DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “Deep Breath” (Co-written With My Brother)

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.

Quentin: Hello.

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.

The-Doctor-Peter-Capaldi-and-the-Half-Face-Man-Peter-Ferdinando-in-DEEP-BREATHEngie: 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!

Quentin: Yay.

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.

deep breath1Engie: …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?


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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31 Responses to DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “Deep Breath” (Co-written With My Brother)

  1. orphu44 says:

    I obviously can’t offer any opinions on the episode itself, but I do like the joint reviewing! Although I am curious as to what ‘very Scottish’ means in this context.

    • nevillegirl says:

      He sounded very Scottish. 😛
      (And yay, I’m glad you like this new format!)
      (P.S. What episode are you on now? I can’t remember if you just finished “The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang” or if you’re already all the way to, like… “A Good Man Goes To War?”)

      • orphu44 says:

        I see. I’ll have to see what that’s like when I get there, since half the time I’m just taken aback by Scottish accents on television, since they don’t sound the way I’m used to.
        I was up to ‘A Good Man Goes To War.’ I’m watching ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ now, though (and being really easily distracted, evidently … oops).

    • nevillegirl says:

      So does Amy’s accent sound right?

      *squeals* Yay!

      • orphu44 says:

        No, hers was actually the first I was taken aback by. I was surprised when I first heard Amy as a companion because she didn’t even sound Scottish to me. (I mean, obviously she is, but it didn’t sound like my relatives’ accents, and that’s what I’m used to?) Although I suppose Amy’s would probably be more easily understood to a wider audience, which I can see as being an asset for television.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ah. Different in what way?

      • orphu44 says:

        I’m really bad at describing this kind of thing, but I feel like if Amy were to say ‘girl’ it would just sound like ‘girrl,’ maybe (admittedly, I can’t think of a specific instance in which she said ‘girl’), but in the accent I’m used to it would sound like ‘gedel’? I’d have to listen to the accents again, but I think I found a video that’s closer to my relatives’ accents, so *shrug*

    • nevillegirl says:

      Well, every time she talks about meeting the Doctor as a little girrrrl? xD

      OK, so for some reason I can’t find any clips from “Deep Breath” yet, so I can’t show you what the Twelfth Doctor sounds like, but Peter Capaldi’s not doing a different accent* so it should sound the same as Twelve-y:

      Does he sound more Scottish?
      IDK why I keep asking you about this, I guess because I’m not very good with accents? Like, I could tell you that Ten, Eleven, and Jenny all have different accents but I have no idea what those accents are. Just that Eleven’s sounds more posh. 😛

      *David Tennant is actually Scottish too, but he did a different accent as Ten for some reason…

      • orphu44 says:

        I’d say he sounds a bit more Scottish, I think.
        (I found a video of someone who has more of what I consider to be a Scottish accent, but it’s just some random stranger’s video, so if this linking to it is actually as weird as it feels, then you can just delete the link or something, I dunno: )
        I’m not good with accents, either – basically all I know is one specific brand of Scottish accent.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh dear. I couldn’t even understand most of what she said. O_o

  2. matttblack42 says:

    I loved this episode (although I do think The Eleventh Hour was a bit better) and I’ve already gotten used to Capaldi in the role, somehow. Clara, meanwhile, feels like a completely different character than she was back in season 7b. This new Clara’s more interesting, so I can’t complain, but it seems sloppy that they just turned her into a control freak/ego-maniac when before this she’s never really shown any signs of being one.

    I didn’t even pick up on the balloon made of skin, but that seems… really dark, for a family show. Which I’m okay with. I also love how it wasn’t clear whether the Doctor pushed the cyborg guy off the or if he committed suicide. (I like to think it was the former.)

    Perhaps Missy is… River Song! It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, but she seemed very River-y.

    • nevillegirl says:

      *nods* I’m not really even a fan of Eleven, but “The Eleventh Hour” /was/ slightly better as an introduction episode.
      I’ll probably get used to Capaldi pretty soon. 🙂 I certainly hope so, anyway – I definitely like him, but it feels weird to call him the Doctor.

      Yeah, I didn’t get THAT part. They’re portraying her as having had Eleven wrapped around her finger, when it’s always been… the other way around? I mean, I would be a little weirded out (and probably demand to know what was going on) if my friend suddenly changed their face and personality. I might not freak out as much about it as Clara did, but then eventually she got over it. Mostly. (Eeee, I loved that scene with Clara and Vastra and Jenny.)

      When I watched it in the theater everyone went “EEEEEEEW.” 😛
      I like to think it was the former too. But I like how it’s not clear… and I hope they leave it that way.

      Tbh, I think Moffat has issues with some of his female characters and has created several with River-y qualities. :/ River is (generally) cool (depending on the episode), but I want RIVER to be River, if that makes any sense. I don’t need multiple Rivers.

  3. Okay, this comment will be short. Because homework. I hope. 😛

    I have a theory that Missy is Steven Moffat’s newest “new” character, AKA Recycled Parts of River. And Strax… Strax. Personally, I LOVE Twelve. He reminds me of me. I mean, serious on the outside yet crazy on the inside yet a weirdo obsessed with geeky stuff and, most importantly, NOT A HUGGER. It’s sort of like watching me, except old and Scottish (sorry Capaldi, but it’s true).

