I consider Deep Breath to be the perfect introduction to a new doctor and here is why:
Moffat incorporates the viewers process of letting go of the old doctor and accepting the new one directly into the narrative, in multiple and brilliant ways.
We as the viewers can directly identify with Clara here, because she is in the same position as we are. Matt is gone, Capaldi is now here instead. We liked Matt, over the course of three seasons we learned to love him. He is our friend, he is the one to fetch us from our normal lifes and take us with him in the tardis to new worlds and big adventures.
We know Clara, she’s not a new companion, she turned from a mystery into a brave kind control freak who loved the doctor (as a friend) enough to jump into the doctors timestream to save him. She is always eager to help, running off because a little girl looked bothered, choosing to take care of children in her professions, brave even when she is really afraid, only by the force of her will. She would do about anything for the doctor, but she is not inhibited to call out his bullshit either, not in the least.
So as the episode begins, we find Clara in the same position that we are in: This is the new doctor, and he is different. Apparently more unpredictable, clearly confused and with a tendency to run off alone, leaving her behind to wait and fend for herself - but only because he knows she is very well able to. This is a friendship where both participant are on equal footing, despite him being a timelord. He is not her protector, but he will be there when she needs him, just as she will be there when he needs her.
Clara experiences the same process we do when confronted with that new face, and she rightfully defends herself and her position as Vastra accuses her of superficiality - it does have an impact on you if your best friend suddenly wears a new face and it is a valid need to need time to process and accept that. Early in the episode Clara expresses her worry and agitation by asking how to “change him back" - and that is essentially what we as viewers feel to some degree, dispite the fact that we know it isn’t possible. And this is the main development of the episode - she gets past that and to some degree accepts the new face.
There are two major steps towards that, in my opinion.
Clara is understandably irritated by the fact that the doctor ran off an supposedly asked her to meet him via a cryptic message in a newspaper, plus the above described troubles to cope with his new form. When he later leaves her behind in the cellar of the building, surrounded by droids, refuses to give her the screwdriver and just gives her the advice not to breathe, her worst fears come true. What if this doctor is not the same man anymore? What if the things that made him her doctor, her best friend, the reasons why she sacrificed herself for him - what if those are gone? What follows is an absolutely awe inspiring portray of both wit and most of all, strenght of will, as she holds her breath until she faints and then talks a robot out of killing her by remembering an uncomfortable situation and using the tactic of the one that distressed her in order to survive. And all this while she knows she is only buying time and is visibly scared to death.
She does this because she decided to still trust the doctor. In some ways she does this in our stead, for us. And as her hand reaches behind her, into empty space, shaking, full of doubt yet full of certainty, she is proven right. I believe this is a moment in which both we and Clara were reassured - indeed, no matter how much he might have changed, this is the doctor, our doctor.
And later, after he leaves her without a word again, she has another moment of doubt, accepting the possibility that she might be stuck here. The doctor returns, of course. To some degree it looks as if he has dependence and trust issues, testing out her boundaries to see whether she leaves.
And when he has pushed her to the point where she says “I don’t know who you are anymore,” he finds himself at the result of his self fulfilling prophecy. Clara is not a ragdoll, not his plaything and you can only push her to a certain point. Clara knows, above all, to stand up for herself and those she loves and she will do about anything for the doctor, but she won’t see herself get mistreated.
And then, Matt calls and Clara so clearly becomes ours to identify with, it hurts. He calls her, calls us, to say goodbye, but also to explain his own future selfs behavior to her: he is scared and he needs you. And this is exactly the words that Clara of all people needs to hear herself, because this is what she as a person aspires to - being needed. And with the ice broken by his former self the doctor finally manages to show vulnerability, another dimension of this darker version of the doctor and Claras insecurity finally turns into certainty. This is her place, this is where she is needed, this is how she can accept this new face.
