Sunday 16 April 2017

Thoughts on "The Pilot"

SPOILERS, SWEETIE: If you haven't seen the The Pilot, read no further. These are pretty much my unedited thoughts after watching the episode last night.
Yes, Pat, yes it is.
Sweet mother, I cannot weave – slender Aphrodite has overcome me with longing for a girl.” - Sappho, translated by Diane Taylor (Sappho: A New Translation of the Complete Works).

Is it just me or was this episode a bit... light? Maybe that's not the right word but this felt like the sort of plot-light episode RTD used to open his seasons with. Moffat has tended towards more big and eventy episodes to start his seasons. Bit of a pleasant flashback actually.

Conrtoversially, I like Nardole. I know a lot of people don't and I realise he does very little in this episode but I like how it gives Capaldi a more knowing second banana whilst Bill finds her feet.

As to Bill herself, I love her. Pearl Mackie has such an expressive face and I love how they draw out her reactions to the Doctor and the TARDIS. Her habit of asking questions that usually go unasked (like how the TARDIS has a name that only makes sense in English) is definitely Moffat having some fun with the fact this is the last time he gets to write a new companion and I can certainly appreciate that. Didn't like the fat joke, though.

Okay, okay, as much as I've been laughing along with ChipGate II (don't ask) there are obviously some likenesses between Bill and Rose and I don't think anyone making this thing was trying to hide that. I mean, that scene with the alarm clock was very reminiscent, wasn't it? Maybe that's part of the point: actively comparing the first explicitly gay co-lead with the new series' ultimate everywoman.

Oh, and one of the oldest “screw you, fanboy” memes just became canon: lesbian Dalek! Okay, we had a bisexual Dalek a couple of seasons ago but this is a very, very specific online joke that (presumably unknowingly) has now appeared on television.

P.S., if Heather doesn't turn up again to carry Bill of into the sunset, Moffat is insane.

I love the idea that the Doctor has spend seventy years at St. Luke's University. I mean, that's a Big Finish box set waiiting to happen, isn't it? Certainly a better use of their time than The Further Adventures Of Adam Mitchell (which is not only the premise of an upcoming audio but an entire comic series at one point, expanded universes are weird and not terribly discerning in what they expand).

I care very little about the vault, what's in it or who asked the Doctor to look after it. The answers to one, more or none of these might change my mind but for the moment I'm more interested in what, if anything, we get to see of the Doctor's daily life as a lecturer. I mean, did you see that speech in the lecture hall? More of that, please.

Turning up and getting blasted into oblivion without a single line of dialogue is probably as much of a return as the Movellans deserve, frankly. Also, I love the idea that Nardole has been in the middle of this war (the Time War?) before and that he “doesn't like it there”.

Are they bringing Susan back? I mean, as much as Moffat likes to make references to the classic series in general and the Hartnell era in particular this is a strange one. A photo of River I can understand: she's a major character of this era that people can be relied upon to remember. Susan... isn't. I mean, she appeared in An Adventure In Time And Space four years ago and that's about it. She's a character that, frankly, the series has tried its best to forget pretty much since the day she left. I mean, it could happen and she wouldn't be that hard to explain but it seems but it seems like an odd thing to include. I am almost certainly overthinking this. 

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