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.