The Pilot

Doctor WhoBill Potts works in the university cafeteria, and though she’s not taking his classes, she attends lectures by a mysteriously tenured professor known only as the Doctor. He’s as likely to lecture on poetry as on physics, and seems to know a little bit about everything – a lot, actually. He’s also very observant, and knows that Bill isn’t one of his students, and offers to tutor her anyway.

Bill catches the eye of a fellow student named Heather, though their conversations never seem to go where expected. Heather is preoccupied with a puddle of standing water which has the audacity to exist in a fenced-in concrete area where there has been no rain for days. Bill relates this to the Doctor, who is suddenly very curious about the puddle, and the scorch marks surrounding it on the concrete: the telltale sign of a recently landed spacecraft. The next time Bill sees Heather, the girl is drenched in an unending torrent of water, has dead eyes, can only repeat what Bill says, and seems to be following her obsessively. Bill races into the Doctor’s office to get away from her, and the Doctor (with Nardole still in tow) whisks her away in the TARDIS. But wherever they go in time and space, whether it’s sunny Sydney or the hell of the Dalek-Movellan war, Heather follows…and won’t give up until Bill joins or rejects her.

Order the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Lawrence Gough
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Jennifer Hennessy (Moira), Stephanie Hyam (Heather), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voices)

Doctor WhoNotes: This is the first (and only) screen appearance of the Movellans since their only other appearance in 1979’s Destiny Of The Daleks; they are primarily a background detail here, and not central to the plot, just like the Daleks that show up without being the central threat. The Doctor seems to have an abundance of his retired sonic screwdrivers on hand – score one product placement for Character Options and Underground Toys – and has framed photos of River Song and Susan on his desk.

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Smile

Doctor WhoBill wants to see Earth’s future, so the Doctor takes her to an Earth colony several centuries into that future. The odd thing is, the entire colony seems to be populated not by humans, but by two kinds of robots: flying, bee-like microbots that built, and make up the material of, the colony structures, and diminutive mobile robots who communicate only through simple facial expressions. But at the first sign that their guests are unhappy with what they’ve found – a city built for humans but devoid of humans – the robots don what could be a fatal frown. Determined to make sure that any future colonists aren’t walking into a trap, the Doctor decides to destroy the colony…until Bill discovers that the colonists are already there.

Order the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Frank Cottrell Boyce
directed by Lawrence Gough
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Kiran L Dadlani (Kezzia), Mina Anwar (Goodthing),Ralf Little (Steadfast), Kalungi Ssebandeke (Nate), Kiran Shah (Emojibot), Craig Garner (Emojibot)

Doctor WhoNotes: Mina Anwar is no stranger to the universe of Doctor Who. She played Gita Chandra, the excitable mother of series regular Rani Chandra, on The Sarah Jane Adventures, though she plays a different, unrelated character here.

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Thin Ice

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and Bill to the last of the London Frost Fairs in 1814, a traveling carnival set up on the frozen river Thames. While the time travelers are trying to keep a low profile, something else is watching from under the ice, waiting for individuals to wander away from the crowds…so something else can drag them through the ice and consume them. When the Doctor and Bill witness this fate befalling a street urchin, Bill is shocked at the Doctor’s quiet acceptance of the child’s fate, unaware that the Doctor is already trying to think of a way to protect the rest of the street children and find out what lurks beneath the ice. When he discovers that the creature, once it is fed stray humans, is excreting something that burns hotter than coal or oil, and is being held in chains beneath the Thames, the Doctor leaves the decision to Bill: intervene in history, or live with the knowledge that a history-changing fuel could advance human achievement at the cost of enslaving an innocent being?

