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The Future of the Paternoster Gang

David Selby ponders where things could head next for the trio.

doctor-who-the-snowmen-christmas-pics-(4)

Series Eight, it seems, will see changes to most of the show’s status quo: the Doctor has lost his title as the Last of the Time Lords and has taken on a newer, more capricious incarnation, changing his dynamic with the companion; the Siege of Trenzalore is over and the Silence would appear to be a thing of the past, and even smaller changes, such as a redly-lit, bookshelf-filled TARDIS console room only represent the greater shifts in the show as a whole. Yet moving onto a new era, the show-runner has decided to keep the Paternoster Gang: a broad label referring to the characters of Madame Vastra, the ‘Great Detective’ of Victorian London, her human wife, Jenny Flint and their unconventional butler, Sontaran Commander Strax.

At present, there is abundant potential in the Paternoster Gang. Each character holds their own unique possibilities, though a charming aspect shared by all three is the notion of having a recurring setting which isn’t contemporary Earth; one of the advantages of time-travel fiction. During this article I will explore some more possibilities of the Paternoster Gang within the series and how they could be explored, linking in largely to literature and culture relevant to the Victorian era.

The Great Detective

“You realise Doctor Doyle is almost certainly basing his fantastical tales on your own exploits? With a few choice alterations, of course. I doubt the readers of The Strand magazine would accept that the Great Detective is, in reality a woman.”

Simeon’s quote holds even more relevance than it would first seem. It reflects ‘Victorian Values’, suggesting that even celebrated novelists adapt their fiction to suit social standards. Madame Vastra would never rise to fame; she’s a controversial figure in most senses, but is ‘used’ by the authorities because her talent far outweighs that of those which the authorities would rather laisse with.

It does, also, point towards the chance of having an episode featuring the historical figure of Arthur Conan Doyle. Considering so many fans encourage the idea of working Doctor Who into Sherlock, a more subtle approach could be taken with either Conan Doyle meeting the inspiration behind his fiction or it being revealed that Vastra and Doyle already have an established relationship. Due to the limitations of age, unless the Paternoster Gang were to move forward, a ‘Great Detective’ story would have to see the novelist in his earlier days, before he turned to spiritualism, allowing the narrative to foreshadow his darker days in the way that Vincent and the Doctor did too. Could you bring Conan Doyle to the future to show him the television adaptation of Sherlock? It would be risky…

Down the Rabbit Hole and Through the Looking-Glass

vastra-veil-deep-breathPenned largely as nonsensical children’s fiction, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and what Alice found there became popular with both children and adults, largely thanks to their strong themes of surrealism. This surrealism, contrasted with the harsh, gritty reality of life for those negatively affected by the Victorian period, provided much-needed escapism for many grown-up readers whilst children simply engaged with concepts such as anthropomorphic creatures.

Anthropomorphism could be (and has been) used in the show, not just with the clichéd concept of talking animals but also with other personified aspects of life, for instance the weather. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice accesses the fantasy world by falling down a rabbit hole. This fantasy world could be the Land of Fiction in the Whoniverse, opening doors to other ideas raised in this article (you could meet the Great Detective there). The Land of Fiction in the 1800s could be populated by famous figures of Victorian literature, on a landscape built upon juxtaposition.

I’m a massive fan of the use of mirror images, particularly in television (if under a suitable director). They communicate multiple perspectives of a single entity, or very often focus on self-perception. A psychologically-challenged character could be presented with a warped alternative of themselves or their world which they must come to terms with as they enter.

A secondary theme in Through the Looking-Glass is game-playing. Gaiman’s Nightmare in Silver already touched on the ‘competitive’ narrative structure by embedding a game of chess into the crisis at hand, but I’m convinced that an arguably more apt writer would be able to take on something similar with, say, a game of cards. Most of my suggestions in this article have been confined to the era at hand, but a one-off episode set in a Carrollean fantasy world could provide an alternative viewpoint of our central characters.

