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DOCTOR WHO Season 10 Episode 3 “Thin Ice” Review

The Doctor has been telling us things for millennia, sometimes we listen, but usually, we forget. This time, though, he has decided to listen to us.

It is the 1814 Frost Fair when the Thames has frozen over and the Doctor discovers a giant sea creature chained to the bottom of the river. It eats people who are provided by the energy mogul who imprisoned it. Should The Doctor set the fish free? Will more people die if he does? He leaves that decision up to Bill giving her a lesson in the ethical quandaries that come up while time traveling. It is never easy to assess the value of a life regardless if it is human.

The monster, though impressive, is the least important detail of this episode. It is Bill, once again, who is the center of importance. At first, she pleads with The Doctor to save a child, then gets a glimpse of how much death he has actually seen and been responsible for. Never cowardly or cruel, he carries unimaginable burdens, as Bill begins to understand.

The implications of his speeches give much food for thought and are the best part of the episode. They promise for heady discussions to come. I love this introspective version of The Doctor and I’m sure we’ll see more of his musings before what is in the vault is revealed.

Speaking of which, I doubt I’m going out on a limb if I say I think there is a living Timelord behind that door. Exactly what kind of Timelord remains to be seen, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be epic when we find out.


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.

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.
A taught dystopian episode that is timely without being overly preachy. We know the reversal is coming, but it works anyway.
A little too on the nose at times, but forgivable.

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 2 “Smile” Review

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 2

I like Bill. In the tradition of companions who admire, but don’t adore the Doctor, question what he says and retain a human perspective, Bill is just right. Everything she does is earned. She is curious and thoughtful and maybe that’s just what the Doctor needs. I’m glad to have her around for this transition.

This week we have more about this season’s enduring mystery. There is a vault that the Doctor must protect and the vow that he must not leave Earth. There will be reveals and consequences to look forward to as Season 10 progresses.

Meanwhile, “Emoji” survives as the enduring language of humankind. That’s probably the most frightening aspect of the episode.

But “Smile” is a good episode. The audience is clued in right away by the menace these robots pose and before long the Doctor and Bill see it too, but in their attempt to fix the problem, they make it worse. There’s plenty of running and swiping out of component wires in this familiar but nicely paced story. It works as an easy intro to the new additions to the TARDIS and showcases the genuine chemistry between Capaldi and Mackie.

And no matter what Episode 2 implies, Emojis are evil and will always be evil.

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.”

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.
Missy and how good is she really? The TARDIS seems to like her— must mean something, Right?
Nardole. He’s more of a plot device than a character at this point, and an inconsistent one at that.
General-DC Comics

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