Some light spoilers might fall to Earth too.
Doctor Who’s eleventh season has begun with Jodie Whittaker taking on the role of the famous Timelord. Her first ever episode follows a familiar plot, using the new companions’ point of view to first introduce us to a world in which aliens happen. The episode focuses on Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) as a warehouse worker who’s unhappy with his life. On the side we are also introduced to Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) a rookie police officer and Graham (Bradley Walsh) who is Ryan’s step-grandfather. We also meet Ryan’s grandma and Graham’s wife Grace (Sharon D. Clark).
Ryan is the one that first finds a pod crashing to Earth and calls the police. Yasmin, who’s a childhood friend of Ryan, answers the call. They get interrupted when they hear Grace and Graham’s train has had an unscheduled stop due to an unexplained power loss. The look of the first alien (which is actually a probe) is decent enough, but the danger is real so crashing through the roof is yet another alien… and a Timelord that comes to save the day.
Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will feel very familiar. She’s currently a fish out of the water, a normal occurrence since she’s still regenerating and not all her memory is available to her yet. She doesn’t quite remember her name, but the mission to save humans from extra terrestrial threats has greater prevalence. She seems to have an excess energy and is still getting acquainted with her own self. The instant that Yasmin calls her madam and the Doctor asks her to explain is the only minute that we acknowledge her new gender. Her nervous energy but resolution to the task feels very David-Tennant-10th to me. Yes, she’s the Doctor.
Without access to the TARDIS and missing her sonic screwdriver, the Doctor does the only thing possible – she builds one then and there. There’s something extremely powerful about a Doctor who can built her own sonic. The TARDIS does not appear in this story but you know it will be the focus of her next adventure. The companion count is upped now to three, which could be interesting. As this is the first episode, the stakes are a bit low in the antagonist department. Not much threat for this baddie of the week as we’re not invested in any of the characters yet.
Highs, Lows and Teeth:
- Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor. You can tell the moment she starts talking. I got a very Tennant feel about her performance, but I might be biased since the 10th is my personal favorite.
- Ryan (Tosin Cole) is the first companion introduced, a grown up young man that can’t ride a bike. His willingness to believe the Doctor was appreciated. They didn’t went for a wiseguy or smartalec personality which I like. On the other hand, he’s mostly low key after being introduced.
- Yasmin (Mandip Gill) was more of a character with an agenda. Immediately we gather she wants a more active role as a police officer and is trying to improve herself. There’s always the possibility of Ryan and Yasmin becoming something but I’m also glad that wasn’t something the first episode rushed into doing.
- Graham (Bradley Walsh) seemed to be the background character while his wife Grace (Sharon D. Clark) was on the foreground. Things don’t turn out that way, but we do see how the dynamics of Graham and Ryan work. They obviously are being set up to learn to accept each other throughout the season.
- The new curved sonic screwdriver makes me think of Count Dooku’s own curved lightsaber. The fact that the Doctor made it herself reminds me a bit of the Return of the Jedi’s book prologue. I have to stop reading Star Wars into everything.
That will do for now.