Be warned: there be spoilers ahead!
At this point, I might summarize the basic plot of the episode: Person A discovers Thing B which leads to Alien Problem C which the Doctor resolves by doing a Thing. But The Pilot defies such easy analysis.
But I will give it a go.
The Alien Problem is a puddle.
Yes, Steven Moffat is looking to make us scared of a puddle.
Moffat is evil. There! I said it!
The puddle is sentient spaceship oil that eats people. It has eaten Bill's friend Heather and now is after Bill.
The Doctor attempts to save Bill by running away from the puddle. It doesn't work.
The Doctor tries to destroy the puddle by luring it into the crossfire of a Dalek war. It doesn't work.
Bill tells the puddle to go away. That works! The end. Roll credits.
The Pilot is so much more than just a Doctor Who alien threat of the week.
The operative word to best describe this most unique episode of Doctor Who is... "quiet".
It begins with Bill Potts answering a summons to the Doctor's university office. Yes, the Doctor has gotten himself ensconced at a university where's he's been for 50 years (or more!), lecturing on... whatever. Quantum physics, poetry... it's all the same stuff to the Doctor.
The Doctor has taken an interest in Bill who attends his lectures even though she's not a student; she works at school canteen. It seems that when Bill doesn't understand something, she doesn't frown; she smiles. Intrigued, the Doctor decides to make himself Bill's mentor and oversee her education.
Bill is a smart, insightful young woman but the circumstances of life have kept her gifts from being fully realized. We spend a lot of time with Bill has she slowly peels away at the layers of mystery around her mentor as well as Heather who she's attracted to and the puddle that obsesses the two women.
Yes, Bill is gay but it's not presented as a big deal. It's just a fact of her life. The Doctor certainly doesn't remark on it.
While the title of the episode "The Pilot" refers to the alien puddle, it also serves as a meta-reference that this episode serves as the pilot of a brand new show, even for long time fans.
Why is the Doctor teaching at this university? What is that strange vault that the Doctor & Nardole are keeping watch over?
The Pilot is a bit odd, lacking the over the top opening punch that Moffat likes to deliver at the start of a new series. It's a quiet welcome for new companion Bill Potts and this strange Doctor who has entered her life.
It's odd and quiet. And a most enjoyable start to Doctor Who Series 10.
I also saw the opening episode of the Doctor Who spin off last night. I'll have a write up about that, probably on Saturday. And next Sunday's post will be on Doctor Who's 2nd episode of Series 10.
Until next time, remember to be good to one another.