Welcome to the first of many Doctor Who series eight reviews! I plan to review each and every episode – but not on my own. I thought it would be more fun (for my readers and myself) to co-author the reviews with various Whovian bloggers.
Today, I’m talking about the first episode, “Deep Breath,” with my younger brother, known here as Quentin. He has a blog, but I don’t think he’d want me to share the link with you, because he uses his real name there. So. Without further ado, I’ll introduce Quentin and then move on to the post proper.
Meet Quentin! He’s kind of sarcastic. He’s a year younger than Engie. The two of them hardly ever agree about ANYTHING Doctor Who-related (except that Martha Jones is awesome), so let’s see if they can agree about anything today… and if they can make it through this discussion without exterminating each other.
Warning: Spoilers ahead, sweetie!
Engie: Hello there! As promised, today my brother and I are co-reviewing “Deep Breath,” the latest Doctor Who episode. Say hello, Quentin.
Engie: I’m the clever one, he’s the potato one.
Quentin: I’ll take that as a compliment.
Engie: Whatever. Anyway, I’ve never done this before, so bear with me here. Um. Let’s see, where should we start? How about TWELVE?
Quentin: How about… you should go first.
Engie: Fine. Um. Well. Is it too early in the series to say that I ALREADY LOVE HIM?! Not, like, in a snoggy way, though. That would be weird. But he’s sarcastic! And more serious! And SCOTTISH.
Quentin: His acting was good, although it’s too early to tell what this Doctor’s personality will be. He still seems to have many of Smith’s characteristics.
Engie: Honestly, I didn’t notice that. But maybe that’s because I’m still in that weird “this is not the Doctor!” phase. Like, I KNOW he’s the Doctor and I’m glad that we have a new one, but I’m always slightly befuddled whenever the Doctor gets a new face. I know it’s the same guy, but I can’t connect Eleven’s hyperactivity with this old guy’s face. If that makes any sense.
Quentin: You sound like Clara.
Engie: I do not want the Doctor as a boyfriend! And anyway, I would make a much more interesting protagonist than her. Let’s talk about Clara next, by the way.
Quentin: Now that she isn’t a plot device, there’s more room for her to grow as a character. Jenna Coleman’s acting was good in this episode, but then it is always is (despite what you say). The scene where Strax hit her in the face with the Times was very satisfying, though.
Engie: I KNOW, RIGHT?! No, but really. I do think Coleman is a good actress, when her character has interesting story arcs. Most of the time I think she’s a boring plot-device, but I feel like she actually stood up for herself and developed a personality and…. stuff.
Quentin: However, I didn’t like Vastra, Jenny, and Strax’s appearance in the episode so much. At this point they’re just in there for the occasional bit of slapstick humor and aren’t actually interesting.
Engie: I… do think I liked them better in “The Name of the Doctor.” Maybe. I’m not sure. But overall this episode was better. Anyway. I actually really, really like those three. They make me laugh, Vastra & Jenny are cute together
(and oh my god I have SUCH A CRUSH on both of them it’s so awkward), Strax is a total dork, et cetera. But mostly? I like Clara better whenever she’s with them. She’s not so boring. Yay for Victorian Clara!
Engie: You don’t have to sound so excited, you know.
Quentin: But what about the other characters? I thought that the return of the clockwork droids was interesting, great villains that haven’t appeared so many times that you get bored of them. Especially since it wasn’t immediately obvious that they were related to the droids from the SS Madame de Pompadour.
Engie: …usually I think that Steven Moffat recycles his good ideas too often, to the point where they’re not cool anymore, but honestly? I thought he did a nice job this time. Because you’re right – the droids haven’t appeared so many times. We’ve only seen them once before, during “The Girl in the Fireplace” waaaay back in series two, and I really liked the parallels between that episode and this new episode.
Quentin: They changed enough so that it’s not like watching the same episode over again; now the droids are trying to repair themselves instead of their ship.
Engie: Speaking of repairing themselves… THE SKIN BALLOON! EEEEEEW!
Quentin: OK, that part was stupid. What’s wrong with fabric, like a normal balloon? I thought the comparison with the Ship of Theseus was clever, though.
Engie: I… actually did not catch that reference. I might have been too busy being grossed out, though. And this is an abrupt change of subject, but: Do you have a favorite quote from the episode? I already know mine. This episode had loads of good quotes.
INSPECTOR: “It’s just laid an egg!”
VASTRA: “It dropped a blue box marked ‘Police’ out of its mouth. Your grasp of biology troubles me.”
Engie: I do love that quote. I’m going to say that every time you complain about dissecting things for biology this school year, since I’ve already taken that class. Ha ha. Anyway, my favorite quote from “Deep Breath” is:
VASTRA: “Hmm… spontaneous combustion…”
JENNY: “Is that like love at first sight?”
Quentin: Now, how about the new intro? I rather like the music; it’s sort of reminiscent of the older intros: a bit more electronic, less orchestral. The visuals are a nice change as well, finally something other than the time vortex.
Engie: OH MY GOD. That intro was perfect. I saw this fan-made intro, oh gosh, several months ago, and it was fantastic (as Nine would say). And then… the real intro used some of the same concepts and pretty art! Just look at the two intros together! The fan-made one comes first, FYI.
Quentin: That’s not surprising, considering the creator of the fan-made trailer was hired by the BBC as a “creative consultant.”
Engie: Seriously? That’s cool. And they should – that was much, much better than any of the other fan-made trailers I saw. I would be such a happy little nerd if someone hired me for that job based on something I did as just a fan.
Quentin: So now that we’ve covered the very beginning, how about the ending? Any speculation on who the character at the end is? We already know that she’s very likely a returning villain.
Engie: I’ve seen theories that Missy, that new lady, is the Rani. I’ll admit that I’m not entirely sure who the Rani is (I haven’t seen very much Classic Who, all right?) but I know that she’s a villain. I also read a really wild theory about how Missy is, like, helping the Master. Or something. Personally, while I think the Master is an interesting villain, we’ve seen enough of him for now. I want to see some different bad guy!
Quentin: Every time a new antagonist is introduced, people think they’re the Master, so I wouldn’t place much stock in those theories. Rani would be interesting, but probably too old and not significant enough to make a major reappearance.
Engie: I think Strax is the Master.
Quentin: That seems likely. As Wikipedia says, “Delgado’s portrayal of the Master was a suave, charming, and sociopathic individual, able to be polite and murderous at almost the same time.”
Engie: Please tell me you don’t use Wikipedia as a source for, like, real writing. Reports and stuff. Strax wouldn’t use Wikipedia in his field reports!
Quentin: So, any final comments? Personally, I liked that the episode was slower-paced than some of the recent ones, which gave it time to actually stop and explain, or to have dramatic moments instead of racing around to the next big thing.
Engie: Indeed. It was a really loooong episode, but if that story had been the length of a normal episode, there would’ve been no time for character development. And long funny scenes in which Twelve is VERY SCOTTISH. And stuff.
Quentin: In general, it was a decent episode. I don’t think it was the best first episode for a new Doctor, though.
Engie: Same here… and did we just actually agree on something Doctor Who-related?! I think we did!
Quentin: You agreed. I had no part in this strange process you call agreement.
Engie: Then prepare to die, human scum!
Engie: Aaaaaand on that note, I think we should end our little chat.
What’s YOUR opinion on “Deep Breath?” And did you like this new reviewing style? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for another “Deep Breath” analysis post later this week… I have a lot of thoughts about it, all right?