Home Entertainment DOCTOR WHO is back, and Peter Calpadi is a different kind of mad

DOCTOR WHO is back, and Peter Calpadi is a different kind of mad

3 min read

Deep Breath (1)

[Warning: SPOILERS ahead for the Season 8 premiere of Doctor Who. Read at your own risk if you haven’t seen the episode yet!]

As far as opening stories go once a regeneration kicks in, Doctor Who had a rather tepid start on the weekend. But while the tale of Victorian London, a time-displaced T-Rex and a nod back to an earlier episode may have had some issues with pacing, new Doctor Peter Capaldi is already carrying a half century legacy of wibbly wobbly time travel on his back in magnificent fashion.

And that’s because regeneration is a pretty rare thing to see in Doctor Who. Sure, it may have been seen far more frequently in Matt Smith’s run as the Time Lord, but The Time Of The Doctor finally pushed his Doctor into a completely new cycle of death-cheating biology, with Capaldi’s Doctor emerging as his newest face. A face that has a far more darker nature to it and an alien nature that doesn’t rely on being weird. Also, attack eyebrows.

Deep Breath (13)

But it’s more than just a Regeneration story we have here. For the most part, the Doctor isn’t even present in the first half of Deep Breath, with Clara taking time to adjust and finding out that her usual charms won’t work on this incarnation of the ageless time traveller, with hints being thrown around that she subliminally wants to hang around with a person that she can control. There’s a new dynamic at play here between Doctor and companion, and you can bet that there’ll be some golden lines uttered between the two as they find a comfortable partnership.

Deep Breath (16)

And of course, we have the return of Jenny, Vastra and Strax, a trio of Doctor Who characters who deserve their own spin-off show so damn bad. It’d be like Downtown Abbey, except people would most likely be eaten. But they’d be bad people. I think. I’m not good at pitching TV shows. And it’s fantastic how Doctor Who is the only show that can feature a lesbian married couple, with one of them being a lizard humanoid from the center of the Earth who happens to have rather strange eating habits, and make it work so well that they appear time and time again.

Deep Breath (17)

And of course, Strax. Wonderful, wonderful Strax and his inability to understand anything about humans without falling back on Sontaran training.

Deep Breath (14)

But as for Peter Capaldi, he’s off to a fine start already. As mentioned above, there’s a darker side to this Doctor, but he’s not without some lighter moments as well. From ranting about the planet of the pudding brains to discussing his new face with a terrified hobo, Capaldi’s Doctor clearly has some Malcom Tucker-ish mannerisms that have crept into this regeneration.

Deep Breath (15)

But when he sets out to do right, he’s frightening. He has an intensity that no other Doctor can match, and venturing into a den of clockwork killer robots with human body parts grated to their addled processors is just magical.

Deep Breath (12)

But it’s near the end of the episode, when you see that this Doctor is rather vulnerable and scared. There’s a frightened Time Lord behind those steely eyes, a being who doesn’t know just where his place in the universe is exactly and is uncomfortable with hugging now. And when Matt Smith’s Doctor shows up for one final appearance, you realise just how different the show is going to be from now on.

Deep Breath (11)

Of course, while the majority of episodes will be standalone adventures, there’s also the mystery of Missy, gatekeeper of paradise it would seem. Is she really the girlfriend of the Doctor? Or merely a very obsessive stalker? That’s one mystery that I’m going to enjoy seeing unravel and see what her connection and interest in the Doctor and Clara really is.

Deep Breath (10)

But I have a feeling that it’s going to be a whopper.

Last Updated: August 25, 2014


  1. Rinceable

    August 25, 2014 at 12:05

    So much win here! I look forward to watching the episode with a fine glass of wine this Friday 🙂


    • Kervyn Cloete

      August 25, 2014 at 12:16

      What the hell are you doing here if you haven’t seen the episode yet? You just ruined a few big surprises for yourself.


      • Rinceable

        August 25, 2014 at 12:21

        Well I thought it would be a general look at the episode as there were no SPOILER WARNINGS!


        • Sith JJ

          August 25, 2014 at 12:27

          Luckily I just scrolled down and commented first. Saw your comment and now know better than to read the article.


          • Rinceable

            August 25, 2014 at 12:40

            You are, indeed, LUCKY!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            August 25, 2014 at 14:56

            Did you also know better than to read his comment?

          • Sith JJ

            August 25, 2014 at 15:31

            I should’ve.

  2. Kervyn Cloete

    August 25, 2014 at 12:14

    I thought it was damn cool. While the actual mystery of the episode was good, but nothing special (well, for now, because clearly that shit is tying into some big overarching plot), there was a hell of a lot I loved about Deep Breath.

    It wasn’t quite the insta-fanboy feeling I got from when I first saw Matt Smith do his thing, but I really dug Capaldi in the role, mainly for the brilliant rambling dialogue Moffat gave him to work with. I mean, the whole thing about his face (actually that whole scene in the alleyway, but particularly the bit about his eyebrows!) was just genius, and may even be laying down the groundwork for some mysteries to come.

    And the meta-commentary of accepting a new Doctor that’s different, older than the one most modern fans are used to, was really well done. Using Clara to mirror the audience’s expected feelings of uncertainty, was a rather deft touch. Also I just don’t think there can be any doubt any more that Clara is the best of the modern companions. Also also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I could watch an entire show based around Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax. Those three are gold, and it baffles me no end that BBC have not yet done a spinoff show about them.

    Something I never really thought too much about, but which only realized afterwards, is that the show intentionally didn’t show you if the Doctor pushed the robot man out of the escape pod, or he committed suicide. They want that moral ambivalence there, which is something that really hasn’t been seen in a while, definitely not during the dashing heroics of the Tennant and Smith eras.

    And speaking of Matt Smith. Oh Moffat, you far-planning, emotionally manipulative bastard. Those final moments were an unexpected joy. Much more than just being nostalgic though, they also showed that Capaldi’s not all dark intensity and funny eyebrows. There’s a vulnerability there, a need to be accepted by Clara and himself, that makes him just enough of a sympathetic character.

    All in all, it was a great start to the season (and that’s not even including that final episode stinger with Missy in Paradise) and it just feels fantastic to have Doctor Who back on our screens again.


  3. Sith JJ

    August 25, 2014 at 12:27

    I’m still working through Matt Smith Doctor Who. A bit late to the party, but I’m motoring through the series like mad.


  4. Alien Emperor Trevor

    August 25, 2014 at 14:55

    Meh. Dr Who CARES! #amirite!


    • Kervyn Cloete

      August 25, 2014 at 15:28

      Those are fighting words.


    • Sith JJ

      August 25, 2014 at 15:32

      You’ve come to the wrong neighbourhood.


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