12 Spoiler-Free Thoughts on Deep Breath

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Guest contributor Paddy O’Meara offers some spoiler-free thoughts on the Series 8 premiere.

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The wait is almost over. Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor is heading ever nearer to our TV screens – and, at the time of writing, two lucky audiences have seen the first episode at the World Tour events in London and Cardiff.

What lies in store for the viewing public on August 23rd? We have heard the Doctor, in the series trailer, asking whether he is “a good man” – but is Capaldi a good Doctor? How does Deep Breath hold up? Fresh from my viewing on the big screen in Cardiff, I offer twelve spoiler-free thoughts on the Series 8 premiere.

  1. Much of what I expect from a regeneration episode was there – but “Deep Breath” doesn’t feel like a re-hash of what we have seen before. It is a different take on a familiar subject, rather than The Eleventh Hour Mark 2.
  2. The “blockbuster of the week” feel already seems to have gone. There is some excellent CGI and some great action sequences but overall the episode felt more like a character piece than an adrenaline-packed thrill ride.
  3. Capaldi’s Doctor is markedly different to Smith’s – complex, layered – and certainly darker, although there are lighter moments there too.
  4. Speaking of adding layers, Clara’s character seems to be much more developed in this episode – and Jenna Coleman puts in a fine performance.
  5. The Paternoster Gang are put to good use in this episode, particularly Vastra, who provides a much-needed alien perspective to Clara’s very human reactions.
  6. The monsters are very creepy – and I thought they were used well, while clearly the secondary plot the monsters and their plans do not feel rushed or overlooked.
  7. Clara is very much our audience surrogate, and a lot of her questions feel like reading the comments on sites like this… her answers are surprising, though, and leave me feeling optimistic about her character.
  8. Peter Capaldi is absolutely marvellous, and I can’t wait to see how his Doctor develops. This episode leaves us with many questions on that front.
  9. The Doctor feels like more of a mystery now. We rely on other characters to tell us how he might be feeling.
  10. I particularly enjoyed how Capaldi’s age and Scottishness were handled within the episode – acknowledged, addressed, but not made any more of than they should be.
  11. I could definitely feel the “darker” tone to this episode – particularly a potentially controversial scene towards the end, but it didn’t feel TOO dark. It does have Strax appearing, after all!
  12. I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, and from the crowd’s cheers and standing ovation I think it’ll go down well. Can’t wait to watch it again on the 23rd.

No spoilers in the comments please!

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