Hyde and Seek

vastra-fight-deep-breathRobert Louis Stevenson’s novella entitled The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde ventures into the life of Dr Jekyll, an increasingly shadowy character who develops a split personality (““If he be Mr. Hyde” he had thought, “I shall be Mr. Seek””).

A pivotal aspect in constructing a complex character is developing for them multiple identities depending on their situation and company. A two-sided villain is an engrossing one because often the audience can empathise with one side whilst abhorring the other. A likely motivation for a Victorian antagonist would be resentment at Victorian traditionalist values which promote repression. Repressed, the villain is forced to act alone, only truly knowing themselves – they conform to the social norm whilst in the public eye, but re-enact darker acts when out of the spotlight in an attempt to express their hitherto-concealed emotions. This would be significant for Vastra (or Jenny); a woman who has fought against suppression, acting true to herself even if it leads to her being shunned – so the Great Detective can understand, even relate to, the villain at hand.

It also brings forward the notions of identity which began to arise in the Victorian period; that people do have two sides, often a darker side, and that we only know ourselves (“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two”). As the shadier side grows more prominent, increasing in its animalistic urges, it begins to merge into and suffocate the light. Either this would lead to a dismal end, or either Vastra or Jenny would find a way to appeal to his/her now-repressed humanity. In a show like Doctor Who, it remains important to present human decency as the most powerful motivation of all, so I would not be against an ending that varies from the original bleak (but admittedly ingenious) resolution to Stevenson’s original.

Romanticism

jenny-pose-vastra-deep-breathWhen considering Victorian Literature genres, the first that comes to mind is Gothic Fiction; drawing from Romanticism, placing key focus on ‘edgier’ intense emotions. Already, The Crimson Horror touched lightly on body-horror, The Snowmen on grief (albeit with a romantic slant) and Deep Breath on a bit of both. Gothic storytelling sits safely behind unadulterated horror, providing a more pleasing and more quaintly unsettling idea of horror. Gothic/Romantic storytelling is no new genre for Doctor Who; The Talons of Weng-Chiang exhibited how a Victorian locale can provide an effective backdrop for a gritty mystery, utilising Gothic architecture in the dead of night. On the whole, Paternoster Gang stories feature at least delicate influences of Gothic storytelling, and when it comes to sophisticated period/genre writers like Gatiss, my faith in them is secure.

Culture

statue-deep-breathAt the heart of Victorian storytelling possibilities is the astonishing scope of culture which could be explored, from popular entertainment to bloodcurdling folklore. The key threat could come from, say, a medical breakthrough; medicine was central to humanity’s advancements around the time of the Paternoster Gang, and there’d be a strong sense of irony in death coming from an attempt to preserve life (disease, even without a medical subplot, also provides a believable threat in a historic setting). Colonialism could perhaps come from an alien authority; either the Silence, or creatures akin to them in concept, could be playing a greater role in human (industrial) evolution than we’d think possible.

Jack the Ripper is flippantly tackled in A Good Man Goes To War, but what if he wasn’t killed after all? It brings me back to the Jekyll/Hyde setup; the split-personality, where a trusted protagonist could be responsible for brutal killings. Of course, considering the nature of the Ripper’s motivations, crafting such a story should be a meticulous process. Spring-heeled Jack could be a safer bet, still linking into Victorian folklore but staying within the confines of family television.

The Victorian slums are an instant insight into harsh poverty. The Paternoster Gang (presumably) live a somewhat agreeable life in a fair-sized house with an Edenic garden (which echoes Vastra’s ‘organic’ origins). A case where they’re forced into an investigation into the slums could be an eye-opening experience for both the protagonist and the viewer (in a Doctor-lite setup, perhaps, putting Vastra and Jenny centre-stage).

One of the many reasons I enjoyed The Crimson Horror was because of Mrs Gillyflower; an antagonist with religious motivations. In terms of religious corruption, the Victorian Church sought to aid the rich and control the poor, using religion as a tool – just as Mrs Gillyflower did too. The Paternoster Gang work at their best, in my eyes, as victims of religious prejudice and xenophobia – and an alien threat can also be successful when posing as a deity to a gullible population.

