WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! Welcome back to the Doctor Who Review, where I recap the week’s episode and give some thoughts and opinions on it. Please do not read if you have not seen this week’s episode. There are major spoilers ahead. You have been warned. Check out the rest of the Doctor Who Reviews here.
Title: The Pilot
Written by: Steven Moffat
Hiding out in England as a University Professor, the Doctor offers to tutor Bill Potts, a cafeteria worker and not a student. Her wide-eyed wonder at the world and the way she smiles when she’s confused is already endearing, a mere minutes into the show. Little does she know this slightly-off-his-rocker Professor is a time-travelling mad man with a box, and it’s not long before Bill is sucked into his world of aliens and monsters.
It all begins with a strange puddle. Heather, one of the students and the girl with ‘the star in her eye’, takes Bill along to see a puddle behind some of the buildings. As Heather stares into it, she knows something is wrong (“It hasn’t rained in weeks”) and suddenly Heather is sucked in. Bill runs to get the Doctor and tells him that her crush has been swallowed by liquid and then the excitement really begins. As Bill and Nardole (who has been travelling/hanging out with the Doctor for a while now) follow Twelve through time and space, running from Heather who is now some sort of water-monster after Bill.
Eventually everything is sorted out, Twelve goes to wipe Bill’s memory, but then at the last minute is persuaded not to, and the final scene is Bill getting into the TARDIS, and off to the rest of the season 10.
My Thoughts on The Pilot
Well it’s back. Can you believe we’re up to Season 10 in the ‘new’ Doctor Who? 10! It’s been 12 years since they rebooted the show in 2005, bringing Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper into the world as the Doctor and Rose (sniff), and since then it’s been a whirlwind of Doctors and companions, monsters and aliens, one-off episodes and over-arching story lines since. It’s been a hell of time. Not to mention the longest wait for Season 10. Season 9 began back in 2015 (!) and since then we’ve really only had the Christmas Special to keep us going.
While Season 9 sort of lost it for me though, I feel like this season is going to pick up. I think by the end of the last season I was feeling tired of Doctor Who. I love it, it’s one of my favourite shows and probably always will be, but my dislike of Clara was getting in the way, and the complex story lines made me long for the simplicity of Eccelston and Tennant days.
Bill Potts is the character we’ve been waiting for. While there were 2.5 seasons with Clara ‘the impossible girl’ Oswald , it felt like way longer (perhaps because of the odd make up of Season 7, with the loss of Amy and Rory midway, and then the introduction to Clara in Part B). Yeah she was kinda cute in the beginning, as companion to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, but after half a season I already wanted to say goodbye.
Bill Potts is a breath of fresh air. She’s smart, she questions strange things, make hilarious observations that others in her place haven’t before, and she’s quick-witted with jokes and comments.
“Why do you run like that? … Like a penguin with it’s arse on fire.”
It takes her the longest time to figure out that the TARDIS is ‘bigger on the inside’, and she thinks it looks like a posh kitchen and that the Doctor didn’t have enough money to finish the wooden door when the rest is metal. It’s comments like these that make me sure that she’ll bring a fantastic quirky feeling back to Doctor Who.
Nardole is back from his Christmas Special episodes and has become something of a manservant/butler type figure to the Doctor. They seem to have settled down at the university for several decades (odd in itself for the Doctor to be so stationery for so long) tending to a vault in the school. This is most likely going to be the major ARC this season and I’m sure it will unravel itself in due course.
Steven Moffat is stepping down as writer at the end of this season, after many years of working with the Whoverse. Before Moffat it was Russell T. Davies who did a lot of the writing, and while Moffat has been good, his story lines big and dramatic, it’ll be interesting to see what new writer Chris Chibnall will bring in terms of plot and characters. Perhaps it’ll feel a little more like the Davies seasons. *shrugs* We’ll see.
Overall thoughts on Doctor Who ‘The Pilot’
Definitely enjoyed it. It was more light-hearted, slower to get to the main monster, a fantastic addition of Bill and it’s fun to see the Doctor with 2 companions again rather just one. I don’t know how long Nardole is going to be here, but at the moment I’m happy. Here’s hoping the rest of the season will be like this.
What did you think of Season 10 Episode 1, The Pilot?