Series 10 of Doctor Who is reaching its halfway mark and it’s time to review the series so far. In order to really analyse the series; I re-watched the first five episodes to see if anything missed could be picked up. Maybe something forgotten or missed would invoke interesting clues or thoughts.
An intriguing observation is the Doctor’s relationship with new companion Bill. In most seasons of Doctor Who from the old series to the new ones is that companions are usually thrust on him. Tom Baker’s fourth doctor said he never chose his own company. Honestly, he’s right; his companions have all rather fallen into his life for various reasons.
In S10, The Doctor is now a professor at an unnamed university. The Doctor has literally commanded an audience with his new companion, Bill Potts, a canteen worker who sneaks into his lectures. In the introductory scene, Bill is escorted in by Nardole. She sits at The Doctor’s desk which has a pictures of River Song and Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter, as well as a pencil holder filled with variations of sonic screwdrivers.
The Doctor is in a back room playing Beethoven’s Fifth on his electric guitar until Bill clears her throat. Somehow, The Doctor can hear that over his guitar and immediately enters questioning her about her motives and reasons for attending his lectures. She’s not a student. Bill is curious as to why The Doctor has any interest in her; she’s not the only person that sneaks into his lectures. She is visibly uncomfortable, albeit curious, with The Doctor’s interest.
One of the first things that is noticeable about Peter Capaldi’s Doctor this season is that he isn’t near as detached from people as he has been in previous seasons. He actually listens to Bill even though she’s rambling about nothing. When he sits at the desk to face her he focuses on his granddaughter’s photo as Bill talks. He seems genuinely interested in what she has to say.
This isn’t The Doctor of the previous seasons who needed note cards to react to people’s statements. he isn’t making comments about his companion being his carer, saying she cares so he doesn’t have to do so. In the first ten minutes he seems to come across as a ‘kinder, gentler Doctor’. For example, he doesn’t seem to mind “the hugging” anymore. He’s still very much 12, as we see as the series continues but there’s something strangely different about The Doctor. It raises the question from time to time if he’s actually “The Doctor”.
He’s fiercely impressed with Bill. He seems to care about her almost immediately. After Bill tells him she has very few pictures of her mother, her foster parent finds a box of photos in her things neither of the two knew about. Bill starts going through pictures of her mother tearfully and finds one with The Doctor’s reflection in the mirror. Strangely, she never questions him about it.
In the first episode, Bill follows The Doctor and Nardole into a basement to spy on them checking a vault. It seems The Doctor has taken an oath, and stays Earth-bound to guard the vault. The vault has Gallifreyan markings on it. There is obviously something locked inside. As the series continues the contents of the vault seem to be getting more important. One question is whether the oath is to guard whatever or whomever is inside from getting out or something getting into the vault. This seems to have the Whoniverse rabid with fans trying to determine who or what it is. Also, to whom did The Doctor make this oath?
In the meantime, Bill has brought out the wanderlust in The Doctor. He’s now unable to keep his vow to stay put. Initially, this is done in order to save her. Then, to show her a world she was unaware was there; at times a world she wasn’t prepared to see. Bill is no Clara. All of this is very new to her. She’s scared but she can’t resist. Everything is a wonder and a gift leaving her terrified but speechless at the same time.
This is something enjoyable about seeing Capaldi’s performance as The Doctor in Series 10. Like regenerations before him, he loves to give someone that gift. The Doctor is giving Bill the gift of time and space. It’s a high for him.
The Doctor sees something different and special in Bill and wants to stretch her potential. He started by offering to personally tutor Bill on a daily basis. but he just couldn’t resist giving her the magic of the universe and he genuinely feels joy when he sees the look of sheer awe on her face every time. Yes, things get dangerous but that’s all part of the fun and the stretching of Bill’s potential.
Nardole is not amused. In his opinion, The Doctor needs to keep his oath. He needs to stay and guard the ever mysterious vault; not get them all caught in potentially deadly adventures. There’s a backstory for Nardole and I hope it comes out in future episodes.
To review, we’ve seen The Doctor, Bill, and sometimes Nardole take on a water alien and killer emoji robots. They save a large sea creatures and orphans in 1814 London and take on a people-eating house with “woodlice from space”. Most recently they save a space station from destruction. A task so hard that it left The Doctor blind. Ending the most recent episode of our series, The Doctor claims to Nardole that he never regained his sight even after pretending he had.
Is he faking? If not, how long will this blindness last? He has his sonic sunglasses with him; shouldn’t they give him the ability to see? And of course the vault. What or who is in the vault? Perhaps The Doctor wants whatever is in the vault to think he’s blind to give it the idea that it has an advantage.
Now to get to what I call the “Moffatt Midway Mystery Tour” or the “Luke, I am your father.” part. Moffat seems to do this in most of his Doctor Who series. It’s the midway twist that paves the way for the rest of the series. By now we know that what’s in the vault is alive and educated-at leas enough to play the piano. Another Beethoven song, “Für Elise” is heard playing from inside the vault during the episode, “Knock Knock”.
The mystery of the vault will be revealed in episode six, “Extremis”. There has been lots of speculation as to whom is in the vault. The main fan theory is Missy, who is supposed to make an appearance in episode six. John Simms, who played the role of the Master during David Tennant”s tenure is also supposed to make an appearance in this series so he is also up as a candidate.
Two “Masters” would be quite interesting but it seems way too obvious. With other characters coming into play during the second half of the series, it seems unlikely that The Doctor will be dealing with two of The Master now. John Simms is like to be a flashback in the finale episodes
There is speculation that Missy was never the Master at all but The Rani. The Rani is a Time Lord from the older series that was a childhood friend of The Doctor turned renegade villain. But it is unlike given the Doctor’s telepathy. Although, I really like the idea of Missy being The Rani and the possibility of bringing back the character. It isn’t the first time that the new series has brought back a character from the old series. Sarah Jane and K9 were brought back a couple of times during the 10th Doctor’s time.
Trying to figure it out has been harder than in previous series. Trying to research the theories online, and there are quite a few, makes it even more perplexing.
I guess I will just have to find out with everyone else.