Let’s look back at the first three episodes of series eight. Remember how deflated we all felt? ‘Deep Breath’ was the start of ‘Clara’ being annoying, ‘Into the Dalek’ was good but could have been so much better, and ‘Robot of Sherwood’ seemed closure to an episode of ‘Horrible Histories’ than ‘Doctor Who’. It seemed show runner Steven Moffat was wasting the talented Peter Capaldi and destroying the ‘Doctor Who’ brand.
Fast forward to series ten and with the first two episodes being so strong, fans had been worried that ‘Thin Ice’ would see Moffat hit the self destruct button. Thankfully episode three was just as strong as the first two.
Where as ‘The Pilot’ and ‘Smile’ storylines seemed weaker than the script, here it felt reversed. The back and forth between the ‘Doctor’ & ‘Bill’ just didn’t seem to pop as well. Luckily we were treated to a story with (quite literally) a little more depth and substance. We even had a return to the question of attitudes to race in the past; previously raised by the tenth ‘Doctor’ and ‘Martha Jones’ in ‘The Shakespeare Code’ and the ‘Human Nature’ / ‘The Family of Blood’ double episode.
There was almost a niggle when ‘Bill’ questioned the ‘Doctors’ morals. This was similar to a scene from the series eight episode ‘Kill the Moon’ where Jenna Coleman’s ‘Clara’ confronts the ‘Doctor’ about a choice she’s given. In ‘Kill the Moon’ this one scene seemed to almost instantly see every ‘Whovian’ turn on a once beloved companion. In ‘Thin Ice’ it was dealt with more swiftly and with less emotion from the ‘Doctor’. This approach worked so much better and saved Pearl Mackie’s ‘Bill’ from a similar fate.
So ‘Whovian’s’ will need to worry for the next week hoping that ‘Knock Knock’ is as good as it looks, wonder who or what is behind the doors being guarded by the ‘Doctor’ and ‘Nardole’ whilst all the time keeping their fingers crossed series ten continues to be at least as strong as the first three episodes.
Marks out of 10:- 8