Sunday, October 2, 2016

Aragon Vs. Anderson: Into the Dalek

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved. I don't mean liked. I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time. It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode. I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things. I mean give a bona-fide negative review. Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express). Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night.

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required. I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut. What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying. I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 32 of The Nerdist as Whore: Into the Dalek. My 'translations' are in red.


When is a Dalek not a Dalek?

When it's ajar?

When it’s the Doctor, perhaps? That might not be as exact a notion as the Doctor himself thinks, but it’s very much the central theme of this week’s Doctor Who episode, “Into the Dalek”. It’s all about, in the broadest possible terms, good and evil, and what makes someone one thing and not the other. It also plays with the idea of whether being a soldier is a detriment to a person as a person, if being trained to kill negates someone’s ability to exist in peacetime.

Something about this just doesn’t sit well with me.  I can’t quite place it, as if there’s a vague suggestion that those in the military, once they retire or leave the service, cannot quite function in society. 

There’s some really deep things going on here. Oh, and it’s a Fantastic Voyage pastiche,


Clara gets to slap the Doctor, and we meet Mr. Danny Pink. Quite an episode, and one I think was bloody brilliant.
SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

Apparently, it’s never too soon to be shocked.

Co-written by Steven Moffat and Phil Ford, who hadn’t written for the series since “The Waters of Mars,” but who show-ran The Sarah Jane Adventures, and directed again by feature filmmaker Ben Wheatley, “Into the Dalek” is a complete tonal shift from much of “Deep Breath.”

Deep Breath was intentionally silly. Into the Dalek unintentionally.

There was a lot of establishing that needed to be done in the series opener and as a result it had to also be a bit of a big rompy comedy piece. There’s really good stuff in it, but also a lot of not great stuff.

Time for another trip in the Way-Back Machine to…last week's Andersonian Doctor Who review.

“Overall, I think “Deep Breath” worked incredibly well for introducing a new Doctor, reestablishing his relationship with a companion, setting things up for the future, and giving us questions about what kind of a man the Twelfth Doctor really is. The dinosaur was unnecessary, really, but it did look cool, and ultimately the episode picked up when they got to the restaurant. Still, a really fine opening to a series.”

Now, even I, well-versed in Andersonian, am having a hard time translating these two separate reviews, divided by the span of a week.

For Deep Yawn, he said that minus the dinosaur, it was “a really fine opening to a series”. Now, a week later, he says Deep Yawn had “really good stuff in it, but also a lot of not great stuff” (emphasis mine).  Apart from a side critique of the dinosaur (and even that is couched with some praise: that ‘looking cool’ bit), I don’t know what he means by “a lot of not great stuff”.  He essentially made one criticism of it (the dinosaur) but apart from that, I cannot find where there is “a lot of not great stuff” that he criticized.  Now, he says that he found "a lot of not great stuff" in an episode where he was highly, ebulliently praising.  To my mind, there's a wild inconsistency in these disparate statements.

Let’s put our cards on the table: Anderson highly praised Deep Yawn with one caveat: the dinosaur.  ONE thing to criticize does not constitute “a lot of not great stuff”.  Seriously Kyle, you make your sycophancy so obvious.   

Here, however, we’ve gotten over most of the post-regenerative getting-used-to-people pleasantries and can get into some of what I hope Capaldi’s tenure will include more of.

Oh, Capaldi… he did go on a journey, didn’t he?

It’s been a long strange trip for us too.  Technically, he didn't go INTO Journey, but now I'm getting ahead of myself.

We begin with a ship being chased down and ultimately destroyed by a Dalek saucer. At the last second, the Doctor materializes the TARDIS around the only survivor of the massacre, a soldier named Journey Blue (Zawe Ashton),

whose brother died in the explosion and who immediately holds a gun on the Doctor and demands to be taken back to her main ship, . Being a badass (yes, the Twelfth Doctor

In 14th Form…

is a badass), the Doctor tells her to try again until she finally asks nicely and says please. Politeness as a form of badassery; I love it.

Love is strange.

Anyway, he takes her back to her ship, the Aristotle, where her commanding officer and uncle Morgan (Michael Smiley) says thank you, but that he can’t let the Doctor breach the security of the ship and get away with it and so must be killed. But oh wait! He’s a Doctor and the soldiers have a patient… it turns out to be a Dalek who screams that all Daleks must be destroyed. DUN DUN DUN!

Moffat has said that the cold opens for this series were some of the best in the show’s history, and I think this one definitely lends credence to that claim.
SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson thought
Moffat did a good job!

From an awesome space battle scene to the Doctor being cool, to a really fabulous twist with the Dalek.

Then we’re introduced to the new recurring character this year, Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), a new maths teacher at Coal Hill School, and someone who we’re immediately told is a lady killer,

In more ways than one I’m sure.

but who displays himself to be anything but when he meets Clara and has THREE opportunities to go out with her and blows them all. Luckily for him, our Ms. Oswald is quite persistent.

