A nice ‘straight into the action’ set up as episode 2 left you with the TARDIS landing on the Thames.
Now, in terms of the episode, my interest was again in terms of the exchanges between Bill and the Doctor.
First, in terms of landing and then relocating the Tardis, the dialogue on driving the TARDIS as ‘it takes you where you need to be’.
I think that’s a line the hardcore fans may dislike, The Doctor and his ship have a relationship, an eccentric one, but it was always clear in the past that he controlled it.
Often badly or poorly but, never really previously suggesting that it decided the course.
My own opinion is that The Eleventh Doctor and River Song proved that flying the Tardis was possible and although randomness always a factor, they effectively piloted her, especially with the Doctor taking the Tardis to Trenzalore.
Next in terms of Thin Ice, the gentle mocking of Bill’s understanding of the butterfly effect as per events in time and not polluting the time stream.
In reality, it’s probably a high moral debate on time travel and almost straying onto the ethics of Star Trek’s Prime Directive.
We sort of know that The Doctor calling himself that is for a reason and the Clara era quotes about ‘never being cruel..’
The discussion that Bill starts over whether The Doctor has killed anyone shows that Bill is twenty first century in thinking, and whilst Capaldi’s ducking and diving around the question is entirely right for his Character, we know The Doctor has depths as well as the obvious lights and goodness.
So far, we’ve had a decent exploration of who and what The Doctor is.
Next, probably a few lines that will have Daily Mail readers spewing their sherry.
“Regency England’s a bit more black than they show in the movies.”
“So was Jesus. History’s a whitewash”
Great lines and entirely The Doctor.
Now, the plot of monster, scheming Aristocratic and the cute thieving urchins was absolutely fine with some silliness around the Sonic Screwdriver, use of the Psychic Paper to get answers about the creature’s byproduct and a quite excellent punch of the racist aristocrat by The Doctor.
But again, dialogue is significant in The Doctor’s exchange with Sutcliffe.
The Doctor: Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you place on a life. An unimportant life. A life without privilege. The boy who died on the river, that boy’s value is your value. That’s what defines an age, that’s… what defines a species.
Just wow. The how’s and whys of the resolution of the episode in terms of creature, children and sutcliffe are fine.
But, back in time for ‘tea’ in the Doctor’s office at the university, Nardole plays butler but isn’t happy with The Doctor gallivanting, although Matt gets a great line about putting ‘coffee in your tea for taste’.
We’re drawn to ‘The Oath’ and right at the end ‘The Vault’ and that it’s knocking whilst Nardole bemoans being rebuilt and having to do the work whilst The Doctor adventures.
For me, a solid episode again and 8/10. The exchanges between The Doctor and Bill and his ‘speech’ to the aristocrat, cement his moral authority and whilst we know that there’s an ethical bent to the actions of The Doctor, it builds the relationship between Time Lord and companion.
The Vault will open, we can be sure of that, but not quite four knocks yet and a little doubt still as to not what, but who is inside.