’ was considered a good description of the Doctor by Clara and a good description of Clara by the Doctor.

    Then there’s the ‘You’ve redecorated. I don’t like it.’

    They are, in other words, still being played as extremely alike. To the extent that Clara knows, absolutely knows, when the Doctor is coming back for her. It’s like they’ve got some kind of telepathic link.

    [Going into bonkers theorydum – if they have, did the Doctor’s rebooting temporarily disrupt it? Was that why Clara couldn’t accept him at first? It wasn’t the physical change, it was that she couldn’t ‘see’ him through her mind, the way a Time Lord can recognise another Time Lord.]

    The argument against is that we, again, got a ‘no, Clara is definitely a perfectly ordinary human’ confirmation. How many have we had now? Anyone want to make a count? I don’t think we’ve ever seen a companion whose had their human status so emphasised.

    Get well soon, btw. Allergic reactions are the pits.

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip, I think all of the “Ordinary Girl Clara” referances happened before she went into the Doctor’s time stream.  We don’t know for sure what happened to her since she came back out. Maybe she has after affects we don’t know about. In DotD she snapped her fingers and opened the TARDIS doors.  In TotD she held onto the outside of the TARDIS (11 says, “She must have extended the force field?”), but there might have been more to it.  I am not certain that she is an ordinary girl anymore.

    Serahni @serahni

    I’ll weigh in briefly on the ‘inclusion of Matt Smith’s Doctor’ debate.

    My first reaction was one of surprise but intrigue.  I didn’t see it as an intrusion as some have mentioned, or an insult to Capaldi, more of an exciting hint at a continuing narrative that still has threads deeply linked to past events.  I also think there was a lot of deeper meaning going on, not to mention that I just think it fits with all the characters involved.  It rounds off the end of Matt’s story with an action that his Doctor would definitely have done.

    For instance, Capaldi’s Doctor’s assertion that he’s not Clara’s boyfriend, given that he reassures her it wasn’t necessarily her mistake he’s referencing, finally gives us a verified look inside the 11th’s mindset regarding their relationship, (even though you’d have to be a blind halfwit to have missed it. *lol*)  Now I recall quite a few people feeling that Clara was overshadowed by Amy in Matt’s final scene, even though I have argued that his earlier, more-poignant goodbye to Clara and a request to allow him to save her was far more moving given that he thought he was actually at the end of his days at that point.  Now that we know, in fact, that he was definitely thinking about her and making provisions to still be there for her at a difficult turning point, I’m not sure we can continue to claim that Clara was poorly done-by.  So there is that.

    That’s neither here-nor-there, really, and is only a nice little moment for those of us who enjoyed their chemistry.  What I most liked about the phone call was that it really did become a metaphor for the change in direction that we keep hearing we should expect from this series.  Since the series rebooted, we have had young Doctors.  We have an entire generation of fans for whom the Doctor is a young, rather handsome figure who tends to have a lot of girls flirting with him.  Moffat’s copped a lot of criticism for that, I won’t go into my own feelings.  (Other than to agree it gets tiresome.)  Here we have a pivotal moment in which that version of the Doctor, that heart-throbbish fan-girl-exciting dashing young thing, asks for Clara’s help in accepting a very different stereotype.  If, as is so often suggested, the companion is the audience’s eyes and ears, thoughts and feelings, then the metaphor becomes quite obvious.

    We are being asked to accept our new, very scared, very different Doctor.

    So aside from the fact that it makes sense that 11 would do that, given what is now nearly a confession of his feelings at the time, and the fact that it kind of made up for the very abrupt way in which he left her, allowing for a proper chance to say goodbye, I think it possibly was a very deliberate ‘changing of the guards’ scene to hammer it home that Who is about to change.  This isn’t just one actor handing on the baton to another, it’s an actor taking an image that has worked in propelling Doctor Who back into the hearts and minds of countless fans, old and new, and rewriting it.

    That’s gotta be pretty scary.

