Tonight BBC America airs an all-new episode of Doctor Who
, "Thin Ice," written by Sarah Dollard and directed by Bill Anderson. In the episode, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Bill (Pearl Mackie) arrive in London at the River Thames in 1914, during the time of the biggest Frost Fair in decades. However, beneath the surface of the ice, people are disappearing as they are pulled through the ice by some kind of creature.
I have really been pleased by how this season continues to explain bits of information about the Doctor to new viewers, yet for fans, it still just feels like fun memorable pieces brought back or amusing references. In tonight's episode, for example, Bill learns more about the sonic screwdriver, as well as about the Doctor's psychic papers.
More than that, as their friendship continues to grow, it is also tested. Bill gets to see a different side of the Doctor this time, a side that she isn't too keen on. The Doctor often has to make choices that can be hard and doesn't have the luxury of time to be upset or angry, and bad things do happen. However, she also learns that in the end, the Doctor always makes the right choice.
I also appreciated that, even though early on in their companionship, the Doctor pushes it on Bill to make a difficult choice herself, knowing that she will choose as he would. This was very reminiscent of "Kill the Moon" from season eight with Clara (Jenna Coleman), although Bill reacts quite differently, as with most things.
The creature this week was my favorite out of the first three episodes, as it fits into the mythology as a great "monster of the week," and as often happens, the "evil monster" may not be what or who we first think.
The look of the creature and the visual effects used really worked for the episode. The episode's tone was dark when it needed to be, but also more lighthearted when necessary, and it felt spot on.
As always, there were excellent lines from both Bill and the Doctor, and I liked him trying to be hip with the kids, as well as Bill's reaction.
I also have to mention that I appreciated the writer bringing in social issues of the time, with Bill not being accepted for who she was because of her skin color. The show never shies away from such things, and it played into that, and the Doctor's chivalry, quite nicely.
Lastly, the writers continue to feed the audience new tidbits of this season's mystery, which keeps everyone wanting more.
"Thin Ice" was a foray back into the weekly creature feature the show is known for, and all around it was an enjoyable episode.