Doctor Who Review – “The Pilot”
I sat down to the start of a new season of Doctor Who anticipating much of what I had gotten from the Stephen Moffat/Peter Capaldi era. The past two seasons have been good, but not great. There were glimmers of light as Capaldi would insert some element of a past incarnation of the Time Lord or as some prior moment from classic Doctor Who was referenced. Overall, there seemed to be a sense that the series was looking for a direction to go, one that would appease fans, the BBC, and the creative spirit at work within the show. Amazingly, we’ve gotten a premiere that encompassed everything I want from Doctor Who.
New companion Bill is a perfect addition to the cast. She’s inquisitive which puts her into the role of the audience’s proxy as well as the vehicle for exposition. Her character is inquisitive, but not so intelligent as to appear cocky. Initially there was some hubbub about her sexuality, but to the show’s credit, it was only an issue as to how it pertained to the plot and at no point was anyone shocked by it. Hopefully, it does not become a recurring theme, much as it did with Captain Jack Harkness.
Capaldi’s Doctor seems more reassured of himself and his role. A lot of time has passed since he lost River Song. In the Christmas Special, it was stated that about twenty years had passed, and now, he has been teaching for roughly fifty years, so if can assume these figures to be linear, which we really can’t because of time travel, then he’s a more mature person and ready to face his next regeneration. He is also more nostalgic, keeping pictures of River Song and Susan Foreman on his desk. These little touches, along with mannerisms such as rubbing his ear with his little finger remind us that Capldi’s Doctor is an amalgamation of previous Doctors, much like Tennant’s harkened back to previous incarnations.
On the flip side there’s that damned mystery box, a premise that Moffat holds to as much as JJ Abrams. The vault will be opened this season and most likely have something to do with Capaldi’s regeneration. The real mystery lies in nothing revealed in the episode, but in the lead up to it, how the Master will come back in two incarnations. I personally like having something to look forward to, but have grown tired of the slowly teased mystery that unravels as a story progresses. In letting it go on for so long, it never quite has the impact as the anticipation, often leaving me, and I would assume, other viewers disappointed.
All in all, though, I liked this episode and I’m looking forward to the next because of well, killer emoji robots.