Archive for ‘Episode Previews’
May 20th, 2017
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
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Series 10 continues this week as the Twelfth Doctor’s final string of adventures reach their dramatic halfway point in the aptly-titled Extremis. It’s all guns blazing for our heroes as they unravel a brand new conundrum in the first instalment of what already looks set to be a thrilling three-part adventure, as well as a defining chapter of the closing Moffat/Capaldi era.

And a Moffat script it most definitely is. As with most – if not all – of his episodes, you wouldn’t even have to see his name on the opening credits to know that this was the outgoing showrunner embracing the extremities (see what we did there?) of his ever expansive element. The pre-titles sequence alone, which, as all good pre-titles sequences do, takes place “a long time ago…”, has his unique style and tone written all over it, and you’ll understand what we mean by that when you see it. As is now wholly expected after his eight years at the show’s helm, what comes next is a far-reaching foray of madcap Moffat mayhem interwoven into the realms of sheer, science fiction fantasy. The story takes us from present day Earth to the Vatican to the Pentagon and back again but, inevitably, not everything is as it seems. By which we mean, absolutely nothing is as it seems. Steven sure likes to keep us on our toes, doesn’t he?

At this point, though, we wouldn’t have – nay, want – it any other way. The end of Steven’s tenure might be nigh but his latest script is as fresh as it is familiar, however we couldn’t help but pick up on a distinct “Sherlock-y” vibe, particularly in certain aspects of the Doctor’s dialogue and characterisation, lurking in the shadows as the lines between the Moff’s two formidable franchises become arguably and increasingly blurred. Saying that, it still feels like a quintessentially Doctor Who adventure, and a bloody good one at that. There are twists, turns, mid-directions, scares (the Monks are truly terrifying), shocks and everything else in between, with the majority of the action taking place within the confines of a seemingly forbidden library (not tot be confused with the Library featured in Series 4, however a certain beloved character who was introduced in that iconic two-parter does play an important part in this episode). Harry Potter, eat your heart out…

And that certain boy wizard gets a special mention from Bill, too, who once again brings her personable Potts perspective to add a touch of honourable humanity to the alien mystery that surrounds her. That is, after her date gets rudely interrupted by the leader of the Catholic Church. We’ve all been there, right? Speaking of Bill, Pearl Mackie really gets the chance to shine with Matt Lucas throughout this episode, as her on screen alter ago and Nardole establish themselves as a deliciously dynamic duo in their own right. With the Doctor (literally) tied up with other things, Bill and Nardole carry the story off in their own direction and it’s wonderful to see the companions being entrusted with the responsibility of conducting their own investigations, especially when their chemistry is as endearing as Pearl and Matt’s.

And then there’s Missy. Unless you’ve been living inside a Vault for the last year, you’ll know that the bitch is finally back in this episode, and you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear that you won’t have to wait very long at all for her to grace our screens once more. Her inclusion in the story is told in the form of a series of flashbacks running concurrently with the Doctor’s present day dilemma (another classic Moffat motif) and, while the circumstances of her latest comeback don’t allow her to be as over the top and maleficent as her previous appearances, we do get to see a whole new side of the renegade Time Lady which Michelle Gomez delivers with an air of heartbreakingly sinister poignancy. By the end of the episode, the Doctor and Missy’s rocky relationship has taken on a whole new life of its own. With Michelle recently suggesting that she’ll be departing Doctor Who alongside Peter, combined with the imminent return of John Simm as her character’s previous incarnation, we’re now even more intrigued to discover how her arc will develop throughout the remainder of the series in the build up to the grand finale and the Twelfth Doctor’s forthcoming regeneration.

