(Doctor Who logo, all images – BBC)
Hello again! It’s my great pleasure to reintroduce Doctor Who episode reviews with our first full season since September 2015!
As a rule we won’t mention anything beyond rumour, speculation and what’s already been officially announced. In short, spoilers will be kept to the absolute minimum, if not avoided completely.
THE DOCTOR FALLS (S10_E12)
It’s not often, whilst watching an hour of Saturday Night, family entertainment that the opening minutes remind you of Night of the Living Dead. But still, here we are, witnessing the residents of a little house in the countryside (actually yet another floor in last week’s four-hundred mile long, time stretching colony ship) shoot and round up not entirely converted Mondassian Cybermen.
Alas, this is another week where I pretty much have to delve into SPOILERS, so please beware.
I loved season 10’s finale. There’s simply so much to enjoy here, I’m bound to leave several things out. Instead of writing about every little detail from Nardole‘s supreme usefulness to the “ultimate Apple upgrade”, I’m going to focus on the three or four big things that really worked for me.
First and foremost, the way the script and director Rachel Talalay handle Bill‘s self-preserving denial is both a series of excellent visual tricks and also genuinely heartbreaking. We get to see the familiar woman inside for most of the episode, which only makes people’s reactions to her more painful to watch. Her Cyber conversion is written as a parallel to horrendously old fashioned, but still entirely alive and well attitudes towards homosexuality. Bill is sneered at, distanced and feared for what people see on the surface. For how she’s labelled. Only her friends seem able, or willing to look beneath the metal exterior.
It might all be a bit on-the-nose, but it felt powerful enough to me. And, frankly, Bill‘s unexpected, but entirely logical ending made me smile. Eternal Water Lesbian Space Queen seems like a pretty decent escape.
Next up is another hugely successful combination of great writing and spot on location work. That quiet, chirping, glistening moment of magic that can be found every morning as dawn begins to paint the countryside with restrained colour makes for the perfect setting for a speech about compassion and possibility. The Doctor‘s final (this season), doubly heartfelt plea for goodness seems to be getting through to Missy, while her earlier, rounder-faced self doesn’t even bother to listen. It’s Capaldi at his best, conjuring up every ounce of desperation and kindness this fifty-four year old character has in him.
What follows, out in the woods, between Master and Missy feels like a fantastic ending to their character, too. As the newest regeneration seeks to reform, her bitter forebear is having none of it. It seems only fitting that a double act of Mastercide should end this Queen of Villainy’s reign. While, of course, leaving just enough ambiguity for a conveniently as-yet-unseen incarnation to exist between Simm and Gomez, for The Master‘s inevitable return somewhere down the line.
Finally, I have to talk about that ending. We’ve seen The Doctor defiantly holding on to his current self before, but the way Capaldi manages to recreate Matt Smith’s stance, to the repeat of Tennant’s tantrum, is nothing short of amazing. And that final moment of coupling between the First and the Twelfth is such a lovely idea. I can’t help but think David Bradley will not only give the show it’s best William Hartnell since 1966, but that he’ll also slot neatly into that War Doctor position sadly vacated forever by John Hurt.
For a season of Who that, in its first half at least, felt so much like it was trying to appeal to a new audience, this ending feels so squarely aimed at the pre-existing fanbase that it casts doubt over exactly who all this was meant to appeal to. But then, maybe the point was that by seasons end, that new audience would be invested enough to go Google who this new, old Doctor could be and feel intrigued enough to delve even deeper. It’s one thing bringing new people onboard, but another thing entirely to make them want to seek out the fifty-three years of rich (and not so rich) history that came before. For me, Mr Moffat leaves one hell of a legacy behind him.
WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME (S10_E11)
Wait, what just happened? And all before the opening titles?!
That could be pretty much as far as I go with this review. Instead, I’m going to have to write a big ol’ SPOILER WARNING.
And dive in.
That guy with the wandering accent and rubbery face was a terrible tea salesman, wasn’t he?
Now, we all know John Simm made his return this week, and initially his reappearance buried beneath prosthetics seemed a bit too obvious. But then, by the time he finally met his future self the dialogue was so playfully on the nose that it seemed more deliberate than miscalculated.
The pacing (or should I say two sets of pacing) was, as it has been many times before this season, spot on. Bill‘s fate never felt anything but inevitable, with Moffat opting not to so much surprise us but rather slowly drip feed us with delicious morsels of dread until the catastrophic main course was finally all plated up.