    I LOVE the new intro. And although Nine’s/Ten’s will always be my favorite, because they were my first intros (they were similar enough), this one was definitely second. And MUCH better than Seasons 5-6. I mean, who designed that? The Time Vortex does NOT look like a storm. And yes. I agree. I’d LOVE to work with BBC as a “creative consultant.” ❤

    And I liked the Madame de Pompadour reference–I mean, sure, it definitely was NOT CLOSE to the best episode (Ten was AWFUL to everyone in it)–but I like the fact he's building off of old stuff. And I agree with your brother. It's NEW. Like, the Silence got old. Really fast. I wasn't even scared of them in TotD.

    Ack, that last part where you and your brother are like a daleks/a sontaran is really funny 😛 Loved it. You should write a book together. Or star in your own TV show. 😀

    Okay, so this is my really fast comment.

    (P.S.: Why Engie? Like N-G [for Nevillegirl spelled out? I’ve always wondered but never asked. Or maybe you explained it somewhere and I’m just inattentive. Either way. 😛 )

    – Sabri

    • nevillegirl says:

      I know, right? I really hope he isn’t simply recycling parts of River. I really hope Missy is, like, the Master or the Rani or some other Classic Who villain. Because then hopefully they won’t suck quite as much as a new Moffat character?

      Pffft, I think I would be more like… Eleven? I don’t even like much about Eleven, but he’s goofy and childlike on the outside and inside he’s pretty serious. And that’s me. (Also I am kind of a hugger. 😛 )

      I like Nine’s because of the music. Its intro-Time-Vortex-y-stuff was all right, but mostly I just love the music. Later on it got really weird and I didn’t like it so much.

      IKR?! Ten WAS horrible. But I liked the references to it in this newer episode.

      We’re such dorks. 😀 And we argue about DW a lot, so…

      Yep, Engie = NG = nevillegirl. 🙂

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  5. This was cool! I’m not here yet, but I HAD to read it. Well, I actually finally finished episode 3 last night. And then my dad and I watched one of the classic Whos: (I think it was Four? Whichever one has the growing scarf) The Ark in Space, Part 1. It was cool. There was a guy named Harry who was funny. 🙂 But the special effects were awful.
    And now I’m thinking about episode 3 and wishing Gwyneth was still alive, she was my favorite. 🙂

    • Sorry, couldn’t resist jumping in here. 😛 Four indeed has the scarf, unless I’m really really wrong. How was Classic Who? I’ve only seen part of an episode in which they spoke Russian (??) and the video was really pixelated.
      And it gets better after Gwyneth. Just wait till you get to Martha and Donna 😀 *is excited for you as a Whovian*

      • Thanks! Yeah, that’s who I thought had it. Classic Who is cool, other than really bad special effects. There was this one part where it was supposed to be an ark floating through space, and it looked like a toy hanging by a string in front of a space backdrop. Russian? That’s odd. My friend is all depressed about Donna, and I’m confused, so I can’t wait until I get there. Thanks!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ooh, yay, you’re having a discussion! *loves it when people have discussions in comments on her blog and she doesn’t always have to keep the discussion moving along*

      Also, I second what Sabrina said: Martha and Donna are awesome. They’re my two favorite companions! And Gwyneth never comes back, but there is a character called Gwen who’s actually played by the same actress, and she kicks some serious butt.

      And yeah, Four is the one with the scarf.
      Aaaaaand Classic Who’s special effects are AWFUL.

      • Hehe, yeah, it’s fun randomly jumping into people’s conversations, as long as they don’t mind. 🙂
        Yeah, I’ve heard good (and sad) things about Martha and Donna. Oooh, I can’t wait for Gwen to show up. I know, they’re terrible effects!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Of course I don’t mind. 🙂

      Gwen is also in the spin-off show called Torchwood, if you want to try that after you’ve finished New Who. 🙂

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  7. themagicviolinist says:

    This made me even more excited for our review! 🙂 Love the style, I wouldn’t change it one bit!

    I think Clara’s growing on me as a companion (*gasp*). Because she isn’t all googly-eyed and in love with the Doctor, she actually has a chance to develop a personality. I love when she gets all feisty, because she looks all tiny and delicate and then she goes and slaps the Doctor or something (probably my favorite part of “Into the Dalek”).

    I’m not sure what to think of the Doctor yet. I like him, obviously, but like with every new Doctor, you’re so attached to the previous one that you miss the things you’ll grow to love about the current one. That’s why I like rewatching episodes. 😉

    On another note, DANNY PINK! 😀 I’m SO excited for a new companion! I’m glad they’re using boys as well as girls. It gives it an interesting dynamic.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thank you! Well, there’ll be… seven more? of these for you to enjoy, before “Flatline.” 🙂

      Same here! It’s like completely different writers are writing her now. I love love loved the scene with Vastra and Clara in “Deep Breath” where they argue about whether Clara is being shallow, because I felt that was a big turning point for Clara. I wasn’t sure who to root for more because on one hand CLARA IS FEISTY NOW but on the other hand GOOD FOR YOU, VASTRA, FOR MAKING HER THAT WAY.
      (Also I just really liked all the “but he’s so DIFFERENT! and OLD!” stuff. There were a lot of parallels with that: Clara/Twelve, Jenny/Vastra, and the audience/Twelve. You now, how they were saying that it doesn’t matter if they’re really different and old now, they’re still the same person.)

      I like Twelve already, but I still feel like I haven’t really had my “this is definitely the Doctor!” moment yet. You know, when the new Doctor just feels right.
      …although I didn’t feel that way about Nine until “Dalek,” so…

      I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of a guy he is. 😀

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