Brilliant. The first word of our new Doctor and it held true for this introduction to 13. Jodie Whittaker had the HUGE task of taking on the Doctor heading into a new series and let me tell you, she’s perfection. Chemistry is the key for me in this episode.
***mild spoilers ahead***
I’ve been excited since the announcement that Jodie was taking up the Doctor mantle, but when we found out there would be THREE companions traveling with her I was concerned. Would this overshadow her? Would it set her SO apart from other Doctors as to do her a disservice? The answer is a flat no.
Tesin Cole as Ryan is first introduced to us as he creates a video, speaking about an incredible woman. We as the audience assume that he’s speaking about the Doctor of course, for who could be more brilliant than that? We see him struggling to ride a bike, mentioning “that time” which I look forward to learning about. At this point, my assumption is it’s something to do with his mother’s death, although he’s 19 and that was 6 years ago, so perhaps not. Ryan is highly intelligent, although you may think otherwise when he triggers much of last night’s events by touching a strange glowing button in a forest. Of course, we all know, and she later confirms, The Doctor would absolutely have done the same. Ryan is the companion who will always be first to charge right in behind the Doctor and I can’t wait to see what trouble he gets in.
Graham, played by Bradley Walsh, is Ryan’s step-granddad and it’s a tense relationship at least. He’s married to Ryan’s grandma, Grace (Sharon Clarke) who is just a delight. She loves her grandson and is obviously nutty for her new husband. I loved their relationship and Graham is at once a bit of a curmudgeon and also willing to pitch in and do whatever he needs. He’s so me. The head shaking “why is she chasing after another alien” was cracking me up. I am so glad he’s going to be part of 13’s story.
Yasmin Khan. Yasmin!! Played by Mandip Gill I’m already in love with Yasmin. Her no-nonsense approach, and the seriousness with which she addresses the absurdity of aliens is so fantastic. Especially in juxtaposition to Ryan who’s ready to believe everything 13 tells him. Although seriously. After how many Christmas’s of being invaded by aliens how can ANYONE in London not just accept that they exist? A rookie police officer, Yasmin wants adventure and challenge and the Doctor is going to deliver that in spades.
Truly the 3 companions have amazing chemistry. Genius casting has lead to a team that somehow already feels like a team. A task that I would have previously said was impossible. What show doesn’t need a building episode or two, or three to be honest? Apparently this one. There wasn’t a shadow of a doubt in my mind that these 3 needed each other and would work together.
Throw in a Time Lord who almost remembers who she is and we’ve got a recipe for success. Last night’s episode felt like a true revitalization for the Who franchise. It’s got all the fun and nostalgia but with a TON of joy, hope and fabulous writing. In what feels like a world full of darkness this show cut through with a bright ray of light. Jodie captured irreverence and earnestness with equal measure. From sticking her finger up her own nose to asserting herself as Earth’s protector, she hit every mark with full commitment. With Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, it took me a couple of episodes to buy in, mostly because of my love for David Tennant. But Jodie IS The Doctor. From moment one. I can’t wait to see more.
“Tim Shaw” is a double cheat and seriously the grossest alien ever. DUDE. He had human teeth embedded in his skin. GROSS. No. I’m going to have nightmares about that face. That said, I liked it! I liked the introduction of a new alien, a new big bad. Yay no Cyber-men or Daleks! He was fresh, bad and welcome. And then not, and taken care of in typical Doctor fashion.
I am ecstatic. Can you tell? Honestly, there is just no way to not gush. The writing, characters, everything was more than I could have hoped. Doctor Who is at its best when it finds that perfect mix of cheesy sci-fi and truly heartbreaking drama. This episode did that in spades. Season 11 has breathed new life into the franchise and I’m fully along for the ride. Now if only we can see the T.A.R.D.I.S.!!!!
5 Swiss Army Sonics (With a Touch of Sheffield Steel) Out of 5
Doctor Who airs next on BBC America on Sunday, Oct 14th at 8/9c