Posted By Kathleen David on April 26, 2010
Usual rules: Spoilers are behind the cut and in the comments. Please only discuss up to this episode (so everything from An Unearthly Child to The Beast Below is fair game. The UK is two weeks ahead of BBC America).
The second episode of a Doctor’s run can be interesting to tell you what to expect from this Doctor. We have gotten introducing the new actor and whatever else is going to be drastically change and this episode sets the stage for the further adventures. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. And there are occasions that the second episode is forgotten in the mists of time (Quick what was Pertwee’s and McCoy’s second episode). This is one that sets tone, has some neat ideas, but I think won’t be remembered down the line which is too bad because it had a couple of characters I wouldn’t mind seeing again.
In terms of the acting, I have to give serious props to the casting director who got Sophia Okonedo to play Liz 10. It was just absolute perfect casting. The kids were well cast too.
It was an episode with a mystery wrapped in a riddle which gave us a chance to see the Doctor put through his deductive paces. Amy Pond is rapidly going up my companion chart as new favorite companion. Karen Gillan continues to impress me and Matt Smith continues to make me believe that he is the Doctor. The villains are pretty much an upgrade from the previous history of cardboard and bubble wrap but I found something kind of lacking in the whole thing.
Honestly, I am a little unsure about the companion solving the problem before the Doctor. I am not in the totally dislike group nor am I total sanguine with it. Amy sees something that the Doctor misses and stopped the Doctor from doing something monumentally stupid. OK, maybe but it makes the Doctor look bad that he didn’t figure it out.
The totalitarian government that controls everyone for their own good is an old Doctor Who trope. It is played well here. We had the scary Smilies and the warnings of danger.
It did have a save the whales cause they will save us vibe which I have seen before. But overall that didn’t bother me as much as the Doctor’s way of treating the problem in a rather savage way.
So I have serious mixed feeling about this one but am still willing to give the benefit of the doubt because it is the second episode in a new Doctor’s career.
I am grateful for the continued success of Doctor Who. At least this time the Beeb understands marketing a lot better than they did in the previous run.