Doctor Who series 10 started on Saturday and Broadchurch series 3 (and the whole programme itself) ended last night, so there's lots to talk about.
Overall, I liked "The Pilot", but you're going to read the rest of this section and think that I didn't. The episode was fun, and it was definitely story-driven, without any major thematic points to be made dragging it down. I'd say it was good, and that I will probably like it a lot better on rewatch (I usually do for most episodes), but I'd say it's the weakest of the companion-introduction episodes in the new series. That doesn't mean it's bad, though - I think that all of the companion-introduction episodes have been great.
That said, the episode definitely suffered from ambiguity and from hyperbole. The first part of the episode, showing Bill's life over an extended period of time, jerked around without communicating well to me how quickly time was advancing. For example, Bill meets Heather in the pub, then the next scene, they meet again and it only becomes clear later in that scene that it's not the next day, but rather some time later. I had problems trying to process that and piece together again exactly what I'm picturing of Bill's life while the next scene comes on and adds more material. I am also not at all sure what their relationship was. It's not clear what happened when they met - we don't even see them talking to each other - but it's implied that they don't see each other except for those few times we see them on screen. Thus, it was difficult for me to feel they had more than a physical attraction for each other, and therefore it didn't make sense to me that Bill would want to go with Heather at the end. On the other hand, I'm pretty romantically-challenged, so maybe it worked for everyone else.
As I think about it, this is a common problem I have with Moffat's storytelling. He tells us a lot, but shows us little. Heather tells Bill that she wants to leave, but we don't see it. Compare that to all of the people who were consumed by the ship in "The Lodger". Few had any lines beyond "Help you?" but their costuming and attitudes told you enough about their backgrounds that you could see that they wanted to leave or travel. I think that the opening to the episode could have been much better spent building up the relationship between Bill and Heather, so that we can feel why Bill wants to go with her and partake in the tragedy.
As far as the hyperbole goes, we have yet another super-powerful being. A sentient drop of oil that can take over another sentient, defeat Daleks, time travel, and cross the galaxy in an instant? This thing is basically a TARDIS, so imagine what the rest of that spaceship must be like.
I'm also not fond of the recycling of ideas. The puddle trying to replace the parts of the spaceship that were lost: my first thought was "The Girl in the Fireplace". Then the concept that it's trying to find a suitable pilot, one that wants to leave: and we're back to "The Lodger" again.
On the other hand, Movellans!! It was fantastic seeing one of the many other races that fight against the Daleks!
Then we come to Bill. Sorry, I do not like her so far, though I'm not sure if it's that I don't like the person or I don't like the characterization. Let me explain (like you have a choice - it's my journal). ;) First off, I want to say that my objections to the character from the trailer didn't hold true and that was great to see. In that trailer, she continued to ask stupid question as the Doctor told her to shut up because they were in danger, and I had thought to myself, "Great, she's stupid." That didn't happen in the episode and she was definitely far more intelligent than the trailer made her out to be.
Basically, I find Bill to be creepy as hell. Maybe it's because I am not attracted physically to people - I've never looked at a guy or a girl and thought, "Oh, he/she's hot! I think I just creamed my pants." - so I just don't understand her, but on the other hand, I know that almost everyone else does and it doesn't bother me that they do. But Bill did bother me. It's one thing to think, "Hey, I'd like to sleep that person" and then give that person extra chips every day because of that - I have no problem with that. It's a completely different thing to tell that story to a university professor to stall for time during an interview (or really, to tell that story to anyone you just met). If this character had been male, this would have been offensive (or, I suppose, given the attitudes of our current President, laughed off as "a thing that boys do"), but since she's female, we're supposed to accept this as cute and quirky.
Of course, this is par for the course for Moffat's women. Amy tried to force herself on the Doctor. Clara stalked and harassed Danny Pink at school. River's behavior is way too common to list all of the examples here. It's all in the name of creating women who are clever and empowered, but they really aren't - they're just not labeled as sexual predators because they're not male - and I don't like it. Now, I'm not sure which way I want this to go. He can keep Bill consistent, perving after every sexy woman they meet, and I would love to see that; just like with Rose, who I dislike as a person but whose characterization and consistency were fantastic. Or Bill can morph into whatever character they need for the episode, like Clara did, and I might like the character (no guarantees) and hate the characterization. I lose either way, I suppose.
