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I’m Scottish! I can complain about things! a response to Doctor Who: Deep Breath

Hello, sweetie. Fair warning now:

I have made the (probably ill-advised) decision to blog my responses to the new series of Doctor Who. This will thrill about six of you and completely baffle every one else. One of my favourite bloggers, Megan at SortaCrunchy, used to do this with Once Upon A Time. Instead of writing a review, she used to blog her response to the show and speculate on theories. I love that kind of nonsensical conversation.

But of course my most beloved television show is the BBC’s flagship, Doctor Who. I’ve written before about my love affair with the show and so with the advent of a new Doctor, I’ve decided to simply geek it out, to let myself love what I love, and hey, it’s my blog so what the hell, eh?

If you’d like to read a review of the series premiere, Deep Breath, you can check out my favourites at The A.V. Club by Alasdair Wilkins or The Telegraph by Michael Hogan. A plot summary is here.

My weekly plan is just watch the show and then act like you’re sitting here on my couch with me so we can debrief the show and talk about our theories and generally geek out together.

Sound good? If not, come back tomorrow, it’ll all be over soon.

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I watched Deep Breath in the theatre. I live in a small city in western Canada and yet the theatre was packed and the cosplayers showed up. We had a perfect Tenth Doctor (it was truly uncanny – his hair was identical), a Weeping Angel, quite a few Amy Ponds, lots of Tom Baker scarves (I totally should have worn mine – what was I thinking?!), bow ties, the occasional fez, and plenty of TARDIS t-shirts. One poor girl sat with a gas mask on for the entire movie: “Are you my mummy” was replaced in my mind with “Aren’t you suffocating?” Every time someone new would walk into the theatre with any Doctor Who related outfit, the entire theatre would cheer. One guy in the theatre had his ring tone set to the voice of a Dalek screaming EXTERMINATE. When his phone rang, the entire theatre shrieked.

I love people.

I dragged my poor husband along. At one point he was all, “You know what would be awesome? if I yelled out “VOLEMORT!” right now!”

No, darling, no. Wrong show.

Bless.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

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image via Facebook

 

Take a deep breath (see what I did there?) – it’s time to discuss:

The New Doctor: Do we like him? I think I do but he terrifies me a bit but he’s also oddly hilarious. He’s a fury.  He’s reckless, a loose cannon, dark, and I honestly can’t figure him out.  I was so NOT sure for the first half but I think the part when he opens the door and considers it “door? boring, not me” and then opens the window with abandon and gleefully hollers “Me!” before flinging himself out of it was the moment when I thought, okay, this is going to be good. He had so many incredible lines in this episode – the writing was brilliant and fast-paced. But I confess I’m glad to see the end of the flirting with Clara. I think of the Eleventh with River Song and come on, no one can compete with River Song. So I was glad that he said it was a mistake to pretend he was her boyfriend and that he wasn’t a hugger. I’m glad for this – but I will admit, the thought of this new Doctor flirting with River Song is intriguing….. (Warning: huge River Song fangirl here.) That part at the end when he is begging Clara to just see him? All the feels.

His Face as a Message: At the end of the 50th anniversary special when The Curator appeared – and it was Tom Baker, the 4th Doctor – they implied that he could choose his face, that he might “revisit the old favourites” which was completely fascinating turn. So in this episode, they revisited that idea and flat-out said that his choice of face matters, that he chose this “frowning” face as a message to himself. What could that message be? Of course, it’s a reference to the Series 4 episode The Fires of Pompeii with Donna Noble. That episode stands out to me because it was one of the early times when Donna changed the Doctor’s mind, helping him to make the right decision by saving that man and his family. Is it connected as well to his speech about making mistakes and needing to fix them? Was that a mistake he was about to make but Donna showed him how to fix it? Maybe the face is a message to himself to remember that man and the day he saved himself from a terrible mistake. Also: just another geek note: Volcano Day in that episode was August 23, and I’m betting it’s no coincidence that this episode aired on, you guessed it, August 23, too. I did get a kick out of his speech about his eyebrows: these are attack eyebrows!

