Violet recaps of Season 10 Episode 1 of Doctor Who, titled The Pilot, where the Doctor meets his new companion, Bill! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
- His thoughts on The Pilot, Episode 10.01 of Doctor Who
- Her thoughts on Doctor Who, Season 10 Episode 1: The Pilot
Nardole, whose body makes a mechanical sound, shows a young woman named Bill Potts into the Doctor’s office. Apparently, the Doctor has been a professor and has called Bill into his office because she keeps attending his lectures, even though she’s not a student at the university. He noticed that when she doesn’t understand something, she smiles, rather than frowns. He offers to be her personal tutor, and she agrees to come to his office every evening.
In a montage, we see the Doctor lecturing about time, and Bill going on about her job serving chips at the cantina. We also see Bill stays with a woman who is not exactly her foster mother. We also learn that Bill is interested in women.
One day, Bill secretly follows the Doctor and Nardole down into the basement of the university. They are up to something, but she makes a noise, which they hear, so she sneaks away before they discover her. Outside, she runs into a young woman named Heather that she had met at a bar recently. Heather has a defect in her eye that makes it look like a star. She asks Bill if she can show her something, then brings her to a puddle. Bill looks into the puddle, and can see that something looks wrong, but isn’t quite able to figure out what it is. Meanwhile, something deep down in the puddle says that pilot is located and link is established.
Bill gives the Doctor a rug for Christmas, and they have a Christmas meal together. She reveals that her mother died when she was a baby and that there aren’t many photographs. When she goes home, her foster mom gives her a box filled with photographs of Bill’s mom that she found. In one of the photos, we see a reflection of the Doctor in the mirror with a camera.
When the new school term begins, Bill notices that the rug she gave the Doctor is underneath the TARDIS — even though he told her that he needed a crane to lift the box.
Heather calls Bill over take another look at the puddle, but when Bill goes around to where the puddle is, Heather is gone, so Bill leaves as well. We see that Heather is inside the puddle, and a voice says pilot is confirmed.
Bill goes up to the Doctor’s office, and wonders what was wrong with her face in the puddle. The Doctor takes off running to the puddle, and Bill follows him down. The Doctor figures out that the reflection is flipped, and that it’s not reflecting you, it’s mimicking you. He hurries Bill out of there, dismissing it as a freak optical effect. Meanwhile, the voice in the puddle says passenger selected, pursuit engaged. Then the puddle begins moving.
When Bill gets home, Moira calls her letting her know that she is out. This is disconcerting to Bill, because she hears water running in the bathroom. She warns whoever’s in the bathroom that she’s coming in, and brings a sharp umbrella with her. But when she opens the door, she doesn’t see anyone, and the bathtub is empty. She opens the shower curtain, but no one is there either. But when she looks down into the drain, she sees Heather’s star eye, which causes her to scream and run away to the university.
Bill reaches the university grounds, but before she goes up to the Doctor’s office, she notices Heather behind her, and talks to her. Heather, who is dripping water, just repeats back everything Bill says. Bill realizes that Heather is dead, then runs up to the Doctor’s office, shutting the door behind her. However, this doesn’t help, and the puddle goes under the door, then rises up inside the room in the form of Heather. The Doctor takes Bill inside the TARDIS, and tells her that nothing can get in.
First Bill thinks that the large room she’s seeing is a knock-through, then when it begins moving, she thinks it’s a lift (the British term for elevator). The Doctor has brought the TARDIS down into the university’s basement, where he and Nardole get back to work trying to open the vault they were trying to get into earlier. They hear water dripping, and slowly move back toward the TARDIS. The puddle flows down the stairs and re-forms as Heather. The Doctor figures out that it is not interested in what’s in the vault, that it just wants to kill them. They run into the TARDIS, and they go to Australia.
Bill runs into a nearby restroom and washes her face. The Doctor follows her inside and asks how she’s doing, and how he can help. She asks him about where he is from and about the TARDIS. Suddenly, Heather begins to appear, and they run away into the TARDIS again. They go to the other end of the universe, 23 million years into the future.
The three step out of the TARDIS and Bill looks around in wonderment. The Doctor speculates that where the puddle was, it looked like scorch marks that may have been left behind by a space shuttle — and therefore, that the puddle was actually an oil leak of intelligent space oil. He thinks that it could have been lying around for awhile, but there must have been something that changed. Bill remembers that Heather had mentioned wanting to leave. The Doctor concludes that when the oil found someone who wanted to fly away, it found more than a passenger, it found a pilot — and ate her. Nardole wonders then why does it want Bill? The Doctor doesn’t know.
While the Doctor and Nardole are talking, Bill wanders to a nearby puddle and crouches down to look into it. There, she sees Heather, and the two look at each other for a few moments. Then suddenly, Heather reaches up and grabs Bill’s face. The Doctor and Nardole are able to rescue Bill and they run back to the TARDIS and fly away.
