Series 10 is still coming along beautifully. I did slightly prefer last week’s Smile to this week’s Thin Ice, but it was still highly enjoyable. I am not normally as big a fan of the back in time in the fairly recent past, but the last frost fair has been referenced so many times in Doctor Who that I was keen to experience it for myself. In particular, I’ve wanted to see it since River Song said that Stevie Wonder had sung for her and the Doctor on the Thames in 1814, but that we must never tell him.
This particular writer, Sarah Dollard, has a whimsical, Harry Potter feel to her writing. That shone through again in this episode. I thought that worked very well with this era in history. Bill was as inquisitive as ever. This was an episode that demanded a fresh companion who is still seeing everything for the first time, utterly unjaded. Pearl Mackie did a beautiful job of this, balancing wonder with asking truly interesting questions. I really appreciate the way her brain works and that she appears to be a fellow sci fi fan. She thinks like someone who has watched as much sci fi as I have would in her situation, so this has made her feel very accessible. She is us. Although I did enjoy Clara Oswald, especially in series 9, I feel more immediate affinity with Bill despite having been both a nanny and an English teacher like Clara.
The baddie was a little bit lacking. His part felt a bit rushed and his motivation mainly seemed to be that he was a horrible person. I did like the ambiguity with the ‘monster’ though. We don’t always have to know everything and it fit that we don’t know it was was truly a monster or if it was just hungry and trapped.
I thought they dealt well with Bill’s first experience seeing someone dying. I thought that her reaction was very believable. I also like that the child did actually die, not because that’s a nice thing, but because it made it feel more real that there were consequences and Bill knows this now.
Even though Matt Lucas was only very briefly with us, he was worth it for the delivery of the following line alone: “Here’s your tea. I put some coffee in it to give it some flavour.”
I’m very much looking forward to next week.