There were many rumbles from fans after the Christmas Special was aired last year.
Many were getting tired of the “LOST” style puzzle that writer and show runner Steven Moffat was offering in each season and that Matt Smith, despite being wonderful in the role, was not getting the material he surely deserved. Having watched the show ever since Tom Baker regenerated into the dashing young Peter Davidson and loving what RTD had brought with the new WHO.….even I must admit that the last year or so has not seen the Doctor in his prime.
Even I get angry thinking back at the final episode that was written for Smith, as I agree with many that believe he didn’t get the send off that equalled what David Tennant had.
It seems having just watched the brand new episode of the new season “DEEP BREATH“, that not only gave us the first glimpse of Peter Capaldi in the lead role, but also it served us a taste that Moffat is determined to win back the critics. Make no mistake, I haven’t enjoyed an episode of Doctor Who like I have tonight for a very, very long time and it was not just the Capaldi factor that made it so enjoyable.
Moffat has clearly decided to reinvent the entire show, starting with an old style credits and a much slower pace. This was written more of a vibe of a Sherlock episode, where dialogue and plot was placed more important than space battles and outlandish special effects. It helped of course that the we had a feature length episode. Thanks to the extra running time, we had the brilliant scene of the new Doctor and his companion, meeting in a restaurant and just talking…….such a wonderful rare scene that hopefully bodes well for the rest of the season.
Make no mistake, Matt Smith’s tenure was frantic and such a non stop adventure that at times we did need to take a “deep breath”, but by slowing it all down, we seem to have a new mature vibe that fits the now much older man in charge of the TARDIS.
We did start with a frantic pace though. A T-Rex romping the streets of Victoria London before coughing up a battered looking TARDIS. The all new Doc emerges with the old welcome trait of a new guy totally confused by his regeneration and not yet knowing who he is and what he is about to become. The equally confused Clara follows, not sure if she likes this new man and with the added bonus of the returning characters of Strax, Jenny and Madame Vastra, a trio that are slowly becoming a brilliant addition to the WHO family.
Anyone hoping for a Jurassic Park style opener would have been in for a disappointment as the dinosaur played no part in the storyline. Instead we had a riff on an old storyline and one of the best ones of that….”The Girl In The Fireplace!”. While the new Doctor could not remember how he remembered these machines using human body parts, every fan was probably grinning from ear to ear and it begs the question if we may end up revisiting 18th Century France in the near future.
Moffat also cleverly played on another famous episode “BLINK” as these machines would not hurt or kill you, if you didn’t breath……….not far off the same ploy as “Whatever you do don’t blink!”
Despite some brilliant wry gags and knowing references that made us fans feel a warming glow, this was all about one thing and that was Peter Capaldi and his Doctor. The pressure must be so huge because he is the oldest actor too play the role since the days of William Hartnell and John Pertwee. With a heartthrob no longer in the lead role, it be interesting to see how the young modern fans take to this casting because lets be honest, Tennant himself brought in more female viewers because of his look and style. Clara herself seemed to be having the same thoughts and as the Doctor gave her a choice to go home or stay, I hope the young generation of viewers decide to stick around for the ride, because they may miss something special.
It takes a few episodes for any new Doctor to get into his stride but at first glance, the man who always wanted this role, has embraced it with style and an amazing on-screen presence. While he spent the most of his debut in a confused mess, it was brief moments that give us a glimpse of what is coming. His little remarks of past adventures and regenerations were very welcome, so was his dry wit at times, but there was a look of menace, with the help of those eyebrows, that showed this Doctor may be one of the darkest of all. One comment summed it all up……”I am not your Boyfriend!”…..which ends the new WHO obsession of female companion falling in love wMoffatith the Doctor………a welcome plot vice it has to be said!
The major talking point of DEEP BREATH though will be the stunning surprise cameo from non other than Matt Smith. Luckily I had no idea that this was coming and when he appeared on screen, I felt the tiny geek in me jump for joy. It also proved quite fitting that Matt was given another extra scene to say goodbye to Clara, after his sudden change in his last episode. The scene was a perfect torch passover moment, Smith’s Doc telling Clara to stay and help the new Doc…. it was not only Smith asking Clara, but it was like Moffat asking every fan too stick with the show as well. Even the moment when Capaldi’s Doc looked at Clara and cried out “Its me!”…… was heartfelt and made this episode so special and such a delight.
With Clara accepting too stay on and with Capaldi once more channelling the old by doing an Eccleston and offering her “Chips”, it seems by embracing its WHO roots has made the all new start a refreshing change.
Deep Breath was everything we hoped for and more and with the Daleks back in town next week and that tantalising end scene of that mystery Mary Poppins style woman…..Doctor Who is back…..and at the moment…..its back to its very best!