Madame Vastra

“Perhaps this is the purpose of detective investigations, real and fictional — to transform sensation, horror and grief into a puzzle, and then to solve the puzzle, to make it go away. ‘The detective story,’ observed Raymond Chandler in 1949, ‘is a tragedy with a happy ending.’ A storybook detective starts by confronting us with a murder and ends by absolving us of it. He clears us of guilt. He relieves us of uncertainty. He removes us from the presence of death.” – Kate Summerscale, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

Doctor Who: Series 8: Episode 1Summerscale’s quote epitomises the poetic appeal of crime fiction. As a detective, Vastra puts a new light on the stylistic features of Doctor Who storytelling, in many cases either ‘neatening’ or posing the potential to neaten the narrative structure of the ‘investigation’ or ‘case’ at the heart of the story. From the mind of the detective herself, any writer is provided with the opportunity to adopt framing devices, such as those used in Scott Gray’s The Crystal Throne, wherein Vastra provided a narration concurrent with events. In Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles, a large part of the narrative is told through direct letters to Holmes from Watson, addressed ‘MY DEAR HOLMES’. Vastra, though romantically, occasionally addresses her wife as ‘Dear Jenny’. The parallels between the two may suggest that in an investigation in which Vastra and Jenny are inexorably separated, Vastra may write to Jenny, the dialogue of which reports would become the narrative voice of the episode.

As well as social outcasts (which I will discuss), the Paternoster Gang represent anachronistic figures in their era. Take their new sonic devices designed for Series Eight: they’re futuristic gadgets inspired by everyday Victorian paraphernalia, for example Vastra’s hat pin. On a greater scale, this could prefigure even greater changes if an alternate timeline were to occur: steampunk, thematically, is known for bringing a (often literally) darker edge to an alternate timeline setup, where in the future technology is heavier-influenced by the Industrial Revolution, creating a rougher, more dismal and polluted landscape (which is a call-back to my earlier points on a Looking-Glass reality).

Outcasts

jenna-vastra-crimsonIt’s not just their eccentric countenances (light-heartedly dismissed – ‘The Turkish Fellow’) which set the Paternoster Gang apart from Victorian society. Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint are lesbians, remarkably open members of LGTBQ (Lesbian / Gay / Transsexual / Bisexual / Questioning) in a time in which homosexuality was an illegal practise. In most cases, known homosexuals were ignored or tolerated rather than incarcerated, so long as they remained discreet with their preferences, behaviour and comments. Vastra and Jenny would be decidedly unusual and in most known cases denigrated couple. The series so far seems to imply that their relationship is condoned because of Vastra’s status as ‘the Great Detective’ (Scotland Yard is ‘in her debt’), even allowing them to be open about their relationship much to the irritation of those present. But what if their luck were to run out? If the streets were fully rid of crime, or a rival detective who conformed to standards were to materialise, they would soon become subjects of public contempt and could face severe consequences.

If there is any inconsistency at all in the duo, it would be that there appears to be some confusion about whether they are repressed or ‘open’ (to avoid a clichéd closet analogy). Vastra’s reputation as ‘the Veiled Detective’ would seem to imply that her whole life, including romances, remains behind closed doors, yet in most appearances she openly refers to Jenny as her wife. Some clarification about exactly how much the public know about Jenny and Vastra would be appreciated. Jenny mentions being ostracised by her family – I would surmise that having lost the support of the people who matter in her life, she no longer cares about her image to others. A scene with Jenny’s family in stories to come would not go amiss. Deep Breath has since provided some explanation.

