Welcome to another edition of Review Friday. Completely missed last week but here we are, back on track!
Today I will be reviewing the premiere episode of Doctor Who’s 10th series: Pilot.
First off, let’s give some context for this series.
It’s been 12 years since the new series of Doctor Who aired on TV, under the creative hand of Russell T Davies.
Since then, the show’s gotten stranger, more convoluted, and it’s changed hands once, about to again.
We’ve lost Rose, found strength in Martha, wept for Donna, said goodbye to Amy, forgotten Clara, and now here we are, ready to jump into the fray with Bill.
This series is Steven Moffat’s last series of the show, after having taken over back in 2010. And between you and me, I’ll be glad to see him go. Moffat is strange, sometimes I really love individual episodes of his. But personally, I don’t like the story arcs he creates, nor the way he makes the female companions in the show the end all be all for the Doctor (more importantly, how he makes sure the other companions from old Who and Russel T Davies are left in the dust as it they never existed).
Not to mention my distaste for Sherlock, which is a show I will dissect another day.
Starting in 2018, Doctor Who will be taken over by Chris Chibnall, best known for Broadchurch and work on Torchwood. I’m excited to see where he takes the show, and believe he has great potential.
But we still have one more season of Moffat to go, and that’s important to remember as we watch this series. Given the amount of insanity (both good and bad) Moffat has tried to shove into the show thus far, I’ve no doubt he’ll try and do everything he can to shape future Who in Series 10.
So without further ado: Pilot
I don’t feel the need to give a recap of everything that happened, why ruin the episode? Instead I’m going to talk about the key elements that stood out to me.
For the most part, I really liked Bill. She’s fun, she’s cheeky, she asks the kind of questions you and I would ask (she’s not a know it all like Clara). She’s in some ways a combination of Donna and Rose. (Though based on the actress’ age, older than Rose). She’s black, apparently an orphan, and serves chips.
She’s also gay, which is fantastic and all I can do is pray Moffat treats her well and doesn’t do crappy things with her sexuality. The first openly queer companion of the Doctor means a lot to me for obvious reasons.
Unfortunately they gave her a moment right of the bat that I wasn’t fond of: she talks about liking this girl and everything and essentially treating her with Pavlovian rewards, then acting like: oh my god she’s fat. The point of the story is more: she did that by treating her, but really, why the heck is this even a scene? Bill herself says straight out it has nothing to do with anything. So good, we know the black lesbian doesn’t like fat. Cause god forbid anyone likes fat. I hated it. I really like Bill other than that, but why was that even in there?
I’m just not crazy about 12. Capaldi is amazing, and I don’t dislike 12. But after all the crap with Clara and everything, I’m just tired of how 12 talks. How everything is riddles and secrets and it always sounds like 12 is trying to make grandiose out of plot points that then go nowhere. I do enjoy his guitar playing, and I like him having actually settled down. (Even if it’s for ulterior motivations) Also him going taking all of the photos
Nardole has been updated to Rory or Strax level, after appearing in two Christmas specials, where he worked for River Song in ‘The Husbands of River Song’ and then in ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’
I just hope they give him some real character development, rather than him being comic relief and just a side kick for the Doctor. I like the actor and I think Nardole could actually have a really nice personality if he’s allowed to go beyond quips and funny antics.
Bill’s foster mother:
Not a fan. Makes me feel sad for Bill, that this who she’s ended up with. Someone who clearly cares more about herself, and doesn’t look at herself as a mother figure. I kind of want to look up Moffat’s relationship with his own parents now, as Amy’s parents didn’t even exist at one point and then were barely mentioned, Clara’s parents are in one episode for five minutes (or at least her gran is?) and now Bill.
It moves slowly. That’s the first episode of a season for you. They almost always do. We spend a lot of time building up the characters and the meeting, etc etc. And most of the time I hate when they waste half the episode doing that, but it’s the first episode with a new companion. It’s expected. The plot is there to give the Doctor and Bill something to connect on. That being said, this was the first episode in a long time I’d felt nervous or anxious by the “monster”
Heather the possibly queer monster/girl constantly soaking in water is done creepily well. Maybe it’s just my thing with water in horror films and drains and stuff, but honestly there were parts that I was legit creeped out. And while I love Doctor Who for many reasons, getting the chills often just isn’t one of them. Kudos to Heather’s actress and special effects team.
Bill ends up getting to keep her memories, as we all knew she would. Now the biggest question left is: what is this vault the Doctor is protecting/warding against?
I like Bill. I think I could like Nardole. I have some concerns but over all am much more excited for this season than I have been for the last two.
Allonsy, geronimo and run!!