And astonishingly above all, while Clara goes through this process at the same time as the viewer, to some extend for the viewer, we see aspects of her character we haven’t seen before, at least not in that intensity. And the way she deals with this as a character makes her become a role model - but a human one: we can see that her bravery is above all a choice, brought on by an incredibly strong will. We can see contradicting emotions run over her face as she tries to make sense of the mess she seems to have been suddenly thrown into.
So while this storyline takes the viewers feelings and incorporates them right into the story, at the same time this very plot line works amazingly for character development and creates a second parallel plot line: how does Clara react when pushed? And this wonderfully fits the viewer again, because to some extend we are pushed when forced to deal with a new doctor. We know he is coming, but we learned to love the old one and are to some extend loyal to him, like Clara, and it takes a little willpower to not just focus on mourning eleven but also on accepting twelve.
And I think this just worked brilliantly.
- amuro would have a weeaboo blog who doesn’t talk to other people or post textposts much but just reblogs a lot of cool pics
- kamille would be a hardcore fandom blogger who gets into fights over his OTPs
- judau would post nothing but memes and shitposts
- banagher would run a soft grunge hipster tumblr with lots of artsy nudes and landscape photography and inspirational quotes
- char would have an anime blog which also reblogs a frightening amount of hentai
- Setsuna F. Seiei and Quatre Raberba Winner share a sideblog about Islam and Middle Eastern culture as it is both on Earth and in space. Quatre usually posts and reblogs the positive, while Setsuna handles the disquieting side. They’re both generally very polite about questions, although Setsuna takes a much firmer tone - but sometimes, on rare occasions, even Quatre can’t help but get sarcastic with the amount of ignorance floating around tumblr and the world, e.g.:So, it’s Ramadan once again. I take it we all know what this means by now. -S
Time for white American Christians and atheists to argue over whether or not it’s polite to tag their food and porn, as if it isn’t the rest of the year? -Q
As for their personal blogs? Setsuna’s is mostly technology and photos of nice vehicles (all of them tagged #mine is better tho), with frequent reblogs from the shared blog thrown in as well. Quatre’s is almost exclusively pictures of space, nice landscapes, and cute animals…with the occasional really attractive guy.
- Trowa Barton posts parkour and gymnastics and similar videos/gifs, filed under either #life goals or #I can do that (by far the larger tag). If someone asks him to prove anything in the #I can do that tag, he will.
- Duo Maxwell has a humor blog. His most popular post, however, is a very embarrassing one that he made at about 3:00 in the morning one day after a really absurd accident. It’s floating around with multiple comments from him going through all the phases of grief in the form of “STOP REBLOGGING THIS” requests.
- Neil Dylandy reblogged that post about 20 times at each stage. So did Heero Yuy.
- Tieria Erde’s blog exists to shove people out of their comfort zones. By night he posts mostly simple humor, pictures of space, fashion, and fun facts he finds while poking around information archives. By day he becomes much more disquieting, posting mainly subversive humor and articles on major injustices he can’t physically intervene in specifically worded to prevent people from exempting themselves from criticism. It is very effective and very terrifying.
…and sometimes, at any time during the day or night, he may post Mythbusters-like videos from his own time period featuring really big explosions.
Roux Louka’s blog would be primarily a fashion blog, with the occasional “goddamnit Judau” post.
Uso’s blog would be filled with reactionary social justice posts that don’t check sources.
Reccoa is a TERF, constantly getting in fights with Loran and Tieria.
Tiffa’s blog is a weird aesthetic blog that nobody actually understands.
Kira has this holier-than-thou attitude that drives everyone up a wall and constantly gets called out on it, making posts that are primarily social justice “criticisms”.
Friendly reminder that, while Peri Brown as a character had some annoying or problematic aspects, she was more than just her physical attributes and ability to scream.
Friendly reminder that Nicola Bryant was determined to do a good job as the character, and she wrote an essay of ~200 pages detailing her thoughts on Peri’s background and what she thought the character might be like…only for the powers that be at the show to never bother to read what she had written.