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Doctor Who - The Woman Who Fell to Earth - Review: "Setup for the Future"

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 11.01 "The Woman Who Fell to Earth"
Directed by: Jamie Childs
Written by: Chris Chibnall
Air date: 7 October 2018

First thoughts: I liked it. It wasn't my favorite or least favorite introduction. Above all, the episode felt like one long setup, which was of course to be expected. It was an interesting story and I already like the fact that we have multiple companions and different personalities around the Doctor. I think they might be exactly what she needs to start this new chapter in her life. As for the Doctor herself, I think Jodie Whittaker did a great job in this "pilot". It was an hour for her to catch up with herself, trying to remember who she was but also becoming a new version of herself. It's far too early for me to already place my exact thoughts, but I like what I've seen so far and I'm excited to see what's next. Other highlights of the premiere certainly include the new production value and the beautiful cinematography. Also, as much as I miss the wonderful score composed by Murray Gold, I did enjoy the music in this one as well. The entire show feels new, fresh and ready to be explored. Now for the episode breakdown...

We are introduced to Ryan, a dyspraxic young man, as well as his grandmother, Grace and her husband, Graham. After another struggle to ride a bike, Ryan throws it off a hill in anger and then stays behind to find it. That's when he encounters strange lights and patterns in the air that result in the appearance of a mysterious blue pod. Ryan calls the police for support and his childhood friend, PC Yasmin Khan shows up to help. The two are later distracted by a train which suddenly stopped nearby thus trapping some of its passengers (including Grace, Graham and a young man named Karl) onboard. The group finds a floating orb with electric tentacles on the train and then meets the Doctor who fell through the carriage ceiling. Everyone is soon hit with an energy bolt before the orb finally departs. Everyone (with the exception of Karl) decides to follow the Doctor and search for the missing pod and the orb, especially after they learn about DNA destroying bombs implanted in them by the latter.

The group locates the pod in a warehouse where they learn about another alien who arrived on Earth using the pod and is apparently already responsible for a disappearance of a young girl years ago and the recent death of her brother who tried to confront him hoping to find his sister. The Doctor and her companions prepare to face the deadly alien, so she constructs a new sonic screwdriver from spare parts found nearby. Upon finding the floating orb she realizes that it's mass of biological data-gathering coils used by an alien named Tzim-Sha of the Stenza warrior race who came down to Earth to hunt down a human (more specifically Karl) for sport. The group manages to find Karl on a construction yard where both Tzim-Sha and the Doctor climb up the cranes to reach him first. Even though Tzim-Sha captures Karl, the Doctor manages to convince him to leave the Earth when she threatens to destroy his way back to his home planet. When Tzim-Sha detonates the DNA bombs, it's revealed that the Doctor was also able to redirect them back to Tzim-Sha. All goes well when Tzim-Sha transports himself away until Grace sacrifices her life to stop the coils. Everyone attends Grace's funeral, Ryan records a goodbye video for his grandma and the group helps the Doctor find her new clothes before parting ways when she decides to search for her TARDIS. Things however don't work out exactly as they should have because the Doctor's teleport transports her, Ryan, Graham and Yasmin into the deep space.

As much as I've been trying to avoid the spoilers for this new season, I've caught a glimpse of the Doctor's new companions, so I expected something to happen to Grace. Sadly, it didn't make her death and especially all the goodbyes easier. Ryan coming back to the hill to learn how to ride a bike, this time for his grandmother, was truly moving to see. I was glad to see how everyone interacted with the Doctor, though. Graham might not have been convinced about the Doctor's alien status, however everyone worked together to stop the danger and trusted the Doctor enough to follow her steps. I was worried someone would blame her for Grace's death, so I'm relieved that didn't happen. Grace seemed like such a lovely person, I would hate to see these new friendships change due to her decision. I loved what the Doctor mentioned about her family and the fact that it was followed by a comment that it's exactly something that Grace would have said, makes me hopeful for the future of this group.

To sum things up, the episode was enjoyable but probably not very memorable for me. I like all the new characters so far, but not much to highlight at the moment. The new Doctor's introduction worked well and I'm excited to really get to know her. Here's to a great episode two!

Whovian notes and questions:
1. First and most obvious. What's your impression of the new Doctor? I don't think she's had much of a chance to shine yet but I like what I've seen so far. As always, the Doctor becomes the Doctor for me when it's time for a breathtaking and powerful speech. Waiting for the next one.
2. About the sonic screwdriver - not visually what I expected, I'm attached to the old versions for sure. But I like that the Doctor was able to build this one and I'm waiting for it to grow on me. What did you think?
3. How about the new group of the companions? Any first impressions? I think this time Grace and Graham stood out the most for me, so I'll be waiting to see what's next.
4. Let's not forget the clothes. If I would pay attention to the details I'd probably have some notes to take, but I really like the end result. It seems fitting for Thirteen, so it's good for me. What are your thoughts?

Memorable quotes:
1. The Doctor: "Right now, I’m a stranger to myself. There’s echoes of who I was and a sort of call towards who I am. And I have to hold my nerve and trust all these new instincts. Shape myself towards them. I’ll be fine. In the end. Hopefully. I have to be. Because you guys need help. ‘Cause there’s one thing I’m certain of, when people need help, I never refuse. Right. This is going to be fun!"
2. Ryan: "So today I want to talk about the greatest woman I ever met. Smart, funny, caring. Proper special. My Nan. Because, uh, she died. First me mum six years ago and now me nan. It’s like the best people get taken first. I had a lot to learn from her and I were looking forward to that. She died like she lived—trying to help other people. I love you, Nan. And tomorrow I’m going out there for you."
3. Yaz: "Have you got family?"
The Doctor: "No. Lost them a long time ago."
Ryan: "How’d you cope with that?"
The Doctor: "I carry them with me. What they would have thought and said and done make them a part of who I am. So even though they’re gone from the world they’re never gone from me."
4. The Doctor: "There's this moment when you're sure you're gonna die and then you're born. It's terrifying."
5. The Doctor: "Sorry, half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman"
6. The Doctor: "Oh, deep breath. Not you lot, me."

What did you think about "The Woman Who Fell to Earth"? Any favorite scenes, quotes or theories? Feel free to let us know in the comments. Check out the press release & promo for the next episode "The Ghost Monument". As always, thanks for reading!

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