A Matter of Loyalty

sontarans-time-of-the-doctorEach member of the Paternoster Gang could, in the right circumstances, face a heart-breaking personal dilemma over the two worlds which have defined them. I’d be interested to see Vastra, for instance, caught up in a war (in the future – TARDIS trip?) between humanity and the Silurians, where one of the two is acting with reprehensible antagonism towards the other. Vastra would either have to, depending on the chosen scenario, convince the Silurians of humanity’s virtues, cementing her dedication to her newly-found home, or turn against humanity and help her own people. Jenny would, in the case of the latter, either defy her wife – or, more likely, also turn against her own people to help the conceivably blameless homo reptilia. How much loyalty does Jenny have towards her own species? As a social outcast, this could be an engrossing question to explore.

A similar setup could be applied for Strax. There is very little new use for him other than (the admittedly hilarious) comedic moments, so to challenge the character, and arrival of the Sontarans would be the ultimate test of his loyalty and perhaps depict the brutal extent of Sontaran culture (I highly doubt Strax would receive the hero’s welcome).

There will unquestionably reach a stage where the Paternoster Gang will need to go in a new direction, and a trip in the TARDIS could provide that one-off setup which could eventually define the curious characters. Perhaps by this point their ending will come, as they go either their separate ways, or remain together as an unlikely family unit. Until then, I look forward to seeing how they and their era are explored in future episodes.

Nothing’s lost for good if you still remember it. Hang on to your memories, my darling. In the end they’re all we’ve got. Your people may be gone… but your family’s right here.” – Jenny Flint, The Crystal Throne

Step back in time...

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81 comments
Derpmeister
Derpmeister

BREAKING NEWS: Madame Vastra was seen going to Arthur Conan Doyle's house for a monthly checkup this morning.

AndyTeal
AndyTeal

I cannot fathom anyone taking these characters seriously enough to write an in-depth analysis of this kind.

Sugar in Olympia
Sugar in Olympia

I'm glad that Vestra was allowed to be portrayed in more than one dimension than just the cold, calculating detective and Jenny more than a pet, but as an equal in their personal relationship. With this fleshing out of their personalities, there is plenty of fuel for a story of their own.


Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

doctorwhotv.co.uk/series-8-sonic-devices-for-paternoster-gang-revealed-57049.htm

Copying a post I did on another thread, one restriction Moffat had was the Blue Peter competition, with 3 sonic devices to be shown in the series. I suspect the Paternosters won't appear much during the rest of the series, so this episode was Paternoster heavy. the medical scene for example used a Sonic Lorgnette

Arthur’s design was a Sonic Lorgnette – a pair of handheld eyeglasses -- for Commander Strax. It included an x-ray lens for seeing inside people and objects, a thermal lens for detecting people and a sonic light

_DWwhovian
_DWwhovian

I think that either jenny or vastra will die this series because of the way the first episode focused on their love for each other and how much jenny depended on vastra (the scene where the gang are holding their breath and vastra shares oxygen with jenny). Maybe Vastra will die and we will see jenny develop without Vastra. Who knows? But I think their relationship was focused on for a reason rather than just to fill scenes out..

Polyphase
Polyphase

I thought they were better in this than any other appearance. We actually got a bit more character background which to me adds a great deal to the fullness of the story. I could gone without the kissing as I think a martial arts expert could easily hold her breath.

"I never bother with sleeping. I just do standing-up cat naps."
"And when do you do that?"
"Generally, when everyone else is talking. I like to skip ahead to my bits." — The Doctor and Vastra

dancedj2k
dancedj2k

I am waiting very intensely for the gang to have their own spinoff.

As far as crossing Sherlock with Dr Who, it would be next to impossible. however, it does not mean we could not work something out.

We could have Benedict and Martin starring in Dr Who as Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne or any other number of writers in that time period.. It puts both of them in 1880's era and would fit in nice if the doctor were to need their help with something.

If you wanted to work Capaldi and Coleman, (or whoever will fill in for her after she leaves) you can have them play themselves in a Sherlock episode, or their characters in a Tv mystery who done it.

