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Thin Ice

ShowDoctor Who / Series X / Episode 4
First Broadcast2017/04/30 - 19:40 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeSmile
Next EpisodeKnock Knock

I enjoyed this episode much more than last week's. There's a mystery around the creature beneath the Thames that takes time to figure out. Related to this is the puzzle around who is controlling / using the creature for their own ends. But for me, the real strength of this episode is the interaction between the Doctor and Bill.

We begin with Bill being nervous about slavery. Then we find that London is more diverse than Bill expected, leading the Doctor to jest that "history is a whitewash". The Doctor seems to be one step ahead with the lights under the ice, letting Bill find out about them rather than tell her. Her education continues it would seem. Then we have a pivotal scene where the Doctor is delighted to have rescued his sonic screwdriver while a man is lost. Bill is appalled and questions the Doctor about how many people he's seen die and how many he's killed. The Doctor claims he doesn't have time for the luxury of outrage.

This is turned on its head when Lord Sutcliffe's explicit racism towards Bill causes the Doctor to punch him. This racism pales into insignificance against Lord Sutcliffe's monstrous exploitation of the creature and humanity. During the ensuing battle to Doctor makes a speech that Bill says was worth waiting for. This appears to mollify her somewhat. They are both learning to respect each other.

The episode finds its way to a satisfactory conclusion with Lord Sutcliffe dead, the creature freed and the poor children inheriting a fortune. Back at St. Luke's, Nardole is nervous about who or what's in the vault. Clearly it is a living thing. Nardole is also unimpressed to discover the Doctor has been time-traveling and reminds the Doctor of his as-yet-unexplained vow relating to the vault. Time will tell what that's all about.