Sunday, May 07, 2017

A Sunday Doctor Who Review


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


Doctor Who: "Thin Ice" - The Doctor and Bill land unexpectedly in Regency London, at the last of the Frost Fairs during the Little Ice Age.

There is so much in this one, I don't have any idea where to start. I'm going to forget tons of stuff I want to write about.

I love how Bill notes that the TARDIS has dresses and likes a bit of trouble, so she's in low-key love with the TARDIS - of course, the Doctor says, "Me too." All I could think about during that moment was Amy saying "Did you wish really hard?" in "The Doctor's Wife". A nice little development moment for everyone.

I love Pete. As hubby-Eric says, Pete may well be my favorite new companion. The one that stepped on a butterfly and never existed. What makes that a little more disturbing is how it already happened to Rory - among all his other deaths.

The entire discussion about slavery, whitewash, and staying out of trouble felt like a watershed moment. The Doctor acknowledged his student's fears, then provided a solution in the form of "fitting in". He didn't just dismiss it, like he did with Martha in "The Shakespeare Code".

Bill's realization that Regency England is ethnically diverse, or at least London (which is a major trading port), was a solid moment. She mentions "the movies" because - where else is she going to learn about the past? The Doctor's comment about Jesus and whitewashing was a nice bullseye. "History's a whitewash" indeed. It drives home how much history Westerners have missed because of racism.

I love when Bill asks about side-effects of time travel, and the Doctor makes it clear he's been aware of the lights under the ice the entire time. "I assumed we'd get to work eventually." Ha. They are distracted by the theft of the sonic screwdriver - and a discussion of just what a sonic screwdriver is - but then it all comes back as Spider is killed.

And then we get to a powerful moment. Bill is shocked by that death, while the Doctor is business as usual. Bill claims she's never seen someone die before - I guess she wasn't looking when the colonist was skeletonized right before her eyes in the previous episode. Then she asks the Doctor about deaths he's seen and, more importantly, deaths he's caused. I love his "I have never had the luxury of outrage" because we ALL know the Doctor has been outraged many times by death.

Later, when Bill is talking with Kitty and she echoes the Doctor's words, it's another powerful moment. It means she's accepted him and understands that he will help, but in his own way.

And now we get to the big bad. Literally big. A giant fish, chained to the bottom of the Thames, that's been chowing down on humans by manipulating the ice and pulling them under. The Doctor and Bill investigate with anachronistic diving suits, and learn that someone is dredging the river for something. The Doctor tricks a workman into giving them info using psychic paper and flattery.

I enjoyed the uncertainty over whether or not the threat was alien. I felt it was a good way to play with the themes of the show - and considering how much of the ocean we haven't explored, such a beast could exist (especially in the Whoniverse).

No one, NO ONE, could have missed that the Doctor was going to do something stupid and rash as he lectured Bill on not losing her temper. He makes it up with a beautiful speech on human progress - that the bad guy is totally unmoved by, of course. Bill was moved, though.

I love how the urchins get people off the ice - by running terrified through the crowd screaming about the thaw and that a lady fell through the ice. The ending is pretty satisfying, although a wee bit predictable. I like the nice touch, that ties in with the Doctor's fantastic speech, that gives the world a new Lord Sutcliffe. I found it fun that the Doctor looks it up on Bill's phone as soon as they get home, as well.

And lastly... Nardole. We get someone/thing pounding on the mystery door and Nardole looking scared. What is it about the Doctor's oath? Is the speculation correct about who is in the vault? And did Bill ever get tea?

"Too long; didn't read" (TL;DR) summary - Excellent episode with a handful of truly brilliant moments.