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24 August 2014 @ 07:59 pm
Doctor Who: Deep Breath (8x01)  
Because gothrockrulz asked what I thought about the episode and this turned into a longer reply that befits its own post rather than be in the comments section.

Overall: I thought it was "meh". It wasn't "Let's Kill Hitler" or the last 15 minutes of "The Day of the Doctor" levels of bad for me; nor did it knock my socks off like "Doomsday" or "The Doctor's Wife". The stuff it did right was VERY good; but mainly it was comprised of boring parts and things that I did not enjoy. I don't care about the Paternoster Gang (Vastra, Jenny, and Strax), so the first 45 minutes (in US time, with all the commercials) bored me. But once Clara and the Doctor were actually together and doing stuff, the episode picked up.

(Rhoda, I know you mentioned not being all that into Doctor Who since Matt Smith's departure. I'd let a couple weeks go by, and then maybe binge watch them because it's hard to gauge right now what kind of Doctor Peter Capaldi's going to be.)

[Major Spoilers for 8x01]
The Positive

--I'm glad they gave Clara stuff to do, because when she was on her own she proved to have a spine and be interesting and work outside of being the Doctor's Impossible Girl. I liked her calling out that half-robot, half-man (I'm gonna call him Two Face from now on) and standing up to him and using her mind. Sometimes being clever is just as important as being "hot" or witty or strong.

--I liked Clara and Twelve at the restaurant, and this is where the episode picked up for me. I was engaged with them and that's always important in a Doctor/companion relationship. I really think Capaldi and Coleman are the strongest pair of actors this show has had since the re-boot. I liked their banter; I liked that Clara wouldn't allow Twelve to steamroll over her. The creepiness set in when they tried to leave and the automatrons slowly surrounded them.

--I like the darker side of the Doctor they seem to be headed with Twelve. (He totally pushed Two Face out the window. I refuse to accept the alternative!) But. . .just because you say he's darker doesn't mean he will be if you don't back it up with evidence. I'm still on the fence with Twelve, but I like Peter Capaldi and how he "handles" the Doctor's serious tones. (I wasn't a fan of the beginning where he was stumbling around. It felt forced.)

It's a shame they've wasted "this is the Doctor's darkest moment" stuff on Eleven, though, if they intend Twelve to be darker than Eleven. We shall see.

--My favorite moment, and the one that really resonated with me, was when Clara stuck out her hand, knowing that if Twelve was the Doctor, he'd be right there for her. It's these "small" character moments that I like over the grandiose speeches and BIG! ideas and goofiness that Moffat sometimes relies on.

I also liked Clara after Twelve abandoned her. I like when characters push through their fear and press on. It tells me more about them than calling them a "control freak" or "egomaniac".

The Negative

--I can't believe how much time they spent on the "he's so ~old" conversations. On some level, I get that Moffat was probably addressing the fans. But come on, of all the people to complain about the Doctor being old, Clara should be the last one. She's been in the Doctor's timestream. She's seen older versions of him. She just met John Hurt's War Doctor, who isn't exactly a spring chick. And don't try and tell me that this is because of Clara's "crush" on Eleven. I have more on that below.

I'm also not here for Twelve's monologue on "I've seen this face before" and "where do these faces come from". I honestly don't care that Peter Capaldi's played two, different characters in the Whoverse. Colin Baker played a small role in Doctor Who before he became Six and it was never addressed. I've grown up on Law & Order, where they regularly recycle actors who go from criminals to a detective or an ADA. I DON'T CAAAAAAAARE!

--I can't figure out who I despise more in the Paternoster Gang: Strax or Vastra. Both are on my shit list. Strax isn't funny with his attempts to undress Clara. (It's creepy that Moffat keeps throwing in these moments where he wants Clara to be naked or the audience to view her naked. That kind of stuff doesn't belong in a children's program.) Vastra was really a snot to Clara. Boy, was it eye opening to see her treat Jenny, her goddamn wife, in such an appalling manner. Jenny deserves better. Everything with them felt like filler--and not even interesting filler. A lot of it was annoying and gross and sadly things that I've come to expect from a Moffat script.

