If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: In the far future, at the edge of the galaxy, there is a gleaming, perfect city. This brand new human settlement is said to hold the secret of human happiness – but the only smiles the Doctor and Bill can find are on a pile of grinning skulls. Something is alive in the walls, and the emojibots are watching from the shadows, as the Doctor and Bill trying to unravel a terrifying mystery. (IMDB)
Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Director: Lawrence Gough
Running Time: 45mins
While the first episode did a fairly decent job at introducing Bill and the direction for the new season, this one served as Bill’s first real adventure in the Tardis. The dynamic between Bill and the Doctor was great and this continued here. She wasn’t quite settled in her new life just yet but she definitely brought a new perspective that was very refreshing to watch. Of course when Bill had the choice of where she wanted to go, either past or future, she picked future because she wanted to see if it was happy. Fitting considering the episode is called “Smile”.
Those who have seen the previews for this episode have noticed the emojibots. They were cute for sure and some of the best species from this incarnation of Doctor Who. They also weren’t exactly robots per se and were rather conduits for a species of microbots who were responsible for creating a new colony for humans who have left Earth. They were built to make sure everyone was happy but over time, their definition of happiness was warped to the point that they killed anyone who wasn’t happy and we soon learned that their bodies were being used as fertilizer.
When the Doctor and Bill arrived, they wondered why there was nobody around. Bill, not being settled, couldn’t quite process what was happening and thinking everything was cool but the Doctor wasn’t as accepting. The Doctor figured that they were setting up this colony, or Eden, for a group of human who haven’t quite arrived yet and after seeing what had happened, he wanted to warn them. Trying to protect Bill, he wanted her to stay in the Tardis but we all knew that it wasn’t going to happen for long.
We later learned that the structure of the new colony was also made from the very same microbots. After giving a lesson about settlers, they found the ship that the now dead settlers landed in. The Doctor believed that if he blew up the ship, it would destroy the microbots but after a twist, we learned that the ship housed the remaining population of Earth, escaping after some tragedy, in cryogenic pods with the Doctor and Bill’s arrival waking up the ship and accelerating the pods’ wakeup process.
The remaining population weren’t exactly thrilled when they learned about what happened to the others but that was because the emojibots’ definition of happiness changed when they began to associate grief with unhappiness so they began to murder anyone who looked unhappy to them. A fun side note for the episode, the emojibots gave people emblems that people stuck on their backs to indicate their mood so the emojibots would know what the people were thinking. This was interesting to watch with Bill and the Doctor.
The Doctor then began to empathize with the microbots as they have become an advanced species and self-aware. They built and have been living in this colony for so long that it kind of became theirs. He then managed to broker a peace deal between the humans and the microbots.
Overall, this was another good episode featuring a fun adventure for the Doctor and Bill. It was another opportunity to experience the growing chemistry between Mackie and Capaldi. The emojibots were a great addition and the colony subplot served as a chance to look at ourselves and to see where we, as a society, could be going. We got some tidbits on the Doctor’s main mission on Earth and we learned Nardole was just a glorified maid.