Monday, September 1, 2014

Doctor Who Series 08 Ep 01 - Spoilers and Speculation

So the new Doctor officially enters the fray with his first episode, and I watch it to see what new wrinkles (pun intended) this Doctor will add to the canon.

Also, I'm eager to see where the plotline concerning lost Gallifrey where lead -- and to watch the acting chops of Capaldi in its full glory.

He does his manic Doctor quite well, but I'm more interested in the influences of the first Three Doctors on his character, plus the occasional Fifth & Seventh Doctor, rather than any riffs on the Fourth, Sixth, or the Tenth or Eleventh.


Episode 01 - "Deep Breath"

We certainly get a good measure of the manic side of The Doctor during this regeneration and recovery episode. We also get a lot of heavy-handed discussion about the apparent age of The Doctor and the reaction of his companion.

Of greater interest to me is the emergence of the supposedly darker side of The Doctor. Was the lead android pushed, or did it jump (the latter, I believe, for reasons I'll touch on in episode 02)?

I think it's good to see Clara's usually unflappable character unbalanced quite a bit. It allows for that "perky-optimism-as-defense-mechanism" vibe that we got in her first appearance. However, it's very distressing for her character to be dismissed right out of hand, given her important role in saving The Doctor's entire timeline in a past episode of a prior series.

Thematically, I suspect that the villainous creature in this episode being a throwback to a prior episode alludes to this series (and Doctor) being a reexamination of various Doctor Who tropes and elements, and digging at the core of them -- perhaps deconstructing them and reconstructing them for the modern age.

Missy is of interest, not only because she refers to The Doctor as her boyfriend, but also because she bears the same name as a minor character in a prior episode that also involved Cybermen. Some leaked production stills show her and The Doctor appearing together in front of some walking Cybermen, so perhaps there is a connection there?

I do like the sense of there being raw intelligence and untapped physical power in this incarnation of the Doctor (he physically overpowers the lead android, after all). It really lends itself to the feeling that The Doctor is always holding himself back.

Onwards to Episode 2!

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