Everything seemed to make sense, including the neat “Interstellar on a massive Spaceship” premise. The Tenth Planet itself was very nicely revealed, intercut with The Doctor’s first glimpse of his old foe.
I hope we get a lot more from Mistress and Master next week.
This was largely another Bill Potts centric episode. Pearle Mackie can take the weight of this show on her shoulders effortlessly, and her fate is all the more tragic because of the amount of audience investment and sheer likeability she’s commanded over the past eleven weeks. Will The Doctor save her? Probably. How? I’ve no idea! Bill is a character that deserves a better fate than this.
More to the point, how on earth is a 45 minute slide into darkness this much fun? I’m forever grateful that those Cybermen got the proper, creepy, sing-song voices.
As for that opening sparkle of regeneration energy, and the other tantalising/terrifying sprinkle of doom in the Next Time tease, I’m stumped too. Will we really be losing this Doctor a week from now? Only time will tell.
THE EATERS OF LIGHT (S10_E10)
When I first heard that one of the Classic Who writers was returning to the show, my initial reaction was “Oooh, cool”. When I read that it was Rona Munro, I have to admit, I shrugged. To my shame, I hadn’t heard of her, but I sure as hell have now.
When I was a kid, I’d undoubtedly seen her work on Who, ending as she did Sylvester McCoy’s time on the show. Now, twenty-eight years later, Rona has written one of the very best episodes of this season.
This week we find ourselves in Scotland, The Doctor and Bill arguing over each’s theory as to how the Ninth Roman Legion mysteriously disappeared. What they find are the last of the Romans, an opposing village of Picts, a monster that feeds on light and the gateway to another dimension.
There’s an abundance of wonderful lines, filled with deeper meaning and amusement. The idea that crows could talk, but are now in a “mass sulk” tickled me, as did Nardole’s suggestion of “Death by Scotland”. This is a lovely, quiet script covering everything from how shared understanding can level us all, to Roman views on sexuality.
Sadly, too many of the smaller roles are poorly acted, but The Force Awakens’ Brian Vernel (of “Tell that to Kanjiklub” fame) excels as the de facto leader of the Romans. Even more impressive is Rebecca Benson as the rash, brave Kar. It is down to her to defend the Gate, a responsibility The Doctor feels is far beyond her young age but that that she swiftly understands.
Special praise should too be given to Murray Gold, out of nowhere providing a grand, subtle and thoroughly impressive score. The moment The Doctor lays eyes on the Gate itself is given real magic, and I think I heard a little nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey later on.
The Eaters of Light is a simple, charming and dare I say it powerful story and a very welcome return by a veteran writer whose work I may well have to seek out.
EMPRESS OF MARS (S10_E09)
With the completion of the last three weeks’ story behind us, things take a decidedly retro turn. Mark Gatiss returns to Doctor Who for a ninth and possibly final episode, with The Doctor, Bill and Nardole rocking up at NASA just as a Mars Probe sends its data back to earth. Much to everyone’s surprise, someone or some Thing has spelled out God Save The Queen in rocks on the planet’s surface.
Before we know it, our intrepid trio (complete with very nicely tailored space suits) whizz back to the late 1800s to find a very Steampunk looking group of Victorian Soldiers drilling (or rather lasering) into the rock beneath the Red Planet’s surface.
Little is made of quite how Victorians have made their way to Mars, so I shan’t dwell on it either. Before long however, a hulking silhouette marches into view and we’re introduced to Friday; a lone Ice Warrior who has been befriended, or rather willingly pressed into servitude by us nasty, invading humans. The last time we saw such a Warrior was in 2013, in another episode penned by Mr Gatiss; Cold War.
I couldn’t help but think of the 2010, Matt Smith episode Victory of the Daleks when watching Friday serve food and clean up the crockery. Seven years ago, Gatiss also had his Daleks serving tea and platitudes in a very similar manner. For all the originality of combining Victorians and Ice Warriors on Mars, I guess he may not have quite recalled that he was re-using some of his own, old ideas.
Still, not too much time is wasted before we’ve met a few of the off-earth soldiers (including Game of Thrones’ Ian Beattie) and the true purpose of Friday’s laser drill had been revealed. Beneath the rock lay not gems and riches but a sarcophagus for the sleeping Empress of Mars.
While Friday had been playing his human masters all along, The Doctor still remembers how an Ice Warrior values honour above all else and views their nature as less of a threat than the conquering greed of us humans.
