Doctor Who: Extremis. “Life Can Be A Cunning Enemy”

*Mild Spoilers Ahead*

So within the first few minutes, we finally find out who is contained within that vault (are we surprised?). But this is just one aspect of the story…

Beginning what will possibly be an arc for the next few episodes, we meet The Doctor as he is greeted by The Pope and members of The Vatican, presenting him with the details of “Veritas”, an ancient text that causes its reader to commit suicide. The Pope asks The Doctor if he will read the text to stop any further deaths, but there is one problem…The Doctor is still blind!

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In a secret library in the Vatican, the text lies ready to be read by the Time Lord. There is also a strange light which appears to come from nowhere and some creepy, freaky monks trying to seemingly capture The Doctor. The Doctor does all he can to read the text while Bill and Nardole investigate the light.

The light acts as a portal to a central hub, where we find portals which lead to other places around the world, including The Pentagon and CERN. The truth of the text leads to a shocking twist which affects about 90% of the whole episode, a truth which hits Nardole and Bill like a ton of bricks.

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That other 10%? well that deals with the return of another certain Time Lord (Lady)! Missy returns in a way that we are not used to, she is a prisoner, ready to be executed. It was nice to see Missy pop up throughout the episode, while at the same time not affecting the main story of ‘Extremis’ which will at least lead into the next episode.

Thinking last week when Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was hit with blindness, we had no idea that he would be without his sight for this long. He manages to go through the whole episode and still comes no closer to regaining his eyesight. Though the episode could have almost been a throwaway, it actually becomes the most important episode of the series so far.

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What the show has really needed is an arc which presented a good tease and some immediate consequences. We had weeks of teases from the vault, but once The Doctor begins to realise what is happening, suddenly the vault looks a bit less interesting and the TARDIS crew now has a HUGE challenge on their hands. It’s time to save the world!

Trying not to give too much away, but this episode surely was one of the darkest episodes that Doctor Who has ever produced. Steven Moffat once again proves that his scripts can still be very sharp and yet genuinely surprise you. There are a lot of references to video games and this episode does well at giving us something new to discuss and wait to see on screen.

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The new enemy, The Monks, surely do leave an impression of fear. This is something which we haven’t seen before, an enemy making some careful plans on how they are going to invade the world. Could The Monks possibly rival The Daleks and Weeping Angels? I think so!

While the central trio of Capaldi, Mackie and Lucas are great as always, we get to see a very different side to them, literally! The fear from the companions was unexpected and seemed really honest. Then we have Michelle Gomez who always impresses as Missy. While we don’t get a lot of her in this episode, she is integral to the last act and we know there is more to come from her.

Another fantastic episode and the only real sad point is that we are now half way through the series! Keep the quality coming!

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Next week, pack your suitcase as we are heading to ‘The Pyramid At The End Of The World’!

P.S. I did like the inclusion of Ivanno Jeremiah in the episode (he is Max in the fantastic Humans!)

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Alien: Covenant. Film Review!

*WARNING, MILD SPOILERS AHEAD*

Ridley Scott created Alien in 1979, probably the greatest horror movie I have ever seen! While many have tried to replicate that formula, the result has in time become increasingly sour. With 2012’s Prometheus being both a return for Scott and a prequel to this much-loved film, I honestly thought we were about to get another good Alien…but it wasn’t!

Alien: Covenant begins 10 years after the voyage of Prometheus, where we now follow a new crew of disposable humans looking to die at the hands of hideous creatures! Being honest, I enjoy the crew of the Covenant a lot more than the previous, some of the human interactions are pleasant, but there are still some issues.

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Near the beginning, we meet Walter, an upgrade of David from the last entry and a heroic figure who looks after the ship. Slowly we get to meet Daniels (Katherine Waterston who sadly spends a lot of time feeling sorry for herself), Tennessee (the fantastic Danny McBride, probably the only human character I liked) and the other humans who we really don’t get to connect with (the most we get is that shower sex scene which ends in…well, it ends in DEATH).

