Warning- Contains spoilers for Doctor Who
“You don’t steer the Tardis you reason with it”
The arrival of Bill has honestly brought new life into Doctor Who, the chemistry between Capaldi and Mackie and the return to an episodic view has made the past three episodes of Doctor Who feel like a return to the old without everything being cloaked in mystery and long complex relationships. That’s not to say there isn’t some intrigue going on…
Basically, a kid’s show about time travel should be fun and Bill brings that in buckets.
In 1814 London something wicked and cold this way comes, something is underneath the Thames…
This episode is really Bill’s first proper foray into time travelling and refreshingly she points the realities of being a POC in the 18th century and she manages to also address like seven of the time travel rules that often go ignored with Doctor Who.
I say that this is the first real time-travelling trip as Bill begins to see the layers underneath the Doctor, realising her teacher and the man she’s decided to travel the universe might be a lil bit of a mass murderer.
A group of street kids in the 18th century are working to attract people to a fayre on the river so the lights underneath the river can suck people down in order to feed a mysterious alien. Bill is stunned at the casual way the Doctor deals with the death of this child and the fact he’s 2000 years old.
Bill and the Doctor discover this alien is linked to a new form of energy and an uppity British Lord Sutcliffe and his use of the creature for fuel. There are definite allusions to the ’11’ beast below episode with a sad unknown creature being used for the greed of humans in probably one of the most realistic attributes to the show. People suck.
But the Doctor puts the onus of the decision onto Bill as whether or not they should save or kill the beast she decides to save the creature, ultimately causing the end to Lord Sutcliffe and giving the street urchin kids a new life.
Also -I don’t know if it was foreshadowing or not- but several times during the episode the Doctor came dangerously close to losing his screwdriver it’d be interesting to see what he’d be like without it.
Back in the 21st century, Bill wants to know how they affected the future realising that the giant fish in a river was barely a footnote in history. Everything seemingly worked out for the group of orphans (I’d be interested to see if we a Sutcliffe descendant pops up in a later episode.)
The episode ends with the vault in the university and Matt Lucas talking to the door, notably, whatever is in the vault knocks four times and we all know what happened the last time someone did that…
A haunted house on an all protein diet