S08xE01 “Deep Breath”

On Saturday, Whovians everywhere (including my own living room) sat in from of the telly to watch Peter Capaldi begin his run as the Doctor on the longest running sci fi show in all of humankind (Chris Hardwick’s words, not mine). The episode after regeneration is always a bit rough, as we are all getting to know this Doctor as not just a renewed version of the Timelord, but also a special incarnation with unique characteristics all his own. It has taken me a few days to mull over what I wanted to do with this series in terms of writing. I don’t particularly want to pen recaps each week, instead I will touch on a few really interesting points and look at the overarching continuity of Doctor Who. Yes, friends, I’m going meta. (Spoilers ahead!)

The Clockwork Droids

Twelve and the Paternoster Gang made a slew of past Doctor references, some of which I got and some of which I missed. Let’s start with the most obvious, the clockwork aliens who use living parts to work themselves and their spaceship. In series 2, the Tenth Doctor, Rose and Mickey Smith met Madame de Pompadour in “The Girl in the Fireplace” and the clockwork droids attempting to harvest her brain to pilot their space ship, The SS Madame de Pompadour. We find out that the ship posing as a restaurant is none other than the Marie Antoinette, the sister ship to the Pompadour, which, although viewers may recognize the connection, the Doctor does not. In “Deep Breath” Twelve cannot remember why the clockwork aliens are so familiar, and leaves the mystery for another day. Amnesia isn’t out of character for a regenerating Doctor. We know that the regeneration process shifts the thinking and interacting skills of the Timelord, and no two Doctors have quite the same personality quirks, including what they choose to remember as important from their previous regeneration. As Twelve might say, the question is not why he doesn’t remember, but who are these clockwork droids and why are they back?

Steven Moffat wrote “The Girl in the Fireplace” in 2006, and we know the writer is aces at long term continuity (may I present you the story of RIVER SONG), so it isn’t surprising that he has an overarching plot point originally addressed eight years ago. Moffat is king of the spiderweb plot, in which he weaves intricate storylines together over a long period of time. Mostly, he picks them back up and blows our minds, and so I am looking forward to seeing how this particular plot point will effect series 8.