So Peter Capaldi stepped into the role of the UK’s premium Sci Fi character on Saturday night. Spoilers follow!
The critics appear to be impressed (link), but for me and what appears to be a consensus of fans, it was a disappointing affair. ‘Deep Breath’ kicked off on a gargantuan scale by trampling through a Victorian Central London with a Tyranosaurus Rex; an almost cynical attempt to snatch the attention of the nation’s six year old boys. However, this wasn’t handled in a believeable way and left me wondering why instead of fleeing in terror, the crowds simply spectated their prehistoric visitor with patent Victorian astonishment. Most of the episode seemed to revolve around the somewhat over-pretty Clara Oswald as she spent her time mulling over whether she should dump the Doctor as he was too wrinkly. There were also returns for other characters. The annoying yet curious AILF (whom I inexplicably would) lizardy Madame Vastra, and the very welcomed, comical Sontaran butler, Strax, complete with his hilarious agenda to brutally conquer the galaxy (to boldly split the infinitive).
Capaldi himself gave us a fumbling and confused doctor, half way between a newly born deer calf and a befuddled escapee from a retirement home. There is clearly some space for him to develop his role in future episodes, but it felt frustrating that the Doctor’s usual air of cocky confidence was only half baked. Perhaps Capaldi is attempting to deliver us an antithesis to Malcolm Tucker but I guess we should suspend disbelief until we find out more. While ‘Deep Breath’ was a tad disappointing, it was a relief to get through it knowing that we should be business as usual for the rest of this season of Doctor Who.