As you can probably gather from all of the above, there is an awful lot to be crammed into this 50 minutes. For all its scale and scope, however, it is essentially setting up the events to come, as well as serving as an enjoyable standalone adventure. Just as you start to get your head around what the hell is even going on, the plot is turned upside down which makes this slow builder an exhilarating ride nonetheless. There is a lot to be said for its ambitious narrative structure, brought to life by Daniel Nettheim’s dramatic direction, which wouldn’t feel out of place as a finale. In fact, if Series 10 had been split into two parts, Extremis would have made for a marvellous mid-series conclusion. Thankfully, though, the show will go on next week. If this episode is anything to go by, the second half of this year’s series will be in a completely different league than the first. And the first has been pretty damn good. If they can maintain the momentum, Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat will definitely be going out on a high. But is there any other way to go, daddio?

Oh, and we finally discover what’s inside the Vault this week, too, so be sure to share any of your last minute theories in our discussion, here. What, you mean you haven’t figured it out yet…?

May 12th, 2017
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Series 10 is rip-roaring along at rocket speed and if you’ve been twiddling your thumbs waiting for the Doctor and Bill to escape the (far from) conventional confines of that planet we call Earth, you really are in for a treat this weekend. They may have been to the edge of the galaxy and survived London’s Great Last Frost Fair of 1814 (as you do!), but this time the tension is notched up to a whole new level when they find themselves fighting to the death in the middle of deep space. It’s just another day in the office then, really.

Apart from the fact that it’s not. While Doctor Who is no stranger to setting a story aboard a doomed space station or five, Oxygen is something very new…  and very exciting. The latest exhilarating episode kicks off with Peter Capaldi’s ever booming voice declaring that space is only referred to as “the final frontier” because it wants to kill us, which pretty much sets the tone for what’s to come, in the show’s traditionally morbid sort of way. The void is always waiting…

After all, space really is a dangerous place to be (or so we’re led to believe, anyway…), so it’s nice to have that sense of ominous, impending threat interjected back into the show’s mythos. Let’s face it, we were kind of getting used to the universe in all its weird and wonderful glory, what with Doctor Who being a sci-fi show and all, but all of a sudden what we thought we knew about the great unknown is flipped upside down as we’re shown just how out of our depth us human beings really are when it comes to extra terrestrial excursions. If you take anything away from Oxygen, it’s that space is bloody scary, man, though rest assured that you’ll take far more away from it than that. Far, far more…

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The pre-titles sequence alone is an epic escapade and we’re sure you’ll agree that the stunning scenery wouldn’t look out of place on an IMAX screen in a five and half hour Christopher Nolan movie. The scale of it just goes to show how far Doctor Who’s special effects have progressed over the years and the immersive introduction makes it feel like the series is taking you into space for the first time. It really is the first time for Bill, of course, and her initial reaction is as genuine and infectious as you’d expect. But more on what she gets up to later…

For now, let’s go back to the opening scene which introduces us to two ill-fated characters whose relationship is expertly established in the space (see what we did there?) of three very short – but very eventful – minutes. We don’t learn much about them before it all goes pretty pear-shaped (to put it lightly), but what we do learn is enough to make them instantly believable, likeable and, most importantly, human.

Humanity plays a big part in this episode, just as it has in the four adventures that have proceeded it. Doctor Who has always been rooted in it, of course, but there’s definitely a persistent pattern emerging here. Steven Moffat is seemingly on a mission to shine a light on the morals of mankind in his final year as showrunner, and there’s no finer platform on which to do it than against the breathtaking backdrop of space.

