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DOCTOR WHO Season 10 Episode 4 “Knock Knock” Review

The idea is entirely believable that some college students could be so desperate for a place to live that they would ignore the obvious red flags. They take false comfort in safety in numbers when they move into the “too good to be true” lodging, and well, we know what happens next. We don’t even need the requisite nighttime thunder and lightning to set up the spooky mansion story, but it is a nice touch and it doesn’t take long for Bill and the Doctor to be looking for clues and answers.

The easy chemistry between Capaldi and Mackie makes me wish she had been around longer in the series. When she introduces the Doctor as her Granddad in this episode, it is just too funny, especially in light of how strongly he objects to the designation. That the TARDIS is employed as a moving van is also a nice excuse for a chuckle.

In terms of the MOTW, the alien lice were creepy enough, but nothing substantial was revealed about them. It would have been helpful to know where they came from, how they got there, and whether or not they were sentient. I’m glad the students inexplicably got reconstituted, I guess, but that took the menace out of the story for me and lessened the impact.

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 9 “Empress of Mars” Review

I love it when the Doctor shows up uninvited. This time he arrives as NASA is awaiting contact from a Mars probe, only to discover the slogan “God Save the Queen” hidden beneath the polar ice. So off to Mars in 1881 and some stranded British Army soldiers from the Victorian Era and an Ice Warrior they named “Friday.”

As Doctor Who villains go, the Ice Warriors are pretty sophisticated. They have culture and history, ethics and motivations. Their appearances have some depth in that these denizens of Mars have always been more than one-word directives such as “exterminate” or “delete.” They are recognizable “people” who are neither friends nor enemies but have the potential for both. That is exactly what this episode explores and what is the most interesting about them.

When the TARDIS acts up and leaves Bill and the Doctor we are left with the dilemma of sovereignty presented in the aftermath of Imperialism. The Doctor gets it all sorted, of course, with the sage advice of “We must live together or die together.”

7.5
Score
Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 9 “Empress of Mars”
The Bottom Line
A good use of a classic villain in an intelligent and hopeful episode.
Yes!
Missy and how good is she really? The TARDIS seems to like her— must mean something, Right?
No...
Nardole. He’s more of a plot device than a character at this point, and an inconsistent one at that.

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 8 “The Lie of the Land” Review

Now that the Monks have control of the Earth, those who see the real truth are jailed for memory crimes. It also appears that the Doctor is their chief of propaganda. When Nardole shows up at Bill’s apartment, they go off together to get to the bottom of things. This is the best we’ve seen of both characters so far.

Bill’s heartbreak and confusion are immense, pushing her to the breaking point, and ultimately convincing her to shoot the Doctor. In the moment where he starts to regenerate I almost believed it, but of course, it was only an elaborate test to prove that Bill had shaken the influence of the Monk induced mind control.

In this season the social commentary has been loud and clear. The Doctor is a hero and has always been humanity’s champion, but now because of a crisis of their own creation, the citizens of Earth must be brave enough to solve their own problems. Bill represents all of Humanity and does just that.

Missy tells us that “good” is “vain, arrogant and sentimental.” Maybe it is, but as she finds out in her tearful recollection of all those she has killed, good comes with a price.

9
Score
Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 8 “The Lie of the Land”
The Bottom Line
The Doctor scolds that “Humanity is doomed to never learn from its mistakes.” Let’s hope he’s wrong.
Yes!
A taught dystopian episode that is timely without being overly preachy. We know the reversal is coming, but it works anyway.
No...
A little too on the nose at times, but forgivable.

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 7 “The Pyramid at the End of the World” Review

This season has shaped up to be rather ‘grown-up’ in approach. In a collection of stories with serious takes on timely topics, this episode examines the value of freedom versus security. The Doctor, who is literally blind, must navigate his way through this dilemma, and for once, leans on the side of violence. He is swaggering and bold and continues to lie to Bill about his eyes.

Bill is wholly human, honestly compassionate, and is again representative of the audience as well as the voice of reason. The threat to Earth comes from the mysterious and technologically advanced Monks who threaten to take over the world by being asked to save it. Meanwhile, an unlikely series of events prompts the creation of an unrelenting biological disaster.

So far this has been the most consistent run of episodes since the reboot. Capaldi maintains the grumpiness and distance of his version of the Doctor, yet he has become a more endearing character in these flaws. Bill has done a great deal to balance him out and though I am becoming resolved to his departure I really hope she doesn’t leave at the end of the season along with him.

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 10 “The Eaters of Light” | Review

Bill claims to know more about the disappearance of the Ninth Roman Legion and almost proves herself right. If not for the inter-dimensional light eating monster, she might have been. Nevertheless, she gives the Doctor a run for his money in all things. She is intelligent and brave and charming and self-sacrificing. She’d make a good Time Lord herself.

The episode has great elements to it. We have Romans who are always welcome, Scotland which is awesome, a dimensional rift and a fairly terrifying monster. The Doctor, of course, walks into the maximum danger with the confidence that things will sort themselves out.

As Bill considers her experiences in the TARDIS and understanding of the Doctor we get a better understanding of him as well. Not just for Capaldi’s version, but rather with an overall sense of perspective on them all. It is easy to see how, to this nearly immortal and all-knowing god-like alien, everybody just sounds like children.

Bill’s assumption of the leadership of Legion survivors is compelling too. Her line “you won’t all die in a hole in the ground” is so Doctor-ish. She’s learned so much and mostly for good. I really hope she is around for next season.

8.5
Score
The Bottom Line
The episode is tense and spine tingling what at the same time another social commentary about communication and uniting in the face of a common and ruthless enemy.
Yes!Bill. Pearl Mackie just owns this character and has created one of the best companions ever.
No...Nardole is either goofy comic relief or a vehicle for scolding exposition. I was hoping that he would be a better balanced character.
General-DC Comics

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