    Anonymous @

    @barnable yes indeed that is what I was mentioning myself!  I think that Clara’s mad oyster-hugging of the TARDIS was going to have some psychological effect. I liked the ideas above which imply her  connection to the Doctor, the telepathic responses; even a telepathic field to which she can connect as he’s someone so close to her: even arbitrarily -when she doesn’t know “where the Doctor is” and Vastra and Jenny scold her with “he’s right upstairs sleeping”. I too wonder about her ordinary quality. She’s human (tick) and as @bluesqueakpip asked when have we had so many confirmations of her human/perfectly ordinary girl status? But this then could point in another direction.

    Her ability to stun and spin the droid about with questions was interesting and ever so ‘not’ ordinary. Or maybe, having watched companions from BG, I expect Clara to start screaming! Her loyalty towards the Doctor (even though he’s not cemented as hers quite yet) was extraordinary and, to me, qualifies her as the Impossible Girl, still. She had to demonstrate a great faith when she ‘let go’ and hoped the Doctor would pull her out -and he didn’t let her down. So many times has Clara relied on that faith & on the ‘trust me’ statements of 11.

    Number 12 is relying on the confidence of others in him, the confused, diabolical memories of himself, his own vanity even and so relies on some faith to keep his own clock turning. After all “when you’ve taken so much out what’s left of you any longer?”.

    I think the android story was deliberately complex with layers (as @jimthefish referred to) that I witnessed last night, but which were not fully cooked until I woke again this morning 🙂

    The story has created a good debate hasn’t it? The thread is so busy! The Christmas Special had some predictability: the Clock Tower, the village that never ends, but now we’ve got mechanical clock droids and the opening credits echo this. I liked the idea of being ‘without a face’. But Vastra has to hide hers, the Doctor and Clara must get used to his, the droids need more than faces and the ‘woman in the shop’ needs a face put to her name.

    I liked how in the Special, the Doctor appeared to regenerate so fast: “I’ve got kidneys, I don’t like the colour…”.

    The vitality of that act and the physical change that it brings was highlighted by Number 11s phone call. Yes, the regen had to be approached on its own terms but the call wasn’t voyeuristic. We had to see this change in fragments through centuries but only the Doctor, or someone like River could really do that. So the phone call and the manic monologue with the tramp showed the sacrifice, the terror and the price a time lord pays to gain another life. Whilst the time lords may have bestowed more than one life upon him, what life is it? A valeyard or something different?

    I think Clara believed in him but what she needed was to surrender absolutely and to trust him completely: to trust in his commitment to earth, his friends and all those planets and stars to whom he feels he owes…something (an apology, a re-organising of values, relationships etc).

    The Doctor though, is an ego centred creature: he’s joyous and sad; indestructible and vulnerable and spoke initially with duality, “you’re the not me one; the other”. By the time he’s in the skin balloon (!) he’s more fully connected to humanity and speaks as if he’s almost one of us. The change from the gritty Victorian alley ways and dark colours to the slightly lighter palette looking down at Victorian London effected this change for us – for me, anyhow.

    There’s diabolical magic ahead in this series all set to a rattling pace which perhaps doesn’t maybe need the soaring score from Murray Gold as the action -the clipping of horses and the mechanical droid-rhythm – accompanies the dialogue. Would anything else distract us?

    Kindest, puro (apologies for this very long post. Well, all of them 🙂 )

    Anonymous @

    @janetteb you are in Adelaide? For some reason, I thought you were elsewhere? Forgive me for being forgetful! Yes, the fan household was either Tennant (Mr Ilion) or Smith (boyIlion) but they need to accept that the new man fits the older show,  or the new show fits the older man! Either way, it works!

    But I think what might stun some people is that with the Tennant episodes there was a breather (every now and then a silly line or snog from Barrowman). Last night provided no such thing. And I loved that. We’re expected to be ready. Not to be flabby (pudding) brained. Some would say Moff lectures in that manner, that he’s preaching something. Still n’ all I like what he’s saying and if there’s some sub text about the nature of TV, then I agree with him! Cheers to you. Puro.

    janetteB @janetteb

    Whew. I took a few cups of coffee to get through the posts made since last night.  I have scribbled down a few comments so here goes

    Firstly @phaseshift, No need to apologise for being overly harsh. I applaud you for protecting this forum from the mindless barrage of hate posts that have afflicted the Guardian.

