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The best place to start is probably with the most obvious question - What did I think of Capaldi?

Answer - I liked him.

His first full episode as The Doctor reminded me of other first episodes after a regeneration - a new Doctor filled with confusion, disbelief, humor, intelligence and nervous energy.

But also some flashes of anger.

For those who only started watching Doctor Who when the series restarted in 2005, it was similar to David Tennant's first appearance after the regeneration.
For viewers who have watched the older series, Capaldi's first appearance will seem a lot more familiar - reminding me of Tom Baker and Peter Davison.

The episode itself?

I suppose a T-Rex in Victorian London is a good place to start a new season.



But after the first couple of minutes, the episode seemed a bit flat for the next 20.

My problem wasn't with The Doctor though, it was with Clara. The Impossible Girl.
Her reaction to the new Doctor was off.
Clara has seen all the Doctors previous incarnations, so her reaction to his appearance seemed very out of character.
It felt more like a sly nod to any detractors of Capaldi's casting, but It could have been handled better in my opinion.
Once the episode moved on from this, it seemed to find its groove.



Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax were good additions to this episode.
Vastra was a calming influence on the procedures - her talk with Clara suspending most, (but not all), discussion on the new Doctors "old" exterior.
It was interesting that the writers made Clara seem like she was offended by being shallow - which was probably the writers giving one last metaphorical jab to the naysayers, before moving on.
Jenny brought her usual sweetness to the situation, and Strax stole every scene he was in. The humor he brings is always a welcome addition in my mind.




The Doctors conversation with the homeless man in the alley showed he seemed to be settling in to his new persona, and gave us glimpses of some darker character traits that would become more apparent later in the episode. But it also addressed something that fans have brought up - Peter Capaldi's previous appearance on Doctor Who in The Fires of Pompeii.

The Doctor saying "Why did I chose this face? Its like I'm trying to tell myself something. Like I'm trying to make a point. But what is so important that I can't just tell myself what I'm thinking?" is probably the first clue to this seasons bigger plot.

The scene between Clara and the Doctor in the restaurant is the first real signs of chemistry between the two, while also managing to convey some of Clara's negative feelings to the current situation.

We finally find out what this episodes baddie wants when The Doctor and Clara are taken to the cyborgs larder - spare parts.




The antagonists plot isn't particularly new but does give Jenna Coleman her best scene of the episode when she confronts the head cyborg.

After a bit of banter and some fisticuffs the Doctor discovers the cyborgs are part of the crew of the SS Marie Antoinette - sister ship of the Madame de Pompadour, which appeared in The Girl In The Fireplace - and the following scene may give us a glimpse of what this new Doctor will be like as the series progresses.



The Doctor's reaction to seeing his own reflection in the silver tray after giving a speech which included the line:

"You probably can't even remember where you got that face from!"

May be the second clue to this seasons bigger story arc


The decision not to show what happened to the head cyborg - did he jump or was he pushed? - may never be revealed.
And I'm OK with that for now. It makes the new Doctor a bit more ambiguous.
Which is highlighted with:

"I'm The Doctor. I've lived for more than 2000 years, and not all of them were good. I've made many mistakes, and its about time I did something about that."


The third clue to what may be the series overall arc concerns the advertisement in the newspaper.

Clara: Who put that advert in the paper?
Doctor: Who gave you my number? Long time ago, remember. You were given the number of a computer helpline and you ended up calling the Tardis. Who gave you that number?
Clara: The woman. The woman in the shop.
Doctor: Then there is a woman out there that is very keen that we stay together.

And then:



Almost ending the episode with a guest appearance from Matt Smith's Doctor talking to Clara was a much better choice to get her to accept the new Doctor than previous attempts during the episode.

The cyborg-killing-to-survive plot wasn't particularly engrossing, but the introduction of Missy and "Paradise/Heaven" does raise some interesting questions.




Overall -

As I said at the start, I liked Capaldi - he seemed to grow into the character as the episode progressed -, but I wasn't too impressed by the way the writers handled Clara's initial reaction.

Deep Breath felt a bit muddled to me - too busy trying to address concerns about casting an older Doctor, instead of fleshing out the episode and giving Capaldi space to highlight what he brings to the role.

I'd give the episode 7/10 and Capaldi 8/10


Line of the night:

Clara: You got the Tardis then?
Strax: Military tactics. The Doctor is still missing, but he will always come looking for his box. By bringing it here, he will be lured from the dangers of London to this place of safety....and we will melt him with acid!
Clara: OK..that last part?
Strax: And we will not melt him with acid....old habits...


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So what did you think of 'Deep Breath' and Peter Capaldi's first full episode as Doctor Who?
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