So, who is chasing whom in this pas de deux d’amour?

He’s also a soldier, who it’s very clear through his reaction to things that he has killed more than one person, and at least one who wasn’t a soldier.


He begins to cry in class about it as well. I think from these scenes we’re meant to glean that there’s a stereotype of bravado and playerness about soldiers but that Danny doesn’t display these qualities the way people expect him to. Very interested to see more of him.

Danny Pink isn’t like most ex-soldiers.  He has humanity.  To me, this is creeping into very dangerous waters…

And we come to the main thrust of the episode. The Doctor goes to get Clara and on their way back to the Aristotle he asks her a very serious question: is he a good man?

Ah, Kyle…WHY does the Doctor HAVE to go to get Clara?  Why couldn’t she just, I don’t know, have been there since the beginning?  I think Fury Road Red has the potential to be a better Companion than our dishwater-dull schoolmarm, which means she probably won’t get to travel on the TARDIS.  She might not even make it to the end of the episode if history is any indication.

That’s a very heavy question as well and Clara admits that she doesn’t know. That’ll have to wait because they’re going “into darkness,” though they didn’t Star Trek there so I don’t think it counts.

Aren’t we witty!

The problem of a “good” Dalek is an interesting one and the Doctor can’t resist wanting to go inside of it thanks to the military ship (which used to be a medical ship) having a shrinking chamber. That’s handy.

That’s a plot contrivance.

The Doctor and Clara are shrunk down along with Journey

and two other security officers (in case the Doctor is a spy) and they end up inside the Dalek’s metallic infrastructure.

Trouble starts when one of the officers (played by Game of Thrones‘ Ben Crompton) fires a cable line into the Dalek and its antibodies appear.

I don’t have an objection to Daleks having antibodies, but why does this make me wonder if in the future, these details will be rather pesky?

The Doctor seems like he’s helping when he gives the soldier a pill, but it’s actually just so he can track the man’s remains in the ship. They follow it down a shaft and end up in a pool of protein goo, made from liquified bodies of the Daleks’ victims. Gross. This is all in order to reach the Dalek’s “problem.” It has seen beauty, a star being born,

Wrong Star Being Born?

and it doesn’t want to destroy things that aren’t Daleks anymore. But the Doctor is distraught when it’s discovered that it’s just a radiation leak that caused the malfunction.

Isn’t that the way of the world: think you found a good Dalek, turns out it’s just a malfunction.

He fixes it, and the Dalek goes back to being a regular Dalek.

The Doctor seems almost relieved by this, because he was right. There’s no such thing as a good Dalek,

And there's no such thing as a bad boy.

but Clara slaps him and tells him there has to be a way of making the Dalek remember the beauty it once saw and made it change.

What a bossy broad Clara is, telling the Doctor what he should do!

The Doctor says they’ll need to get up to the memory banks to do this and the only way is for the other security person shoot cables and sacrifice herself to the antibodies (Holy crap, she ends up in “Heaven” also. Missy is a weeeeeeird character)

It’s at this point that I’m beginning to wonder how this security officer can end up in ‘Heaven’ considering what we know now, in the future, about ‘Heaven’.  Oh, why bother thinking on such things?

so that Clara and Journey can go up,


while the Doctor goes to talk to the Dalek and reason with it. All this while the Dalek ship begins to invade the Aristotle to kill the humans and retrieve its comrade.

Leave no Dalek behind.

Ultimately, the Doctor is able to show the Dalek his own mind and his own reverence for the beauty of the universe, but on top of that, the Dalek sees the Doctor’s own capacity for hate, and specifically the hatred of the Daleks.

Sounds familiar…

He said earlier that he used to just be the Doctor until he met them on Skaro, and then he knew the Doctor was not the Daleks; the opposite of them.

OK, so An Unearthly Child wasn’t all that good apart from the first episode, all that caveman thing, but still, I’m pretty sure he was The Doctor even back then before they landed on Skaro. 

But he’s heartbroken to learn that he has just the same amount of hate as a Dalek does, facing the other way.

Moral relativism to its rotten core.  It’s like saying ISIS and the U.S. Armed Forces are equal (and no doubt there are many who do think this).  The Daleks originated as Nazi allegory, so I doubt that when they were created that this moral equivalency was in vogue. Something about this just doesn’t sit right with me either.

The newly-Dalek-hating-Dalek then kills all his brethren and tells the ship to turn away. The Doctor said he thought he’d found a “Good Dalek,” but the Dalek replies that he, the Doctor, is a GOOD Dalek.

“You would make a good Dalek”.  Now, where have I heard that line before?  Let me think now.  Oh yes, Dalek, back in Season One.  Is it me, or are we now covering same thematic territory?  Anyone willing to wager that the fact we have essentially the same themes running all the way back from Season One will get a mention in this 'review'?