--Clara and Eleven crushing on each other makes no damn sense and I'm resistant to the entire thing. For one, I never bought this overt flirtiness when you compare it to Eleven and River. I always got a "just friends" vibe off Clara and Eleven. Then again, I'm asexual so maybe I'm less inclined to notice subtle methods of flirting. Still! Given Eleven's actions towards Clara throughout Smith's farewell episode, I don't see how Eleven valued Clara in the same way Ten valued Rose.

But the biggest thing that makes me so resistant to it being a positive relationship, or a tragedy on Clara's part that she's lost her "crush", is the circumstances surrounding Eleven and Clara. Eleven's sole interest was figuring out why there were versions of Clara throughout time: A fact he deliberately kept secret from Clara. A fact that Clara never got the chance to confront Eleven about once she realized what he'd done.

Throw in Eleven's call to Clara after she's decided that she can't--won't--travel with Twelve, it's Clara once again losing her choice to make her own decisions. Which brings me full circle on how I hated that Clara, of all fucking people, threw a fit, and whined and moaned about the Doctor changing his face and getting old and grey and wrinkly. It made no sense and it felt like a cheap way to introduce conflict. (Much like the Ponds' divorce in Season 7's opener.)

Since I had issues with the largest components of the episode, this is why it's a major "meh" for me. Hopefully with Twelve's introductory episode out of the way, we can hit the ground running and see what kind of a man Twelve is. Whether he's a good man or a bad man, I want an interesting man. I believe Peter Capaldi can deliver.


Note: Since this is a post specifically about 8x01, let's just assume there will be spoilers in the comments and forgo those annoying spoiler tags. I can't stand how unformatted they are.
 
 
Current Mood: creative
 
 
 
rhoda_rants: elevenrhoda_rants on August 25th, 2014 02:49 am (UTC)
I'm actually caught up on this, because oddly if I'm feeling "Meh, not that interested," I'm sometimes inclined to keep up to see if I want to continue overall or not. (I kept GoT in a holding pattern earlier this year for similar reasons, and skipped several episodes altogether.)

I have Thoughts, many of which I'll probably get into in greater depth on my own journal, but I definitely agree with this:

[Spoiler (click to open)]
Which brings me full circle on how I hated that Clara, of all fucking people, threw a fit, and whined and moaned about the Doctor changing his face and getting old and grey and wrinkly. It made no sense and it felt like a cheap way to introduce conflict. (Much like the Ponds' divorce in Season 7's opener.)

This whole episode felt like a long apology (and maybe a subtle Take That at the fans, because y'know, Moffat does that), for making the Doctor all ~Old and ~Not Sexy. And then tossing in Matt Smith at the end to drive the point in further. I mean, sure, there's another plot going on (which was a clear call-back to "The Girl in the Fireplace," another Moffat episode, furthering my opinion that Moffat's ego has inflated to extinctional-level dangerous proportions), but it was mostly about . . . that.

Ties back to "The Eleventh Hour" in a really creepy way, since that one was so celebratory and energetic. Definitely not an apology for replacing David Tennant. Who, regardless of my personal preference for Matt Smith, had a much larger, more loyal, and longer-standing fanbase. So there's that.

I do ship Eleven/Clara, so I can't echo your frustration there, but I do hate the way it was handled here. It was both validating for us goofy Whouffle fangirls (Seeeee, they totally love each other!) and kind of hateful at the same time (Let's talk about how Peter Capaldi is old and gross and wrong-looking.)


Again, I have further thoughts, but that's a quick sum-up while it's fresh in my mind. Hang on, I need to re-icon. . . I don't have any Who-icons right now. . . ETA: Done!


Edited at 2014-08-25 02:52 am (UTC)
Erin: tv: Doctor Who - Eleven/Claraxerinmichellex on August 25th, 2014 01:58 pm (UTC)
Aww, young Matt Smith in your icon, before Doctor Who sucked the life from him. (To be fair, Tennant aged considerably during the run of DW, too.)