‘Breathtaking’ is another running theme in Oxygen, and we mean that in the literal sense. Time isn’t the only thing that’s running out for the Doctor, Bill and Nardole and what they encounter aboard Chasm Forge is a genuinely terrifying sight to behold. Notice we included Nardole there, as this episode finally marks his first full-length outing of the year. And Matt Lucas continues to smash it. Nobody really knew what to expect when it was announced that he’d be returning as a full time companion, but if your mind hasn’t been put to rest by his brief appearances thus far, this one oughta do the trick. He isn’t just there for the comic relief element either (although Matt provides that perfectly), as his character adopts a much firmer approach to the Doctor’s casual compulsion of breaking the conditions of his Vault-guarding oath. We don’t come any closer to finding out who – or what – lies inside the Vault this week, however we are left with the feeling that the Doctor’s apparent negligence will come back to bite him in a big way later in the series…

By the end of the episode, though, that’s the least of his worries. Amidst the ensuing chaos, something happens to our beloved Time Lord that really gives Peter the chance to shine in a way that he has never been given the opportunity to before. He will probably come close to breaking your heart and the formidable force of this particular performance is more than matched by the one delivered by Pearl Mackie. Her portrayal of Bill is getting stronger and stronger as the weeks go by and it is no exaggeration when we say that she really goes through the mill – and then some – in this one. If you thought Amy Pond had a rough ride, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Basically, we loved it. As expected, writer Jamie Mathieson has returned to the Whoniverse on top form and director Charles Palmer – who last helmed 2007’s Human Nature/The Family of Blood – has added a stellar and stylish space saga to his already reputable résumé of Doctor Who episodes. It only took him 10 years!

As the opening part of what already looks set to be a monumental three-part story, Series 10 is about to take a very dark turn as it reaches its halfway point in Extremis, which is set up as one of the maddest stories yet by its tantalising next time trailer. After this week’s almighty cliffhanger, something tells us that the Doctor is going to need his friends more than ever, but he’ll be sure to keep his enemies even closer. Next time, the bitch is back.

May 6th, 2017
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
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It’s that time of the week again which means that a brand new Doctor Who episode is just around the corner. It’s back to Earth – at least, the present day one – in Episode 4 as Bill and her friends move into their new house, which you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear is perfectly normal in every way…

Oh, apart from the creaking floorboards, old fashioned plugs, lack of central heating and the fact that it lies in the shadow of a mysterious, foreboding tower… to name but a few. Basically, who on Earth would live in a house like this?!

Well, Bill and her mates, apparently, but you can hardly blame them for overlooking its sinister surroundings, what with the state of today’s housing market. Looking on the bright side, though, the rooms are massive, the rent is cheap and, much to Bill’s relief, there isn’t a living puddle, weird robot or big fish in sight. In fact, if it weren’t for the cockroaches and everything else we just mentioned, it would pretty much be the perfect pad. And just what lies within that aforementioned tower, which they’ve been forbidden to enter under any circumstances for reasons that will become evidently clear by the end of the episode? Well, you’ll just have to wait until the end of the episode, won’t you?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though, as Knock Knock is an episode that’s less about the story and more about how the story is told. As with all classic adventures, it’s built on a simple premise – in this case, a group of students moving into their new digs (what could possibly go wrong…?) – that utilities the classic horror conventions to deliver the sort of spine-chilling thriller that only the weird and wonderful world of Doctor Who can offer.

There is always a danger that episode’s with such a straightforward concept will fall flat, but that definitely isn’t the case in this instance. While the majority of the action takes place within the four walls of Bill’s eerie abode, the story unfolds in such a tantalisingly terrifying manner that it never feels stale or predictable. That’s largely down to first time Who writer Mike Bartlett’s snappy dialogue, which is charmingly complemented and effortlessly excelled by Bill Anderson’s subtle but sophisticated direction. It’s a completely different tone than his previous work in last week’s Thin Ice, but he amicably adapts to the genre at hand to make Knock Knock one of the most atmospheric and genuinely heart-racing episodes to date. Seriously, this one is creepy.

