I have never been a big fan of Steven Moffat’s run on Doctor Who; however, even I can admit that Series 10 is off to a great start. With “The Pilot,” we have started the final season for both Moffat and star Peter Capaldi, leading to them handing off the baton to writer Chris Chibnall and the as-yet-unnamed Thirteenth Doctor this Christmas.
The most noticeable element of this week’s episode is the introduction of the Doctor’s new companion, Bill Potts (played by Pearl Mackie), a cafeteria worker with an excitement for the unknown. The episode is told from her point of view, and, as such, it is a good place for new viewers to jump in. She sees the Doctor through new eyes, and when she meets him, the audience is introduced (or reintroduced) to the show and eases viewers into its dense mythology that spans over half a century.
With only one episode under her belt, I already like Potts better than the Doctor’s previous companions, Amy and Clara. One of my problems with the Moffat-era Doctor Who is that the female companions have not been fully developed. He has relied on some sort of mystery to keep the characters interesting, and as soon as that mystery is explained, they become stagnant. Now, we have Bill— a normal woman who can run along with the Doctor instead of being a puzzle for him to solve.
Hopefully, Moffat can use that shift in focus to bring some closure to his arc and tie up some of those loose ends that have been left hanging for years. If “The Pilot” is any indication, then that could be exactly what Series 10’s arc is. The episode revolves around a mysterious puddle that reflects the onlooker’s actual image instead of their mirror image. The sentient water then begins to mimic people utilizing some impressive special effects to search for a potential pilot. The Doctor discovers that it is liquid machinery from a spaceship that is repairing itself and replacing the necessary parts (a reoccurring motif in Moffat’s stories).
This broken ship and mimicking creature could be a standalone story, unrelated to the overall plot, or it could be the return and resolution of some plots in the past. We already know that this season will see the return of the Mondosian Cybermen, the Ice Warriors, and John Simm’s Master, so it is quite possible that we are going to see some closure to old stories. With the Ice Warriors returning, that could mean that the water creature is related to the other notorious inhabitants of Mars, the Flood (from “The Waters of Mars,” or the mimicking creature from “Midnight.” As I mentioned earlier, Moffat has had several damaged ships repairing themselves (“The Girl in the Fireplace,” “The Lodger,” and “Deep Breath”). It is possible that all of these ships are related, and we may finally get some answers about them.
Regardless, if any of this ends up being true, 2017 is going to be an exciting year for Whovians.