[The Following Review Contains SPOILERS!]
Having secured the future of humanity, The Doctor and Bill were ready to return home to 2017. Pity the TARDIS had other ideas and, as The Doctor noted, one does not steer a TARDIS. You reason with it. Unsuccessfully, most of the time.
Thankfully, they have arrived in a seemingly peaceful place – February 4th, 1814. It is here that the last of the great Thames Frost Fairs is underway – a rollicking festival that, for hundreds of years, was held on the Thames in the heart of London when it became cold enough for the surface of the river to be to walked upon.
After being assured that her Melanin levels aren’t going to result in her being clapped in irons and that she’d be perfectly fine walking around in the past (unlike poor Pete, but never mind about him), Bill was all too eager to change into a period-appropriate costume and start checking out the fairgrounds. Unfortunately, there is something under the ice. Something large. Something hungry…
Thin Ice is easily the strongest episode of Doctor Who‘s Tenth Series to date. Written by Face The Raven author Sarah Dollard, the story here as full of mystery and great character moments as that instant classic from Series Nine. We never do find out precisely what the sea monster under the ice is but that detail is as unimportant as Pete. (Remember him? Exactly.) The real monster in Thin Ice, as in many classic Doctor Who stories, is all too human. Genetically, at any rate.
Talking of classic Doctor Who, Capaldi’s Doctor is reminding me more and more of Tom Baker as time goes by. Both actors have a reputation for being loud and hamming it up but both actors simultaneously possess a surprising sense of subtlety. Yes, The Twelfth Doctor will punch a man for being rude and shout at people for being stupid yet be at his scariest and most unpredictable when his voice goes soft, as it does when The Doctor talks about human progress and the what gives a life value.
Pearl Mackie continues to impress as Bill. Much as last week’s episode brought about the realization that her tutor is far more of a badass than he lets on, this week brings the revelation that The Doctor is no stranger to Death. Either being exposed to it or bringing it about. Mackie plays these scenes with a quiet strength, convincingly shocked but then assertively asking The Doctor about his past and denying him any lengthy explanation to mitigate the harsh truth.
I’m not quite sure where Series Ten is taking us in regards to The Doctor’s oath and whatever is inside the vault he’s protecting. If the rest of the series is as good as Thin Ice, however, I suspect I won’t mind waiting to find out.