Synopsis: The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) meets new companion Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) while working as a lecturer in a university. Introducing her to his weird and wonderful world, the Doctor must soon also give her a crash course in his greatest enemy as they face the deadly Daleks.
Review: This was an incredible episode. The story focuses on Bill Potts, a young canteen worker at a university. She meets the Doctor who agrees to tutor her. Bill also meets a young woman named Heather (Stephanie Hyam) who invites her to look into a mysterious puddle. The puddle possesses Heather and makes her pursue Bill, who goes to the Doctor for help. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole (Matt Lucas) travel across the universe to escape Heather, who can also travel through time and space. Heather corners the three time travellers on a spaceship where it is revealed that the creature possessing her just wants to be with someone. The Doctor convinces Bill to let Heather go which she does with regret. Initially unwilling to take Bill along as his new companion, the Doctor relents and Bill steps into the TARDIS for the adventure of a lifetime.
Bill’s theme when she is first introduced is beautiful. It is reminiscent of Martha and Donna’s theme. The episode had a very Russell T Davies feel to it with the shots of Bill on a night out and her Donna-esque relationship with her stepmum. The way the Doctor wanted to help Bill was heartwarming. Peter Capaldi shows his stupendous acting ability throughout this episode and Pearl Mackie‘s Bill proves incredibly likable. Steven Moffat gives us something else mundane to be terrified of in the mysterious puddle and Stephanie Hyam is suitably creepy yet tender as Heather. The music when Heather is encouraging Bill to look into the puddle is excellent and really evokes the juxtaposition between ordinary and extraordinary that is a major theme of Doctor Who.
There is a great mix of earthiness and suspense in this episode. Pearl Mackie delivers Bill’s bravery and vulnerability brilliantly and the scenes with her and Heather in the campus grounds are fantastic. The interactions between the Doctor, Bill and Nardole are brilliant and it was very interesting to see the TARDIS travel to lots of different places. It was awesome as well to see the Movellans from ‘Destiny Of The Daleks’ as well as the photographs of Susan Foreman and River Song. The climax of the episode was incredibly touching, with the enemy being defeated through compassion and understanding not brute force. Special mention must go to the use of Clara’s theme when Bill asks the Doctor “What if someone did that to you?” when the Doctor was about to wipe her memory.
Overall, this was an excellent episode and a strong start to series 10. Peter Capaldi is excellent as always, and Pearl Mackie looks to be a great addition to the TARDIS crew.
- Incidental Music9.0