The TARDIS is back at the first moments of Deep Breath. It is spited out on the bank of River Thames by a dinosaur that is walking through Victorian London under the terrified eyes of its inhabitants. When the blue box’s doors finally open, the Twelfth Doctor emerges, confused and weak after his recent regeneration. And not only the Doctor is shaken by the recent events, Clara is too.
While he rambles in an almost manic pace, Clara tells the others that this strange man is in reality the Doctor. A new face for the same man.
The poor Doctor finally succumbs to his weakness and faints, but he is taken to Vastra’s mansion where Clara and the gang will try to take care of him. Since the Dinosaur is still out there and the Doctor assumes that is his mission to save him (or her, it is a lady dinosaur after all), so he makes an unexpected escapade through a window and rides through the streets of London. But the Doctor doesn’t arrive on time. Together with all the people gathered at the Thames banks, the Doctor watches from a rooftop as the Dinosaur burns and turns into ashes.
The mystery behind the Dinosaur’s death takes the Doctor and Clara to find out an ancient race of android-zombies-clock-work creatures that use living beings bodies parts to remain alive. With the Doctor and Clara still struggling to understand who is this new him, things obviously don’t run out smoothly, on the contrary, they will have to face great danger as they try to get used to the Doctor’s new way of doing things. Fortunately, they are not alone as the Paternoster Gang comes to help them.
The Doctor needs to rescue the inhabitants of the Victorian London of being killed by an ancient race of androids-zombies that work like clocks and use human parts to stay alive. The task proves to be quite complicated as the Doctor is still struggling to understand who he is, and so does Clara, still in shock with the radical change of her dearest friend. Fortunately, they are not alone and the help comes from Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax. And is Madame Vastra who gives the first push in Clara to make her realize that the Doctor maybe have a new face, but he still needs her help. The scene where Vastra faces an enraged Clara Oswald under the amazed gaze of Jenny it is capable to bring smiles to some faces.
The poor Doctor, after an unsuccessful attempt to save the Dinosaur, disappears in the streets of London, still confused and in pain. (I haven’t said nothing before, but of course you already knew the TARDIS was stuck in the dinosaur’s throat and had transported him (or her, according to the Doctor) to the Victorian London during their attempt to escape). “Have you seen this face before?” he asks to a beggar, completely disoriented. “It’s funny because I’m sure that I have,” he adds, concerned not only because he can’t understand why he had chosen to regenerate into someone familiar but also into someone older than his last self. And here there is room for some speculation. Since Capaldi had participated in a previous episode of Doctor Who (“The Fires of Pompeii” in series 4), will be the Doctor’s new face related to the roman merchant Caecilius played by Capaldi?
But this thought suddenly disappears as you watch Capaldi taking advantage of his very expressive eyebrows and his Scottish accent. “Look at the eyebrows! Those are attack eyebrows!” he says, furrowing his thick brows to a now very scared beggar. And then, he celebrates his accent, “I’m Scottish! It is good that I’m Scottish! I can complain about things!“
Clara and the Doctor meet again in an Italian restaurant, both convinced to do it by a note about the Impossible Girl in the paper. She is impeccably dressed in a Victorian frock, he stinks inside the beggar’s clothes. This is the first chance they have for a real conversation and when the Doctor smiles at her, Clara shows that, despite being there, she still is not prepared to face him. “No. Don’t… Don’t smile. I will smile first and then you’ll know that is safe to smile.“
The argument that happens next finally gives us the first glimpses of the kind of relationship Clara and this new Doctor will have, as well as the great and fabulous dynamic between the two actors that play them. Unlike the flirtatious Matt Smith’s Doctor, this new incarnation seems to embrace his two thousand years old showing a more serious and deeper aspect of his personality, but also revealing himself as someone much more unstable and darker. And this magically suits Capaldi and his “attack brows”.
From this moment until the end of Deep Breath, you will become more and more convinced that Capaldi is the right choice, either when he reappears to save a terrified Clara, or while he threatens the ‘half-face-chief-zombie-robot’ as they fly over London, or even in the final sequence, the most emotional moment of this episode.
After the battle had been won (and forgetting the question that remained in the air if it was a murder or a suicide), the Twelfth Doctor shows us that he too have a soft side, and for little a moment, you will remember his predecessors when he shows off his new suit for Clara’s approval. This Doctor also can smile gently and even his attack brows can be softer. And so, the TARDIS lands again and Clara jumps to answer a phone call. On the other side is a weak and hoarse voice, but still a very familiar one. Is the Eleventh, calling her from Trenzalore, just a moment before the regeneration that will make him change into his new self. There is a good reason for him to do that. The sweet Eleventh knows what lies ahead, when the two of them will be afraid of whom he have became, when the two of them will be apart by Clara’s doubts and by his own regrets. Then he makes to her his last and also his first request.
“I think you might be scared. But however scared you are, Clara, now that the man you are with right now… The man I hope you are with, believe me, he is more scared than anything you can imagine right now. Help him. He needs you.”
In Deep Breath, everything ends just as it should be, putting a smile on our faces and leaving a trail of unanswered questions for the next episodes. The Doctor himself is whom fix things between Clara and his new/old self as we watched them walking quietly through the streets of Glasgow in their quest for coffee. Of course he has yet many things to discover about himself and Clara still has to learn how to trust him again, but therein lies the Doctor’s duality, he is a freak and enthralling unsolved mystery.
|Peter Capaldi||The Doctor|
|Jenna Coleman||Clara Oswald|
|Neve McIntosh||Madame Vastra|
|Catrin Stewart||Jenny Flint|
|Peter Ferdinando||Half Face Man|
|Matt Smith||Eleventh Doctor|