Doctor Who is back! And Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!
Peter Capaldi, of course, steals the show as he does in…just about everything. Pearl Mackie makes her debut as Bill Potts and Matt Lucas returns as Nardole. The big baddie of the premier is a puddle of water with interesting properties.
The show follows the trademark Moffat Style. It starts super slow- The Doctor is an eccentric professor; Bill is a canteen (cafeteria) worker who “audits” his classes and smiles when she’s confused (Yes. Her name is Bill. She’s a lesbian, see, so of course she needs a masculine name).
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Moffat-run show without a joke about fat women, but at least we get that out of the way quickly.
The doctor waxes poetic about time, as he is wont to do, and we get a montage of “moments.” If you forgot from the opening seen that Bill is a lesbian, don’t worry. You’re reminded at least twice more.
I’m being a little hard on the gay-character thing. To be fair, after the opening it isn’t a big deal anymore, and the show treats her like a normal character with a love interest that’s a woman. That’s all any of us ask.
So we putter along for a good 10/15 minutes. There’s a super sweet scene where the Doctor finds out she has no pictures of her dead mother, so he goes back in time (presumably) and procures some for her.
Finally, we’re introduced to our big baddie, the puddle, and Bill’s love interest Heather, who has a star in her eye. Said puddle doesn’t reflect your appearance, but rather mimics it back. It ominously says “Pilot chosen” and then we go back to normal life for a few minutes.
Heather eventually gets sucked into the puddle, and Bill goes and gets the Doctor, who investigates but pretends it’s nothing special for the sake of his yet-unenlightened human pal.
About 25 minutes into the 50 minute episode, we get our first chase scene, where the possessed/abducted Heather chases Bill back to the Doctor’s office. The Doctor takes her into the TARDIS, where she is underwhelmed, too freaked out by the HeatherAlien (hereafter known). One is reminded of Donna Noble, who took time out from the chase scene to marvel at “bigger on the inside.”
They run to the basement, to Australia, to the end of the Universe (I recall Ten doing that… it looked nothing like this “end of the universe”), and finally back to the Time War (which I thought was timelocked…?). HeatherAlien follows them to every single place. How does this creature that couldn’t get out of its puddle manage to follow them to the ends of the universe?
Shut up, that’s how.
Heather-before-Alien made a promise to Bill, so HeatherAlien is trying to keep it. Thus, we have our standard anti-climactic ending where everyone gets out of the corner they’re backed in unscathed. Yay!
Back at the Doctor’s office (which, really, what school is this? I’ve been in college for nearly four years and most prof’s offices are basically cubicles with couches) he tries to erase Bill’s memory which…is weird. He says something about a promise, and not “doing that anymore,” and I am reminded of when Eleven (Matt Smith) met Clara. Then, as Eleven did with Clara, he changes his mind.
It’s not too bad, really, but it’d be better if it weren’t the same slow-start, fast-paced-chasing, anti-climax-end formula as it always is. I’d appreciate a little variety.
Director: Lawrence Gough
Writers: Steven Moffat & Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Producer: Peter Bennet
Image Source: By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53786220