Ok, I want to make this point clear now. This film is so much better than Prometheus, but overall, it’s not that good. While Michael Fassbender continues to be the best actor on earth, he single-handedly can’t save this film. Now in a duel role, David and Walter display the best chemistry, even though it’s the same actor! You have most of the cast in pairs, but it’s one man acting to himself which seems the most believable.

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Mentioning the 1979 original a bit earlier, the main draw for me is how good that film looks despite being nearly 40 years old. The special effects in space are spectacular, the sets on the planet strike gritty realism and the flashback shot was just…wow! Unfortunately, the built-up sets don’t make it this film a good one.

Ridley Scott can make any world look great, but it is a shame that he opted to make the aliens into lifeless CGI inventions instead of the puppet or manned creations which actually brought H.R. Giger’s horrific monsters to life. The aliens look bad, and bare little resemblance to their original depictions from the first films (the Xenomorph just lacks when full CGI). The story and lack of development is evident throughout and this film is just made to push the creation of the Xenomorphs by giving them an origin we didn’t really need.

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In the end, this film is OK. Not the best, but no way is it a really bad film. There is hardly anything highly memorable and the two twists are seen from about 10 lightyears away. The acting of Michael Fassbender continues to be the only selling point to these Alien prequels, but don’t expect a trio of differently accented Fassbender’s to come to the rescue. The cast are ok, but not at all memorable.

Ridley Scott, you know what you need to do. Remember a few years ago when Neill Blomkamp was going to make a true Alien sequel with Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and it would have been the film we actually wanted, but you made sure it was cancelled and instead we got this journey into the weird stuff that nobody really cares about? Well, let Blomkamp make Alien 5 and see the film series become popular once again!

Final rating: 5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

P.S. Noomi Rapace is barely seen in this film, that is a tragedy for us all. I loved her in the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy of films!

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Doctor Who: Oxygen “Space, The Final Frontier. Final Because It Wants To Kill Us”

*Mild Spoilers* *Some Information On The Final Moments Of The Episode Ahead*

Jamie Mathieson has wowed me with a hat-trick of fantastic Doctor Who scripts and ‘Oxygen’ is yet another winner for the writer!

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Starting off in the depths of space, a mining station sends a distress call for help after members of the crew begin to die and zombies seemingly take over…so The Doctor answers the call. The Doctor makes it clear he misses his travels, tricking Nardole and inviting Bill to go on an adventure and leaving the vault unprotected.

When the trio arrive in the station, the episode really kicks into action. Bill is amazed at the idea of actually being in space, whereas The Doctor continues his investigation and Nardole can’t help but remind The Doctor of his duty back on earth. The idea of having the walking dead isn’t a real sci-fi trope, but this is not a typical “zombie” story. It’s not about dying and coming back to life, this is about keeping yourself alive by the number of breaths that you take.

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This is maybe the first story this series where The Doctor, Bill and Nardole all get their chance to really shine in equal measure. Matt Lucas does again get to deliver some truly comical lines, the best coming from his discussion of a former partner or the sat-nav line. Pearl Mackie’s Bill is presented with some real danger, on at least two occasions you do genuinely worry about the character (plus, there must be some big pay-off coming soon for her Mum). Then there is Peter Capaldi who gets to pull off a very different side to The Doctor.

At the heart of this story, there is some very political messages coming into play. The idea of literally working to death is one that many may think they can relate to, having to buy the very air that you breathe. Also, racism is jokingly tackled in this episode and who would have thought that Doctor Who would teach people to respect one another better (Nardole tries to diffuse this such situation by saying “Some of my best friends are blue-ish”).

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There are laughs, there are scares and it makes you happy that you don’t have to work for such a god-awful company that can take the very oxygen away from you. Not only are we presented with yet another fantastic episode, but we get a cliffhanger which a. none of us would have expected and b. we know that things will be highly interesting when episode 6 comes round next week! The Doctor faces a dilemma which has never been a factor for him before and it does tease what is to come, especially with the knowledge that Capaldi is to soon leave the BBC show.

Jamie Mathieson, please make sure you have at least TWO episodes next year, we need more like this!

