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.
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