    @Cath Annabel Welcome back and thank you for pointing out the Bleak House quote. Spontaneous combustion made me think of it instantly but I had forgotten the quote about the dinsoaur. Clever Moff.

    @giulia42 Excellent first post welcome and welcome to other new members too.

    @juniperfish welcome back. Sorry to hear that you are posting from a hospital bed. Hope you will soon be fully recovered. I like your description of Vastra as “hardcore dark”. There have been some remarks concerning her treatment of Jenny. Vastra is a lizard from a very different culture to ours not a role model for a non-hetro relationship. I think some people forget that. She does not treat Jenny as an equal but then again, she does not consider humans to be her equals however she does find them quite tasty. One has to make some allowances and Jenny seems quite able to hold her own. In many ways she is to Vastra what the Companion is to the Doctor.

    @purofilion I loved the phone call from Doctor 11. I found it very moving, not so much because it was a reminder of the past but for what it meant for the new Doctor. It highlighted his desperate need to be accepted reflecting the actor’s own personal need for the audience to accept him as the Doctor, a character whom he has loved since childhood. We see, not just how much Clara’s acceptance means to the Doctor but how much the audience’s acceptance means to Peter Capaldi. Moving stuff indeed.

    @Bluespeakpip I loved your point about Victorian London being “home” for the Doctor.  In post 30132 you remark upon the Telepathic link between Clara and the Doctor. I think you have a point there and I am still suspecting that Clara is not and never was just an ordinary girl. The continuation of her link with River in TNotD implies that she has enhanced telepathic powers.

    Someone way back, I didn’t note who so I apologise for the lack of reference, mentioned that Missy was too malevolent to be the woman in the shop which is what I think.  Clara may or may not be just “an ordinary girl” but it think it is clear that her role is to save the Doctor and that is reinforced in this episode. That implies that the woman in the shop was interceding on the Doctor’s behalf.

    A few other random thoughts since last night. The dinosaur was a lovely ‘red herring”. It appears to be the ‘big bad” for the episode but the actual baddy is just a little, insignificant person lurking on a street corner. The Dinosaur becomes a metaphor for the Doctor, alone, lost and confused. A beautiful start to the story.

    I wonder if the watch which the Doctor swapped for the coat will have any significance in the future. Watches and clocks seem to be a theme of this new series.

    Last point. The Doctor now drinks coffee. Yay!!

    And last, last point. Loved the accent. Don’t understand the complaints about it.



    janetteB @janetteb

    @purofilion. I actually live north of Adelaide, conveniently close to the Barossa.



    Anonymous @

    absolutely bloody brilliant…..I had my concerns prior to pushing the play button on the dvr…but, I had nothing to worry about, Capaldi done himself proud….I even went to the movies at Erina Fair and watched it on the big screen on the very same day

    Sure it may take a couple of eps to absorb all his nuances, but I can deal with that… for Clara, Jenna also did an outstanding job, some people complaining about her interactions with the new Doctor…BUT….ITS A NEW DOCTOR, and I’m assuming his absent mindeness come from being in the first 15 hours of regeneration….Madame Vasta had the line of the night “People are apes, men are Monkeys”….I see people having a gripe about Strax and his continued dumbing down….well you never know, at some point one of the doctors adversaries (maybe even a Sontaran) will make Strax turn back into a member of the vicious warrior race of his birth, and go on the subsequent militaristic rampage we all know Sontarans are capable of…..One question I do have, wasnt Vasta good lady wife killed by the The Great Intelligence…wait, its a temporal paradox, ignore that question.

    and finally there is Missy….the Doctors “girlfriend”….well, it aint River in disguise (I think) so its probably a Master who dunno shes a Master yet…but thats just a wild guess.


    so anyway…I dug it …..I can hardly wait for more


    janetteB @janetteb

    Just a random thought. Missy does rather resemble Mary Poppins and Clara was once a governess. I don’t suspect that Missy is Clara or a Claricle but there may be some connection. The mad governess reference is almost certainly Moff throwing out bait, but whether a clue or a red herring remains to be seen.