The possibilities are endless.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

After just watching Deep Breath again, what I'd actually like to see would be a Clara Strax spin-off, which would be hilarious! They'd have to wear labels so we can tell them apart though :-)

VictorWong1
VictorWong1

It's important to remember the primary purpose of the Paternosters: they help to illuminate and add to the Doctor's backstory.

We do not know the events that put Vastra and Strax under obligation to the Doctor, but we do know their effects: the Doctor's personality and behaviour impressed them so much that they consider themselves as the Doctor's friends and allies, no matter his personality or appearance. And because of this, they possess knowledge of his past that can be passed along to his traveling companions (and thus the audience) with the audience trusting that information.

That role has tremendous value to the writing crew, when it comes to shaping the current Doctor's characterization. We have characters who react from a different viewpoint to the companions; and they can also illuminate the relationship between the companions and the Doctor by challenging the companion's firsthand knowledge and conclusions.

Americanwhovian
Americanwhovian

I feel like the gang was just screaming for a spinoff after deep breath

bondbug1973
bondbug1973

I think they're great. Strax is just brilliant :-)

Greenbed4059
Greenbed4059

I've always loved the three of them and would actually enjoy seeing Jenny become a full time companion of The Doctor. She's not only fabulous to look at but is a perfect example of everything that is required as a companion - quick witted, useful in a fight and very easy on the eye.

It may require the death of Vastra in order for Jenny to leave home and travel in the TARDIS but that's a price I'm willing to pay to see more of Jenny Flint!

Apologies to Madame Vastra but I think I'm in love with your missus ;-)

Lord Styro the Drashig
Lord Styro the Drashig

If the Paternoster Gang get their own spinoff series, they better run into Jago & Litefoot at some point.


darklugia565
darklugia565

I would like The Paternoster Gang to return, but only if they're written well. In Deep Breath, they were all written as stereotypes.


Jenny and Vastra were the stereotype lesbians, who kept referring back to their relationship, and Strax was the typical big stupid guy.

I'm sorry but isn't Strax part of the same race that tricked the Doctor into letting them invade Gallifrey AND DIDN'T THEY ALMOST WIN? Not  even the Daleks accomplished this.


If the gang is to return, then let them be proper characters, with drama and emotions, instead of something to laugh at 24/7

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

Interesting article, but I just don't care for this trio, they bore me overall, and Strax can get irritating after a while. I just don't think their characterization and character exploration has been strong enough. I mean, compare them to Captain Jack and Sarah Jane, for instance. There is a reason why they got a series of their own and this trio hasn't.

Ollie232
Ollie232

i love some of these ideas...I feel like these guys deserve their own spin off show some time soon! there is a lot of potential with them.

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

Greay article.  Thanks!.  I disagree though that the decision has been made to keep the Paternoster gang.  They were used as transition elements for the Doctors regeneration like UNIT was between the 3rd and the 4th Doctor.  I thought their appearance worked well but I am hoping that the show now moves on and we see less of them.  New baddies and new friends please. 




12th Doctor
12th Doctor

A spin-off series. A SciFi/Mystery/Crime/Thriller series.

TottersLane
TottersLane

Yet another very interesting article on DWTV! Thanks for this and for the variety of possibilities discussed - you really were on a roll! I enjoy the appearances by the Paternoster Gang, and think that DB really gave them room to breathe (sic); however, the running time doesn't normally give them such opportunity and they need that to develop. 


I would like to see them in their own drama, either a one-off or perhaps their own series, even if just as a series of online shorts, though it may be difficult to pitch it right and get the viewing figures; as a CBBC series, various elements would have to be understated or subdued - would there be enough to sustain an older audience? Could they be more adventurous with a later timeslot?




NewWho2012
NewWho2012

I really don't see the hate for the characters. I quite like them myself, especially Strax, his humour is just brilliant, compared to most who think he's cringeworthy. The Paternoster Gang were something new and original to Doctor Who, which I thought the show was all about. Now all I hear is people complaining that the show isn't 'classic' enough which is an idea I'd rather not think about because I'd rather not completely revert to the 'dark ages' of the show, as good as some elements of classic incorporated into the new era is good, too much would be disastrous, including that new theme music *shudder*

troughton who?
troughton who?