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Next week, The TARDIS gets a visit from the Pope? The Doctor looks like he is about to go to some Extremis measures (ok, trying to do lines around the episode titles isn’t too easy). Only watch this video if you have seen ‘Oxygen’!

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Doctor Who: Knock Knock “There’s Plenty Of Things That Want To Kill You Right Here On Earth”

Now and again, Doctor Who does like to tackle a haunted house story. This story does also include a dig or two at the housing crisis (but, I don’t fancy being political…for now!). This week, we get a story where the house itself is actually the killer…kind of! Bill is moving in with some friends from Uni (well her friend Shireen played by the lovely Mandeep Dhillon and four of her friends) and they need to find a place that will work best for them. After numerous places fail to work out for them, they are approached by a man in the street who offers them somewhere to stay (why would you just say yes to some creepy guy who walks up to you and offers you a home?).

The Doctor helps Bill move in, but he begins to suspect there is something more sinister happening. The house is definitely old, the creeks come very often and The Landlord just appears any time he fancies.  The fascinations over the amount of wood and how dated everything is in the house is worrying for The Doctor and the students begin to feel uneasy themselves.

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Throughout this episode, we get to see Bill trying to stand on her own two feet. This is not a bad thing as it allows Bill the chance to show she can make her own decisions and not depend on The Doctor for help. Though luckily The Doctor is there, and he slowly deduces what is happening in the house. Pearl Mackie gets to show her best acting to date when she interacts with one certain character in the third act.

Guest stars are only as good as the part they are given and David Suchet is bloody brilliant as The Landlord. Yes, he plays a superbly creepy Landlord who I wouldn’t want to share a bus ride with, but there is a great amount of emotion that could only come from one of Britain’s finest! The final ten minutes of this episode gives us one of the finest pieces of writing I have ever seen on the show. Even though Capaldi and Mackie are still fantastic throughout, Suchet does steal the show!

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This episode is fantastic. I mean, this is the highlight of the series for me so far. I will admit there are a few minor gripes with a couple of plot holes and lack of some explanation. But, honestly, is it that much of a problem? We get so much emotion in this episode and a lot of character development on Bill again as we see she doesn’t want to be away from the life she knows (unlike Rose, Donna and Amy who never wanted to leave The Doctor’s side!).

In the end, we are stunned by that BIG twist and then there is still a few questions to be answered. Mostly it comes in the form of “what the f**k is in that vault”? We do have an idea, but it is a bit too obvious? Steven Moffat has promised we will learn the identity of who is in there very soon!

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But for now, I will call ‘Knock Knock’ my favourite episode of the series so far. The comedy is still fun and the drama will pull you to the edge of your seat. The only main gripe I have is that we only get Matt Luca’s Nardole for a short while of the episode. Mike Bartlett has written a sharp and inspiring script, let us hope this will be a trend from Mike for future series!

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written By Jonjo Cosgrove

NEXT WEEK: You May Need Some Oxygen for the next “out of this world” adventure!

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American Gods: Episode 1 Review!

*MILD SPOILERS*

 

In 2010, I read Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods. I loved it! Also it is one of the only books I have read multiple times, it just had so much material and narrative that I had to read it again to get everything out of it. The first episode of the series titled ‘The Bone Orchard’ indeed delivers on keeping to the source and engaging you throughout its run time.

After the grand beginning scene where we see people bringing their Gods to America, we meet Shadow Moon when he is in prison. With just a few days left on his sentence, he begins to make his plans with his wife Laura upon his return home. But that wasn’t to be!

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Shadow is released a few days early when he is told his wife has died. Making his way back home, Shadow comes into contact with the con-man known as Mr. Wednesday. Shadow just wants to continue his journey, but Mr. Wednesday seems to know a lot about Shadow and offers him a job being his personal bodyguard.

For anyone to be a con-man, you need to have a certain suave to your personality. Ian McShane is a dream casting for the role. McShane’s Wednesday is able to swindle with little effort and plays so much on luck that he comes across as likeable and a bit of a dick! Though you may not know how to feel about Wednesday, I have to say he is my favourite character in the book (and looks like this will be the same in the show).