Before watching this week, I have to admit that I’d seen a few reviewers disappointed with how throwaway this episode felt. While I can’t argue against the notion that it’s a relatively lightweight week on Who, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Empress herself made for some enjoyably tense encounters and the succinct character arc of Earth’s most senior soldier gives both sides of the skirmish some added depth.
The overall retro tone, a couple of lovely synth twiddles and one very geeky, deliberately laughable cameo make for a slight but welcome love letter to the kind of episodes you can imagine Mark Gatiss holding dear.
As things ended with a dash more Missy, an intriguing piece of setup see’s the audience receive their own gossip worthy “Don’t you think he looks tired?” moment, only this time we’re not talking about the beginnings of the downfall of a Prime Minister, but perhaps of The Doctor himself.
THE LIE OF THE LAND (S10_E08)
Another week, another nice twist on the “Previously On…” intro. Opening with what I’m sure was a deliberate mirroring of David Attenborough’s narration style, as if this were an episode of Planet Earth, we’re caught up on the world’s newly rewritten history! The Monks have been here forever, literally offering support to the first creature to crawl out of water onto land. Before long, the tone has slipped into something a little more 1984 meets Starship Troopers. I’d definitely like to know more.
After a great start, things feel very much like a script you’d expect to come from Being Human’s Toby Whithouse, only this time with a great sense of the T Davieses about its World Gone Wrong scope.
Earth is now a world not entirely unlike Half-Life’s City 17 where a boiler-suit wearing populace toils all day and find itself carted off to detention centres for thinking the wrong thing. In amongst all the doom and gloom, Bill dreams of her mother and the return of Nardole makes for the most welcome use of Matt Lucas’ comedic timing yet.
Everything in the first half of the episode builds to a reunion with The Doctor, who has seemingly joined forces with The Monks. I’ll admit, the fakery that plays out in this scene gave me genuine chills, which were immediately replaced by belly laughs as Peter Capaldi expertly shifted from an almost full-on Malcolm Tucker (without the cursing) to the twinkly Doctor we saw at the start of season 10.
Also great, was the opportunity to spend a little more quality time with Missy. Sat inside her Vault, full of regret and repentance. I don’t believe it for a second.
Before we know it, all is lost until The Doctor has a plan to march straight into “Fake News Central” for a swift yet effective climax.
This weekend, Doctor Who and Wonder Woman have brought to the screen their own messages of the power of love. Right now, as a Brit, that message is very welcome indeed.
The Monks Trilogy has, all in all, been a solid story told by three writers more than capable of bringing great entertainment to our TVs. It is perhaps telling, in his final season as Showrunner, that the weakest part of the three should come from Steven Moffat himself. For me, those final “Specials” from Russell were some of his poorest writing on the show. But while Steven, his team and his fellow writers are producing a show this consistently enjoyable I’d sooner sit back and have fun rather than snipe.
THE PYRAMID AT THE END OF THE WORLD (S10_E07)
Spliced neatly into clips from last week’s episode, we find Bill recounting the (thankfully virtual) events of her painfully, Papally interrupted date whilst on another try with Penny. Of course, things don’t go according to plan in the real world either, with the arrival of the UN Secretary General and a quick audience reminder that, when truly needed, The Doctor is President of the Earth.
The need in question derives from a troubling turn of events that’s seen a 5000 year old pyramid appear, overnight, on the intersection of the planet’s three most powerful armies.
The Monks are back, with an offer The Doctor tries everything he can to refuse. Dangling the planet’s impending doom before us, The Monks only want to save us from ourselves. The catch? Our Saviours sound increasingly like Overlords, insistent on accepting our love in return for complete dominance.
Running through the episode is a nice side story, a parable on how the tiniest thing, a little broken glass can bring about the end of the world. As it turns out, The Monks aren’t here to take us by force, they aren’t even here to end everything we hold dear by their own desire, they’re simply opportunists ready to step in just at the right moment, just when we have no option but to ask.
Once again, this episode’s greatest strength is its pacing. The story has many nice touches, but it’s that slow build of dread towards the inevitable climax that makes it all work. A still subdued Doctor raises the stakes without even trying; if he seems off his game then the threat is automatically higher. That in itself is a neat trick, which gives way to a moment that could have felt victorious and reassuring but instead feels bittersweet given the cost.