Order the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Sarah Dollard
directed by Bill Anderson
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Nicholas Burns (Sutcliffe), Asiatu Koroma (Kitty), Peter Singh (Pie-Man), Simon Ludders (Overseer), Tomi May (Dowell), Austin Taylor (Spider), Ellie Shenker (Dot), Kishaina Thiruselvan (Harriet), Badger Skelton (Perry)

Doctor WhoNotes: The Doctor refers to the trapped aquatic creature as the Loch Ness Monster, though the story leaves nebulous whether he means it’s literally the same creature. (Doctor Who has previously revealed the identity of that legendary monster to be a Skarasen deposited in Loch Ness by the Zygons (Terror Of The Zygons, 1975), though there’s nothing explicitly contradicting this creature being the Skarasen, or a progenitor of the Skarasen seen by the Doctor’s fourth incarnation in 1975.) Thin Ice is also the title of a Big Finish Lost Stories release, adapted from a story outline for the never-made 1990 season of Doctor Who, which would have been Sylvester McCoy’s fourth and possibly final season, had the BBC not quietly cancelled Doctor Who after its 1989 season. Prior to its Big Finish release, that unfinished story had also been known as Ice Time.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Knock Knock

Doctor WhoIt’s moving day for Bill and several of her fellow college students; after a lengthy and mostly fruitless search, an eccentric property owner offers his castle-like home for rent. The Doctor uses the TARDIS to help Bill move, but is fascinated by the house itself – spacious bedrooms, wood interiors, no central heat, no pets allowed, and a mysterious tower that isn’t covered in the lease. What Bill’s landlord hasn’t revealed is that the lease is good for one night only, for that’s all the time it will take for the house to consume its tenants to preserve the secret in the tower. Bill is mortified when the Doctor – who the other students know as a professor, and who she says is her grandfather – insists on hanging around the house to satisfy his curiosity. But before Bill can chase him away for embarrassing her, he too is trapped in the house – a potential bonus feast not covered in the lease.

Order the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Mike Bartlett
directed by Bill Anderson
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), David Suchet (Landlord), Mariah Gale (Eliza), Mandeep Dhillon (Shireen), Colin Ryan (Harry), Ben Presley (Paul), Alice Hewkin (Felicity), Bart Sauvek (Pavel), Sam Benjamin (Estate Agent), Tate Pitchie-Cooper (Young Landlord)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Oxygen

Doctor WhoThe Doctor drags Bill and Nardole along to respond to a distress call which leads the TARDIS to a commercial space station. Devoid of oxygen, the station is only momentarily made safe by air from the TARDIS, and the time travelers encounter but the first of several dead bodies in space suits. The station was staffed by employees of Ganymede Systems, which pays its workers in limited amounts of oxygen; those who don’t put in a full day’s work won’t have full lungs. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole soon find themselves relying on the same pay-per-breath spacesuits as those worn by the corpses, and discover that there are living survivors aboard the station. Trapped with a handful of very suspicious people fighting for their survival, the Doctor and his friends walk a fine line between being seen as helpful and being the next targets. The dead are still moving, turning anyone they touch into the same space-suited zombies…and one of the time travelers may have to be sacrificed to them if the rest are to survive.

Doctor WhoOrder the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Jamie Mathieson
directed by Charles Palmer
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Kieran Bew (Ivan), Justin Salinger (Tasker), Peter Caulfield (Dahh-Ren), Mimi Ndiweni (Abby), Katie Brayben (Ellie)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Extremis

Doctor WhoLeft blind by his attempt to save Bill from exposure to hard vacuum, the Doctor has returned to Earth at Nardole’s insistence; the vault in the basement of the Doctor’s college office has been left unguarded too often, despite the Doctor having sworn an oath to watch over it for a thousand years. What the vault contains is none other than Missy – kept locked up for her own good as well as that of the universe.

The Doctor is feeling rather less than useful when the Pope himself comes to ask for his help. A document called the Veritas has been removed from the Vatican’s library of heretical texts and has been circulated via e-mail; all who read it kill themselves after learning what it contains. The Doctor, without the ability to read it, is perfectly safe from the Veritas, and he relies on Nardole to be his eyes…and also relies on Nardole not to reveal his blindness to Bill. Alien monks swarm the catacombs of the Vatican, seeking to find and conceal the Veritas, for it reveals to all who read it that this is not really Earth…but the Earth is in grave danger.