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The big draw for me immediately is the casting. We get to see the main cast throughout the episode and we can make our impressions immediately. I have already mentioned how good Ian McShane is, but the acting of Shadow’s Ricky Whittle must also be praised. His emotion is given such weight and you feel his screams and are brought down with the reveals that also pull him down further.

How about a tall leprechaun? Pablo Schreiber is fun as Mad Sweeney. Pablo’s scene with Ricky Whittle is brutal to watch, but you can’t take your eyes away. His inclusion does inject some humour into the later part of the episode. Then there is Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, who I am sure we will see more of later in the series (and you may wanna think twice about a date with her). Also, we get to see Technical Boy, who is concerned with what Mr. Wednesday is planning and Bruce Langley does bring the brat to life and you immediately want Shadow to punch the scrawny New God!

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Yes, these are gods. We already get the tease of war from the beginning. The New Gods (Technical Boy and more to be revealed) and The Old Gods (Wednesday, Mad Sweeney, Bilquis) will be fighting it out. If you know the novel, then you know there is a lot more to come!

This is how an adaptation should be done. I always had my own idea of how this show would look, and it does fulfil that vision rather nicely. Being only the first of an eight-episode series, there is indeed a number of characters we are still to meet. We hardly see Laura Moon (Emily Browning), but her presence will be around for a long time. We also have so much to learn of these gods!

Overall, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green should be proud. They have taken Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel and have made a must-watch show with plenty of detail and smart casting. Please keep this up for the next 7 weeks!

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who: Thin Ice “You know what happens if you don’t move on? More people will die”

Sarah Dollard wrote one of the best New Who episodes in 2015 with ‘Face The Raven’, and I can honestly say ‘Thin Ice’ is another fantastic effort from the writer. Plus, we also get a reminder of The Doctor’s constant companion…DEATH!

Starting where the last episode abruptly finished, The Doctor and Bill find themselves in London in 1814 for the Frost Fest. After The Doctor explains that the TARDIS likes to make its own way around the universe, he comes to the conclusion there must be something they need to do. It doesn’t take long for us to learn about the creature in the Thames.

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The first steps onto the ice is the start to their investigation. Bill begins to notice there are lights coming from under their feet, and then we find out exactly what the lights are doing. From this, we get reacquainted with the ways that The Doctor operates and the way he seemingly cares nothing for those who die around him. Pearl Mackie again shows great emotional depth as she questions The Doctor and wants to know the kind of person he really is.

There were some great uses of the sonic screwdriver in this episode. In some episodes, I am sure it is just a cheap way to get out of a sticky situation (yet, I am not aware of any time The Doctor actually uses it to put up a shelf). The screwdriver does come into play a number of times and I do enjoy seeing it used as a distraction device than a tool.

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The villain is a bit…well…pants! I know that the villain isn’t exactly the key to this episode, it is the remainder of the supporting cast. This episode gets to showcase some great young talent. The young gang and the way they interact with the TARDIS crew and fit into 19th century London was great to see. The highlight being Asiatu Koroma as Kitty; This girl is set to be something special, showing some great acting chops against the more experienced cast.

Speaking of the cast, it was another great week for our TARDIS duo (it is a shame that Nardole is relegated to the end of the episode). Peter Capaldi does continue to impress in his final series and Pearl Mackie is slowly becoming a favourite in the show. Bill Potts in indeed the everyman (or woman) that the show needed. The writing reflects Bill’s progression to this point where she now has to think about her time with The Doctor and what could possibly happen on these adventures.

With the “thing” in the vault seemingly restless (is it The Master? Or Missy? Maybe both?), we know this is something that will be continually teased for some time. Overall, a great episode with some real depth (Was that a pun?). The winning part of this story is clearly Sarah Dollard’s writing and we can only hope she continues to contribute to the show.

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

NEXT WEEK: We get a ‘Knock Knock’ from David Suchet!

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2! Review!

Let’s just say this, it wasn’t easy to make a film that could capture you like the first Guardians film. But James Gunn has indeed delivered a worthy sequel which is both very funny, action packed and will make you cry more than the ending of Marley & Me!

