Time and Relativity Dimension in Space (TARDIS) may seem like a random bunch of sciencey words but for Whovians all around the world, they are associated with a blue police box that travels through space and time. The Doctor has taken us through countless adventures as we see each regeneration adding a new dimension to this Gallifreyan. A TV series that began as an educational show for kids has changed showrunners almost as many times as it has changed the face of the Doctors. Each showrunner brings something different to the show as we saw the humor and a whole lot of running in the Russel T. Davies era. Steven Moffat chose to make sure that everything is connected and we saw Doctor as something larger than life.
Too larger than life was the complaint that fans continue to have until the end of Series 9 when everything came to an end, as we bid goodbye to Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and River Song (Alex Kingston). 16 months have passed since we saw the last full-fledged season and the beginning of Series 10 with 'The Pilot' seems apt as we see a lot of new beginnings.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is semi-retired with Nardole (Matt Lucas) by his side as he has taken up a job (yes, you read that right) as a University professor. Such is his popularity that even the students who haven't enrolled at the college or his class chose to attend it. One such learner is Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) who is summoned to his office as the episode begins. The Doctor chooses to tutor her even though she has not enrolled at the college because she smiles when she doesn't understand something instead of frowning. As danger strikes Bill, Doctor, as usual, swoops in to save the day.
The beginning of this season marks an end of an era, as Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi are delivering their swan song. The Pilot is aptly named not just because of the new companion but also because of the change in the Doctor. Like we saw in the Jon Pertwee era, the Doctor is confined to earth although it's by choice this time. An "out of order" sign hangs outside the Tardis (which kind of breaks our heart). There is an ode to all the loves of the Doctor's life as we see pictures of Susan Foreman and River Song on his desk (Rose Tyler is curiously absent). Also, the electric guitar from Series 9 premiere makes a reappearance. If the new era Whovians have ever wondered what 'Time and Relativity Dimension in Space' actually meant, your questions will be answered now. Capaldi slays in his professor avatar and we would have loved a professor who could find a connection between poetry and physics. The Doctor along with Nardole seem to be guarding something on Earth for the past fifty years in a vault which seems to be the focus of this season. The security setting which seemed to be set to 'Friends only' seems to include Bill Potts too, although it is not clear why at this point.
Bill Potts is the first openly gay companion (Jack Harkness apparently doesn't count) and as much as the news made a big deal out of it, the show handled it with maturity by not giving is an undue focus. Although we did see a beginning of what could have been a love story. Bill Potts is unlike all the other companions. It is apparent as she compares the TARDIS' console room to a kitchen and her first question is "Where is the loo?", which by the way is pass the macroon dispenser (we have been wondering about this for a long time). As the Doctor and Nardole noticed it takes her a long time to come to the conclusion that it is bigger on the inside. And she has questions unlike the ones we have ever heard like, "Why is it disguised as a box which says 'Pull to Open'?" It is surely a delight as the Doctor and Bill engage in banter, a fact Nardole notes and even encourages. Although this is Pearl Mackie's debut, there is no doubt that she is going a long way among the stars. Nardole is the comic relief we needed and he is also the first alien companion in the rebooted series.
The beauty of the episode was that it took its time establishing everyone, including the Doctor. While the previous series opener was packed with too much activity, this one was packed with a lot of information. The makers did not just assume that the audience knew everything about the Doctor and started his story anew. Even the monster-of-the-week was something we had not encountered before and an old villain made a reappearance. If this is any indication of what the series will be like, we are surely in for a treat.
The Pilot also left us with a lot of questions which is a trademark of any Steven Moffat show. As long as all of them are answered, it would be a bitter-sweet goodbye to this era. Have you caught up with The Pilot yet? Tell us what you loved in the comments below.