The Pilot by Steven Moffat
Well that was different! Was it me or does the show have a very different feel post-Clara? Even Murray’s Gold’s music felt revamped. If you know anyone who’s never seen Who before this would have been a good episode to start them with (which I sense was Moffat’s intention). There’s no real hint of any series myth-arc here, Moffat simply gets on with introducing Bill and forging the start of her friendship with the Doctor.
The big thing this episode had to sell was new companion Bill Potts (along with new actress Pearl Mackie): and both come across very well. Bill seems like a real person you could meet in a way that Clara didn’t, which makes for a refreshing change. She’s also not as quick to get to grips with time-travel or the Doctor as Clara or some other companions have been – there’s definitely an air of realism to her. She’s also funny (the penguins line made me chuckle) quirky and curious – all the classic companion traits really. Pearl Mackie’s acting seems pretty good too – though neither her or the character were particularly challenged here – but I’m sure she’ll get more to do in coming weeks. As for the character’s publicized sexuality – its shown, not told, and that’s a very adult way to approach it – its part of her character but it doesn’t define her. Good job Moffat.
Matt Lucas’ comic timing brings a certain charm to the cowardly but well-meaning Nardole while Capaldi’s Doctor seemed a touch more restrained (if just as out of touch with humans) than he was last series (no OTT entrance on a tank this time, THANK GOODNESS!). The possessed/converted/whatever the hell Heather (Stephanie Hyam) was made for a creepy if rather unthreatening foe. That’s about all I have to say: the direction was good, the music was good, the script was good but nothing was extraordinary. Looking forward to next week!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Overall it’s all a bit inconsequential and more of a controlled character piece than a mind-blowing adventure, but it’s done so well I can’t help but like it. As for Bill? Things are looking good, but we’ll have to see how she does as the series goes on. But its a solid start for both Pearl Mackie and Series 10.
Next Week: Bring on the Emojibots! (An episode pretty much guaranteed to be better than it sounds on paper).