Starting just a few months on from the first film and with Awesome Mix Vol. 2 in hand, the Guardians are hired by the Sovereign Race leader Ayesha to defeat the creature the Abilisk. After things go wrong when Rocket tries to rip them off, the Guardians then have to fight to survive the Sovereign when they attack in waves of remote-controlled ships. It’s after this epic sequence that the true storyline begins.

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We know that Ego is the father of Peter Quill, and these two coming together does indeed pack an emotional punch to the gut. But it is the revelations that come later in the film which really brings you crashing down to earth. Kurt Russell does give it a great go as Ego, and he stays more within his origins than I would have believed. In fact, Ego actually does serve a greater purpose for the film than many may think.

I spoke about the emotion and action, but the comedy cannot be denied. Dave Bautista’s Drax is certainly the funniest of the Guardians in the film. Whether it is him trying to define Mantis’s beauty, speaking of how Ego could mate with Quill’s mum or even a discussion on penises (yes, penis jokes and sex with a planet comment is in this movie!). Also, there is plenty of humour from Baby Groot, a lot of which comes from him being the focus of the opening titles.

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This film is not all colours, action, jokes and quips. This film is definitely the most emotional of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you didn’t cry over the death of Peter’s mum in the 2014 film then you are: A. The most heartless person in the world, B. You mustn’t have paid attention at the beginning and C. you will have a tear in your eye when you hit the big revelation about Meredith Quill.

Expanding the Guardians roster is similar to that of The Avengers, and the characters are as unique as they come. Yondu (Michael Rooker on the top of his game) comes to join the Guardians and is effortlessly cool. Nebula (Karen Gillan) reluctantly becomes a member, and you can see she would rather be anywhere else in the universe. The best of the new Guardians for me though is Mantis, Pom Klementieff is fantastic as the character and you almost want to adopt her for how adorable she is throughout. Innocence is rare in this franchise, and it is only her and Groot who are probably the only real innocent characters in the film series.

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Speaking of Groot, it was a stroke of genius to keep him in his smaller form. This does work for many occasions, and it also brings some more comical moments that could not happen with the full-grown Groot. He seems bent on causing a lot of havoc for Rocket, but he does show he cares. Groot does at times seem a bit helpless, but you can’t deny he makes you laugh a lot. Let’s be honest, everyone does bring some laughs.

Chris Pratt still brings his best as Peter Quill and Zoe Saldana likes to play with her chemistry with Quill as the straight-faced warrior Gamora. I really liked Pom Klementieff in this film and I can’t wait to see her part in Avengers: Infinity War. Dave Bautista’s Drax is indeed the scene-stealer each time, he does get the best lines and even all the penis talk is seen as really funny just because it comes from Drax.

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While I may think there are a couple of little issues (number of characters, changes of pace), these are nothing much of concern. I didn’t see this film wanting a clone of the first, I wanted a natural progression. The film flows nicely, all the little easter eggs and nods to the grander Marvel world is very welcome. Also, possibly the greatest Stan Lee cameo ever? It is definitely up there! Then there is the soundtrack! I didn’t think it could happen twice, but it certainly is a highlight again. Songs from Fleetwood Mac, Looking Glass, ELO and more (I think the soundtrack will be a review on its own!).

A movie with lots of humour, so much action and more heart than a Gallifrey full of Time Lords. James Gunn creates another masterpiece which will only build excitement for Avengers 3 and Guardians Vol. 3! Maybe not the best that the MCU has made, but certainly the best blockbuster of 2017 so far!

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who: Smile “Who Needs Loo’s…There’s Probably An App For That!”

Emojibots! F***ing Emojibots! You know what? They were pretty scary!

Who would have thought 4-foot-tall robots who communicate with smileys and skulls on their face would be so terrifying and so cute at the same time! The Doctor takes Bill on her first real trip in the TARDIS and it’s a journey that you will never forget.

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Let’s first congratulate Frank Cottrell-Boyce on creating a brilliant episode (he wrote ‘In The Forest Of The Night’ in 2014, one of the worst in Doctor Who history). Frank, who has written the charming book Millions and the fantastic film 24 Hour Party People, has given us a very thoughtful and thought-provoking episode of Doctor Who which will both shock and entertain in equal measure.