Clara, as always, says the right thing when the Doctor needs it. Not only the slap and making him see he was being an idiot,

Because nowadays the Companion is always smarter than The Doctor…

but at the end when she tells him she doesn’t know if he’s a good man but he tries to be and that makes all the difference.

That’s what separates him, an ancient world-destroying entity, from the Daleks, a race of world-destroying entities. Intent is everything.

Then again, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

And the Doctor turns Journey away from wanting to join the TARDIS, because she’s a soldier. Surely this will not be a good thing when he inevitably meets Danny.

Let’s use the Way-Back Machine to look over those who have either traveled in the TARDIS or worked alongside The Doctor.

Sara Kingdom, Able Seaman Ben Jackson, Jamie McCrimmon, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Captain Yates, Sergeant Benton, Liz Shaw and Jo Grant (working for UNIT), Harry Sullivan. 

Each of them was a soldier in some form or worked for a military-style agency.  If anything, Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart can be called the closest to being The Doctor’s best friend.  Yes, they butted heads repeatedly and The Doctor was quite unhappy with some of his decisions, but in The Daemons it was The Doctor who passionately defended The Brigadier when The Doctor’s Companion Jo Grant criticized him.

Serving in the military has never stopped anyone from serving as a Companion in the TARDIS, but now, all of a sudden, The Doctor has some sort of antipathy towards soldiers.  The mind simply boggles at how after nearly a half-century where a SOLDIER (The Brig) has ranked among the Greatest and Most Beloved Companions in Doctor Who history, we, the fanbase, are told that The Doctor now finds them unsuitable Companions. 
Why then did he not object to having Able Seaman Ben Jackson or Harry Sullivan aboard?  Maybe he likes sailors...or will that be a 'very special episode' of Doctor Who?
Again, we have another case of 'sure, I'll go along with it, even if it appears to contradict long-established Canon'. 

“Into the Dalek” has so many great ideas and themes to ponder that I’ve completely glossed over some very sparky and delightful dialogue from the main characters.
This IS the episode that I wanted it to be, and definitely feels like the Twelfth Doctor
In 14th Form...
hitting his stride, finding his “The Ark in Space.”
BLASPHEMER!  IDOLATOR!  FOR THIS KYLE ANDERSON SHALL DRINK BITTER WATERS!  Comparing Into the Dalek with The Ark in Space is unforgivable! 
I can only hope it continues in this vein. If “Deep Breath” was a 7, I think “Into the Dalek” has to be a 9 for me.
SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson gave a
Doctor Who episode a 9/10!
Next week, surely a big ol’ romp with the Mark Gatiss-penned “Robot of Sherwood,” a sci-fi pastiche of the Robin Hood story. Cannot wait!

So, The Doctor does not like soldiers as Companions, eh?  Well, whatever Moffat says...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Aragon vs. Anderson: Deep Breath

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved. I don't mean liked. I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time. It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode. I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things. I mean give a bona-fide negative review. Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express). Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night.

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required. I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut. What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying. I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 31 of The Nerdist as Whore: Deep Breath. My 'translations' are in red.

SPOILERS: This review/recap is exactly that. It talks about parts of the Doctor Who premiere episode in depth as well as rehashes some specific scenes. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, we urge you to do so before reading the following analysis.

You have been warned.
And we’re back.

…to suffer another year of gross disappointment, misery, bad stories, and nonsensical plots.  In short, it’s Doctor Who Season/Series 8!
Boy, it sure did feel like the time between “The Time of the Doctor” and now was especially lengthy, didn’t it?

Not long enough, Kyle.  Not long enough. No, it felt like it did last season, though in fairness I do have a life outside Doctor Who and don't measure time by the Time Lord.

Especially as we kept getting tantalizing news bites, casting reports, set pictures, and eventually interviews pertaining to Doctor Who Series 8. But, tonight, it all became real again. Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor,

…but the 14th Form, using Anderson’s own standards,

staggered out of the TARDIS and began what looks to be his manic and slightly dickish tenure as the lead of our favorite show. Not only that, but his companion Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman, had to come to terms with this new man,
...despite having ‘interacted’ with all the Doctor’s previous incarnations per The Name of The Doctor, thus making her amazingly stupid in her inability to comprehend the nature of regeneration despite having seen it again and again and again.  After all, she was the one who told the First Doctor which TARDIS to take (even if in The Doctor's Wife, the TARDIS said she chose him.  Then again, continuity isn't as important as that good old 'timey-wimey').

and it seems it’s going to be an ongoing drama.
and it seems it’s going to be one of the season-long story arcs.

“Deep Breath” had a lot to do, and the fact that it did that, plus added wackiness, cracking dialogue, and tense if not downright terrifying moments just solidified once again why this is my favorite show.

My, my, my...isn't YouTube getting stricter?

That, and the fact that he gets paid to promote whatever comes out of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ asses.  Somewhere, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead are all weeping now that they’ve discovered you’ve been untrue.  Does this man never SHRINK from shilling?