The Doctor has a plan: run that thing through the deadliest fire in the universe. He asks Nardole to run interference. When they land, Bill asks where they are, and the Doctor says they are in the middle of a war zone, where he has some old friends. Upon stepping out of the TARDIS, we hear a Dalek voice say that the Doctor is detected.
The Doctor reveals that they are in the past, and he and Bill run down the hallway, trying to avoid the skirmish, while Nardole runs interference with the sonic screwdriver. They come across a Dalek, and the Doctor says that’s the deadliest fire in the universe. Heather catches up to them, so they run. Another Dalek approaches them, saying “Exterminate!” Nardole finds them, reporting that he has sealed off the area, quarantining the Daleks — except the one in front of them.
The Doctor realizes something is off about this particular Dalek though. He is right — it turns back into Heather’s form. The Doctor commands her to fly away and just go. But she doesn’t, and the Doctor wonders why. Bill suddenly understands. She remembers that Heather had made a promise that she wouldn’t leave without her. The Doctor says that Bill needs to release Heather from her promise. Heather and Bill grasp hands, despite the Doctor’s warnings. He tells Bill not to fall for the lure that Heather is showing her, that Heather is not human anymore, and that Bill has to let go. Bill lets go, the two say goodbye to each other. Then Heather goes away, and they are safe.
After returning to the Doctor’s office, they discuss Heather. Bill gets the idea that they can see Heather again by using the TARDIS. He tells her to forget about it, but she doesn’t think she can. The Doctor attempts to wipe Bill’s memory, but she figures out what he’s trying to do, and stops him, begging him to let her keep her memories. She tells him to imagine what it would feel like if someone did this to him. He gives in and decides to let her keep her memories, telling her to leave now.
When Bill gets outside, the Doctor is waiting for her with the TARDIS. He tells her that it’s a big universe, and maybe one day they’ll find Heather. Bill asks what changed his mind, and he answers “Time — and Relative Dimension in Space” (TARDIS). He says it means “What the hell?” She runs into the TARDIS with him, ready for an adventure.
Her Thoughts on Doctor Who, Season 10 Episode 1: The Pilot
This episode had kind of a reboot feel to it, almost as if the show was coming back after having been gone for a long time. Indeed, it actually has been gone for awhile, not having had any new episodes (aside from the Christmas specials) since 2015. And with an episode title like “The Pilot,” a title typically used as an industry standard for the first episode of a new show, it was very fitting.
I felt as though a newcomer could have watched this episode of Doctor Who without having ever seen an episode before, as it did a good job explaining what the TARDIS is and what it can do, as well as gave us a glimpse into who the Doctor is. It was only slightly tedious for a longtime fan of the show, as we do have a new companion, so it’s par for the course that she has to learn and figure out things. At the same time, there were many references that a longtime fan could enjoy.
The episode felt like more of a one-off, introductory episode, which is fine. Having been gone so long, it’s understandable that the show would take the opportunity to try to bring in new viewers. We also got the tiniest hint of a season-long story arc with the Doctor and Nardole trying to open this mysterious vault. I feel like Doctor Who is at its best when there’s an underlying storyline tying all of the season’s episodes together, so I hope that this develops further. So far, I’m enjoying the dynamic between the Doctor and Bill, so I look forward to seeing what his season will bring! Admittedly, I haven’t been as invested in the most recent couple of seasons as I have been in past seasons, so I’m hoping that this “fresh start” will be a return to form.
His Thoughts on Doctor Who, Season 10 Episode 1: The Pilot
So the Doctor seemed to be on a bit of a hiatus while we were gone, and seemed to be teaching…basically whatever he wanted. I wonder if the leadership in the school know what he has been up to. Either way, I guess it makes sense for him to teach some course. He has been around the block a few times.
It looks like we have a new companion for the season with actress Pearl Mackie playing Bill Potts. It looks like she has been a down on her luck woman who is given a shot in school by the Doctor, then given a shot in the TARDIS when the situation calls for it.
Overall, I don’t really understand what this weird alien life form was after, other than abducting Heather and attempting to abduct Bill. They seemed to be looking more for a pilot than a passenger, but for what? I suppose I could have tuned out for that part but I didn’t really find the story of this episode compelling. Ah well. I thought the companion did well for the episode though, so I am curious to see what happens next with that.
Speaking of the story, it felt like the only reason the Doctor visited the Daleks was…to have the Daleks in the episode. They didn’t really do anything useful for the episode, other than provide a bit of irrelevant plot points for the story.
I feel like such a “Debbie-Downer” for Doctor Who lately. I just have not been able to get into the show since Peter Capaldi took over, but I don’t think Capaldi is the problem. Perhaps it is the show sort of replaying the same story just with different characters along the way, so I am not really engaged anymore?
The one thing I did like about the episode was the Doctor bringing back those photos of Bill’s mom. I thought that was a good way to show the Doctor has feelings despite his grumpy facade, and provided a good reason for Bill to be suspicious of the Doctor, and begin her investigation.
Anyway, we’ll have to see how the next episode goes. Hopefully I can get myself dialed in on the episode!