‘Smile’ sees The Doctor and Bill travel to a colony world being prepared for humans to take refuge after having to leave earth. With the opening show the eradication of the humans there, we then see The Doctor and Bill as they reach the colony and come into contact with the Emojibots. They present the duo with discs which monitor their moods. The bots are shown to be happy when the humans are happy. When they aren’t happy…s**t happens! Barely escaping with their lives, The Doctor insists he needs to go back to destroy them. But, is that the right thing to do?

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There are plenty of topics that we are used to in Doctor Who on show here. The concept of death and moving on, maintaining the future of the human race, reliance on technology and keeping peace. We also get to see Bill question what actually happens to earth and the human race. This isn’t the first time we get this discussion in the show, but it is always good to have a reminder when cast and audience change/develop over the years.

Though this episode is rather darker in tone, can we agree this was rather funny too? Matt Lucas may have only had about 90 seconds of screen time, but he does manage to pack about 3 or 4 great comical lines in. Then we get the penguin comment again from Bill and then the mention of rent (watch the episode and you will see) does make a great laugh too! Peter Capaldi puts in another great performance, but Pearl Mackie once again manages to steal the show. For someone who hasn’t had a lot of TV roles before becoming the new companion, Mackie has proven herself to be a truly wonderful actress and she is playing a role that many can relate to.

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A good episode of Doctor Who requires three things. A great script (once again, well done Frank!), fantastic acting and a memorable villain. This episode delivers on all three. Apart from the opening 5 minutes and the last 10-15 minutes, the only actors you have on screen is Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie (plus the guys playing the bots). It is testament to Doctor Who that an episode can be both intimate and epic at the same time. We go to the future, we explore a new world and a spaceship, but we have hardly any actors throughout the episode.

This episode made me almost think this could have worked as a Black Mirror story. Emoji is almost a language in its own right now, who knows how much it will get used in the future. I could imagine that if we do end up with robots assisting us, this could be what we get. The stories which you take away with you are the ones that could be real…and robots which work to your mood could be very likely to happen in the future, and that would scare me!

Funny, shocking, thoughtful and a tough one to beat!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Final Thought: Ralf Little has a part in the episode, for about 5 minutes!

Next Week: The Doctor and Bill are both literally on ‘Thin Ice’!

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Doctor Who – A Series 10 Theory (Maybe!)

Since watching the series 10 opener ‘The Pilot’, I have been thinking about how the whole TWO Masters will come together. I want to make it clear, I have no insider knowledge nor have I seen beyond the first episode, but I have come up with this little theory which actually made sense to me. Missy is not The Master!

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What was that? You’ve heard that one before? It is true, many have mentioned that Missy could actually be The Rani. Now I have a slight twist to that thought, imagine if Missy is actually another time lord! Remember a certain young lady called Susan Foreman? (Yes, I went there!) My main thought has been the more recent nods to Susan (the picture in ‘The Pilot’ and named in Coal Hill Academy’s honour roll in Class.

As I mentioned, this is just a theory. There has been a few little moments that have made me think Susan could return to the show. Also, what would you think to actually having Carole Ann Ford make a welcome return too? This is my four steps to how I think this has played out and how it comes to be part of a plan set by The Master (The John Simm version of The Master).

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Step One: Motivation

Back in 1964, The Doctor said goodbye to his granddaughter Susan and left her with her human partner David. This did initially upset her as she wanted to stay with The Doctor. Maybe in time she has been depressed with not living in the adventures, losing David, grows angry of being left alone and possibly heads back to Gallifrey…but, oh no! TIME WAR!

Step Two: Meeting Master

The last time we saw John Simm’s Master, he was pulled back to Gallifrey with the Time Lords as he fought Rassilon. Maybe Susan has then somehow got back to Gallifrey (either pulled there by force or somehow got another TARDIS). Knowing they are about to be sent into a pocket universe, The Master then escapes with Susan in tow and they take a TARDIS to some random point.