Once again, it all comes down to the simplicity of the plot, combined with Doctor Who’s already firmly established ability to turn the seemingly mundane and everyday into a living, breathing nightmare… made of wood. What we also love about Knock Knock, though, is that it still provides room for the Doctor and Bill’s relationship to develop amidst the escalating terror. The Doctor – in keeping with his fatherly/grandfatherly/tutor/friend duties – helps Bill move in, which we thought was a lovely touch, and it turns out that she still has plenty of questions about who he is. Oh the questions, the questions, the questions…

Bill is more than capable of standing on her own two feet, of course, which is affirmed – and then reaffirmed – by her growing frustration when the Doctor decides to sticks around uninvited. He’s never been able to take a hint, but it’s refreshing to see a companion who is so eager to establish the bit of her life that the Doctor isn’t part of. She probably would’ve done a pretty good job at initialising her independence (much better than her predecessor Clara ever did, anyway…) if her friends hadn’t started disappearing into the walls, so something tells us that she was secretly over the moon that the Doctor was on hand when the lowering Landlord came to call.

Speaking of whom, David Suchet is one of the best Doctor Who guest stars ever, by the way. Not that we were expecting anything less from the honourable Hercule Poirot himself, of course, but his formidable on screen presence takes his character to a whole new level. He might just make you cry, too, in his scenes with the magnificent Mariah Gale as Eliza, but to tell you anything more about their unique connection would ruin the episode’s bittersweet – and heartbreakingly human – climax.

The rest of the ensemble are great, too, particularly Bill’s diverse group of friends – Shireen, Harry, Paul, Felicity and Pavel (don’t worry about remembering their names – the Doctor certainly doesn’t!) – who each react to the drama at hand in a different way. Of course, the episode wouldn’t be completely without a cameo from Nardole, and you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear that he’ll play a much bigger part from this point onwards, if the preview trailer for next week’s Oxygen is anything to go by.

That bloody Vault returns in Knock Knock too, as the Doctor takes the mystery one step further. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction, despite the fact we still know nothing about what – or who – lies inside. Apart from the fact that they are exceptionally gifted on the piano…

We can’t wait to find out what’s really going on, but at the moment we’re still enjoying the excitement of the enigma. Play on, you unidentified Vault-dwelling menace. Play on.

April 27th, 2017
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
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Peter Capaldi’s final series at the helm of the TARDIS (sorry for the reminder!) continues this weekend and it’s third time unlucky for the Doctor and Bill as they find themselves treading on Thin Ice. After you’ve left your mark at the edge of the galaxy lightyears in the future, there’s only one place to go next. Home… the long way round. Get in!

Picking up directly where last week’s episode left off (we see a pattern emerging here…), we rejoin our heroes slap bang in the middle of Regency London where, as expected, not all is as it seems amidst the carnivalesque chaos of a seemingly ordinary frost fair. Or at least, as ordinary as a frost fair can be. As an example, there’s an actual sword swallower among the weird and wonderful festivities, so this episode should definitely come with its own ‘Don’t try this at home’ disclaimer.

It’s the Great Last Frost Fair, to be precise, and the year is 1814. Also as expected, Bill has lots of questions. And no, it isn’t a parallel world…

The bustling backdrop is beautifully established by first time Who director Bill Anderson, and once again Bill’s wide-eyed wonderment is a joy to behold. As she takes in her snow-covered surroundings, Pearl Mackie gets the chance to show off her effortless talent when, in the flip of a coin (and that analogy will become clear when you see the episode), she struggles to comprehend the moral high ground that has been embedded within her 2,000 year old tutor. Basically, he moves on.

Bill’s character is already so well rounded that it’s easy to forget that this is only her third episode, and as such she is still getting to know her mysterious new friend. You don’t even realise – or care – that we’re revisiting aspects of the Doctor’s temperament that have been explored before, such as his apparent emotionless reaction to death, as the story allows it to be portrayed in a fresh and interesting way. Combine that with Bill’s unique perspective and it’s further evidence – not that any was needed – that our new TARDIS duo are a match made in televisual heaven.

