I've always been a great fan of the Paternoster Gang. I like the humor Strax injects into the stories and I love Vasta's mature and insightful personality. She truly shined when she called Clara out on her blatant ageist attitude and really showed her that she's not just ignorant for not noticing it, but also a little brat who can't admit she's wrong. I was rooting for Vasta, but the reveal that Clara was actually "right" (I have no idea how that happened - she is prejudice) left a bad taste in my mouth. The bits with Strax was entertaining enough and even Jenny (who I adore) got in some nice parts, be they comedic or otherwise.
I will admit, the villain story ending up being a kind of The Girl in the Fireplace sequel was okay. It wasn't outstanding or anything, but considering what the episode's actual purpose was, it was a clever idea to use it. Surpassing the body horror bits from The Girl in the Fireplace, Deep Breath featured an even larger assortment of squick moments that were both well-thought out and expertly executed. Classic Steven Moffat! The no breathing parts were especially chilly.
One of my biggest hopes for Series 8 would be Clara and her Mary-Sue personality. I'll be honest with you guys, whenever she ended up in danger, I was rooting for the villain. She comes across so ignorant, selfish and downright pathetic, it's hard to enjoy the episode. Vasta outs her as a hypocrite, ageist and I suppose a racist from Vasta's POV and Clara tells her 'how dare you?'. How dare you Clara? The Doctor just spent 900 years fighting another bloody war. You ask how he can change back. That is awful. You deny your attraction and in the same breath admit that the only reason you did fancy him was because he was young. Twit!
But this episode does you one better. It's like The Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak. Despite being in the wrong multiple times over this episode, Clara is forgiven within seconds. She is shown to come out victorious in all her confrontations/arguments (even when she is clearly on the wrong side of it) and then she goes and pulls out her Mary-Sue personality by:
1) Holding her breath for over 2 minutes on the first go
2) Showing unnaturally high intellect by correctly deducing the newspaper puzzle in seconds
3) Beating a logic robot with troll logic and winning. (Really, there are worse things than death I assure you)
4) Oh and did I mention how she ends up being 'right' despite clearly being wrong?
Did you notice?
Lastly, that new theme tune and opening credits. They sound freaky eh? Not in a bad way. It feels very alien compared to the last piece we had. I can already tell, it will be the lighter fluid fueling a lot of fans' Moffat hate. The opening visuals I really like. I don't care if a fan provided the inspiration, it looks and feels very Doctor Who. But can we please just stick with one opening for more than a season please?
Pros and Cons
+ Opening visuals
+ The new Doctor's attitude to all things great and small
+ Paternoster Gang
+ Jenna's performance
+ The Doctor 'abandoning' Clara
- Clara's Plot Armor
- The dinosaur didn't get enough screen time lol.
Rating this story: 8/10. A really good start considering all the flank this episode has gone through with the recent leaks and sorts.