Clara: We saw a bit of a new side of Clara in this episode – one that was long overdue in my opinion. I will just go ahead and say it: I haven’t liked this companion much. She lacked a soul to me. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t exist outside of the Doctor? Part of the reason I loved each of the companions was for their back story – Rose with Jackie and Mickey, Donna and her GrandDad (I’ll need a moment to collect myself, hang on, oh, Wilfred Mott, you wonderful man, you), Amy Pond with Rory and even eventually Rory’s dad. It seems like Clara just doesn’t exist outside of the TARDIS. I cried buckets when most of the companions left the TARDIS but I don’t think I’ll do so with Clara, I just don’t feel connected to her. But her response to Madame Vastra, her anger, her ability to challenge the Half-Face Man even though she was terrified, her very real grief over her good-bye to the Eleventh *sob* on the phone, I think this is the first episode where I really felt like I saw her soul a bit. She seemed like a real person and not a foil. Best part for her? When she stood in front of the Half-Face Man and stood her ground, believing the Doctor would have her back even though that was the LONGEST PAUSE EVER between her saying that sentence and then waiting with her hand outstretched.

The Girl in the Fireplace Connections: That is one of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who. I have a select few one-off episodes that I use to trap people into loving this show and that is one of them (see also: Blink and Vincent and the Doctor). So the whole clockwork droids using spare human parts was definitely ringing a bell for me very early in the show. But then so many differences, too – why wasn’t Half-Face Man trying to get to Marie Antoinette like the other droids were trying to get to Madame de Pompadour since that was the ship name? I am baffled by this connection but can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Who is Missy?!: Who is this woman? Trouble. That’s what I think. TROUBLE. She is apparently a weird Mary Poppins of the Promised Land with a side of delusions and references to the Doctor as “her boyfriend”? I have a few thoughts here: first of all, she’s obviously the one who keeps throwing the Doctor and Clara together. They mentioned “the woman at the shop” who gave Clara the phone number she called back in “The Bells of St. John” which (re) connected her with the Doctor. But the other thing that kind of stuck out to me as the word play of her name. The Doctor made the speech that he was over 2,000 years old and he had made mistakes and it was time to do something about that. And then we go straight to a woman named “Missy” and she’s standing with the Half-Face Man. If you think the Doctor pushed him out of that weird skin-balloon thing, then his murder could be a “mistake”. Is this the place where all of the Doctor’s mistakes end up? I do think she’s brand new though – unlike my thoughts about Tasha Lem whom I still believe is connected to River Song somehow. I saw on Buzzfeed that the garden of “The Promised Land” or Paradise or Heaven where Missy sat with Half-Face Man is actually the same garden from the Series 6 episode The Girl Who Waited when Amy was trapped in a parallel timeline. So, there’s that to blow our minds or throw us off entirely. I read through a thread on one of my favourite Facebook fan pages Doctor Who and the TARDIS - someone there made the connection that it might be a version of Clara which leaves me ragged.

The Self-Deprecating Humour: I loved this. If you happened to catch the prequel with Strax vlogging on board a spaceship, you know what I mean. About the Third Doctor: “Part man, part Granny.” We absolutely howled with laughter over his descriptions of the 13, no 11, no 13 Doctors, each one more irreverent and mocking than the last. A show that’s 50 years old has to be able to laugh at itself sometimes, am I right? So many winks at the long-time fans – the joke about how he wants more round things on the wall, Clara’s response of “I don’t like it” to his redecorating, and how he didn’t want to be old. I like that the show is in on the jokes.

The Rose and Clara Connections Continue: Clara lives in the same council apartments as Rose. In the Snowman episode, she worked at a pub called The Rose and Crown. And now at the end of the episode, she casually talks about getting chips with the Doctor who responds that he hasn’t got any money, echoing Rose’s conversation with the Ninth Doctor at the episode The End of the World. Just saying…. I still think there’s a connection there….

EDITED TO ADD: Oh, my goodness, how I did I forget this part? Did the Doctor push the Half-Face Man out of the ballon to kill him? Or did the guy jump? Got to tell you, with this guy, I’m thinking – PUSHED.

Okay, your turn, Whovians. Take your spot on the couch and tell me all your theories and thoughts…. I can’t wait to read your comments.

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