The episode, written by Steven Moffat and directed by Ben Wheatley, plays less like a feature film, as its length and screening in cinemas would have us believe, and more like a Christmas special, despite nothing having to do with Christmas going on.

Since in Doctor Who-Land, ALL Christmas specials have to actually involve Christmas settings, right down to have a town CALLED Christmas on another planet altogether, damn the logic. I'd like an answer Kyle as to WHY the Doctor Who Christmas Specials always HAVE to involve Christmas itself.  With the exception of The Runaway Bride, I can't think of a Christmas Special that didn't take place on or in one case, IN Christmas.  It is strange that Planet of the Dead didn't have bunnies leaping out of eggs, right?  After all, it was an Easter Special.
It’s Victorian London, which probably aids in that,

...because Christmas was first celebrated by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

and therefore allows for a few key things to happen: 1) some awesome costumes on both the heroes and antagonists,

Yes, when I think of Doctor Who, the costumes are among the first things I concentrate on.

and 2) it allows the Paternoster Gang to come back.

OH SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY: more same-sex bestiality and idiot Sontarans! The Lizard and Her Lover are back, ready to suck all the attention out from the Doctor, with the 'bonus' of the dimwitted Sontaran who would have been executed by his fellow Sontarans AGES ago!

This is integral to the working of this story.

Because THEY are the stars of Deep Breath, with Clara as supporting character and the Doctor as a guest star.

If the Doctor is going to be all weird and aloof and crisis-y for a good portion of the story, Clara’s going to need someone to talk to, and who better than Vastra, Jenny, and Strax?
A brick wall?  A mirror?  Imaginary friends? Her Granny? The GEICO gecko? Her long-suffering squeeze Danny Pink? 

Victorian London is in a tizzy (which is to say standing around and gasping) over the sudden appearance of a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex-looking thing in the Thames. Nobody knows how it got there,

because we've never seen an Invasion of the Dinosaurs on Doctor Who before.  We haven't even seen Dinosaurs on a Spaceship before!!

though Madam Vastra says she remembers those from when she was a little girl.

OH SNAP!  Not only is Vastra a lizard...she's also a cougar!

Suddenly, the dino coughs and out flies the TARDIS, landing on the ground nearby. The Twelfth Doctor
…but the 14th Form…

emerges ranting about dinosaurs and things and it becomes immensely clear that he doesn’t really remember anything, referring to Vastra, Jenny, and Strax in weird ways and then calls Clara “the not-me one,” and “the asking questions one.”

How nice of The Doctor to point out Clara's raison d'etre on Doctor Who.  Otherwise, we'd never know what a Companion is for.

He also thinks she’s Handles… so stuff’s going on with him. They eventually get him into a bedroom, where he rants about it being a bedroom, and Clara says for the first of many times that she doesn’t know who the Doctor is,

Again, given she's seen all the many forms of The Doctor, down to telling the First Doctor which TARDIS to take (even if that does contradict a previous episode where the TARDIS says 'she' selected The Doctor, but why quibble about continuity on Doctor Who), how can she get all huffy about not knowing who the Doctor is?  Clara doesn't know who the Doctor is...despite having interacted with all the Doctors, down to the hereto unknown "War Doctor", who doesn't count as 'The Doctor' because he didn't call himself "The Doctor" even if John Hurt was billed as "The Doctor".  Ugh... 

which Vastra gets very huffy about and decides they need to do the veil thing again.

What a be-atch!

I wish she'd do the veil thing permanently.  All these people who seriously fantasize about a woman having sex with a wonder the world's coming apart.
She forces Clara to “see through the veil,” accusing her of missing the younger-looking Doctor because she liked flirting with him, and says she’d have a better time flirting with a mountain range.

Well, in fairness to Vastra the majority of NuWhovians were more interested in how 'hot' the Doctor was, which is why pretty man David Tennant was followed by pretty boy Matt Smith.  It's not like any of them would ever fantasize about William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton as lovers, let alone Grandpa Capaldi.

This leads to Clara telling her off good and proper, which was my first favorite scene in the episode.

Two things.  First, Vastra IS correct in her assessment of Clara et Doctor. Many fangirls (and I imagine a few fanboys) did enjoy the pseudo-romantic aspects of their relationship. After all, didn't Clara's second debut have her come at the Doctor, lips a-flame in The Snowmen? A lot of NuWhovians were very disappointed when we got a Doctor old enough to be their Grandpa, preferring the hot and young Tennant and Smith types. 

Second, Anderson hit his Broken Clock Moment...this WAS a good moment, and I was cheering Clara on when she was browbeating the cold-blooded bitch.

The Doctor decides to go out and talk to the dinosaur only to see it burst into flames.

The Doctor is horrified and quickly joined by the others who begin asking questions that aren’t the right ones. The Doctor says the right question is “Are there any other murders like this?” Which is a weird question, except there HAVE been.