Knowing you loved Eleven, I thought maybe you'd want to let Twelve have a few episodes before you re-committed yourself, because it's hard to say from this one episode how Capaldi's going to play the Doctor.

which was a clear call-back to "The Girl in the Fireplace," another Moffat episode, furthering my opinion that Moffat's ego has inflated to extinctional-level dangerous proportions

LOL. I think this Tumblr post sums it up nicely. Honestly? I wasn't that bothered by the recycled plot because the focus should've been on the new Doctor and how he interacted with Clara.

Ties back to "The Eleventh Hour" in a really creepy way, since that one was so celebratory and energetic.

You know, again, I wasn't bothered by "The Eleventh Hour" being up-beat after losing Ten because I felt like 1) Ten had a good run and closed out his storyline and 2) Season 5 had a lot of housecleaning, with Moffat taking over RTD as showrunner and other behind-the-scenes people leaving. So I expected a different tone and I was--I truly, truly was--excited to see Moffat take the reins.

Which is to say that fans of the show know that the Doctor regenerates. We've been through 3 previous regenerations since the reboot. For fuck's sakes, we saw 3 different Doctors in the 50th. Moffat's worries that a vocal minority of the fanbase decrying that the Doctor is old or Not!Matt Smith and will flounce from the show shouldn't have made up a bulk of the plot. Because to the fans that don't care what the Doctor looks like, it was disappointing to see Clara so superficial. It felt, in a way, that the 4th Wall was being broken, and I ended up feeling bad for Capaldi that even his own companion is ragging on his wrinkles.

I do ship Eleven/Clara, so I can't echo your frustration there, but I do hate the way it was handled here.

See, I don't want to ostracize the fans of Whouffle, so I was careful to say that I wasn't buying it.

Another thing that makes the whole Eleven/Clara crush uncomfortable to me is that Moffat spent 3 seasons building up this epic love story with Eleven and River, that I expected them to be the ship to end all Eleven ships. I mean, he freaking closed out the Eleven/River thing in the season finale of 7: which was only 3 episodes ago. And yet, I'm supposed to believe that while River's hanging out in Computer Land, Eleven's carrying a flirtatious relationship with his new companion. AND, according to Twelve, Eleven is Clara's "boyfriend". Yeah. . .no.
rhoda_rants: elevenrhoda_rants on August 26th, 2014 12:07 am (UTC)
Knowing you loved Eleven, I thought maybe you'd want to let Twelve have a few episodes before you re-committed yourself, because it's hard to say from this one episode how Capaldi's going to play the Doctor.
Welllllll, it's honestly not really about Capaldi. It's not even about Eleven. It's about Moffat. With my favorite Doctor gone, I've officially given myself permission not to give a fuck. I only stuck it out through the Christmas special to see Matt's last episode. And you know I love Clara, but the dynamic she has with Eleven just wasn't the same as what he had with Amy and Rory. So I'm DONE, and will not suffer through any more winking, twee misogyny, at all. Capaldi might be a fine Doctor--this episode was okay overall, but the pacing was weird and hard to follow, and I personally had a hard time understanding all the dialogue. But no, that's not really the point. I might follow it now and again just to know what people are talking about, but as far as "committing" myself to the fandom--done. Until someone else takes over as showrunner.

You know, again, I wasn't bothered by "The Eleventh Hour" being up-beat after losing Ten because I felt like 1) Ten had a good run and closed out his storyline and 2) Season 5 had a lot of housecleaning, with Moffat taking over RTD as showrunner and other behind-the-scenes people leaving. So I expected a different tone and I was--I truly, truly was--excited to see Moffat take the reins.

