Doctor Who comes back after a very long break, only shortly interrupted by the 2016 Christmas Special and the beginning couldn’t have been better. The Pilot, the first episode of Series 10 brings us back into the world of the Doctor with the feeling of a new beginning, learning and seeing things through the eyes of a new companion, Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie). She doesn’t hesitate in asking all those impossible questions that every Whovian in the world didn’t even know they wanted to ask. “Doctor what? What is a Dalek? Do you know any sci-fi? Where is the bathroom?”
My favourite one is when Bill questions the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) about the reason he has named his ship after an acronym that only works in English if he is an alien from another planet. Oh, don’t worry Bill! Sooner or later you’ll find out about a little thing called TARDIS’ translating circuits that allow you to understand the languages spoken all around the Universe (unless English has become an intergalactic idiom as well, who knows…)
In the beginning of the episode, we will find the Doctor working as a lecturer at Saint Luke’s University, where Bill Potts works at the cantine, serving chips. He notices her in his lectures because, while everybody frowns when don’t understand something, she smiles. Taking interest in Bill, he calls her into his office and after a brief conversation, he offers to act as her tutor which she, of course, accepts.
The dynamic between The Doctor and Bill is completely different from Clara and the Doctor (even with a glimpse of the sonic shades and the guitar!). And it is also good. Here we have someone that doesn’t know this incredibly dangerous and exciting world of the Doctor, has never seen a Dalek or stepped into the TARDIS and that gives the Doctor the opportunity to explain everything to someone again. And he is really happy about it, you can see it on his face.
So it is a joy to see how proud he is of his ship when Bill first steps into it as much as his disconcerted face when she compares his fabulous Time Machine to a posh kitchen. But this comment only serves for him to make a heartfelt speech about the TARDIS, and for a second time in this episode (the first one in the lecture hall, when he tells the students that Time and Relative Dimensions in Space means Life), the Doctor redefines the TARDIS, this time as a portal to everything that was and everything that will be.
Nardole (Matt Lucas) is a good addition to the episode, even though he doesn’t appear much, clearly leaving all the spotlights free to the new companion shine. But, in the little moments he is on screen, we can have a glimpse of what is yet to come for the new TARDIS trio. And it looks good.
The episode also brings references, some important questions and gives us clues about what this series arc might be, other than something that will lead to the Doctor regenerating since by now everybody knows Capaldi is leaving.
What is inside the vault the Doctor is guarding? How it ended in the University’s basements? Has someone allowed him to hide it in there? How he becomes a lecturer in there? What he has promised and to whom? Has he befriended Bill’s mother to take all the pictures (I hope so, because any other way would be a little creepy even to the Doctor parameters)? Does Nardole has any biological part or is he an android now?
Anyway, The Pilot is a good starter, not like the roller coaster of last series “The Magicians Apprentice” and surely won’t be remembered by dramatic plot twists or dangerous villains or breathtaking adventures. It has none of this. But it stands out of so many series starters by the delicate and intimate tone with which introduces Bill Potts in the Whoniverse.