Doctor Who S10E02 – Smile
Well, I have to start this review by making an honest confession when I heard about the concept of this episode. I thought emoji robots sounds just silly, cheesy or even a little like the show was scraping some sort of pop culture barrel. So this review starts with me eating a huge slice of humble pie with my tea. If anything this goes to show its ok to have opinions. It's ok to be wrong. There is no shame in it. We all do it and as it turns out in this episode, even The Doctor does it.
So this episode picks up with Bill (Pearl Mackie) and the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) heading off to the future and what promises to be an idyllic future for mankind which quickly descends into a weird dystopian future where our love of emojis has gone a little too far. They may look like cute little robots with smiley faces but if you get too sad these little guys quickly have a cure for grief and sadness and it's not to give you a kitten to play with or chocolate to eat.
Pearl Mackies' bill is given more time to get her head around what The Doctor can do and that he has two hearts. And while Bill is still learning and growing in her 2nd episode she is proving to have good chemistry with Peter. Her observations about the chair in the Tardis and the console was amusing even if it did seem a little nit picking. But I think this is meant to be her quirky character and her attention to detail. So I should maybe let that slide. She is coming into her own. I will give her a few more episode before I say yes I am a fan or no I am not.
While we got loads of screen time with Pearl. Matt was just a case of blink and you will miss him. Which is a bloody sin as the show could have used him a lot better maybe further story or even take some of the workloads of the two main stars. Though Nardole has a brief appearance he does have an important part to play. By reminding us the viewers about last week's McGuffin plot, The vault, Something The Doctor was protecting at the university where he met Pearl last week, the million dollar question is what is in the vault and who did he promise to protect it for?
So what were the highlights of this week? Well, the color palette of the show and look of the futuristic landscape was great. The clean pristine white seemed welcoming and safe. Even though I knew it wouldn’t be. The dialogue was good for the most part. Peter is on course to go out on a high and Pearl is making a good start to her run on the show. And I have to say the emoji robots weren't that bad. So there is a lot to like.
Bad points. Well, I have to say not having Matt was a sore point. He could have taken some parts of the story and given he is built up in the main credits. It sticks out like a sore thumb. Speaking of sticking out like a sore thumb. The scene pre-credit where a colonist tells another, that her family and friends have died while trying to smile was just too much for my taste. Not horror wise just too much ham in my acting And I would like to say that Ralph Little formerly of The Royal Family show and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps was a little underused. The actor deserved a little more than what he got.
At the end of it all, we get something of a payoff for old Doctor Who fans were the start of next episode is almost carried on. With the Doctor and Pearl landing back on earth in snow and staring down an elephant in the Thames. The show should try to keep the continuous flow of the show going and it’s a good way to tease the next episode other than a trailer. This season seems to see show runner Steven Moffat reunite old and new Doctor Who fans. I hope to see more of this as the last thing we need is to alienate ourselves from a rich past and if the show runners of the future season see this. Take time to bring back some of the old faces before we lose them. Not just doctors, But companions and monsters. I am not saying new things don’t work. I just like to have a bit of everything. That’s what show is. Something old, something borrowed and something blue.
By Graham Leslie