You mean other dinosaurs have burst into flames in Victorian London?  Maybe it's me, but since when is spontaneous combustion of an extinct creature considered 'murder'?

Some steampunky-robot people


are murdering folks, removing pieces of their anatomy, and burning the bodies to hide the evidence of removal.

Unaware that the dead can feel the pain of being burned, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

People are saying it’s spontaneous combustion.

Burn, Baby, Burn. 

When you spontaneously combust into flames, it kind of is spontaneous combustion.  If ONLY they knew that the dead can literally 'feel the Bern', but that is for another time.
Eventually, Clara and the Doctor reconvene at a restaurant that turns out to be a front for these clockwork people,

A concept which we haven't seen before...

and they take organs from organic life forms to try to upgrade themselves.

Another concept which we haven't seen before. 

The Doctor determines that the only way to fool the dumb repair droids is to not breathe (hence “Deep Breath”).

The Doctor abandons Clara at a certain point and she’s forced to outthink the droid, despite her tremendous fear. The Doctor returns, having disguised himself as a droid,

and talks long enough to allow Vastra, Jenny, and Strax to find their way down underground and help defend, which is easier said than done.

Nonsense.  This is Doctor Who!  ANYTHING can happen (logic be damned). 

The Doctor and the lead droid end up high above the city in a balloon-powered escape vessel,

and the Doctor knows that only the death of the lead droid will stop the others and so either the Doctor throws him out of the pod, or he throws himself out. Which actually happens, we don’t know.

This is supposed to indicate that long-hereto promised 'dark' Doctor, one who might commit murder for the greater good.  Of course, the ambiguity as to what exactly happened will never be answered.  However, in this case, since I really don't care one way or the other, I'll let it slide.

I’ve skipped quite a bit and haven’t yet talked about the denouement,

Really?  You seemed to be more exhaustive than me. Are you paid by the word or by the letter?

but I wanted to address certain things separately. Plus, I’m assuming everyone’s seen the episode, so from here out I’m really going to talk openly. Be prepared.

Title Sequence
Holy crap did I love this.
This sequence actually focuses on time and it swirling around, which I thought was gorgeous, and Murray Gold’s new, slightly whiny version of the theme tune is perfect for the more mysterious and less friendly version of the Doctor. Loved to bits.


Murray Gold's new, slightly whiny version of the theme tune goes perfectly with the old, very whiny NuWho fanbase. Tell me, when DON'T you love anything about Doctor Who?  Discernment isn't your strong suit, is it?

Vastra and Jenny
I love these characters, and I love that they’re unabashedly married in the 1800’s in England, despite them both being women and one of them is a lizard.
WHO married these two?  What civil servant would possibly agree to marry two women, let alone one who isn’t even human?  What minister/rabbi/witch doctor went along with this nonsense?  In an era where women were denied the vote and essentially were the property of their husbands or fathers, we really are going to believe that same-sex marriages were being performed?  Then there’s ‘the lizard thing’. EVEN if we could go along with Victorian same-sex weddings (despite the fact that no civilization or society prior to our own would recognize, let alone sanctify, such a union), are fans that vacuous to not possibly be creeped out by bestiality? That just is all kinds of wrong. 

Of course ANDERSON would love them. 

Come to think of it, this is what, the third time in two paragraphs the word 'love' has been used.  Here we go with another long-running series of 'love letters' to rubbish.
I liked Vastra’s point that in public they have to pretend Jenny is just the maid in order to fit in, and how she related that to the Doctor and his recent series of young faces.

Nothing against Christopher Eccleston, but I'd hardly refer to him as a 'young face'.  Further, if we look at it a certain way, Clara could relate only to the Matt Smith Doctor because that's when she came aboard.  IF we go by this idea that she related to all the Doctors (as she has throughout the entirety of the series as Day of the Doctor purports), she has encountered several Doctors who were much older looking.  As such, again, why would she get all huffy about the Doctor regenerating when she's seen so many versions?   

I do worry though that Moffat is slightly running the “they’re married” thing into the ground; not THAT they’re married, but just that they mentioned it a LOT in this episode and made sure they said kind of off-handed randy things to each other just to make sure people get it. “THIS IS A LESBIAN COUPLE EVERYONE!”

A case of 'he doth protest too much?'  Moffat has been accused of sexism, so is this HIS way of showing, 'I'm ALL for women...especially if they have sex with each other'?  What, think he trying to push an agenda?  PERISH THE THOUGHT.

Moffat mentions that a female lizard and a female woman are 'married' because he is using Doctor Who to promote same-sex marriage but is starting to go overboard with it where it's become quite boring.

As if anyone was still unclear. Also, I kinda think Vastra was unduly cruel to Clara at the beginning, but I’m glad Clara got to monologue at her as a rebuttal.

OK, on this Anderson and I are in agreement.  How's that for common ground?

I had worried Strax was getting TOO silly, but I think in this one he’s just the right amount of silly.