It really did a good job, in my opinion, of fleshing out the gang. I've liked them but felt, up until now, they'd never really been given much characterisation. Particularly Vastra and Jenny's relationship - it's been mentioned, but not really shown. But in Deep Breath I genuinely felt like Vastra and Jenny were a couple. Perhaps the Strax comic relief could be turned down a notch, but it's not the problem everyone makes it out to be.

MrRazza, WANTED: A Lord of Thyme
MrRazza, WANTED: A Lord of Thyme

To be honest, my ideal future for the Paternoster gang would be an unpleasant end to them. I've tried to like them, I've waited from episode to episode they've appeared in to see if they'll redeem themselves - and besides Strax actually giving me a laugh in Deep Breath it simply hasn't happened. I find Strax and his ways still juxtapose horribly with many of the scenes, less bringing comedy and more bringing cringes. I've always seen potential in Jenny and Vastra, I think their personal lives have the opportunity to be delved into further, but besides the touching "oxygen exchange" in Deep Breath I've felt the lesbian jokes have been a bit forced and I was not at all keen on the objectification in the "I'm not actually painting you and oh good here's Clara to strip for me as well" scene. I would by no means object to the suggestions put forwards here, but for me the characters themselves would need to be addressed and redirected - as for me they all seem to serve one dimensional purposes and even so do it with some degree of mediocrity.

Some untimely demise for them could be an unfortunate consequence of the new darker Doctor's actions, something again to cast doubt on his nature and to make him more questioning of himself. Did he just not consider their safety? Was he even just using them? It would build on what seems to be a continuing theme and add on his development, or of course he could just return one day to find them killed, leaving him to do some of his own detective work, fuelled with anger at the death of his friends.

I will still continue to approach the Gang with an open mind in their future episodes, but I can't deny I honestly worry when I see they are to be in an episode. I can still see the possibility for their redemption, but it would require more than some new storylines (the ones suggested here are all great, by the way). I understand they are rather popular with the fandom nevertheless, so perhaps simply a spin off, where they can continue but be somewhat excluded more from the main show, is the best way to go (if not their deaths...). 

AnEarthlyChild
AnEarthlyChild

Great article David! On a rather unrelated note after watching Deep Breath again on iPlayer I noticed that that my local BBC Entertainment channel had cut out Jenny and Vastra's kiss! I guess censoring is much stricter here in Hong Kong where multiple cultures collide.


Zach Hessemer
Zach Hessemer

I personally have zero tolerance for the Paternoster Gang and they bring down an episode for me every time they appear. 

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

I love this article David, I really do - it's definitely one of my favourites. As an avid fan of Victorian literature (especially the work of Dickens), I agree that there's so much they can explore from this rich and gothic era. The Paternoster Gang have really gone up in my estimations since Deep Breath, and I really hope they return in other series and we can explore more sides with them. I also hope they explore the relationship between between them and Clara which was one of the highlights of the opener, I don't know about you but Clara and Jenny seemed to go perfectly with one another, and if Clara makes it through the series, it'd be good to see their friendship explored further.


Dameon
Dameon

I appreciate the article, but i'm afraid it does little to change my mind on the matter.

Personally, obscurity is the only place I would like these characters to go.

Their collective character traits are very limited, often relying on the same tired 'jokes' and inferences and most of their scenes make me either yawn or cringe.

 The only future story I could imagine would be enjoyable, would be the revelation that Strax has been playing dumb all along in order to get close to The Doctor and somehow be redeemed by the Sontaran empire. Upon their discovery of his true motives, Strax tortures and kills Vastra and Jenny. The Doctor would naturally thwart his plans, but the Sontarans would once again be a race to feared.

 Probably not popular but it's my honest opinion, for what it's worth.

adamwright1989
adamwright1989

Bring Torchwood back for a 5th season and put the Paternoster Gang in it as regular guests. Would be a nice Doctor Who bridge.