    Anonymous @

    @pedant – Everything you said about hating endings and last page of the book is true and so obvious to me now. Thanks for the insight. Now I don’t have anymore complaints with the episode. 🙂

     And now, continuing with the theories about a psychically linked Clara. Maybe she absorbed some of all the Doctors’ traits while she was inside his time stream (sort of like Doctor Donna…kind of part human/part doctor). So she has similarities to 12 like @janetteb, @bluesqueakpip, and @purofilion pointed out were shown in the restaurant scene.

     But another similarity could be the phone call from 11.  It really was a short good buy for Clara, when 11 regenerated like @serahni said.  So if Clara was the one who hates endings now, then the phone call was her last page of the book, because she absorbed some of the traits of 11.

     Another similarity is snapping her fingers to open the TARDIS like 10 did.

     I can’t remember 9 ever hanging on the outside of the TARDIS? But I know Capt. Jack did.   Oh well, I tried.

    @janetteb – I am going with Missy for the woman in the shop for now.  And by extension old evil Clara who I think is Missy.  I started to explain this bonkers theory but I stopped in hopes that someone will come up with a better theory and save me. 😆

    Serahni @serahni

    I’ll throw another mad theory into the ‘who is Missy?’ pot because why not?  I don’t even have any reason that I can think of but that never really negates the possibility of things in Who.  *lol*

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="599"]Mad Theory Because why not…[/caption]

    Anonymous @

    I loved the  anagram -mostly silly, I combined Peter Capaldi with Mancini, then crossed out Capaldi and came up with  ‘Ancient’ or ‘Ancient ep’ ( The Doctor kept asking about his face and then spoke about the droid’s metal being ‘Roman’). With Mancini it’s ‘Manic’ which sums up the Doctor in this episode.  Some student  said this was all on some anagram site. Great!

    Interesting that Clara says some things other Doctors have traditionally said “I don’t like it” and “I’m so so sorry”. I suspect there’ll be reminders with other statements.

    The poignancy at the end: a 5 foot 1 lass with an older man asking her to just ‘see him’. Look beyond the face. Niiice.

    Anonymous @

    Wow good one @serahni, Missy is the TARDIS. I like it. She would be the Doctor’s girl friend.

    Anonymous @

    was it possible that Missy said: “I like his new accent, I think I might keep it”?? I listened to it a few times. Why would she say ‘I might keep it’? Apart from her ‘mania’ (again, ‘Mancini’)?    Miss(y) Mania works for me!

    Serahni @serahni

    And now, a question!

    I know that the conclusion to the scene with the tramp was left fairly ambiguous, with us not really knowing exactly how the Doctor got the coat.  (At one point, he tried to bully it off the poor guy, after all.)  But is there any significance to the watch he mentions giving in exchange?  Given that watches have played such a significant part in hiding away Timelordness in the past, it seems like an unlikely reference to just throw in for the hell of it, right?

    Anonymous @

    oh right (goodness I’m slow): ‘I might keep it’ is as @serahni said: the TARDIS. Only a TARDIS could refer to ‘me and him and I.’ Good on you @barnable for seeing that too. Kindest.

    Anonymous @

    @serahni  did the Doctor give it away deliberately, to hide it, though I assumed it was an ordinary watch? The clock tower in the Special, Clara being born or left near/under a clock, the fact of the mechanical credits and the mechanical droids…it’s all really timey whimey now!

    Serahni @serahni

    The clock in the Clock Tower is a massive timepiece.  It’s featured so many times because it’s such a significant cultural backdrop but maybe even that isn’t a coincidence.  What could a clock that size be hiding if a small pocketwatch can contain one Time Lord?


    Serahni @serahni

    @purofilion @barnable  The only tricky thing to get my head around so far is that I’ve seen promo shots of The Doctor and Missy and Cybermen.  (I think I did, anyway, when I was looking up that photo of her to use.)  That doesn’t rule anything out but it does leave me with not enough clues yet to make my “Missy is TARDIS” theory work yet.  *lol*

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