August 26th, 2014

last unicorn

Some thoughts on Deep Breath

So, we went to see Deep Breath at the theatre last night -- a little silly, to pay money to watch a show that we could have seen online two days earlier for free, but it was awfully cool on the big screen.

I have some thoughts. They're a little disjointed still, so please bear with me!

[Spoiler (click to open)]

First, Peter Capaldi. He's going to be Just Fine. The bits where they let him get on with just being the doctor were my favourite bits of the episode. And I love that he's emphatically Scottish! The bit where everyone else sounds strange to him because their accent is English and Scottish sounds "natural" to him was really good, because that's exactly how accents work -- our own accents sound completely neutral to us, and everyone else's sound "marked". It reminds me of the guy I knew in university, who used to insist -- with absolute sincerity as far as I could tell -- that a central Canadian accent (read: a Toronto accent -- not coincidentally, where he was from!) was the only truly "neutral" English accent, and everyone else's English was a deviation from it. Ah, the egotism of undergraduate males. ANYWAY.

I think my favourite bit may have been the eyebrows. That was really funny. But I also really enjoyed the banter between the Doctor and Clara in the restaurant, and the whole "I hate being wrong in public" bit was very Doctor-ish, I thought.

I've heard they're going a bit "darker" with this Doctor. Depending on how they handle it, I am not opposed. As long as "dark" doesn't mean "gratuitous." Or "mopey." I think we've had quite enough moping, thank you. I'm still cautiously on board after this episode -- a bit more impatience and a bit less willingness to put up with foolishness is perfectly reasonable.

Where I thought the episode went off the rails a bit was in its attempts to reconcile the audience to the new doctor. I can handle Clara having some trouble getting used to this Doctor -- she's seen all his previous incarnations, but not this one, and it's fair for her to need to adjust. So I was okay with some of that material, although it seemed a little heavy-handed at times. But the whole "I'm not your boyfriend" thing, coupled with the Matt Smith appearance -- it just threw me out of the story.

The biggest problem with the Matt Smith thing, I think, was that we'd just spent an entire episode getting used to the new Doctor -- and suddenly they're throwing us back into the previous Doctor. It was distracting, and annoyed me more than it engaged me (this may just be me, though -- it did make fairplaythings a bit sniffly).

My theory is that there was a feeling that since so many new fans came on board with Matt Smith, especially American fans, they needed to help them through their first regeneration a bit -- but I really don't think it helped.

The other bit that irked me was the over-explained robots. Specifically, why on earth would the ship's transistors (or whatever those thingies were) have not only the ship's name, but "sister ship to the Madame de Pompadour" carved on them? That's silly. It smacked of not trusting the fans to make the connection. Because here's the thing -- even if we didn't make the connection, it wasn't essential to the story. It didn't ultimately matter that they were the same type of robots -- it could just as well have been an easter egg. Or the doctor could have just remembered and mentioned it in an offhand sort of way without hammering us on the head with it. Let us feel smart for figuring things out ourselves, once in a while!

So yeah. My review, summarized: trust the viewers a bit more. Stop looking back -- let's look forward instead, and let Peter Capaldi get on with being his own Doctor.

Oh, and who's that peculiar woman in the garden? Is she the one who gave Clara that phone number originally (I suppose it wasn't actually all that likely that the "girl in the shop" - now "woman in the shop" - was Rose, as much fun as that theory was)? And, more importantly, what are the Daleks up to now?