Violet recaps of Season 10 Episode 2 of Doctor Who, titled Smile, where the Doctor and his new companion, Bill, travel to another planet and meet robots who speak Emoji! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
- His thoughts on Smile, Episode 10.02 of Doctor Who
- Her thoughts on Doctor Who, Season 10 Episode 2: Smile
The Doctor’s new companion, Bill, is excited about her first “proper” trip on the TARDIS, and the Doctor explains to her the ins and outs of the TARDIS. Nardole comes in and reminds the Doctor about his oath not to go off world, but the Doctor sends Nardole out to put the kettle on. In the meantime, he asks Bill to choose past or future. She chooses future.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, a woman is walking through a wheat field with a robot trailing behind, which she refers to as a Vardi. When she gets back to their large, expansive base, another woman tells her to smile, although she informs her of their various family and friends who are now dead. The Vardi robot, seeing a symbol on the woman’s back change from a smiley face to a sad face, attacks and disintegrates the woman except for her bones. The other woman tries to show the Vardi that she’s still smiling, but the Vardi kills her as well.
The Doctor and Bill arrive on the Vardi planet, which appears to be empty now, and they walk through and explore the buildings. They see little specks flying around above them that look like birds, but the Doctor explains that these are Vardi, tiny robots. We see one of the larger robots standing nearby, observing the Doctor and Bill angrily.
Suddenly, Bill grabs her ear in pain. It seems that she and the Doctor have been fitted with a biological communication device that allows them to communicate with each other. They come across the larger robot we saw earlier, which the Doctor explains is actually an interface for the tiny robots. Bill figures out that it speaks Emoji. It gives them each a yellow circle, which the Doctor and Bill figure out reflects their mood, but that you can’t see your own mood. Their respective circles attach to their backs.
The Vardi robot serves gelatin blocks to Bill and the Doctor. The Doctor concludes that everything here is human, so he wonders where the humans are. He also theorizes that the whole place is waiting for humans to arrive, and that the robots were sent ahead to build all this for them.
Later, the Doctor and Bill walk through the greenhouse, but the Doctor begins to realize that something is wrong. They find a storage bin filled with human bones, which are being ground and used as fertilizer. The Vardi robots know that Bill and the Doctor are no longer happy. Bill and the Doctor run away, and find themselves surrounded by Vardi robots. The Doctor tells Bill that they should both smile so they can get past the Vardi unharmed. They run back to the TARDIS, where the Doctor tells Bill to stay until he gets back — after he blows up the place.
Inside the city, Bill catches up with the Doctor. She has figured out that the Doctor doesn’t call the help line because he is the help line. He shows her where the micro-Vardi came from — they are the walls. They can be part of the wall one minute, and flying around the next.
They walk around the building looking for the spaceship that the humans must have come from, and soon find it and begin exploring. The two find a map of the spaceship, and the Doctor tells her to stay there so she can guide him, using the communication device in their ears. As she does so, the ship systems begin waking up.
As the Doctor goes down into the engine core room, Bill realizes she can take a picture of the map and go to him. While on her way, she finds the body of an old woman laid out on a table. Near her body is a book containing a screen which seems to show tragic events on Earth. The Doctor explains that Earth was evacuated. While heading down to help the Doctor, Bill comes across a young boy and brings him with her. Meanwhile, a Vardi robot attacks the Doctor, but he is able to fend it off, and it falls into the engine core. He finishes setting the place to explode.
However, upon seeing the boy, the Doctor realizes that he can’t blow up the city. The population of Earth isn’t on their way, they’re already there, cryogenically frozen, and he and Bill woke them up upon entering the spaceship. They go to the pods, where other people have begun to wake up. The Doctor tells a man that no one leaves the ship until he says otherwise.
Bill shows the Doctor the body that she found. They look through photos of the woman, who was happy there with the other shepherds, setting things up for the others. The woman died of natural causes. The Doctor concludes that the Vardi’s job was to maintain happiness, but then when the woman died, people experienced grief, which the Vardi identified as a problem. Everyone was slaughtered over the course of one morning. The Doctor shows Bill a necklace that he found, which appears to have belonged to the boy’s mother. They realizes that once the people in the pods wake up and find out what happened, they’ll be grief-stricken, leading to a massacre.
The Doctor explains to the people who have woken up what happened. The people arm themselves with their supply of guns. Meanwhile, the boy has wandered off and been given a mood circle. The people find the boy, who is with two Vardi robots, and aim their guns at the Vardi. The boy begins to get sad and scared, asking for his mother. Bill tries to tell him to smile. The people shoot one of the robots. Then the micro-Vardi come out of the walls and attack the people, who are shooting at them. The Doctor has an epiphany: the Vardi have identified themselves as being under attack, which means they are self-aware, and therefore, alive. The Doctor pulls the head off of the fallen Vardi robot, and points his sonic screwdriver at the wires. There is a bright white light.
It turns out that the Doctor pressed the reset button. He wiped the Vardi’s memories, and they don’t know who these people are. The Doctor explains that the Vardi are the indigenous population, and acts as the negotiator between the Vardi and the humans.
The Doctor and Bill get back in the TARDIS and leave, and Bill marvels that they have just jump started a new civilization. When they open the TARDIS doors, they’re not back in the Doctor’s office as intended, though. They’re outside, and it’s snowing. The Doctor says they’re in London, and are on the frozen Thames River. An elephant greets them.
Her Thoughts on Doctor Who, Season 10 Episode 2: Smile
I actually quite enjoyed this episode. It was obvious that Doctor Who was trying to be topical and appeal to millennials through the use of the Emoji language, but I didn’t mind. I found it amusing how it poked fun at that generation — which technically I am a part of, though on the older side of. My favorite parts were when the mood tracker showed the various moods of the Doctor. I laughed out loud so many times. It was probably funnier to people that are well familiar with this Doctor in particular, but even newcomers could find the humor in it.
I’m also really continuing to enjoy the dynamic between Bill and the Doctor. She’s still learning, and you can tell that she’s having a great time with it, really appreciating everything that’s going on. I think she and the Doctor make a great team so far.
Still not much progress on an over-arcing storyline, which seems to be this vault that the Doctor is guarding, and was briefly mentioned this episode. I guess we’ll learn more later. I’m curious to see where this goes, and hoping that it will turn out to be something epic, like past seasons. For now, I guess I’ll just enjoy the ride though, and hope that it remains enjoyable.
His Thoughts on Doctor Who, Season 10 Episode 2: Smile