Bill doesn’t sugarcoat her feelings, and that’s one of the things we love about her the most. Despite the fact she’s centuries away from the world that she knows, this plucky present day gal fits right in, which is partly thanks to the TARDIS’ ever expansive wardrobe. As they step into the story, the escalating drama evolves around them and it doesn’t take long for their fun at the fair to transpire into inevitable anarchy when a young boy’s tragic encounter with a Thames-dwelling serpent sends them on a mission to discover what really lies beneath. There’s definitely something fishy going on and whatever you do, don’t follow the lights…

Children play a big part in this episode, as the Doctor and Bill enlist the help of a band of pickpocketing street urchins who wouldn’t look out of place alongside the Artful Dodger himself. In fact, we expected him to pop up at any moment, and stranger things certainly happen in this madcap 44 minutes. Although the situation is looking increasingly dire, the impressive young ensemble bring some much needed comic relief to the proceedings, particularly when the Doctor, as he puts it, “gets down with the kids”, much to Bill’s hilarious horror. Even her hair is left cringing.

Back to the matter at hand, though, and their investigation soon leads them to the sinister Sutcliffe (right), as played by this week’s leading guest star Nicholas Burns, who is such an indescribably disgusting human being that, when the Doctor does something completely out of character, you can’t help but cheer along. Kudos to Nicholas Burns, who is largely known for his comedic performances, for bringing to life such a skin-crawling adversary. Needless to say, His Lordship’s motivations are truly terrifying.

Of course, it all comes down to Sarah Dollard’s script. The last time she contributed to the show, she broke our Whovian hearts into pieces by killing off Clara Oswald (we’re still not over it), and this time she takes us back to a London that’s just as unfamiliar as Face the Raven’s trap streets, yet instantly as rich and magical. Even if the Doctor never does find out the secret behind that card trick…

One of the most exciting things to take away from Thin Ice is that there’s still so much of the Doctor and Bill to come. As a standalone story, it ticks all the boxes of a classic Doctor Who adventure. It’s set in the past, there’s an alien creature hidden just out of sight, there’s an awesome underwater sequence and, perhaps most importantly, its poignant resolution will leave you shaking your head in disgust and contempt at the human race. It’s like The Beast Below all over again, but the Doctor does get to wear a top hat so you know, swings and roundabouts.

Oh, and you’ll also no doubt be pleased to hear that Nardole makes another all too brief but memorable appearance, as the elusive Vault mystery deepens. And when we say that Thin Ice ends with a “knock knock”, we’re not just talking about Episode 4

April 21st, 2017
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After last week’s series premiere (which you can Rate & Discuss here), it’s big smiles all around – for now, at least – as Bill Potts is officially aboard the TARDIS.

There isn’t a Dalek or killer puddle in sight this time, however, as we’re fast tracked to the edge of the galaxy where a human settlement is said to hold the secret to everlasting happiness. Well, where else would you take your new companion on her maiden voyage?

OK, so it isn’t technically Bill’s maiden voyage, thanks to her quick-stop visits to Australia and the end of the universe (as you do!) last week, but as she points out in the opening moments of Smile, this is her first proper one, so it better be a good’un.

The latest episode picks up directly where The Pilot left off, with Bill bemusing her personal tutor with yet more of the hilariously random questions of which she is already acclaimed. Her unique take on the TARDIS continues to highlight her fresh perspective as she brings light to areas of the Whoniverse you probably never realised you wanted to know the answers to. We also get to learn a bit more about the conditions of the Doctor’s elusive promise, referred to in this episode as his oath, which we suspect will continue to be teased to the point of tears in the episodes to come. You can share your own theories regarding what lies inside the vault in our dedicated discussion, here.

Back to the mystery at hand, though, and the foreboding pre-titles scene wastes no time in establishing the hidden terror of the escalating Emojibots, with swooping crane shots of the surrounding settlement adding a sense of cinematic grandeur to the proceedings. The sequence also features the first and only appearance of one of the episode’s underused guest stars, Mina Anwar as Goodthing, who is robbed of any opportunity to develop her character when she’s the victim of a very sticky situation in the first four minutes. Slightly problematic.

