The Depths of ‘Deep Breath’   Leave a comment

I finally finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, my re-watch of Capaldi’s proper introduction. I had slightly more negative thoughts about this pass after the first half; the second, however, has some wonderful stuff in it, and not just the many references which I will get to below. Matt Smith’s proper goodbye is a wonderful scene. The Twelfth Doctor is at his best in quiet philosophical moments. (It’s up close he finds things beautiful, he tells the clockwork droid. Everything is so big, so important.) And of course we get introduced to Missy.

(A quick aside – In the restaurant, the Doctor notes that the kind of person who would place the ad that got them both there is “an egomaniac needy game-player.” Clara assumes at first that he is referring to himself, then belatedly realizes he was talking about her. Except that he wasn’t; he was talking about the ad, and his assessment describes someone – the actual someone who placed the ad – very well. No one is more egomaniacal, no one needs the Doctor more, and no one enjoys games so well as the Master.)

And now, on to the fun!

1. From the very start, we have the dinosaur. The Doctor encountered dinosaurs in London once before, in the Third Doctor story ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs.’ There’s even a picture of one with Parliament in the background: old and new.

2. Vastra hasn’t seen anything like it “since I was a little girl.” Her people predate humanity on Earth and supposedly shared the planet with dinosaurs. The ones the Doctor encountered in ‘Doctor Who and the Silurians’ employed dinosaurs as a defensive measure against intruding humans from above. There may be a further reference in Vastra’s conversation with Jenny about the creature’s size; if so, I haven’t found it, and it may simply be an inside joke about the inability of effects people to know when to stop.

3. The policeman who summons the Paternoster Gang to the scene is Inspector Gregson, a character from the Sherlock Holmes canon.

4. When the Doctor sees Strax, he names five of Snow White’s seven dwarves, finally settling on Grumpy.

5. “Names, not my area,” he claims when he can’t identify Clara – Sherlock’s (BBC) favorite excuse. He finally settles on (6.) Handles, his Cyberman-head companion from ‘The Time of the Doctor.’

7. “I speak dinosaur.” The Eleventh Doctor claims “I speak baby,” (Closing Time) and “I speak horse,” (‘A Town Called Mercy’).

8. “Here we go again.” As the Doctor passes out from regeneration sickness, Vastra quotes Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (‘Planet of the Spiders’).

9. “I brought you along by accident,” the Doctor tells the dinosaur. “That’s mostly how I meet girls.” It does seem to be his MO.

10. “She was scared,” the Doctor protests at the death of the dinosaur, much as the Ninth Doctor protested UNIT’s killing of the pig alien in ‘Aliens of London.’

11. “The Doctor has taken up the case,” says Vastra, another reference to Sherlock Holmes.

12. Clara’s shawl, as she calls down to Strax from an upstairs window, looks very much like the Seventh Doctor’s scarf.

13. Jenny mentions the “Paternoster Irregulars,” a reference to Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars. (14.) The two cases she says Vastra is working – Conk-Singleton and Camberwell – are also both Holmes’ cases.

15. Strax sees “a lot of muscular young men doing sport” in Clara’s subconscious. Is this a reference to slash fic?

16. The tramp the Doctor encounters in the alley is played by Brian Miller, husband of the late Lis Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith.

17. “I need clothes, that’s what I need,” says the Doctor. “And a big, long scarf. No, no, move on from that. Looked stupid.”

18. “Have you seen this face before?” he asks the tramp. “That’s funny, because I’m sure that I have.” He did, in ‘Fires of Pompeii.’

19. “[My eyebrows] probably want to cede from the rest of my face and set up their own independent state of eyebrows.” Much as Scotland was considering at the time?

20. The murder board Vastra is contemplating is a detective series staple, and may have originated (once again) with Sherlock Holmes. (21.) “The game is afoot,” she says, as if to confirm it.

22. However, the paper reveals nothing. “Not even in the agony column,” she says, a favorite message board of the famous detective.

