True, the episode itself was pretty so-so. It had some impressive visuals and director Ben Wheatley gave it a nicely cinematic feel. There was also plenty of Paternoster Gang which is always welcome. However, it was let down by a villain recycled from The Girl in the Fireplace (an episode which wasn’t that great in the first place) and a rather uneven pace. Also, quite how many villains does the Doctor have to kill before, he and the writers realise that he is emphatically not a pacifist.
However, this episode was always going to interest fans less for its own sake than for what it was going to tell us about the future of the show. And here the indications were encouraging. Capaldi was the perfect blend of mirth and menace for the role and was an engaging departure from the style of Tennant and Smith. He was in short everything we’d hoped we would be.
More surprising was that Deep Breath was a triumph for Jenna-Louise Coleman. I’ve not been a great fan of her time playing Clara. However, with Moffat seems to have taken the opportunity of a regenerated Doctor to renew her character. She’s no longer a cypher nor seemed like somebody constantly doing a Zooey Deschanel impression. As she reeled from the reinvention of her travelling companion, she felt like a rounded and believable character for the first time.
Verdict: 7/10 – not a classic episode but the omens for the rest of the series are good.