He still just flatly doesn’t understand things, but he at least knows Clara better now. Though I’m not sure why he constantly wanted her to get her clothes off. That was a bit weird.
It’s not that weird.  Anderson constantly wants Jenna Coleman to get her clothes off.  A case of transference?
Funny lines, though.

Oh, yes.  I'm sure Jack Benny is looking on with jealousy.

The Dinosaur
That dinosaur sure didn’t do a whole lot other than be a dinosaur, did it? It just sort of stayed in one place and roared at the Doctor before getting set on fire.

Kind of a waste of an interesting idea if you ask me, but it got the ball rolling in a new and different way.

Yes, the dinosaur was pointless and illogical on so many levels.  Yet, we needed to have SOMETHING to start Deep Yawn with, and this seems as good a thing as we can think of, right?  Do I denote a hint of criticism?  I AM shocked! 
Man, this show is a jerk to dinosaurs; two murdered in as many series.

The Droids
An interesting idea to have them be kind of reverse-Cybermen, constantly getting new organic parts to replace the ones that have gotten old. Also liked that they’re from the sister ship to the Madame du Pompadour from “The Girl in the Fireplace,” but the Doctor can’t remember it.

Post-regenerative confusion, so I figure don't have much to argue about it, apart from having the Clockwork Robots again. I wonder if that will ever play a part in a future episode, or if their search for "The Promised Land" will be tied in logically somehow.  I wonder...I wonder...wonder...
Hold Your Breath
Effing terrifying.

Where art thou, Vincent Price? No, let's do it again...

Seems like any old thing will scare Andy, won't it.

Clara was again amazing, as she has been almost her entire run on the show, certainly for the last three episodes.

Anderson has jerked off so many times to Jenna-Louise Coleman he's turned Doctor Who into his virtual PornHub.  Part of me wonders whether he asks his girlfriend to cosplay as Clara in any sex games for his own pleasure. 

We see a different side of her because she’s obviously much more on edge with this new Doctor and he brings out other parts of her personality, he pushes her buttons a lot more.

Wait, Clara has a personality?

She gets to shine in a few moments: the telling-off of Vastra which I’ve already spoken about,

Broken Clock.

the scene in the restaurant which I’ll talk about in a moment, and the fantastic scene where she is scared but effectively outthinks and out-talks the droid who doesn’t negotiate very well.

That’s Clara’s shining achievement if you ask me,

Apart from being the model for his blow-up doll...

and it’s made even better by the fact that as far as she knows she’s been abandoned entirely by the Doctor but still won’t give up the information.

The Doctor
Now we come to the biggie, a whole new Doctor complete with a whole new set of weird foibles and peccadilloes.

I thought Capaldi came out of the gate guns blazing.
SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked the new Doctor! 
 Shocked, I said!

He’s very strange and shouty and, a bit like a know-it-all kid, doesn’t care all that much if he hurts someone’s feelings or effectively leaves his friend to die.

I just cannot think of a previous Doctor that fits that description. (Pauses to think).  Nope...none come to mind.  I just cannot think of any time when we've had a Doctor who was 'very strange and shouty and, a bit like a know-it-all kid'.  It must be something so unique to this version of Doctor Who. 

Maybe the Doctor should try strangling his Companion and see if that jogs the memory.  Then again, I think we all know Anderson strangles something whenever Clara comes into the picture, but we digress. 

He does have really nice moments with Clara, too, though where he talks her up good and proper to the villains. The scene when the Doctor is talking nonsense to the vagrant in the alleyway is great. He does the usual New Face barking (especially his can-opening eyebrows that are independently cross) but this time he says he remembers this face but can’t quite place it and wonders why he’d chosen this face specifically.

Here, we're running into a bit of a quandary on a few fronts which Anderson, in his usual sycophancy, will not address or at most, paper over.  If we go by the dialogue, The Doctor 'chose' this particular face.  That being the case, why can't he choose any other part (that ginger hair he's always wanted)?  Regeneration, up till now, was always random, something beyond his control.  Now, female Time Lords a la Romana could manipulate some aspect of their regeneration (if we go by Destiny of the Daleks).  However, the Doctor himself could never control any aspect of his regeneration, let alone make conscious choices about what he would look like.

Maybe it has to do with the distinct nature of male Time Lords versus female Time Lords, but now, thanks to the transgender nature of Time Lords (or is it bigender? Gender identity has gotten so perplexing) it makes the regenerative process that much more muddled.  However, for the longest time it was understood Time Lords had no control, consciously or not, over their regeneration: what the next one would look like or what kind of personality he or she would have.

Now, all of a sudden, not only can he select a face, but he selects one from his memory, choosing to look like someone he can't quite remember.  Was it a conscious or unconscious decision? 

