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A happy-go-lucky episode full of corridon’ts, and what exactly does a self-aware AI demand in rent?

After a thing happened a long time ago and despite making a promise about said thing, Doc takes a slight detour whilst en route to Mummy Nardole and the kettle so he can show Bill the sights, sounds, and sexist food portions of a far-away bloke-topia.

Cut to the far-flung future when some of the very last remnants of mankind have sought refuge in an architectonic orgy of angles populated by robots who will make dead anyone who isn’t happy enough to be alive, because cause and effect are more of a wet-brain thing.

Bill & Doc’s Excellent Adventure continues as this awakens in them a silly hankering to blow up the place, but this might be more complicated than they first anticipate and so they must figure out the mystery of the magic haddock before they’ve both had their chips.

Here's what we think of N133 Smile

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


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Marie | @hammashandjelly


Here's what we think of N133 Smile

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


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Marie | @hammashandjelly


Here's what you think 5 Responses to “N133 Smile”
  1. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    Our first future trip proper of this series and I generally like this one. The general plot isn’t exactly new but I feel it is done well here. The emoji aspect was a worry before first watch but actually it’s used fairly well. The worried one with the raised eyebrow fits Capaldi so well. A planet where you must be happy otherwise you could end up dead? Had the writer watched Seventh Doctor story The Happiness Patrol? Hehe…

    The location was well picked and used with really nice cinematography helping to sell the new alien world. Bill and the Doctor’s relationship is continuing to develop from last ep and I enjoy her learning more about the Doctor. I quite like the ‘You must have really high blood pressure? Really high’ exchange.

    Bit convenient to the plot that the Doctor found the locket from the mum of the boy that wakes up first so they know that his mum is in fact dead. Actually the episode is surprisingly grim in tone on rewatch (again the juxtaposition fits with the Happiness Patrol comparison quite well). And Humans being humans try to shoot their way out of danger, only to lead to more problems. Yep, that’s very on point. Deleting the robot’s software to save the day feels familiar as a plot resolution though I’m not sure where it’s from.

    Continuing the good start to the series 3.6/5



  2. Andy Parkinson | @caffreys71

    What-Ho Gang!

    Doc whisks Bill off to the future and slap bang into a human colony with emoji-bots and deadly nanobots. It has a very similar feel to seeeeventh Doctor story The Happiness Patrol – just without the walking talking liquorice allsorts guy.

    The Doc and Bill are fabulous in this, Bill’s wide-eyed wonderment countered by 12’s dour demeanour; their relationship reminds me a little of the 4th Doctor and Leela. The sets and locations are fantastic too, I think possibly one of the best ever. Sadly, what’s lacking is pacing, it’s not a unique problem to new Who, the story just feels so rushed. This leads to Doc making massive jumps in conclusions just to get to the final outcome. It’s a shame because the beginning part of the story was so well done.


    • “I’m not Scottish, I’m angry”
    • “There’s a giant smiley abattoir over there, and I’m having this childish impulse to blow it up,”


    • The Doctor identifies the Vardy as sentient, then goes right ahead and mind wipes them. This Doctor is far too fond of mind wiping!
    • Accusing the colonists of slavery is a little harsh, the humans develop tech to make their lives easier, how are they supposed to know they’d become sentient?
    • Are emojis really going to be the form of communication that survives into the future? (sad face emoji)

    A story that starts brilliantly but fades into a disappointing ending is salvaged by some wonderful visuals and cracking performances of Capaldi and Mackie. I wonder, if they’d made it a 2-parter and fleshed it out a bit, it might have been better for it.

    I award this 2.8 emoji badges out of 5

    Andy Parkinson

  3. Awesome Alfie

    Well this was an episode I can sum up easily but how should I do it? Ah I know I’ll sing “Alfie don’t like it! Rock the doctor, rock the doctor”. It was like the first episode, just a bit boring. Although the literal skeleton crew was sp00key.
    Also who programmed these robots to have a spooky death face emoji? Probably Elton from season 2! I don’t know I’m just trying to make this interesting.
    Overall I give this one a 2/5
    From the emoji speaking awesome Alfie ?⚡️

  4. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club


    • Cute service robots in a luxury complex gone baaaad. Perhaps a homage to a certain Seventh Doctor story Paradise Towers. I loved the countdown emojis to death’s head, and the mystery compost reveal.
    • Nice comedy moments with the Doc and Bill smiling their way out of the complex.
    • Beautiful location shots and special effects.


    • Was it a little too similar to the old-Amy samurai episode? Even the white robots were familiar.
    • It would have been nastier if the robots did the killing (rather than rely on the nanobots). They were still a little too harmless.
    • The rushed resolution and total over-reliance on the Sonic Screwdriver. Boooo. Has this even resolved the problem? Surely the robots will revert to their homicidal tendencies as soon as people pop their clogs and others grieve for them?

    Summary: mostly ?

    Rating: 3.2/5 sad shepherds turned to compost. Oh dear oh dear.

  5. Eddie Rock | @TheEddieRock

    Hey WhoBackWhen,

    I’m happy to report that I would say this episode ROCKS! This is one of my favorite episodes of series 10. I love when this series can take an adorable adversary like the Adipose or, yes even the Pting, and make them a legitimate threat, which is done beautifully here when the Vardi start dusting innocent people early on in the episode. However, much like the aforementioned “baddies” they are not inherently evil. True, they borrow a little too much from the Thanos guide to peace and happiness but ultimately they are legitimately trying to help. The whole, communicating via emoji thing, is pretty silly but it does add to their charm and provide some well done moments of tension and dread.

    Bill is absolutely charming here when she’s so excited to see proper robots and be on an actual spaceship. Watching her learn who The Doctor really is and how he operates in these early episodes is a real treat and her performance really captures how she feels about each new revelation about him. Capaldi continues to impress with his ability to deliver his witty one liners and seamlessly transition into heavy tension, all while spouting captivating exposition that in anyone else’s hands could easily come off as forced or droll.

    Overall, I give this fun futuristic episode a 4.2 out of 5 entries The Doctor doesn’t want you to find in his browser history. Catch you next Thames. Until then, ROCK ON!

    Eddie Rock

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