I liked “Deep Breath”. I really did. However there were a couple of scenes that were examples of Moffat at his absolute worst. For the most part “Deep Breath” was a cohesive episode with a good one off plotline but also a good set-up for future episodes (the crazy umbrella-twirling woman at the end). This is what makes it all the more annoying that there were two scenes that jarred and felt completely and utterly out of place with the rest of the episode.
One of these two scenes contains the line I referenced in the title of this article so I guess I’ll start there. The line in question is when Vastra says “Ah, Clara, just pop your clothes on the chair over there”.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “How can such an unimportant line be an example of serious script-writing deficiencies?” but bear with me. It’s obvious that in Moffat’s eyes this line was just a (bad) attempt to be funny. But to me it was a lot more significant than just unfunny humour.
This line shows that Moffat doesn’t really seem to know his characters at all. The entire scene but especially that line is so horribly out of character for every one of the characters in it that it made me want to bash my head against the wall. In fact the only time I would have expected Vastra to say that line is in an atrocious smut fanfic. No, Moffat, that is not a compliment.
Allow me to explain. All of the other scenes between Jenny and Vastra in “Deep Breath” try to make the point that one, their relationship should be taken seriously, and two, that they’re equals in the relationship. This scene completely undermines both these points and it’s utterly unnecessary. On top of that the fact that neither Jenny or Clara even bat an eyelid at that line shows that the audience is clearly meant to chuckle and have forgotten Vastra ever said it 5 minutes later. If Moffat had actually considered the connotations of that line I seriously doubt he’d ever have written it.
This brings me onto the second problem with Moffat’s writing that this line is an example of. Moffat constantly contradicts himself in almost every way possible. Some examples: Amy loves Rory, except when she loves the Doctor. Absolutely everyone in the galaxy loves the Doctor, except when they all hate him. Rory’s a plastic Roman centurion being controlled by the Great Intelligence, except when he needs some time off and randomly becomes an ordinary human again. Need I go on?
The third and final problem with MoffatWho(™ me, just now) that this line brings up is the fact that, whether we like it or not, Steven Moffat is a misogynist. I’m sorry but it’s true, the evidence is all there. From Strax’s line about Clara’s head supposedly being filled with “attractive young men doing sport” when we’re told she doesn’t only care about pretty young men about 10 minutes before to Vastra and Jenny continually being the victims of seemingly every lesbian-based stereotype and joke ever thought up. Moffat’s constants “jokes” at women’s expense are getting old very quickly and I’m sorry, Moffat, but they’re just not funny.
I haven’t even started on his convoluted, so-complex-they’re-dumb plotlines, complete with rule re-writings and contradictions or the fact that in his universe everything revolves solely around the Doctor so that on alternate weeks he’s the most loved or most hated man in the universe to the point where no one else’s lives or opinions seem to matter.
I rest my case.