TV ReviewsDoctor Who (2005) Season 10 Episode 1: The Pilot Review

Keith NoakesApril 15, 2017

I will admit that I have jumped on this show within the last few years but I have been a fan ever since. I’ve always heard about its popularity but now I know what the fuss was about. I’ll just get this out of the way right now, my favorite doctor was the 10th doctor played by David Tennant and my favorite companion was Rose Tyler played by Billie Piper. I am still a fan of the current doctor Peter Capaldi, however, and I am curious to see how this season will play out considering that it will be the last for Capaldi and showrunner Steven Moffat.

Synopsis: The Doctor and Nardole team up with a university student to take down the Daleks. (IMDB)

Writer: Steven Moffat

Director: Lawrence Gough

Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: 45mins

With the departure of the Doctor’s latest companion, Clara, a new companion has taken her place with a young woman named Bill (Pearl Mackie). This episode mostly served to set up her character and if this episode was any indication, this was definitely a promising start for her. She was a welcome change from recent companions in that she was smart, curious, witty, and independent while providing some much needed energy to the proceedings. She stood on her own and she fit in well with the Doctor and Nardole.

Of course the Doctor didn’t pick her for nothing and I assume that his reason will become evident in the following episodes. We know he may have played a part in Bill’s life when she was younger, barely appearing in one of her baby pictures (but he has a time machine so who really knows). Her first meeting with the Doctor triggered a memory of her mother who passed away when she was a baby. She didn’t know much about her until the recent discovery of a box of her mother’s pictures led her to that picture. I also assume that we will learn more about her and her past in the following episodes.

The Doctor and Nardole were working at the University where Bill also worked. She wasn’t a student because she couldn’t afford the lectures. She still managed to sneak into lectures that were being taught by the Doctor so he noticed her and called her to his office. He noticed something within her and allowed her to become a fully-fledged student with himself as her private tutor.

The Doctor had apparently been teaching at the university for at least 50 years for a reason. He claimed to be in disguise and he had promises to keep. His mission involved protecting a mysterious vault in a dungeon below the university. We obviously don’t know what is inside just yet and I assume we will know this as well over the following episodes but it must be something powerful otherwise he wouldn’t be protecting it in the first place.

It wouldn’t exactly be a Doctor Who episode without a monster of the week and this week’s monster was rather inconsequential, however, it wasn’t the main focus of the episode. With the episode mostly being about Bill, the monster was as well. While at the bar, Bill met a woman named Heather (Stephanie Hyam). What was fascinating about her was that one of her eyes had star-shaped cornea. They became friends and one day, she brought Bill to this mysterious puddle that eventually came alive, swallowing Heather and taking control of her body.

The monster became obsessed will Bill and followed her around maybe because it was using Heather’s body. When it followed her back to the Doctor, he and Nardole were concerned that it was after the vault which we later learned that it wasn’t. In trying to evade the monster, Bill entered the Tardis for the first time. She was a little clueless at first, not understanding the gravity of the situation, worrying more about the bathroom which was a different reaction than expected. They traveled throughout time and space to escape it, including through a war with Daleks but it kept following them until Bill realized that all it wanted was her.

Bill let it go but did it ever fully leave as mysterious tear drops remained on her face. Perhaps not ready to take on another companion after losing Clara, the Doctor was ready to wipe her memory but an emotional plea from Bill managed to convince him otherwise. She could tell it was coming but she didn’t want him to remove the memory of the most exciting thing that had happened in her life and got him to think about what it would feel like if someone had done it to him. He let her go but caught her outside and offered her to join him.

Overall, this was a good start for the season and a great introduction to Bill and the new direction for the season, acting as sort of a pilot. The monster was meaningless and so was Nardole’s inclusion in the episode but that wasn’t the point as it served to establish the relationship between Bill and the Doctor. This was definitely a good start as Mackie and Capaldi have excellent chemistry together and I can’t wait to see where they take it.

Score: 8/10

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