Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 1: The Pilot…
Directed by: Lawrence Gough
Written by: Steven Moffat
Doctor – “What you’re standing in here is a technological marvel. It’s science beyond magic, this is the gateway to everything there ever was or ever can be.”
Bill – “Can I use the toilet?”
Doctor Who finally returns to our screens this Saturday night on BBC 1 at 7:20pm, with an episode titled The Pilot from the pen of Steven Moffat. The title here reveals two things: 1) This is a plot point to this opening tale and 2) This opening episode is in-truth a bit of a soft-rebooted pilot episode for any newcomers to the series. Though for us classic Whovians out there, don’t feel you’re going to be spoon fed ever so slowly the ins and outs of your favourite Time Lord – if anything you’ll need to be extra alert for the crumbs Mr. Moffat is carefully placing along the path.
The Pilot introduces Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) to the Companion/Assistant fold, as the energy-charged chip-feeder, who has been sneaking into the Doctor’s classes at St. Luke’s University Bristol. It’s here where the Doctor first notices Bill and the spark she has within her, allowing her to become a fully-fledged student with himself as her private tutor.
As the terms progress, a romance begins to bud between Bill and Heather – another student – however due to curious case of a puddle in a very dry week, the Doctor becomes involved and Bill finds herself hunted between Australia, the Universe 23 million years into the future, and then into the middle of raging battle with the Daleks.
I’ll be utterly honest here with my hand totally on my heart (one of) – when I initially saw the trailers introducing Bill Potts I wasn’t a fan. I instantly disliked the happy energy that she was beaming out of the screen at me, and I wasn’t liking this new assistant at all from the first thirty-seconds; exactly like I didn’t like Donna Noble from the first thirty-seconds. However, I now count Donna Noble as one of the best Companions seen in the new adventures of Doctor Who.
Bill Potts is full of fire and energy, bringing together some excellent qualities of Ace, Rose and a touch of Noble. Though there is something more going on behind her smile and the Doctor gives us – the viewers – a clue when he looks both at the picture of Susan and puts to Bill, “Most people, when they don’t understand something, they frown. You smile?” So, when she frowns, questions or sees something out of place, there is something burning inside of her that will come out. Bill Potts is, I feel, going to be a rather excellent companion.
As for The Pilot be prepared to jump, for Steven Moffat’s love for Asian Horror peeps out when it comes to the latest “monster of the week” – though to dub it a monster is perhaps a bit debatable. This opener is also a good introduction to watch and listen to the dynamic between The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) with talk of promises, interference and door-locks being set to friend (who else knows?); it’s clear these two have been together for decades and you can feel it.
It’s excellent to see Doctor Who return to our screens. In one soft-reboot of an episode, Steven Moffat has delivered a new companion, numerous mysteries, a friendship, and a love lost, along with a few jump scares that will frighten a fair few children and adults. Altogether this makes one rather excellent start to series ten.
Doctor Who – “The Pilot” returns to BBC 1 on the 15th April at 7:20pm.