But, like I said, I did enjoy the episode and it gives me some hope for a good series. I both love and hate the idea that the Doctor has been living on Earth and teaching at uni for fifty years, but I won't go into that complicated mess. It's pretty obvious that the vault is the season arc, so I'm prepared for random glimpses of it every episode that tell us nothing until the finale reveals all (hmm, must be about the Simm!Master, then). I am interested to see how the Doctor and Bill manage to travel while guarding the vault at the same time. And more Nardole, please! He was fantastic in the Christmas special, but nothing here - please make him a character again and not just comic relief!
One of the more fascinating things about my boss is that he tries very hard to learn about your interests and check them out, to find out what you enjoy about them and to see if he might enjoy them as well. I've never before seen anyone do so like he does. A lot of people will talk to you about your interests, but taking that extra step and trying them out is, as far as I've observed, a rare trait.
So yesterday, he was chatting with my husband, and this is how the conversation went. Note that my husband did not know that both DW and Class were shown back-to-back on BBC America.
Boss: Gloria (wife) and I watched the pilot of Doctor Who Class last night.
Husband: [stunned for a moment] There is so much wrong with that statement.
B: Oh? What's wrong with it?
H: Well, first, there's no such show as "Doctor Who Class". There's Doctor Who, and then there's Class, which is a spin-off of Doctor Who. Which one did you watch?
B: I don't know. The Doctor was in it.
H: That doesn't help. The Doctor shows up in both.
B: He had curly hair.
H: Nope, nope. Doesn't narrow it down.
B: It was the pilot.
H: Still doesn't. The first episode of Class is indeed the pilot of the series. However, the first episode of Doctor Who this season is named "The Pilot".
B: It was set in a school.
H: Nope, still doesn't help. Was it about a bunch of teenagers fighting aliens and learning about time?
H: That's Class.
Sadly, he didn't like it: neither he nor his wife made it through even half the episode. No opinion on that, though - I haven't seen the show at all.
BC (with spoilers):
I wrote a number of weeks ago, after the second episode of Broadchurch series 3, that the show had really lost its punch. I planned to keep watching it because I wanted to see how it turned out, but I was disappointed that it was now a police procedural and not a drama about how the crime affected the lives of the people of the town.
Well, I am glad that I stuck with it. I mean, there was no way that I wouldn't have, because Hardy and Miller, but the show completely turned around, and it was utterly fantastic.
Once the secrets started coming out, Trish and her world solidified. Trish and Cath's friendship dissolves, but events lead them to make up. Jim and Cath's marriage exploded under the weight of the suspicion, and then reformed. Ian transformed from creepy ex to socially inept, rather clueless, and timid possible reunion. Ed is still definitely a stalker, though he remains firmly on the right side of the decent line. And then Leo throws them all into high relief: you can see that compared to him, though each of the other men are suspicious and questionable, they all still hold themselves to a standard. Jim in particular is a good example of this: though he is an incorrigible philanderer and there's a huge gulf between him and Hardy's high standards, he is not a rapist and does not view women as meat or conquests. It's very telling that his statement to Hardy is that he's always willing to sleep with a woman who wants to sleep with him.
Mark's and Beth's story, though given little screen time, was as compelling as the main case. It doesn't turn out well, because it can't, not with Mark still in his state of mind, but it gives hope that maybe they have a future if he can work through his grief. Beth is plenty strong enough to keep the family going while he does. I've never liked the character of Mark Latimer, but this series really brought him home to me.
Then there's Leo and his story. First, his monologue during the interrogation was beautiful, a rapist telling us why. It wasn't a villain self-aggrandizing, but a person explaining his thoughts and feelings to an audience that mostly wouldn't understand or sympathize with him. It was moving and disturbing, especially when you think that yes, there are people out there like that.
His story was made all the more interesting by the parallels between him and Mike and series 1's Joe and Danny: both are cases of a man taking a boy, who was neglected by his father, under his wing. In a way, Joe and Danny's story becomes even more tragic, because here in this series, we see that Joe is truly penitent, even if he's not brave enough to serve time, and Leo and Mike's story underlines that Danny's death really was a horrible mistake, rather than the willful act of a disturbed man.
And lastly, we have the conclusion of Hardy and Miller's story. Their partnership is really what drove the show over the three years, and it was perfectly depicted in the scene where they work through the case files. The ending of the episode, with Hardy's tactless "No!" and their parting to go back to their own lives, with the implied promise of their future working relationship, was gold. A man and woman can work together, be best friends, respect each other, rely on each other, have each others' backs, without romance or sexual tension, and their story can be compelling. This is really what I'm going to miss about Broadchurch. Thanks, Mr. Chibnall and company, for three wonderful seasons.