If unconscious, then why did he also 'unconsciously' select to look like Maxil, the Time Lord guard who 'killed' the Fifth Doctor in Arc of Infinity?  Before he blocked me on Twitter for mocking one of his tweets with a retweet of my own (with comments), I asked him about this, and his 'analytical mind' could not come up with anything apart from gibberish.  In short, Kyle Anderson, self-proclaimed 'analytical critic', could not answer why the Doctor unconsciously selected to regenerate to Maxil when he became the Sixth Doctor.

If however, he made a conscious decision to pick a particular face, we now have more problems.

The concept that the Doctor can 'choose' his face or any other part of his new regeneration flies in complete defiance of everything that has been established both in Classic and Revived Doctor Who.  NOW, in order to accommodate a particular actor and to placate a fanbase that needs EVERYTHING explained to them, we have to upend 50 years of continuity.

I think it is instructive to point out that having an actor play two distinct parts on Doctor Who has happened before, without the accompanying hysteria from fans surrounding that dual casting.  Peter Purves played two characters on Classic Doctor Who: the hick Southern tourist Morton Dill AND Companion Steven Taylor in two separate episodes of the same six-episode story The Chase.  If NuWho had been around back then, fans would have wanted an explanation as to why Dill and Taylor looked exactly alike.  They would have come up with their own wild and outlandish theories around it (Taylor's a TIME TRAVELLER!  Dill is Taylor's ancestor!  It's a Dalek Trap!)  

The most logical explanation (that Purves is an actor hired for one role, then asked to play another role in the same series) would not have entered their minds.  Yet in the 1960s, no one as far as I'm aware of ever even asked why two characters happened to look alike.  Perhaps they didn't even care, or just figured it was not reality.

Oh, Millennials.,,.   

Clearly, they’re going to tie in Capaldi with the person he played in “The Fires of Pompeii,” probably entirely ignoring how Capaldi also played a character in Torchwood, but no matter.

Oh BOY will they tie that in to Fires of Pompeii.  However, riddle me this: the Sixth Doctor looked EXACTLY like Commander Maxil in Arc of Infinity, yet no one ever bothered to ask how such things were possible (or really gave it all that much thought).  I did ask our beloved Functional Nerd, and he was if not dismissive unable to make a coherent argument via Twitter (before he blocked me for gently mocking him).  Yet I digress.

That was Torchwood, a whole other show which Whovians can ignore, but no matter.  As for whether they SHOULD tie in Capaldi's Doctor with Caecillius in The Fires of Pompeii (or whether it is done rationally/successfully) is another matter for another time. 

It’s also explained that the Doctor is Scottish now, actually Scottish apparently, and that explains his accent and his general grumpiness. Nice touch, coming from a Scottish actor and Scottish writer.

Yes. That's right, Kyle.  We've never had a Scottish-accented Doctor before.  Never.   No Scottish-type Doctors have ever crossed the Doctor Who threshold.  It's totally uniquely Moffat's idea, just like he created Sherlock Holmes out of his mind.

The Restaurant Scene
I’ll admit, as much as I liked a lot of the elements of the first half of the episode, the scene when Clara and the Doctor meet in the restaurant after both “figuring out” the puzzle in the paper, is where the episode really came to life for me and kept me invested for the rest of the run time. It’s just a brilliant and hilarious bit of writing and acting.

I love this scene to no end. Every line lands perfectly and the two characters have a good ol’ row about Clara’s apparent egomania.

As opposed to Moffat's blatant egomania?

They’re catty to each other in a way that only good friends can be and I let out a belly laugh a couple of times.

If it's anything, I too let out a few belly laughs while watching Deep Yawn myself.

Then it suddenly switches into serious “Oh crap it’s a trap” mode but they don’t lose their verbal edge toward each other.

It’s so important that this scene is here and goes on as long as it does.

The scene dragged, but we needed padding on this episode.

It establishes their relationship and gives them a buddy comedy to work through, and both actors really shine with this kind of dialogue.

The End Bits
After being gone awhile, and Clara maybe thinking she’ll be stranded with the Paternoster Gang (though in her heart knowing she won’t), the Doctor comes back and says he needs to make up for the wrongs he’s done.

Oh, how he wanted that damn Paternoster Gang spinoff and won't get it now!

He says he’s not Clara’s boyfriend;

Yep, because you know...Danny Pink...

she says she never thought he was,


to which he replies that he didn’t say it was her mistake. This is very weighty, you guys.

There will be no shipping The 14th Form of the Doctor and Clara Oswald, especially since Capaldi is old enough to be Coleman's father, maybe even GRANDFATHER, and while Anderson doesn't object to River Song/Alex Kingston being old enough to be The Eleventh Doctor/Matt Smith's mother, he does find older men/younger women hard to accept...unless it's Kyle Anderson shipped with Jenna Coleman.

The Doctors of the New Series, obviously without every expressing it, always did seem like they considered themselves the beau of their young and pretty companions.

I'm sure the fact that every female Companion (and Captain Jack) save Donna ended up falling in love with the Doctor had nothing to do with that impression whatsoever.