OH no no--totally agreed, absolutely. That's not what I meant. "The Eleventh Hour' is how things should have gone, that sense of adventure and discovery as opposed to, "Ew, gross, everything's different, I don't like it!" The reason I brought it up is because, looking at the two openers side by side, knowing what I know about Moffat, it just makes me suspicious and really uncomfortable. The guy has long given the impression that his version of the Doctor is the only one that matters, so who cares what happened before he took over? Love this new guy IMMEDIATELY. And in Series 5, it worked. On this end though, it just feels more, of course you must love the guy I brought in, let's all mourn together over his loss, and moan about having to deal with this new one, and by the way you're all idiots and I think you're shallow and stupid.

/rant

Maybe I shouldn't make my own post. It's better if I just exit while I still have all my brain cells.
Erin: tv: Doctor Who - Eleven/Claraxerinmichellex on August 26th, 2014 03:09 am (UTC)
Oh, no, I'm partly to blame as I mis-read your comment and made a huge assumption. I didn't know you'd officially jumped off the Who train. Although, in retrospect, I should've after your GoT post. You're more the Eleven fan than I was, so I (wrongly) assumed you were still mourning that loss.

For some reason, as much as I despise Moffat and his era, I just cannot break from DW. I do like both Capaldi and Coleman, so they're partly why I'm hanging around. And sometimes, despite Moffat's meddling, it has a good episode.

I'll let you know when Moffat official steps away as showrunner.

and moan about having to deal with this new one, and by the way you're all idiots and I think you're shallow and stupid.

Like I told Gothie, the "he's so ~old" stuff reeked of Moffat trying to stoke the embers between Old Whovians and the New Whovians. Because a major dismissal that the Old guard has for the Newbies is that we only watch DW because of the "hot" Doctor(s). So I'm with you there.

I misinterpreted your "creepy" as in Moffat should've paid more respect to the Ten fans and not made "The Eleventh Hour" so joyful. Not that Moffat has shown himself to be capable of being respectful or humble. . . .

I'm sorry if I got you confused about my mistakes. I think I should have my brain cells looked at. :)
rhoda_rants: elevenrhoda_rants on August 26th, 2014 03:52 am (UTC)
Oh, no, I'm partly to blame as I mis-read your comment and made a huge assumption. I didn't know you'd officially jumped off the Who train.

It's cool--I hadn't exactly made that clear, but I've felt myself drifting away from it for a while. Moffat is a decent storyteller, but he only has like two stories in him, and some of the superfans have noticed. Also, this episode's portrayal of Vastra and Jenny convinced me that he just has NO IDEA how to write a balanced, healthy relationship. One of the involved parties is always a domineering jerk, and the other complains about it constantly but just sort of rolls with it, because they're Together and that's what it means to be in a relationship or something. "Compromise" does not mean "putting up with someone's bullshit all the time no matter what."

Actually, I might have more to say about this after all. I wasn't planning on analyzing the Ships that have sailed through this fandom so far, but the plotting is making it hard not to.
Erin: tv: Doctor Who - Eleven/Claraxerinmichellex on August 26th, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC)
Also, this episode's portrayal of Vastra and Jenny convinced me that he just has NO IDEA how to write a balanced, healthy relationship.

I've always been ambivalent towards Vastra because she's come off as trying to be profound and witty without actually being profound and witty. (She's Moffat's mouthpiece, basically.) But she was WAY over the top in her actions in "Deep Breath". I was horrified, and then sad because even if Jenny loves Vastra, that's not what love looks like. God damn it, Moffat.

And you're perfectly right in pointing out another one of Moffat's repetitive tools re: his relationships. Jeez, I feel sorry for his wife. (Moffat won last night at the Emmy's for Sherlock and they showed his wife and I was like, "Why are you with that guy?")
gothrockrulz: morticiagothrockrulz on August 25th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
I'm excited to see what Capaldi has in store as well! You've got a good point about the Doctor's darkest moment already being used.

I really, really hated the fuss kicked up about the Doctor being older. There's more than enough fuss in the fandom, without bringing it into the show itself and basically smacking everybody who's not sold on Capaldi. I am sold (I decided he's my favorite early on, and was reassured after he decided he doesn't like hugs), but that doesn't mean I think it's cool to bash all the fans sorry to see Smith go.

