3 Overall Score
Acting: 4/10
Writing: 2/10
Rewatchability: 3/10

Towards the end, Capaldi had moments where he began to shine through as The Doctor.


Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 1
“Deep Breath”
Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman

Hello fellow friends and fans. It’s me again, absent from Florida Geek Scene for a while, but, much like that chunk of cholesterol that could kill you at any minute, still occupying that warm place in your heart. But with a new season of Doctor Who featuring a new Doctor, how could I stay away and deny all of you the worthless opinions that I occasionally spew into your desk or lap top typey porn-boxes?

Those who have read any of my past articles are well aware of 2 things: 1) I love, love, love Doctor Who, and am a long time, earnest fan of the series in all its incarnations. And 2) I despise Matt Smith and Steven Moffat with the burning, raging heat of 1,000 exploding TARDISES (TARDIS’? TARDIUM? TARDI?). Matt Smith’s Doctor was, by far, the worst of the lot for many reasons, most of which can be read in my previous articles. The real bane of the Doctor Whoniverse is absentminded and utterly lost show runner, Steven Moffat.

Mr. Moffat has no love or respect for the universe of the Doctor; even the stuff he himself helped to create, including most elements of this newest episode. Constantly contradicting his own edicts, without forethought or explanation, he bumbles his way from episode to episode, pretending or hoping that no one notices that he has no clue what he’s doing.

This is the part of my review of “Deep Breath” where I warn all readers that there are SPOILERS AHEAD, because unlike the heavy-handed helmsmen currently steering Doctor Who off course, I don’t want to ruin whatever surprises lie in wait for you.

Let me start by saying that I was very impressed with the decision to cast the always wonderful Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. He brings with him great acting chops, a love for the series (though I am a little put off every time he refers to the character as “Doctor Who” in interviews), and a gravitas that has been missing from the show. Though he starts out absurd, by the end of the episode, he has shown that he can play this dominant and strong Time Lord, with a truly alien quality of a figure that has lived long and seen far, far too much to remain a dewy-eyed optimist. However, the trip to get there is a long, boring, shitty one.

The story itself has us dropping in to Victorian London to meet back up with Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Drax, because Moffat has a boner for companions who don’t travel with The Doctor. A giant dinosaur is in the River Thames, and regurgitates up the TARDIS, as if foreshadowing how Moffat will proceed to barf out a weak storyline filled with irregularities based on previous works. The Doctor emerges from the big blue box quite bewildered, lost, and addle minded, just long enough to try and bang said dinosaur, before mercifully passing out. What follows is, to put it mildly, the most amazing feat of time manipulation I have ever witnessed in Doctor Who history. Somehow, Steven Moffat managed to slow time down to the point where it took me what seemed like hours to watch the next 30 minutes of the most horrendous drek it has been my misfortune to witness on the BBC. While in this sucking time vortex, the dino burned, the Doctor babbled, Drax looked at Clara’s boobs, and fun was had by exactly no one.

Things only began to pick up once Clara found a clue that leads her to a restaurant where she and The Doctor, who thinks Clara planted the clue for him, are randomly abducted by repair bots, because writing clever things is hard. Any fan who hasn’t suffered a serious head wound recently (likely the result of falling asleep and hitting the coffee table during the previous 30 minutes) knew exactly what was up, and who/what was behind the goings on at the crux of the story. The first real moment that things start to feel like an episode of a Sci-Fi adventure show was when The Doctor and Clara became separated, and The Doctor uncharacteristically ran away, leaving Clara to fend for herself with impending doom at her back.

After she was eventually caught, and had a nonsensical flashback to being a shitty teacher, she has a standard Q & A with the villain, a robot repairing other robots and a broken ship using people parts, a-la the David Tennant episode “The Girl In The Fireplace,” which was likewise written by the man who loves giving himself reacharounds, Steven Moffat. It will turn out that The Doctor does, in fact save the day, and explodes into being Doctorish at just the right moment, much to the relief of the not-in-actual-danger Clara. Oh, and because fuck the fans and everything they stand for, Clara also has an emergency beacon that makes Vastra, Jenny, and Drax pop in from what was apparently their Cirque du Soleil show that they were performing 6 feet above everyone’s head in a buried spaceship 5 stories below the streets of London.

From there, things just haphazardly happen in such a way that I can’t even sum them up in 10 seconds without boring you. But here it goes. Vastra, Drax, and Jenny fight, The Doctor escapes with the chief cyborg, figures out what he’s doing (though he can’t remember why this sounds familiar), then maybe throws him from the balloon, saving (?) everyone…except the viewers. Once that’s done, Clara goes back to the mansion to find The Doctor and the TARDIS are gone. He comes back. No one is shocked.

Returning to Clara’s present, The Doctor asks Clara to stay, at which point she says no, because she doesn’t know him anymore, and for the first time in this episode, the audience can empathize with a character onscreen. But just then, her phone rings, and it’s a call from Matt Smith, (crossing his own timeline, which would unmake the universe in a paradox that would rip space and time apart, except it won’t because no one knows what the fuck their doing and they feel like they still need to milk Matt Smith so the bottom doesn’t fall out of the commemorative bow-tie market), and he convinces her to stay with Mr. Capaldi’s Doctor.

The entire episode seemed like a bad parody of itself; like they aimed for, and fell short, of the Rowan Atkinson/Richard Grant/Hugh Grant/Jonathan Pryce/Joanna Lumley Comic Relief video. It was slow, mind-numbingly boring, and did very little to actually introduce us to the new Doctor, unless it did, in which case Moffat has gone and fucked things up royally again. There has not been a worse first episode for a new Doctor…ever. I am thoroughly disappointed in this, and I hope other Who fans are too. Is this what we get to expect for the foreseeable future? Capaldi did do an admirable job in the moments when he could really dig into the character, and there is clearly, clearly something there that shines through in him, but it’s an instance of the singer outdistancing the song, like the inverse of William Shatner singing Rocket Man. Sadness pervades. But, as The Doctor would remind us, hope ever springs eternal.




Mark Viola
Author: Mark Viola View all posts by
Mark Viola is a writer, stand-up comedian, and humorist, as well as a geek who was so busy analyzing the differences between Deadpool and Deathstroke, he didn't get any in high school. You can follow his silly exploits on his facebook page, www.facebook.com/MarkViolaComedy, or harass him with boisterous, mind-numbingly silly e-mails at MarkViolaComedy@gmail.com and Twitter @MarkViolaComedy.


  1. Chaz Lingaitis August 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Each time I bring up this Steven Moffat bullshit the answers I get from others is “it’s timey wimey stuff”. No, Steven Moffat hates you and your children.

    Great Read

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