Doctor Who: Smile

So, here we go with the second episode, but before I start wittering, it’s only fair to say:

While I’m not planning to go into a lot of plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:

Here be spoilers!

As is traditional (more or less, give or take) for a second episode with a new companion, this one took us into the future, to a futuristic but suspiciously empty city on a new colony world. The Doctor and Bill spend some time wondering where all the people have gone, avoiding cute little robots that get a wee bit upset if you’re not entirely happy, not to mention hordes of nanobots that take action when the cute little robots get upset.

And as is even more traditional, there’s lots of confusion, some surprises and some good solid fun.

Bill is developing nicely as a foil for the Doctor, asking awkward questions, and seeing things from her own angle.

And the Doctor seems to be having fun, as it seems that the decades he’s spent lurking in the university have let him put his Clara and River traumas behind him. Less grumpy, more crazy than ever, and as Bill put it, still running like a penguin with its arse on fire. Now that’s something Sarah Jane wouldn’t have said…

As is also semi-traditional, there’s a bit of an underlying link to this season. The Doctor has, or so Nardole keeps reminding him, sworn an oath to guard the vault below the university, and never to leave the planet except in direst emergency. Obviously, that’s going to work…

He decides to take Bill on a trip anyway, quite sure that he’ll get back at the very moment of departure, and what could possibly go wrong with that, other than all the other stuff that happens when the Doctor’s about? Well, after the little matter of the colonists and the robots is sorted out, the Doctor takes the TARDIS back to, err, not the university at the moment they left, but to a frost fair on the Thames. As the last one of these was in 1814, he might be a couple of centuries out, quite apart from not actually being in Bristol. More fun will follow.

So, what’s in the vault? Is he protecting it, or making sure it doesn’t get out? Or both? Or something else entirely?

And will we get more episodes leading into the next one like this?

Time will no doubt tell…

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