Monday, May 1, 2017

Doctor Who: Thin Ice

Yes, we escaped from the Fortress of Ineptitude to make our way to Geeksboro Saturday night to watch the latest Doctor Who in the company of fellow Whovians. But this write up on it is not posting until Monday? 

What up with that? To be blunt, weariness on Saturday night and laziness for most of Sunday. But here we are at last. 

We're up to week three of the Bill Potts era of Doctor Who and this week, Bill makes her first journey with the Doctor to the past where they find...

Well, the TARDIS takes the Doctor where he needs to go. 

And why is he needed in London in 1814? What dangers lurk under the ice? And how is the partnership of the Doctor and his new companion shaping up?

Let's take a look after the break. (Spoilers, sweetie!) 

Thin Ice
by Sarah Dollard 

Things pick up where we off last week with the TARDIS parked on the frozen river Thames and an elephant is approaching. 

So there's all that, then. 

The Doctor and Bill in era appropriate attire venture forth to explore the last great Frost Fair, a veritable carnival on the frozen surface of the Thames. Bill is a little nervous being in the past when "slavery was still totally a thing" but is surprised to see more people of color than she expected enjoying the fair.  

Bill: “Regency England… Bit more black than they show in the movies.”

The Doctor: “So was Jesus. History’s a whitewash.”

The Doctor and Bill are having a good time exploring the Frost Fair. But...

There are lights under the ice. It's a mystery that takes a turn for the deadly as the Doctor and Bill witness a young street urchin pulled under the ice. Donning diving suits of the era, the Doctor and Bill discover a large people eating creature at the bottom of the river. In chains. 

The lights are angler fish that pull down the occasional
 hapless victim for the enormous creature's sustenance.  

The creature is not in the river willingly. What is up with that? 

After commiserating with a whole group of street urchins, Bill and the Doctor head further down the river where they find a mining operation, dredging up mud from the river about a mile down from the creature's head. Which means this operation is at... the other end. 

That's not mud.


Turns out this stuff burns hotter than coal; it even burns underwater. And this whole operation is run by one Lord Sutcliffe, a racist prick with no qualms about enslaving this creature under the Thames or endangering the lives of London citizens to keep it fed.  

Long story made short: Bill gets Londoners off the ice and the Doctor frees the creature under the river. And the homeless group of kids who helped the Doctor and Bill find a new home no longer being used by the now deceased Lord Sutcliffe; with a little forgery from the Doctor, one of the urchins becomes Sutcliffe's long lost heir.  

Back in the present, Bill wonders why there are no records of the giant monster in the Thames. But she does find record of the amazing story of the poor boy from the streets who inherited the home and fortune of Lord Sutcliffe. Bill is pleased that their mission to the past had a positive outcome. 

Meanwhile, Nardole is a bit cross with the Doctor, reminding of his oath to guard the vault. The episode ends with Nardole alone outside the vault. From within comes a forceful knocking. 



"Thin Ice" is another strong installment for Series 10. Writer Sarah Dollard  delivers a strong mystery with a bit of the twist: no aliens. The creature in the Thames is enormous and strange but may well be completely terrestrial in origin. Lord Sutcliffe is not an alien in disguise, just a racist bastard devoid of compassion.  

But the real highlight of the episode is the character work. There is a spot of bother as Bill grapples with mortality and the Doctor's attitude towards death. But they work through that in a relatively mature manner.  Otherwise, the Doctor and Bill are really clicking as a team.  

I did catch up on the 3rd episode of Class; more on that in Saturday's post. 

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

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