As a new companion’s first episode goes, this wasn’t half bad.
Bill (the new companion) arrives in the study of the Doctor, who is a university lecturer now (apparently). Before long, she and the Doctor are drawn into a mysterious trail of events which started when Bill was shown a strange happening in her local area. Together, and with a little help from Matt Lucas’s character, they must get to the bottom of these events and find out what is following them through time and why…
I have to say, a little part of me hoped for a new title sequence for a new season, and my heart sank a bit when those familiar and disappointing titles came across the screen. I think most fans are unanimous when they say ‘these are the worst opening credits ever’. I say fans because probably no one else cares. However, this is a minor detail and I was prepared to overlook it in the interest of the actual show.
The story it’s self was not incredibly innivotive and is resolved by the companion looking to herself, which is quite apt for her debut episode. Neither was the villain particularly iconic- but it definitely wasn’t the worst first episode. As far as Bill and her personality is concerned, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Many people were worried that Bill was to ‘jumpy’ and asked too many questions from the footage leading into the episode. So I was pleasantly surprised to find some intelligence in her character, even if there was some question asking. The level of intrigue she had about the Doctor and the TARDIS (when coming face to face with them both for the first time) was just right, in my opinion.
Then there’s Matt Lucas’s character. There was hardly any focus on him this episode, although he always seemed to be with the Doctor. I might be in my own corner here, but I actually quite liked his character this time round. Times before, his comic sidekick style has got in the way of the episode. However, this time, he was quiet collective and not really relevant. It might not sound like the episode needed him (and the story certainly didn’t) but I liked him in it and felt it completed the episode. I just hope his role can stay like this.
I would also like to give a few special mentions. As it happens, Only about half a year ago I bought Destiny of the Daleks, an old Tom Baker episode. This episode featured the Dhravians– which worked alongside the Daleks. So today, decades later, it was nice to see them- even if it was only for a split second. I’m sure many fans will appreciate this. I also liked the inclusion of the photo of Susan, the Doctor’s grandchild- last seen in the first ever season of the show back in the 60s. These shoutouts were nice.
Overall, for style story and character- I give this episode a 7/10. It also left me very excited for things to come…
All photos prop. BBC