I'm not sure what I feel about the whole crush thing with Eleven and Clara. I'm also (mostly) asexual and dense with flirting, but it came off to me that they were really flirty at first, and then the rest of the time it was a toss-up between flirting one moment and just being pals the next. Confusing.

Vastra was really a snot to Clara. Boy, was it eye opening to see her treat Jenny, her goddamn wife, in such an appalling manner. Jenny deserves better.

That was one of my biggest problems with the episode. I want to like Vastra, but when she demeans both Clara and her own wife, it irks me a lot. (I found it ironic that the friends I was watching it with were just bothered by the lesbian thing in general.)

Also, I have no idea what is going on with this weird parasol lady at the end.
Erin: tv: Doctor Who - Eleven/Claraxerinmichellex on August 25th, 2014 01:35 pm (UTC)
I really, really hated the fuss kicked up about the Doctor being older.

Rhoda brought up a good point that the whole "he's so ~old" thing sounds like Moffat taking the piss out of the "fangirls" who thought Ten and Eleven were dreamy, and might jump ship because of an older Doctor. A lot of the Old Whovians call the "Newvians" (that's the fans who started watching after the reboot) fangirls and think we only like Doctor Who because of the "hot" guys. So it felt very much like Moffat was trying to stoke those fires with Clara, a considerably younger girl, acting like it was a travesty that the Doctor was grey and wrinkly. Which, give the fans more credit, Moffat.

And honestly, for Clara's entire fit to be about how old Twelve looks is so superficial. How about make her angry that he ran off without her or abandoned in her the bowels of the ship? No, it's about how old and grey and wrinkly he is. Blech.

Also, I have no idea what is going on with this weird parasol lady at the end.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
The popular theory I've seen is that she's the Master in a female regeneration. "Missy" = Mistress, which is the female version of "Master".


Whoever she is, I'm not really excited about another mysterious, possibly evil lady being in ~love with the Doctor. Find a new schtick, Moffat.
gothrockrulz: karen gillangothrockrulz on August 26th, 2014 02:42 am (UTC)
Which, give the fans more credit, Moffat.

Exactly. And if anybody does miss Eleven enough to take a break, no big deal, really.

How about make her angry that he ran off without her or abandoned in her the bowels of the ship?

Yes! Absolutely. His taking a chance that the machine men would actually listen to her being clever, instead of just killing her right away, was much more disturbing. And frankly, didn't feel like him at all. Or at least, the Doctor as we are used to him. Perhaps (no, make that very likely) that was a demonstration, in conjunction with him aiding/forcing a suicide, to show that Twelve Will Be Dark.

I like this popular theory. One of my friends thought she was a regenerated Riversong, but I would have none of that.

Whoever she is, I'm not really excited about another mysterious, possibly evil lady being in ~love with the Doctor.

Yeah, that got old LONG ago. Isn't an eternal rivalry dramatic enough? Oh, wait, I forgot, one party is female, so it HAS to have a romantic/sexual edge.
Erin: tv: Doctor Who - Eleven/Claraxerinmichellex on August 26th, 2014 03:13 am (UTC)
His taking a chance that the machine men would actually listen to her being clever, instead of just killing her right away, was much more disturbing.

I mentioned loving Clara's moment where she sticks her hand out for Twelve to grab because she believes in him; but then I also hated it when you realized he was there the entire time and just used Clara to gather information. On the one hand, you could say that Twelve believes enough in Clara that she'd be clever and talk her way out of danger. But like you pointed out, it wasn't a guarantee Two Face would listen.

Oh, god, I hope they're done with River Song. I love Alex Kingston, but she deserves so much better than what River turned into.
gothrockrulz: morticiagothrockrulz on August 27th, 2014 01:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, god, I hope they're done with River Song. I love Alex Kingston, but she deserves so much better than what River turned into.

Yeah, I don't want Riversong without Alex Kingston, period. Since this parasol lady has a decidedly evil aura around her, I"m going to assume she's not River.