Synopsis: A mysterious woman who can’t remember her name falls out of the Sheffield sky. Can Graham, Ryan and Yasmin believe a word she says – and can she do anything about the weird events taking place across the city?
Review: This was a fantastic start to a brand new era of Doctor Who. Jodie Whittaker absolutely nails the Doctor’s alienness and quirkiness while giving hints of the Oncoming Storm within. I found that 13 had a trepidation and an uncertainty in this episode that made her instantly likable and relatable. The small callback to David Tennant’s 10th Doctor when 13 tried out different words for her allies “Fam?” was great as was the Doctor raising her hand and replying “I would’ve” when Ryan said that anyone would have touched the alien artifact. There was some brilliant humour to be found here such as the part where the Doctor tried on new clothes while Yaz and Ryan waited for her. One thing that struck me about this opening installment is how dark and gritty it was compared with previous eras.
Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole are very good at making us relate to their characters as are all the actors in this episode. I thought it was a really nice touch that the woman Ryan was describing in his video was actually his nan and I loved the comparison between her and the Doctor, especially when Grace said: “Is it wrong to be enjoying this?” Mandip Gill is really well introduced in this episode as a strong and sensible character. I loved her line to Jodie Whittaker when she told the Doctor “You really need to get out of those clothes.” The music in this episode gave the impression of the ominous unknown when Ryan was searching for his bike. I really liked the comparison between Karl and the episode’s villain “Tim Shaw” in that Karl was trying to improve his life and lot through self-help whereas Tim Shaw was doing the same through cheating and killing. Also great was the moment when Karl kicked Shaw off the crane and 13 called him on it. Jodie Whittaker delivered an utterly stunning speech about change and renewal that I could feel in my stomach.
The score when she constructed her own sonic screwdriver was the standout of the episode and put me in mind of someone forging Excalibur. Bradley Walsh gave an amazing eulogy for Grace that was on a par with 13’s establishing speech. There are some incredible human moments in this episode such as when Yaz tells Ryan that what is happening is not his fault and the heroism of the alien researcher who asked Tim Shaw “Where’s my sister.” I loved the part where Ryan says “I love you Nan and tomorrow I’m going out there for you.” I really liked how hard-hitting Grace’s death was showing that the Doctor’s adventures have a human cost. I really liked how the Doctor and her companions saved the world as a team instead of the Doctor by herself. The new opening titles are phenomenal and the perfect blend of Classic and New Who.
Overall, an excellent start to a brand new era.
- Incidental Music10