Doctor Who – s10 e2 ‘Smile’

The Doctor and Bill expand their exploration together. ‘The Future’ – ‘I hope it’s happy’ is her request when asked where to go.

A very clever use of location and a simple enough idea, robots and nano robots monitoring a spaceship crew setting up a planet for colonisation use emoji symbols as indicators to keep their humans happy but go too far and kill them if they are not.

The story wasn’t the point. The point was Bill talking to the Doctor and his answers from swatting away ‘You’re Scottish’ to the more intriguing chat about ‘an oath’ and ‘protecting the vault’. Again, The Doctor attempts to keep Bill from harm, but her empathy and talking certainly saves the day. Her questions also bring us closer to figuring out what exactly the Doctor and Nardole are doing on their mission on earth and we built on thinking about The Vault and it’s contents.

I like Pearl Mackie and I like Peter Capaldi together. We’re seeing a double act that works and I am minded of Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as the Seventh Doctor and Ace. Chalk and cheese they may be,  and even with Bill calling him her tutor, it’s a dynamic that works across an almost 30 year age range between the actors and more massive gap between the characters.

This is good ‘Nu-who’ and augers well for the remaining ten episodes. We were led into our third episode directly rather than having to trailerise, so their next adventure in a frozen Thames early nineteenth century London started after leaving the colonisised space planet to its waking humans and rebooted robots.

But.. ‘The Vardy’ – maybe how it was said, and I was thinking Vashta Nerada, from The Silence in the Library (s4, e8), where Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and ‘mate’ Donna Noble encounter the swarming darkness that eats people. The people consumed by the Vardy nano-bots seemed to go in quite a similar way and the design of the mainly white robots reminded me of the two crew members that died inside their spacesuits. Although, although, although, that would bring us to River Song, which is a massive distraction from where this season could be leading.

Anyway… visuals…

So to conclude..

I think again I’m in 8/10 territory. Good execution, decent story and probably has potential further reward from a rewatch and catching all of the dialogue between Bill and The Doctor. 

There wasn’t much Nardole but the appearance enough to suggest that Nardole is being the honest broker to hold The Doctor to his ‘oath’ over the Vault. I didn’t catch anything else that flared my interest.


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