Order the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Daniel Nettheim
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Michelle Gomez (Missy), Francesco Martino (Piero), Alana Maria (Pentagon Woman), Laurent Maurel (Nicolas), Jamie Hill (Monk), Tim Bentinck (voice of the Monk)

Notes: The Doctor can “steal” energy from future regenerations, possibly up to the point of robbing himself of those future lives, with a Gallifreyan device that seems to operate similarly to the machine used by Mawdryn in Mawdryn Undead (1983), except that of course, this being the age of the iPhone, the Doctor’s device is much, much smaller than Doctor WhoMawdryn’s room full of equipment. The Doctor’s life has been impacted by previous attempts to execute the Master, as seen with the end of his seventh incarnation in the 1996 TV movie after the Daleks attempted to carry out the Master’s execution. Though Star Trek‘s existence as a piece of entertainment in the world of Doctor Who has long been established (The Empty Child, 2005), Nardole’s mention of the holodeck may be the first reference to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Pyramid At The End Of The World

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is now fully aware of an impending invasion of Earth by the mysterious Monks, but it not aware that the invasion has already taken place: a 5,000-year-old pyramid has appeared in a hotly contested geopolitical area bordering on Russia and Chinese territory, and naturally, the American military and UN peacekeeping forces have involved themselves as well, leaving the world on the brink of war. The Secretary-General of the UN barges into Bill’s apartment looking for the Doctor, prepared to defer to the Time Lord during this unusual crisis. The Doctor, still relying on Nardole to help him conceal his blindness, enters the pyramid to deliver an ultimatum to the Monks, only to be told that the Monks will be waiting patiently for humanity to beg for their help. As the leaders of the world’s armies discuss surrender, the Doctor realizes that the pyramid itself is merely a distraction – the apocalypse that the Monks promise to stave off is already in motion elsewhere… if only he could see where.

Order the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Peter Harness & Steven Moffat
directed by Daniel Nettheim
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Togo Igawa (Secretary General), Nigel Hastings (The Commander), Eben Young (Colonel Don Brabbit), Rachel Denning (Erica), Tony Gardner (Douglas), Andrew Byron (Ilya), Daphne Cheung (Xiaolian), Jamie Hill (Monk), Tim Bentinck (voice of the Monk)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Lie Of The Land

Doctor WhoIt’s been six months since Bill Potts made a deal with the devil – or, at the very least, the Monks – to save the Doctor’s life, surrendering control of Earth to the Monks in the process. They’ve rewritten history in their favor: the entire population of the human race now believes that the Monks have been an integral part of their history since life first evolved, and Memory Crimes task forces round up anyone who can actually remember that the Monks have been on Earth for less than a year. Anyone except Bill, though she still lives in fear of being discovered, until Nardole knocks on the door. The Doctor has been seen only in propaganda broadcasts reinforcing the Monks’ narrative, but Nardole has tracked down the source of those broadcasts – a prison ship anchored near Scotland – and he’s found a sympathetic supply ship captain who will take them to that ship to free the Doctor. But freeing the Doctor alone isn’t all the needs to happen to rid Earth of the Monks. The Doctor needs another mind as powerful as his…and that means freeing Missy from the Vault. But her first piece of advice – to kill whoever surrendered Earth to the Monks – is a non-starter for everyone…except Bill.

Order the DVDDownload this episode via Amazonwritten by Toby Whithouse
directed by Wayne Yip
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Michelle Gomez (Missy), Emma Handy (Bill), Beatrice Curnew (Group Commander), Stewart Wright (Alan), Solomon Israel (Richard), Jamie Hill (Monk), Rosie Jane (Bill’s Mum)

LogBook entry by Earl Green