There was a jealousy when other guys were involved, even a bit between the Eleventh Doctor and Rory.

Which is odd given how a.) Amy tried to rape the Doctor, and b.) how often Amy went gaga over her 'son-in-law' and seemed to prefer him over her long-suffering wimp of a husband, Rory "Pond".  That's how wimpy he was: HE took HER surname and didn't object whenever anyone called him "Mr. Pond" despite his father's name being "Williams". 

This tells us that everything is going to change and he’s not going to be that guy anymore.


Clara says she can’t stay with the Doctor because she doesn’t recognize him.

A remarkable claim given how she has 'interacted' with all incarnations of The Doctor, even that hereto hidden "War Doctor"...which makes part of that "12th Doctor but 14th Form" logic of Anderson.  It's a contest as to who is dumber: Clara or Kyle.

She gets a phone call which she takes outside and *surprise* it’s the Eleventh Doctor, calling from Trenzalore right before he regenerates.

How...convenient.  How utterly convenient.  In the entirety of Doctor Who, have we EVER had a case where a past Doctor essentially steps on a new Doctor's debut story?  We've had images of past Companions in farewell stories, but past Doctors in their successor's debut story?

He says that Clara should stay with the new man because he’ll need her, then laments his face getting older and his hair going grey.

This cameo by Matt Smith is so many ways wrong.  So. Many. Ways.

This is, I think, as much for the audience’s benefit as for Clara’s.

REALLY? Do tell, Kyle.

The show, especially in America, really picked up momentum with the Eleventh Doctor and they wanted to make sure it was a nice sendoff and handover to Capaldi so people will accept him.

Americans continue to show how totally stupid they are.  Again, it's so sad, so utterly sad, that having had three regenerations already, a concept even NuWhovians should come to understand and accept, NuWhovians are having such a hard time adjusting to a cast change (which is an established part of the show) that they need a cameo from the last Doctor to essentially 'ease' them into accepting someone else.  Yes, Capaldi is the oldest person to take on the role (and comes after Smith, who is the youngest person to take on the role).  However, the whole sequence is illogical and frankly a little insulting to Capaldi.  Here he is, making his formal debut, and because the fanbase really is remarkably idiotic, and surprisingly ageist, we had to have the previous actor barge in to make it acceptable to THEM!

What Egoistical Morons!

Maybe unnecessary but at least handled in a classy way.

That last line doesn't deserve a Vincent Price Laugh.  It deserves a bitch-slap.
Clara finally “sees” the Doctor in Capaldi’s face and gives him a hug, though he’s not much of a hugger anymore. He definitely seems like a younger man in an older man’s body, the exact opposite of Smith. I like it.

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked it!

The Denouement
We get the first look at what I’m guessing will be this series’ throughline: Heaven.

Michelle Gomez, who we saw in production materials was playing a character called “The Gatekeeper to the Nethersphere,” makes her first appearance, claiming to be named Missy, welcoming the half-faced lead droid to his fabled Promised Land. She refers to the Doctor as her boyfriend, also. Intriguing. I’m interested to see where all this goes. Could it be River? Doubt it. Could it be the Rani? Eh, it’s possible. Could it be the Master now a woman? Seems unlikely.

Could it be the Master now a woman? Seems unlikely.

Could it be the Master now a woman? Seems unlikely.

Could it be the Master now a woman? Seems unlikely.

Could it be the Master now a woman? Seems unlikely.


The fact that "Missy" refers to The Doctor as her 'boyfriend' makes us wonder exactly, what, in the future, when we do get the ultimate (and not shocking but horribly predictable and infuriating) reveal to Missy's identity, what is up with this particular character's already bonkers mind.

Could it be someone else entirely? That’s what I’m guessing.

Guess Again, oh Analytical Critic.  It simply would have been too much to ask of Moffat that he come up with an original villain himself, to create a new character to battle with the Doctor.  Nope, it's better to go for the tried and true, even if this 'twist' that pretty much everyone had at least speculated if not actually called out makes a mockery of what we've already seen.

Kyle Anderson is to Steven Moffat what Sean Hannity is to Donald Trump.  Both pretend to be 'analytical critics' but both are so openly and shamelessly lackeys for their patrons their sycophancy would be embarrassing if it weren't so amusing to watch. 
There are lots other little bits and bobs I enjoyed about this episode,

And boobs too...

but this is already 2,000 words long and who has the time? Just go watch it again. Overall, I think “Deep Breath” worked incredibly well for introducing a new Doctor, reestablishing his relationship with a companion, setting things up for the future, and giving us questions about what kind of a man the Twelfth Doctor

In 14th Form...

really is. The dinosaur was unnecessary, really, but it did look cool, and ultimately the episode picked up when they got to the restaurant. Still, a really fine opening to a series.

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

Away we go!
Next week, an episode entitled “Into the Dalek” written by Moffat and Phil Ford and directed by Wheatley. See you then.