Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Sunday Doctor Who Review


I will be discussing my thoughts and feelings of the Doctor Who episode "The Pilot" after the cut. I will not worry about spoiling the plot, so read at your own risk.


Doctor Who: "The Pilot" - This was very much a set-up episode, setting the scene of the season and dropping a number of hints as to the direction it will be going in. We get a new companion, a location with a mystery and hints of the Doctor's history.

I found Bill very likeable, particularly her quirky look (she has some fascinating facial expressions!) and the reason the Doctor picked her - she smiles when she doesn't understand something. Very much a Doctor thing to look for: someone who is happy with challenge.

I really enjoyed the appearance of Susan and River as photos on the Doctor's desk. It made him look like more of a man than the mythic being he's become over the last few years of the show. Susan in particularly was a strong indication that he's trying to find his roots. And perhaps it indicates he realizes there is something that he's lost.

I'm curious about Nardole, because the opening seems to indicate he might be a robot, but later on he makes a bathroom joke. What's up with him? And then there is the issue of time - how long have the Doctor and Nardole been at St. Luke's University? Bill indicates that she's heard he's been there 70 years. That, again, makes me wonder what Nardole is and how long he's been around the unversity. If he's been with the Doctor the entire time, he's not human. But then, I'm not sure anyone ever said he was.

The music in this episode had a good moment when Bill asks the Doctor what he would feel like if someone erased his memory - and Clara's theme plays. A nice fit, and a reminder that the Doctor isn't as complete as he thinks he is. There's another nice moment when everything around the Doctor seems to remind him of who he is and what he is - a cosmic hobo who shows people the universe of wonder. Even the TARDIS gets in on the act and makes a noise, making him decide to take Bill on an adventure.

A big flashing neon-sign plot point in the story (obvious inaccessible plot device?) is the mystery door that the Doctor is guarding. Clearly that's going to be the season's big reveal, and I expect we'll learn what's there at the end of this year of episodes or even in the Christmas episode. I'd be delighted if it happens sooner, but that's not really the way these things work.

And now I come to the big problem with the episode. Heather and the magical motor oil. First off - I don't think Heather is dead. I think she got exactly what she wanted - to escape what she considered a dull and dreary existence - and that she was still integrating with the oil when she chased Bill around. I think that moment at the end where they touched hands was Heather finally getting to grips with what she had. That said... what did she have? Where did the magical motor oil come from, and why wasn't the Doctor MUCH more concerned about it, seeing as he's guarding a mystery door from some unknown threat. How can motor oil give a human that much power? And will we ever see Heather again?

Overall, not the greatest episode I've ever seen, but it had a few good moments and I enjoyed it. I'll be watching to see if the nits I have with it are addressed later in the season.