01st May2017

‘Doctor Who 10×03: Thin Ice’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


Three episodes into this year’s season of Doctor Who, and we are in Victorian England. With more of a hint of Dickens about some of the tropes used in the episode, will Thin Ice be a damp squib of an episode, or a behemoth of excellence?

Instead of returning The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Bill (Pearl Mackie) to the University, the TARDIS arrives in London 1814. With the Thames frozen over, the people are celebrating the Frost Fair on top of the Thames itself but with something lurking under the water will The Doctor be fish food?

While the current run of Doctor Who may be on fine form, Thin Ice feels like a bit of a dip in quality for the show. While it isn’t a failure, and still holds interest, it feels a little lacklustre compared to the previous episodes of season 10. What it does provide though is further proof of just how good Capaldi and Mackie work together.

What we see in Thin Ice is Bill learn the cold facts about The Doctor and how he copes with loss. To her his reaction to the way people are killed seems cold and inhuman, and he has to make her realise just why he has to be that way. It is interesting though that she soon sees through that hard exterior and realises just how much he really cares.

In the same way, The Doctor is learning more about Bill, and has a nice moment in this episode when he tells her to hold her temper and not rush in all guns blaring. It is nice that she takes notice of the advice given, but also shows that she won’t be a push over when it comes to stating her opinion. Bill is a strong character, but not a stubborn one, which I like.

With the location of the episode being in the 1800s it comes as no surprise that the usual Dickensian tropes are in play, especially the group of pickpocket orphans working the fair to make enough money to survive. It is also nice to see that this little gang become helpers to The Doctor which is something we also see in Doctor Who, and thankfully the children are more endearing to the audience and not being annoying.

While I do think, this is a weaker episode of Doctor Who, it still managed to entertain and have a good story. It just felt like the main story was a little in the background more, and the character building between Bill and the Doctor was more important. I’d rather have the main story more important, as you would expect. When it comes to Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie though, the scenes really are fun to watch and the chemistry works very well.

With a tease of a nice spooky episode next week and a knocking at a door to introduce the ongoing menace of the door in the university basement, Doctor Who is holding my interest and feels like it is definitely off to a good start. While Thin Ice may feel like a little dip in quality, hopefully next week’s episode with a good guest star will deliver where this episode struggled to. What this episode was really about was showing the further strengthening of The Doctor and Bill, which is done very well.

**** 4/5

Doctor Who airs in the UK on the BBC every Saturday.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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