Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Doctor Who Is NEW! Smile

Yes, there was no post on Monday. I was too busy partying hard celebrating my birthday! 

OK, fine: yes, it was my birthday. But I've never partied... hard or otherwise... to celebrate it.  

Anyway...

Got see Saturday's new Doctor Who episode on Sunday. I missed the collective energy of the gang at Geeksboro but it was good to be in the Fortress of Ineptitude on a wet and dreary Sunday. 





Smile
by Frank Cottrell-Boyce


The Doctor whisks Bill Potts away to the distant future and an interstellar colony, despite Nardole’s admonishing the Doctor not to. Nardole reminds the Doctor he made an oath to stay on earth while he’s guarding the vault.

“What oath?!?!” 
“What’s in the vault?!?!”
“AUUUGHHH!!!!”

To borrow a line from Jim Kirk in Star Trek: The Search For Spock, “The answer was 'no'. We are therefore going anyway.”  The Doctor’s logic? He can travel back in time so he can get back to Earth before he left. So technically. he was never gone.  (?) 

The Doctor and Bill find a futuristic structure devoid of human life, just those cute little emoji-bots you’ve seen in the previews. OK, they’re cute as long as you’re happy. When you’re not happy, the emoji-bots strip you down to bone then grind up the bones for fertilizer. All right, that’s not cute at all.  So its very important to keep smiling. 

The emoji-bots are interfaces for the actual robots, micro-bots known as the Vardy that swarm about and build things for humans.


The Doctor theorizes that this whole operation is an advance mission for a colony ship to follow, colonists who are going to be reduced to bone fertilizer the moment someone frowns. The Doctor decides to stop that from happening by blowing everything up before the colonists get there. 


The Doctor and Bill find the advance ship that serves as the core of the central colony structure and sets the engine to go boom!


And then discovers the advance ship is also the colonists’ ship with colonists in suspended animation.  Well, what the Doctor tears asunder, he can fix right back up. Whew! That was nearly a really big screw up! Not just for the many, many human colonists on board but also, the Vardy are not malfunctioning robots but an evolved form of life that doesn’t understand what grief is. The Doctor reboots the Vardy to remove their  erroneous understanding of grief.  But the Vardy are now the indigenous life of this new world so the human colonists may owe the Vardy “rent”. 

Just as he did with “In the Forest of the Night” from Series 8, writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce once again has the Doctor completely and totally misread a situation.But it is a most unusual situation to deal with, a colony on another world, bereft of human life but occupied by robots that communicate via emoji. Weird!

But the real draw to this story is the relationship between the Doctor and Bill. Pearl Mackie as Bill continues to delight with a fresh perspective on the Doctor's activities. And Peter Capaldi still finds new layers to explore as the Doctor, sparked by his new role as a teacher and mentor to Bill. Bill's not just there to keep him company; she's there to learn.  

One of my favorite lines: "You don't steer the TARDIS; you negotiate with her." It's cool callback to "The Doctor's Wife", after the Doctor complained the TARDIS doesn't always go where he wants to go, Idris replied, "I always take you where you need to go."

The episode ends with an intriguing set up for next week's episode with the Doctor and Bill on the frozen river Thames. 

Facing an elephant? 

You have my attention. Next week's episode is entitled "Thin Ice" but with "The Pilot" and "Smile", Doctor Who Series 10 is on sure footing.  

By the way, watched the 2nd episode of Class and enjoyed it more than the 1st episode. More on that in Saturday's post.

Coming up between now and then, a post about my daughter and her performance in Seussical.  

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.  

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