selenak: (Equations by Such_Heights)
[personal profile] selenak
Last conference day; thus, a brief review of a delightful episode.



Following the "first trip the future, second trip the past" pattern for new Companions, Thin Ice found the Doctor and Bill in Regency London. With no ball in sight, and the sole male aristocrat was the episode's vile villain. Instead, the historical gimmick was the last fair on a frozen Thames, the Londoners we mostly meet were poor urchins, and if the plot was a remix of several previous outings (such as The Beast Below and Kill the Moon), the interaction and devoloping relationship between Bill and the Doctor was great which meant I did not mind, I just sat back and enjoyed.

I thought the episode struck the right balance with allowing Bill shock when someone dies in front of her, which the audience might be used to but Bill has never experienced before, letting this trigger in her the question about how the Doctor deals with death, contrasting this with the Doctor's 2000 years old alien attitude and yet not doing the cliché thing: i.e., the episode isn't about the Doctor needing to relearn the lesson about valueing each life, nor is it about Bill needing to be less emotional. It shows her both the danger that comes with hanging out with the Doctor (yes, last week's outing was dangerous, too, but as she says, the people were already did before she got there; it's different when it happens in front of you), and the key fact that it's about helping people.

Also: the joy Bill and the Doctor take in exploring the fair was important - we the audience need to see the fun parts of their travels as much as the suspense ones, I think, and that equation wasn't always balanced in the many decades of show history.

Details, details: the Doctor's response when Bill points out that walking around in an era when slavery is still around is inherently dangerous to her is better than the flippant "just walk as if you owned the place"' that Martha heard in her first trip to the past. Meanwhile, the Doctor's delighted appreciation for clever coin tricks, thievery and/or con jobs is a neat nod towards various past regenerations.

I approve of Sutcliffe the dastardly aristo not being an alien or manipulated by aliens or what not, but simply an evil entitled greedy bastard. Incidentally, does this make this episode officially New Who's first historical which is just that, historical? All the other New Who historical episodes that currently come into my mind had an alien factor in it, but here, the Doctor is the only alien around. (Not that Classic Who did that many purely historical historicals, either, once the First Doctor's era was over. I think Five's outing in the 20s was the rare exception, no?)

Okay, which iconic DW character is directly connected with knocking (three times) in the New Who era? This isn't very mysterious, oh Moffat, but then again, it's probably not trying to be, what with the season trailer.

Date: 30 Apr 2017 08:19 (UTC)
londonkds: (Bring back Bilis! (by redscharlach))
From: [personal profile] londonkds
I think the giant sea serpent, that defecates napalm and is implied to possibly be able to control the weather, is fantastic enough to disqualify this as a Pure Historical.

Date: 1 May 2017 02:11 (UTC)
davetheanalyzer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davetheanalyzer
Okay, which iconic DW character is directly connected with knocking (three times) in the New Who era?

Wilfred Mott. He has gone rogue! (Yeah, yeah, I know, four knocks, but couldn't resist the joke)

This was a great episode, with lovely character moments for both Doctor and Bill and good acting with the eyes and face. With these three episodes of Pearl Mackie acting, I can see why the crew said they were drawn to her above the other candidates. I don't know how many companions took a issue with killing before, but it was a great source of conflict to draw from here. The seeing death after the fact vs. now is a very good point (Though I think one of the people in Smile got om-nombed into skeletons in Bill's presence during the climatic moment and she didn't react to it then. Inconsistency?). It was also good that the racism matter is handled more tastefully here.

So far, the three episodes have featured aliens/creatures that weren't malicious but became antagonists over a misunderstanding or in this episode direct manipulation by a human. I wonder if this is a coincidence, or if it'll become a recurring theme through this series.

Yeah, the sea monster here disqualifies this as Pure Historical, though it seems to fall under the "Humans Can Be Monsters Too" kind of episode that this show and most (All? Haven't seen much of that K9 show filmed in Totally-Not-Australia to judge, though it might be true since Future Britain there is more authoritariany) of its TV spinoffs at least touched upon.

I've been hearing some rumblings on if and which writers might be transfered over to Chibnail but I hope Sarah Dollard sticks around cause her two episodes so far are great.

Date: 1 May 2017 17:15 (UTC)
selenay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] selenay
They handled the racism issue so much better than they did with Martha, which made me happy because wow. The Shakespeare Code has fun bits, but it *hurts* to see how dismissive they are about it.

I loved Bill and the Doctor's joy at exploring the frost fair, including the Doctor's acknowledgement that he was letting her have fun and explore before they "got to work", which just YES. This is making me so happy.

And Bill's freak-out about death is very necessary, I think. I'm trying to remember whether she actually saw anyone die in Smile. And checking the transcript, she did! Although I wonder whether the difference is that the person who died in Smile was in the middle of a battle when there wasn't time to process anything and it couldn't be reversed. But here, there's time to see the boy's hand and she must have felt like they could save him and they didn't, and that's what caused the freak-out?

And Sarah Dollard may not have known about the death in Smile, and nobody else picked up that line when they were reviewing scripts *sigh*

You just gave me loads to think about and I need to change something in the fic I was writing :-)

Okay, which iconic DW character is directly connected with knocking (three times) in the New Who era?

I don't think it's a specific character, more the approach of something that will cause the Doctor's next regeneration? So it was Wilf for Ten. And now we've got three knocks, so maybe whatever is in the Vault is the thing that will trigger Twelve's regeneration in some way.

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