Last week I spoke about the promise of bigger and better things to come. While things don’t yet feel much bigger, that decision feels more deliberate and more of a benefit to the story being told. Things are still in good shape for what I hope ends up a cracking trilogy of tales.
How’s that for a change of pace!? Just as Season Ten had seemingly nailed the lighter tone of yesteryear, we’re back in Moffatland for a slower, more subdued mind-twister.
Within minutes, we’re given a pretty straight answer as to what lies inside The Vault. I can’t help but think, especially given that teaser way back at the end of episode one, that there’s more inside there than we’re being led to believe.
First things first, though. A series of flashbacks give us the welcome return of Missy (albeit in browbeaten, relatively submissive form) and The Doctor wearing an extremely nice coat!
Swiftly moving on to what appears to be the present day our protagonist is still blind, muddling through using a combination of biometric information from his Sonic Sunglasses and the not entirely reliable help of Nardole. Visited by The Pope himself, The Doctor is asked to gaze upon a document that has driven every other reader before him to suicide.
A terrific comedic moment sees a nervous, self-doubting date flee Bill’s apartment as The Pope himself appears to ruin what could have been a moment between her and Bill. Pearle Mackie delivers a fantastically scornful “you’re all going to hell” to the Pontiff’s companions before the episode digs its heels into serious business. As the Vatican offers, not for the first time, an opportunity for The Doctor to confess his sins the music matures into something quite lovely, albeit mournful.
Extremis is a brilliantly paced episode, piling on the tension and intrigue until its final moments. As Steven Moffat so often does, the story hangs on a couple of “take something real and put a new twist on it” concepts. For my money however, these ideas feel a little too stretched. Anyone nerdy enough to know will appreciate the dialogue about how computers struggle to produce truly random numbers, but the way its expanded here is best taken at face value. It’s an idea wrung dry for dramatic impact, but doesn’t really bear thinking about (and don’t get me started on the nonsense about email). Equally, the repeated “everything is a computer game” motif feels shoehorned in to appeal to the kids and was far better realised in Rick & Morty.
The Next Time tease confirms that this is the first part of a longer story. All in all, it provides an effectively intriguing setup for more to come. Given that we know this trilogy of tales has been created by three different writers, the ending feels like a safe place to leave things without writing the next person into a corner. It could have done with more of a distinct cliffhanger.
I suspect, as this story plays out, I’ll come to appreciate its first episode more. For now, it feels like a solid foundation for bigger and better things to come.
Space! The final frontier. As opening lines to an episode of TV sci-fi go, you probably haven’t heard them on this show before. So began another great University lecture by The Doctor and this week’s excellent continuation of a season that really feels like it has found its feet.
Returning for the fourth time in three seasons, writer Jamie Mathieson gives us another strong premise that finds The Doctor disobeying Nardole once more and marooning his team on Chasm Forge, a mining vessel where the only currency worth a damn is the very air we breathe. An entirely un-veiled attack on Capitalism, this idea plays out as both political comment and horror movie.
Several memorable, standout moments include two strikingly near-death experiences for Bill. The stakes are always effectively high as The Doctor himself pays the price for protecting those in his charge.
With its solid foundation and impressive direction, this is a standalone episode that excels on its own merits, while still managing to pull off a pleasingly melodramatic ending that should carry interesting repercussions forward into next week.
With the promised Mondassian Cybermen on their way later this season, was it just me or did the framing of the TARDIS’ arrival, blue glow reflecting in the cold metal walls of this claustrophobic locale, resemble a giant Cyber-head?
After last week’s brilliant slice of old school creepiness, this week was an exciting, rousing, tight forty-five minutes of sci-fi with a message.
I just wish The Doctor had brushed his teeth.
KNOCK KNOCK (S10_E04)
OK, this was pretty great. Within the opening minutes of this week’s creepy, mostly standalone episode of Doctor Who, it feels to me as though something this season has been attempting to do finally hit its target. The light, breezy setup provides a roster of characters, a simple premise and a subtly menacing Landlord poised to let his ominous property pick off the first of them.
So far, so Russell T Davies. The format is efficient, the tone is lightweight without skimping on the menace. This is exactly how those early episodes of Who felt when the show returned in 2005. As Regeneration is mentioned for the first time in a while, it feels as though this “soft reboot” is complete. The feel of the show has shifted towards a more familiar and, arguably, more successful template just as our central character prepares to be replaced.
