Viewing posts tagged deep breath

Essential Problems and Dialectical Solutions ('Deep Breath' 5)

Many people have already commented on the expansion of Clara's character in 'Deep Breath'.  I think there's something to this... in that Clara now appears to have a character, now that she's been freed from her tedious and contentless mystery-arc.  Those impatient with the right-on critique of Moffat will respond with all sorts of examples of brave, complex things she did in Series 7, and some of those examples will be right, but still... she really did look like a characterless blur across the screen, a sort of jumble of traits, a Rubik's Cube with a face drawn on it.  There's no denying, she looked better in 'Deep Breath'.  It's possible that, as with so much else that seems better about 'Deep Breath', I may just be perceiving an improvement because the episode is largely free from the dominating and infuriating presence of a certain actor who will not be missed at all by me.  But then, such things do make a difference.  One performance in an 'actually existing' production of a written text can change the meaning.

Clara's monologue rebuke to Vastra is part of her ...

Bits and Bobs ('Deep Breath' 4)

It ends with another mysterious woman, another predatory dominatrix older female.  She represents another story arc which we, the viewers, have no possibility of guessing or understanding until the inevitable 'twist' becomes self-evident just before being served up to you on a plate several episodes later than it could've been.

She speaks as if she is one of the audience and saw what we saw.  Like us, she couldn't see if the Doctor persuaded Half-Face to commit suicide or if he pushed him to his death.  Again, a metatextual trick is used as a signifier of the enemy.

Another physical endurance test or test of skill becomes part of the nature of the monster-of-the-week.  The Weeping Angels were based on how long you could go without blinking.  The Sredni Vashtar (or whatever they were called) were based on how long you could go without touching a shadow with your own shadow.  The droids in 'Deep Breath' were based on how long you can hold your breath (a slightly dodgy thing to encourage in the playground possibly).

How much you like all this probably depends on how much you like repetition.

I said ...

The Veil ('Deep Breath' 3)

The veil.  A politically loaded symbol.  It carries all sorts of old semiotic baggage, of course.  Weddings.  Widowhood.  Ladies in Conan Doyle who want to hide their identities (thus it has a trajectory into the figure of Madame Vastra via Victoriana).  In genre TV these days, a woman wearing a veil is likely to be a tragic or vengeful figure, hiding a facial scar of some kind.  (See 'Silence in the Library' / 'Forest of the Dead'.)

The veil is thus something that implies a particular set of social situations for women.  The connection appears to be the concept of separation.  The veil is a boundary between the woman and society.  It creates a space in which she can hide her unsightliness, either disfiguring grief or grievous disfigurement, from those who don't want to have to see it.  The wedding veil is lifted as the woman is taken possession of in the marriage ceremony; thus it is there to emphasize her acceptability by temporarily putting it in doubt.  It is, of course, the symbolic tearing of the hymen.  The man takes possession and breaks through the barrier ...

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