Ralf Little is another example of a character that could’ve been, especially as a teaser video of him inside the TARDIS suggested that his role as Steadfast would be playing a much bigger part in the action. In reality, he never actually gets to set foot inside the police box, which is parked off in the middle of a cornfield for the majority of the story.

After the opening credits have rolled, the bulk of the episode takes place within the confines of the aforementioned human colony (which is missing one vital ingredient), against the real-life backdrop of the City of Arts and Science Museum in Valencia. The simplistic yet stunning location adds a sense of clinical purity to the luxurious landscape, helping to maintain its connotations as the idealistic utopia. But as the story unfolds, it soon becomes evidently clear that this picturesque paradise is far from ideal. Well, this is Doctor Who we’re talking about, isn’t it?

Enter the Doctor and Bill, whose jaunt to the far future quickly becomes a fight to the death (but what else is new?) when they come face to face with this week’s technological terror. The rampant robots are a fundamentally simple premise, but it’s one that still manages to create a sense of ominous fear, especially as throughout the episode you’re never 100% sure where they are or what they’re up to. Let’s just say, you wouldn’t want to bump into one of these guys in a dark alley. Unless, that is, you were smiling…

One of the most interesting aspects of this episode is that it is, for the most part, a two-hander between Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie. As they explore their new surroundings, you keep expecting somebody else to pop up and join the party, but it just doesn’t happen for the first 30 minutes. Thinking about it, this is exactly the sort of story you want from the Doctor and Bill’s first “proper” adventure, as it enables them to get to know each other – and, in turn, us to know Bill – amidst their investigation of a good old fashioned, albeit futuristic, science-fiction mystery. It’s one of those that you really have to pay attention to, but the best science-fiction mysteries usually are.

As a result, expect a lot of talking. In the Forest of the Night writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce returns on top form with plenty of brilliantly executed dialogue, and Bill’s inquisitiveness and infectious enthusiasm is particularly refreshing and fun to behold. While generally slow-paced, that’s not to say that the episode doesn’t have its fair share of drama, too, as we finally discover what’s really going on at the same time as our heroes do (although admittedly, and rightly so, the Doctor is always one step ahead of us all). It just takes a while to get there, is all.

Sit back and enjoy the ride, though, as it’s one of the first times that the show has managed to execute such a simple format alongside a concept that it can comfortably fall back and rely on. With today’s ever growing technological advances, the story is definitely a grower in the sense that, if you’re anything like us, you’ll find your appreciation for it growing the more you think about it post-viewing.

While it probably won’t be one that we revisit as much as others, Lawrence Gough has directed an intriguing insight into the future of our species, and there is something quintessentially Doctor Who about our heroes jump starting a new civilisation and being home before the kettle has boiled. Or at least, Bill thinks they’re going home…

April 13th, 2017
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After weeks, months and nearly a year since her announcement, Pearl Mackie is about to make her official entree into the Doctor Who universe, as the TARDIS prepares to open its doors to a brand new series this Saturday. But what did WhovianNet think of her debut? Basically, it’s like all of our Christmases have come early.

And Christmas really does come early at one point, as The Pilot kicks off with a stylish (kudos to director Lawrence Gough – loving your work!) sequence – set over several months – to document the Doctor’s personal tutoring lessons with his favourite pupil, Bill Potts, at the university where, for reasons that will be explained, he’s serving as a lecturer, while she’s serving… well, chips.

The fleeting festive scene is one of the many initial heartwarming moments between the new partners in crime, and they’ve even bought each other presents, which is sure to melt your Whovian hearts. The Doctor’s thoughtful gift to Bill brings tears to her eyes, and it will probably bring some to yours, too. You have been warned.