Now that this change slots fully in place, we’re gifted with an old fashioned story, nicely shot, well-acted and satisfyingly staged.
David Suchet makes the most out of the Landlord, playing him with a quiet sense of detachment that overspills into short-tempered intolerance should any of his latest set of tenants overstep the rules of the house. An early appearance by him is enhanced by some excellent costuming, cladding Suchet in the perfect brown to allow him to blend into the rooms wooden walls suggesting that he isn’t simple the dwelling’s Landlord but more of a long-established fixture.
The story, by first-time Who writer (and acclaimed creator of 2015’s Doctor Foster) Mike Bartlett, plays out as a classic Horror Movie. The things that go bump in the night increase in ferocity, and inventiveness as Bill and her not-quite-friends attempt to survive the House itself. The Doctor’s intrusions are played for maximum ‘fish out of water’ comedy more successfully than they were in season eight’s The Caretaker.
Knock Knock hangs on a simple idea, expertly controlled over the majority of its run time before wrapping up in a finale that feels just smart enough, just earned enough with dialogue that wouldn’t have been out of place in Who some forty-odd years ago. I’ve long had a soft spot for melodramatic bad guys speaking resolutely about those who must be “destroyed” without the slightest realisation that they might just have gone a little bit mad over the years.
Poirot’s David Suchet adds class and depth to a tragic character, while season ten’s production team nail the atmosphere.
Concluding with more clues as to what may lie inside The Vault, this week’s episode feels like this year’s most assured yet. Thoroughly enjoyable stuff.
THIN ICE (S10_E03)
For the second time this season, Doctor Who picks up right where it left off. The Doctor and Bill find themselves in 1814 London, the last of the Frost Fairs see’s countless merry makers take their tentative steps out onto the frozen Thames while others meet a less-then-merry end beneath the ice.
For me, this was an episode of two halves. The first half took its time to introduce the setting (a worrying time for Bill, given that “slavery is still totally a thing.”) in ways that imply the darkness of the period without making things too heavy for 7:20pm (UK Time). I wasn’t too keen on this week’s overtly ‘family friendly’ tone with, once again, some bad acting making the whole thing feel a bit too much like Children’s Television on a Sunday afternoon.
That said, after about the twenty minute mark or so, things started to feel a whole lot more engaging. An eaten child leaves Bill so understandably shaken that she’s forced to question who this Doctor fellow actually is. How many people has he seen die? How many people’s deaths has he been directly responsible for? The latter answer isn’t, perhaps, the “I remember them all” trope we’d expect but instead an opportunity for The Doctor to articulate how the weight of his mistakes must be weighed against his potential to save lives. It’s all neatly moral stuff and gave both Pearle Mackie and Peter Capaldi the chance to delve deeper into their characters.
The introduction of a snarling, despicable villain along with more than a couple of elements from Dickens’ Oliver Twist ensure the episode’s second half grips more than the first. A wonderful, succinct speech about a man, maybe an entire species’ worth cements both Bill and the audience’s admiration for The Doctor before some amusingly old school kidnap, escape and victory close out another solid week on the show.
That’s just the thing though, while this is another accomplished script from Sarah Dollard (who gave us last season’s excellent Face the Raven) our first three episodes have felt fine rather than sensational. I’m sure it’s just a matter of taste, but last year’s past glory revelling openers had a much greater impact on me. Perhaps I’m being harsh, but as a fan of Moffat’s tenure on Who, I expected his final season to feel a bit more…epic.
Still for the sense of control in the writing, for the BBC’s consistent ability to stage Period Drama in its sleep, for that speech (“worth the wait”, indeed) and for the relationship that’s being built so successfully between The Doctor and Bill I came away happy.
We’re back! Seemingly right where we left off, Bill has stepped inside the TARDIS and is giving The Doctor hell over impractical chair positioning and lack of steering wheels. It’s another opportunity for the newcomer to make some fresh observations on the little things we’ve taken for granted.
Just as Bill chooses to see the future instead of the past, we’re introduced to a far flung Earth Colony in the late stages of being built. Swarms of Vardies (essentially flying Nanobots) have helped construct and literally form the infrastructure for this large, sparkling white city ready for Earth’s frozen inhabitants to unthaw and repopulate. When we meet them however, the Vardies’ Emoji-driven human-interface robots have started to insist upon displays of happiness lest they call upon the swarm to reduce the humans to dust and bones.