ChrisWalton1
ChrisWalton1

If this is their last appearance, then they certainly left on a high point - I don't know whether it was the extended running time or the shift in tone brought about through a new Doctor, but the development that Vastra, Jenny and Strax had was the best they've had so far - All the exchanges they had with Clara, the kiss scene, Strax's attempted self-sacrifice (which I practically missed), I could just feel that the characters were being given more room to breathe and I was happy for that

Ottoman14
Ottoman14

I really do want to like these characters, I truly do. But I am completely bored by them.


During the 1st part of Deep Breath, where the attention is on Clara and the Paternoster Gang, I was literally yawning. If any of these characters were a bit better developed, I might be more interested in them. Without the magnificent Peter Capaldi, Deep Breath would have truly sucked.

Rani Nose
Rani Nose

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this was the only appearance of the Paternoster Gang in S8.

More substantively, while I enjoy Strax his act is getting tired.  He needs to do more than just be comic relief.  He was incompetent beyond belief in the fight scene.  Does anyone think a Sontaran, even a disgraced Sontaran, would not have destroyed at least one droid with a gun at point blank range?   

On the plus side, we got to know Madame Vastra and Jenny better in Deep Breath and Catrin Stewart gave a really charismatic performance as Jenny.  That said, the way Vastra treated Jenny as a second-rate human rather than her partner was off-putting and gratuitous.  I don't know what Moffat was going for there (Was a scene deleted where Jenny stands up to Vastra?), but Vastra's dismissive attitude toward her wife added nothing to the story and the low point of the episode.

12th Doctor
12th Doctor

I love them and all the episodes featuring them.

supermoff is on the Orient Express...in space!
supermoff is on the Orient Express...in space!

@Ottoman14 I have to disagree. Although Capaldi was absolutely brilliant in every scene he was in, Deep Breath was strong in all its areas, especially the development of the antagonist and the amazing scenes with Clara who was the star of the show imo. 

MowTheFrontLawn
MowTheFrontLawn

@The Genie Jenny, because she's the least useful and expendable (sorry, but that's often how things are), and by the Whispermen in "The Name of the Doctor."  I thought she was actually killed off when she said, "I think I've been murdered."  It was shocking.  I felt a tad cheated when Jenny was literally brought back to life because a great death scene wasn't a death scene anymore.  Either a more expendable character should have been killed in her place, or the line should have been, "I think I'm being murdered," so it doesn't sound like a done deal while keeping the stakes high.

Dameon
Dameon

@The Genie Who? Strax.

Why? He develops a sense of self awareness.

How? Literally dies of shame.

The Finn
The Finn

@The Genie It might be interesting to see what would happen to Jenny and Strax without Mme Vastra.

 Notsosmartguy Will Kill the Moon
Notsosmartguy Will Kill the Moon

@The Genie hmmmm I guess Jenny it'd be interesting to see how Vastra and Strax would get along without the person who is basically there human anchor. As for how? I have no idea.

AndyTeal
AndyTeal

You mean because the characters are worth it or because people online love to write in-depth analyses of everything?

Ottoman14
Ottoman14

@supermoff  @Ottoman14 I agree that the development of the antagonist was great, but a lot of that was when he was in dialogue with the Doctor. Personally I wasn't too interested in what Clara had to say when she was talking to Half Face, but Capaldi's chat with him at the end was gold. & yeah, Coleman was good in it but I found myself bored whenever she had screen time alone (except the bit under the restaurant- that was cool!)

The Finn
The Finn

@The Genie @Rani Nose It was? Then what happened those special gizmos that were designed for series eight for the Paternoster Gang? I only noticed Strax's medical instrument in the episode.

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

@The Finn @The Genie Ah, there was a time when I wanted these 3 to be killed off. But now, I want them back. I guess one dying would be interesting to see how the other 2 deal with it. I think Jenny would be the one to kill off because it would be interesting for Vastra and Strax...