23. The Doctor refers to the restaurant as “Sweeney Todd without the pies.”

24. “I miss Amy,” the Doctor complains, when Clara – ten inches shorter than her predecessor – can’t reach the fallen sonic with her foot.

25. “Burke and Hare from space,” says Clara, referring to a pair of 19th century Scottish murderers who sold the resulting corpses for medical research.

26. “Droids harvesting spare parts,” says the Doctor. “That rings a bell.” It should – he encountered them in ‘The Girl in the Fireplace.’

27. “Captain, my Captain,” he says to the droid. The famous Whitman poem is about a dead leader.

28. There are several references to “spare parts” in the scene – the name of a Big Finish story about Cybermen.

29. “I’ve seen this before,” says the Doctor as the droids come to life – and he has.

30. “Sorry, too slow,” he tells Clara as the door closes, trapping her inside – as Rose was trapped with the Dalek. “Sorry I was a bit slow,” Rose said to Nine. (There is another occurence of the line somewhere – I’ll add it when I think of it.)

31. Of course the word that Vastra and Clara agreed on to summon a rescue is the Eleventh Doctor’s “Geronimo!”

32. “Fifty-first century, right?” says the Doctor. Many of Moffat’s playthings – the SS Madame de Pompadour, Jack Harkness, River Song – come from the 51st century.

33. “Trying to get home the long way round,” he says of the droids – as the Eleventh Doctor said of himself in ‘Day of the Doctor.’ Similar music is even playing.

34. The droids’ ship’s fuses are labeled “SS Marie Antoinette: Sister ship of the SS Madame de Pompadour” – directly referencing the ship from ‘The Girl in the Fireplace.’

35. The Doctor, trying to stimulate his memory of patching a spaceship with human remains, holds a bunch of yellow roses to his nose. The Tenth Doctor once described Rose as “all pink and yellow” (‘New Earth’). Failing to recall anything, he tosses the flowers aside, symbolically completing the past and the RTD era.

36. “Droids and apostrophes, I could write a book.” The inability of cyborgs and androids to use contractions is a sci fi trope – Star Trek‘s Data is famous for it.

37. “One of us is lying about our basic programming.” Or both. The clockwork droids in ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ shut themselves down once they saw the futility of their mission. And the Doctor – nor any Time Lord – is not incapable of murder.

38. “You’ve redecorated,” says Clara, in the spirit of the Second Doctor and many since. “I don’t like it.”

39. “I think there should be more round things,” says the Doctor, referring both to the original TARDIS interior and to Ten and Eleven’s conversation in ‘Day of the Doctor:’

Eleven: Hey look, the round things!
Ten: I love the round things!
Eleven: What are the round things?
Ten: No idea.

40. “I’m so, so sorry,” says Clara, echoing the Tenth Doctor’s (second) most famous line.

41. “Do you want to go and get coffee, or chips, or something?” Nine and Rose concluded their first real adventure with chips. Clara, being a bit more grown up, chooses coffee.

42. Missy‘s costume strongly resembles Mary Poppins‘.

And with that we have a Hitchhiker’s Guid to the Galaxy reference – and an S3 reference – in 42! I suspect, however, that I missed at least a few. Moffat is nothing if not a fanboy, very JNT in his love of layering. It’s one of a very few things we have in common.

ETA 6/30/15

Never mind that ’42’ reference…

43. Trying to take Clara home, the Doctor lands in Glasgow by mistake – as he landed Sarah Jane in Aberdeen.

ETA 7/1/15

44. How many Doctors have begun their adventures in their sleepwear? The Third and Fourth Doctors both started in nightshirts – once divested of their predecessors’ garments by medical staff – and the Tenth Doctor spent most of ‘The Christmas Invasion’ in someone else’s pajamas.


Posted June 27, 2015 by Elisabeth in Season 8, The Great Re-Watch

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