I loved Frank Cottrell Boyce’s previous episode, season eight’s In The Forest of the Night. I, however, appeared to be about the only person that did. Once again, this story is more about the poetic dialogue and neatly implausible ideas than it is action. Some appalling acting aside, the threat is well introduced before the opening titles. Lines like “what aspect of your language has survived over so many thousands of years”, met with the response of “…Emoji” conveys a charming cynicism that’s very welcome inside a story of failed optimism and sadness.
The greatest source of that optimism comes from Bill, once again proving to be a breath of fresh air for the show. While her forced “happiness” is fun, it’s the genuine joy she shows early on in the episode that really charms. Her gleeful “This is a great day out!” had me smiling enough to appease any number of Emojibots.
I can imagine some people finding this episode a bit of a slog. Its dialogue heavy, slow release revelation about a Robot’s perception of grief and the best way to keep us happy is smart and cerebrally satisfying. It isn’t, however, full of pace or event.
By the end of episode two, Bill has learned more about what makes The Doctor tick. She’s realised that this is a man capable of making bigger decisions than anything in her life could have prepared her for. For us, the audience, Bill has brought out the best in a Doctor who made a mysterious oath to stay put some years ago.
All in all, Smile is a solid episode with an increasingly timely message about the direction our future could take. Painting with such a lyrically broad brush that its ideas stretch plausibility, the comical and pessimistic points are still made. Deft, if not entirely enthralling Saturday Night TV.
THE PILOT (S10_E01)
Season 10 of Doctor Who starts with a creak and a twinkle. The awkward, apparently robotic limbs of Nardole (Matt Lucas) usher onscreen Bill (Pearle Mackie), our latest Companion and with her a whole new audience has the ability to jump onboard a 53 year old show for the first time. A daunting task, were it not for Doctor Who‘s built-in ability to regenerate its lead character as well as its whole approach to weekly sci-fi.
The twinkle is, at first, provided by a jauntily youthful soundtrack that, I suspect, was going out of its way to sound charmingly lo-fi and every so whimsically British. In amongst all this rampant accessibility came an admission that should, I hope, come as a shock to precisely no one; gay people exist.
Which brings us back to Bill. In the space of this opening scene she seems open, honest and entirely likeable. A quick montage enhanced by The Doctor‘s wisdom and a dash of Joy Division later and Bill has a crush, an admiral thirst for knowledge, an overprotective and not quite entirely understanding foster mother and, frankly, more real world depth than Clara was ever given in far, far longer on the show. Don’t get me wrong, Jenna Coleman was great but Mackie’s character seems more Actual Person and less Plot Device.
I’ve not mentioned Peter Capaldi yet, so let’s do the man no disservice by quickly stating that his Doctor remains my favourite.
From there, the story develops promisingly. Every encounter Bill has with crush Heather (a student with a star in her eye and a habit of frequenting mysterious puddles) is both frustratingly distant yet brings them closer together with every hopeful smile. One disappearance too many leads The Doctor to believe something more might be afoot.
The resulting discovery is satisfyingly simple, but that might be where the episode begins to falter. In amongst all the effective character work (loved the suggestion that The Doctor popped back in time to provide some tangible memories of Bill‘s mother for her that she’d been sorely lacking) the underlying plot begins to feel clunky.
For every great line, or nicely handled scare there’s something that feels like a bullet point being ticked off on a list of all the elements that make up this show. The TARDIS is reintroduced well enough, but its individual abilities (movement, time travel, bigger on the inside) and The Doctor‘s Physic Paper all seem to show up onscreen one after the other so that these curious new Viewers can take it all in.
But once these ten or fifteen minutes of “this is why you should like this show” is over, Matt Lucas finds a way to inject some welcome comedic timing and the action seems slicker, more organic. Even if if is just an excuse to reintroduce The Daleks and test the mettle of this week’s faux foe.
The moral of the story mirrored that of last season’s opener almost exactly; that any seemingly nefarious plot can be undone with a little compassion. The difference this year is that the story has been designed to appeal to those coming to the show anew, as well as those returning with a desire to see things change. The previous telling was rooted almost entirely in the past, aimed squarely at returning fans wishing to relive and revive the well-established.
Wrapping things up, given the gift of keeping every memory of what she’d been through, Bill is sharp enough to appreciate all the good and perhaps learn from the sad. While her character is the standout focus of the show’s return, it could prove to be the format of the show itself (if not too clumsily re-trod) that remains the star.
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