Doctor Who is back on our screens, and it’s one final ride for Peter Capaldi. Now I have to be honest, I haven’t liked Doctor Who for quite some time; it was my whole life when I was a kid, but when Moffat took over, I enjoyed it less and less with every passing season, to the point that I now find it so hard to go into an episode completely impartial. I always expect to hate it, and more often than not, I do. So with last night’s episodes, I tried my hardest to get away from that, but to my surprise, it was actually pretty good.
So in this episode, we were introduced to the new companion, Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), and she is terrific. I think a lot of fans were prepared to find her boring because once again, in a show where a man can travel literally anywhere in time and space, we get another earth girl from London as our companion. But she brings a lot of energy and excitement to the show. Admittedly her dialogue was a little worrying to start off with – In particular, her rambling about giving a girl extra chips which literally has no purpose and builds to nothing, and then they try to get away with it by pointing out within the episode that it builds to nothing – but once she finds her footing she’s very entertaining. Her reaction to the Tardis especially is priceless. She’s also the show’s first openly gay character, and that was executed very well; nothing obvious, hamfisted, contrived etc. just natural, as it should be. Pearl Mackie does an excellent job at playing Bill. She’s very talented and clearly having a lot of fun with the role.
Speaking of companions, we now have Matt Lucas as a series regular, and whilst he was insufferable in his two Christmas special appearances, he was a nice addition to this episode and hopefully to the series. Yes, the episode was quite good. Very little to complain about, other than the aforementioned dialogue and weak, shoe-horned references such as the picture of River Song on the Doctor’s desk, which is actually hilarious when you realise it’s just a picture from an episode, and looks like nothing like how an actual picture would be taken, kind of like when stock images are used. But it does have some great ideas in it, such as the Doctor being a Uni lecturer (his teachings being very well written) and the mystery of the vault that The Doctor and Nardole keep, and while the actual villain/premise of the episode was underwhelming, it was fairly clever, and ultimately gave way for Bill to have the attention she needed. Although going to the Dlake-Movellan war during the ending was a little much, feeling very rushed at that point.
So Doctor Who is off to a very decent start. For the first time in a while, I can say I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, a series that will include classic Cybermen, John Simm’s Master and Peter Capaldi handing over the prized role….Kris Marshall, apparently? Hopefully it’ll be a great ride.