Step Three: Regeneration and Revenge

When they crash land on a planet, Susan begins to regenerate. Her and The Master moan about The Doctor, though Susan is a bit more sympathetic about her grandfather. The Master can sense a lot of hate in her, so he then takes the opportunity to implant some of his mind into hers (Time Lord stuff, there must be something like what happened to David Morrissey in ‘The Next Doctor’). She then believes herself to be the regenerated Master (Missy), and her hatred of The Doctor helps with the takeover.

Step Four: The Master Comes Forth

Ok, so Missy has faced up against The Doctor a few times. The Master finally decides it is time to come out of hiding, especially since Missy has failed multiple times to defeat his rival. She tries to destroy The Doctor morally, whereas John Simm’s Master just wants to destroy The Doctor. So The Master finally makes his appearance and reveals the truth of what has happened.

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Well what do you think? I know this is a long shot, but I reckon the recent few nods could symbolize her return. How great would it be to see Carole Ann Ford even just briefly make a return to Doctor Who?

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

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who: The Pilot “You Run Like A Penguin With Its Arse On Fire”

It has been a long wait, but we finally have the show back…and it looks like The Doctor has spent a good few years on earth as a lecturer. Doctor Who wastes no time establishing new companion Bill to the cast. Straight away, Pearl Mackie makes Bill both fun and intriguing (and as my title shows, can deliver some great lines!). We haven’t got someone who has waited years for The Doctor or scattered across time and space, this is just a normal person looking for adventure. We also get to see a bit more of The Doctor and Nardole’s relationship which shows the duo have stayed together and helped each other for at least 50 years (according to the staff Bill speaks to). But with all the characters we meet, including Bill’s new friend Heather, we need to find out what is in this vault under the university? Maybe it is holding The Master? More on that later (not later in this article, I mean later in the series!).

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Bill is intrigued by The Doctor, though not a student at the University, The Doctor gives Bill private tutorage as he sees something about her. While The Doctor and Nardole continue to monitor a vault under the University which I am sure we will learn more about throughout the series, Bill becomes friends with a girl called Heather who has a star shape in her eye. There is a strange puddle near the University, and Heather seems to disappear near this puddle when Bill comes to her. The Doctor finds this puddle interesting, the result of his research involves them taking a journey through time and space including a meeting with The Daleks. If you saw the clip last year which introduced Bill, you will see this slightly tweaked for this opening episode.

This episode does hit some great notes, but it does suffer a bit from middle-act syndrome. The first 15 minutes is good as we get a crash course in Bill Potts and her world. Then the last 15 minutes are exciting as we really get an adventure which we have never really seen before, with the twist being so simple yet very effective and saves the second act for me for that call back. The Doctor is reluctant to have a new companion, he wants nothing but to stay where he is. Bill isn’t stupid, even calling The Doctor on one his oldest tricks before he can perform it on her. The conclusion to this episode is well executed, and will make you scared of water…again (remember in ‘The Waters Of Mars’?).

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Steven Moffat has written a good series opener, possibly his second or third best series opener. While there aren’t many surprises, there are a few nice moments. The action may not be too grand, but it does give that soft reboot which the show should see have an impact in the coming weeks. Bill’s introduction to the TARDIS was really well done, Nardole’s sense of humour is indeed a bit feistier than we remember (but I enjoy it) and the pictures of River Song and granddaughter Susan are nice touches. These are two of the most important people in The Doctor’s life and they seem to guide him in his decision to travel again. The good thing about episode one, is that there is a long way to go. Matt Lucas continues to impress me as Nardole, the character is growing on me with each appearance and I am glad he is a companion (is he an android now?). Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is still going strong, he clearly wants a more peaceful life, but we all know that won’t happen. But my big thumbs up go to Pearl Mackie who makes her major TV debut as Bill. Pearl is known mostly for stage work, but TV work will clearly stand out a lot more now. Bill is definitely a fun and deep character, someone who will hopefully be a perfect foil to Nardole and The Doctor over the next few months.

A nice start and a lot of potential for series 10 to be great. Plus, stay after the end credits to see a look at what is to come…and who!

Final rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Doctor Who continues next week with ‘Smile’!

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