Because, in a nutshell, that’s what the Series 10 premiere is all about. Amidst all of the developing danger, it’s a story about the Doctor meeting his new companion, and as such it is ultimately a much more intimate series opener than the ones we’ve come to expect from Steven Moffat. We’re definitely not complaining, though, as it’s one of his strongest, tightest episodes yet. It’s less about scale and spectacle and more about two people getting to know each other, but the stakes are still hella high as Bill finds herself caught up in a confounding campus conundrum. Try saying that three times when you’re drunk!

“Intimate”, though, is the perfect word to describe The Pilot. Even the pre-titles sequence, which Steven usually utilises as ambitious, ‘fly by the seat of your pants’-type prequels, is a simple yet satisfying opening. It all takes place in the Doctor’s office as Bill stumbles across the TARDIS for the first time, and Steven’s scriptwriting skills manage to honour the past (two familiar faces make an appearance), establish the present and look ahead to the future all within the matter of minutes. Or 5 minutes and 4 seconds, to be precise. You’ll absolutely love the first scene, and not only because it will leave you humming along to what we can assume is Bill’s personal theme, courtesy of the master maestro that is Murray Gold. It’s full of whimsy, joy and wonder. Another classic.

As soon as the titles have rolled (they haven’t changed, in case you were wondering, but do they really need to?), the Doctor and Bill’s relationship has already been firmly cemented as one of the most interesting and intriguing Doctor/companion dynamics in the show’s history. That is in no way a mean feat, and a credit to the outgoing showrunner, as Bill already feels like she’s been around forever, in the best possible way.

The episode itself has been described as the perfect starting point for new viewers and it goes without saying that this is largely due to the fact that the story is told from Bill’s perspective. The majority of the adventure takes place on campus (with a quick jaunt to the other end of the universe, 23 million years in the future, thrown in for good measure, naturally), and Pearl Mackie is really given the chance to shine as we join her in discovering the Doctor’s world in all its weird and wonderful glory. The moment she sees the interior of the TARDIS is particularly memorable, and it’s her brilliantly executed one liners and quirky questions which make her stand out from her predecessors. She really is something new, which is exactly what the Doctor ordered. He’s really going to have to up his game.

The most important factor to take away from this episode is that it makes us care. As she joins the Doctor and Nardole to see the universe anew in the final moments, we care about our new friend Bill Potts. When the TARDIS doors close behind her, we just wish we were going along with her. We will be, of course, as there are still 11 episodes to come, but the abrupt ending makes for a poignant closing scene to what we’d describe as the best companion introduction of the modern series.

Let’s not forget the big bad. Without giving too much away (but trust us when we say that you’ll never quite look at puddles in the same way…), the underlying threat fuels the development of Bill’s character, as we’re left with the sense that the story of/her connection with Heather – the girl with the star in her eye – is only just beginning. The Daleks make a blink and you’ll miss it cameo appearance too, with the Doctor’s oldest adversaries once again being exploited in an original, albeit ultimately underwhelming, fashion. It ties up the Friends from the Future scene, though, so it’s nice to get that out of the way so soon. Onwards!

And “onwards” can’t come soon enough. Series 10 is already shaping to be one of the best ones yet, and if The Pilot is anything to go by, we really are in for one hell of a treat. Peter Capaldi expectedly kicks off his final series as a force to be reckoned with, and with Pearl in tow, the new chemistry on the TARDIS is sizzling. Matt Lucas deserves a special mention for his reprisal as Nardole, who it somewhat tragically underused in this episode, though there’s already enough going on to keep the story flowing, so we’ll let that one slide. There’ll be plenty more where he came from over the coming weeks.

In a nutshell, The Pilot is the perfect introduction. It’s sort of one of those episodes that you’d watch on a rainy day, but bearing in mind what’s to come, we’ll probably look back and appreciate that they eased us into it gently. With the Doctor, Bill and Nardole, the prospect of travelling through time and space just got very exciting. A time for heroes it is indeed. And do you know what? It’s about bloody time.

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