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Good Bill Hunting meets The Nutty Professor in a softish reboot

Bill Potts is a potato-pushing peon in the canteen of St. Luke’s University in Bristol. When she’s not cramming carbohydrates into her crushes, she’s devouring free didactics from the resident lunatic lecturer on campus: none other than the Twelfth Doctor!

Doc notices her propensity to smile at his wibbly-wobbly jibber-jabber while others frown, and agrees to tutor her personally on the more abstruse academic aspects of timey-wimeyness. Later, they bond over not having enough pictures of significant others.

But all is not well in the remote corners of the university grounds: a persistent puddle that mimics rather than mirrors is reflecting badly on a starry-eyed student who was damp enough for Bill to begin with, and who now won’t say no to giving her a warm soak.

Here's what we think of N132 The Pilot

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.0

Drew | @drewbackwhen

4.2

Marie | Not on twitter...

4.6

Here's what we think of N132 The Pilot

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.0

Drew | @drewbackwhen

4.2

Marie | Not on twitter...

4.6

Here's what you think 6 Responses to “N132 The Pilot”
  1. Tracey from America | @yecartniatnouf

    (20 April 2017)

    This episode is about a pilot. Or it is a pilot? Wait, it’s BOTH. This feels very much like a starting point for new viewers. We are again reminded of The Doctor’s mysterious character traits: his longevity, his lack of name, and his overall quirkiness.

    There are some obvious and less obvious callbacks: the pictures on his desk of Susan and River, the fact that he’s established a base of operations on Earth similar to the stranded third Doctor, and the hesitation he experiences when about to wipe Bill’s memory. Bill doesn’t know, but the question isn’t how *would* he feel, rather how *did* he feel after Clara did this to him.

    I wasn’t over-enthusiastic about the plot, which involves an alien entity wanting a pilot for its spacecraft. Reminiscent of The Lodger, but with a happier ending for the alien and a sadder ending for Bill, who really liked the star-eyed woman.

    Let’s talk about Bill! l love her natural hair. Anyone a fan of the natural hair movement? As mom to a curly girl, I’m happy to see a person of color with unstraightened hair represented. And Bill is gay, which I’m not sure we’ve had before in a companion. There’s Jenny and Vastra’s relationship, but let’s be honest; I’m paying more attention to their species than their gender. Bill’s lack of interest in men also means we’ll be treated to close platonic relationship between her and the Doctor, with no unrequited bullshit.

    Rating: Great start!

  2. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    So we are here at series 10 finally and have a soft reboot, clean slate, or whatever you want to call it. The twelfth doctor has continued to soften from the past two series and to be honest this is the depiction I prefer for him. A retired timelord as a university professor, why am I getting Professor Chronotis from Shada vibes? Haha. Also the landing pad in the courtyard is very similar to something in the seventh Doctor era. And we get a watery T-1000, interesting. In hindsight the threat in this one isn’t actually that much but it proves a nice framework for the Doctor and the new companion to get to know each other.

    Bill hits the ground running as a companion I feel. It’s a shame she only did this series but I do quite like her. The fact that she doesn’t fancy the Doctor put her instantly in my good books. I quite like the ‘Up my game line’ and in fact the humour in general in this one. It works quite well for me. Nardole is given a bit more to do and his character definitely grows over the series.

    The alternative title was ‘A Star In Her Eye’ which is a bit spoilery but I think is a more interesting title than the one we get.

    Solid but doesn’t overall stay with you, 3.4/5

    Cheers

    Kieren

  3. Awesome Alfie

    This episode was ok on the way to going bad. I thought after the last episode the series would get better. I mean wouldn’t you want to start the series off with a bang. The doctor having all his sonics in a pot on his desk was cool but I’m kinda surprised none of them were destroyed in the past. And why show the cybermen and master this early on? Also a companion providing chips to people in a school while the doctor teaches, where have I heard this before?

    This episode is like a 2 I guess it’s a bit weak

    From the wet puddle of an awesome Alfie

  4. Andy Parkinson | @caffreys71

    What-ho Gang

    Here’s my review for The Pilot

    The first story in season 10 and we have plenty of new stuff. We get a new companion in Bill, who has the hots for Heather – a girl who stares at puddles (which I’ve decided is the name for my first novel). The Doc is teaching at university and also guarding a mysterious vault. There’s also loads of call-backs to the past, from the pictures of River and Susan and pot of old sonics on Doc’s desk to the return of dreadlocked disco dalek destroyers the Movellans who we first saw in 4th Doctor story Destiny of the Daleks.

    Is it me or are there a couple of nods to Back to the Future? There’s the ticking clocks and electric guitar at the beginning, and at the end Doc says “what the hell” Doc Brown says the same?

    Likes

    • There’s a strong Professor Chronotis/Shada vibe.
    • Nardole’s explanation of the Tardis is a call-back to how the 4th Doctor explained it to Leela.
    • Bill’s entry into the TARDIS is one of the best as she struggles to comprehend.
    • Wet Heather (insert Leon uh-huh here) is super scary.

    Beefs

    • Bill spots the Doc in the photos of her mum, but never discusses it with him?
    • If Heather was trying to tempt Bill, why not do the vision thing on the planet when she grabbed her face?

    It’s a really good opening to the season. Capaldi smashes it yet again, Pearl Mackie is fabulous as Bill, Stephanie Hyam is great as Heather and Nardole is good fun too. If the rest of the season is as good as this, we are in for a treat.

    I award this story 4.2 Macaroon Dispensers out of 5

    Andy Parkinson

  5. Eddie Rock | @TheEddieRock

    Hey WhoBackWhen, after missing The Return of Doctor Mysterio (which I can’t say I’m overly sad about) I’m back to ROCK your eyedrums with my mini review of The Pilot. As far as season premieres go, it wasn’t the worst, though it wasn’t the best either. Although, between the foreboding Vault (so excited for this) and the first cameo appearance of the Thall in probably close to 50 years, there was definitely fun to be had.

    The Doctor was fantastic as always. His one liners and general sense of fun through most of this episode was spot on. The “baddie” was unique and allowed for the usual exposition required for a new companion episode. It’s always hard for shows to build an interesting episode around having to catch everyone up on the previous lore, as is always done with new Tardis travelers. In this instance I feel they pulled it off adequately.

    This is my favorite Nardole we’ve gotten so far as he seems to have really found his character at this point. As for Bill, I’ve found that, like Capaldi himself, I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy her more each time I watch this season. Pearl Mackie does a great job of being charming while also being appropriately freaked out by her first experience with The Doctor and then inevitably addicted to it.

    I give this episode a 3.1 out of 5 bacon sandwiches that love me back. See you all next time, until then, ROCK on

    -Eddie Rock

  6. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes:

    • The Doctor delivering bonkers lectures on random shit.
    • Sexy Movellans. But why did the Doctor refer to them as ‘friends’ – has he forgotten the time they turned out to be robots and tried to kill him?
    • Some unnerving shots of Heather in a puddle.

    Beefs:

    • Who could that be in the vault I wonder? I sure hope we don’t get a tonne of spoilers in the ‘coming soon’ section.
    • Heather never really seems threatening. I guess there’s sort of an ‘It Follows’ vibe but no way as freaky as the thing following the Doctor in Heaven Sent, or the water zombies in Waters of Mars, or the swimming pool monster in Seventh Doctor masterpiece Paradise Towers. How can it travel through time and space? What was even the race that the fuel belonged to?

    Summary: a nice, albeit somewhat forgettable reset.

    Rating: 3/5 sexy Movellans being blown to smithereens. Nooooooo! Make love (with sexy Movellans), not war!

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