Is Nardole the Doctor's Boss? Why would The Doctor have a boss? - Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 2 Review

By: ( +David Herron; Date: April 22, 2017

Tags: Doctor Who » Season 10

We come to this episode wondering why Nardole is still active with The Doctor, and find him lecturing about an Oath the Doctor took as if Nardole has some authority over the Doctor. Its difficult to believe the Doctor would put himself under anyone elses authority, so maybe that's a misinterpretation. In any case, this episode's adventure has the Doctor and Bill playing hookey, visiting the first Earth colony on another planet, only to find the place inhabited by over-eager robots who might have accidentally killed the colonists.

Or maybe Nardole is a "slave" to the Doctor? He used the word, does it have actual weight of meaning? And did the Doctor really mutter "Mum" under his breath?

Okay, what about the story?

Having been to Valencia Spain, and stayed in a hotel overlooking the City of Arts and Sciences, I have a couple small things to say. In person it's a very strange looking set of buildings. It's easy to see it on a different world, eh? (see my pictures Doctor Who Episode 2 (Smile) image gallery)

The real place isn't surrounded by wheat fields. Instead it's in the middle of a park running the length of a river-bed, and is completely surrounded by urban spaces. This is some excellent CGI.

As they go through the story, strolling through strange paths surrounded by strange buildings, just remember those are real buildings. This isn't a CGI overlaid crazy world cooked up by a science fiction author. These are real buildings designed by a real architect. Between Gaudi (I've also gone to La Sagrada Familia) and whoever it is that designed the City of Arts and Sciences, Spain has some really ingenious architects.

Okay, what about the story?

What happens when the Doctor makes a Big Mistake? As in, he decides there's a danger that he should blow up, but that turns out to be the most horrible choice he could make. Fortunately, this time, he avoided making the mistake. From conversations we've seen in other episodes, the Doctor doesn't always avoid making the Big Mistake.

Just in case this is important -- that's the name of the ship. Erewhon being the name of a classical novel from 1872 about a fictional country that was supposed to be a Utopia, but wasn't. The word Erewhon was supposed to be "Nowhere" written backwards.

In any case, Erewhon sure sounds like a perfect analogy for this place. It was a good plan, give the people robotic helpers who'd make sure everything would be fine. As in the Seventh Doctor story, The Happiness Patrol, being unhappy is a death sentence.

Oath? "A long time ago a thing happened, and as a result of the thing, I made a promise, and as a result of the promise, I have to stay on Earth." The fact that he said that while "offworld" sure sounds like the Doctor. He's not one to pay attention to rules. Even though he's got an important job "Guarding a Vault" he's just crazy enough to go wandering. What if his wanderings create a situation where he cannot return?

Optimism If there's a theme to this story, it's about keeping a smile, of staying with optimism, even in the face of horribleness. "Do you know what this building is made of? Pure soaring optimism" when in fact we learn later it's made of pure soaring micro-robots.

"I met an Emporer made of algae once?" Eh?

Send a rocket-load of intelligent robots ahead He has run into other cases of generation ships carrying people away from a dead Planet Earth. Such as in The Doctors Daughter and The Beast Below.

"Can't you phone the police?" As she's standing outside a Police Phone Box. One that says "Advice and Assistance Available Immediately".

Hmm... in the background, quite a bit of Egyptian stuff, and then in Mom's video diary lots of Egyptian stuff. Well, further in that store-room are some Hindu and Chinese objects. Maybe the idea was to preserve as much of Earth's symbology.

Beautiful, a Flieschmann Cold Fusion Engine ... Sigh. The original researchers behind the Cold Fusion idea were Flieschmann and Pons. These aren't just throw-away lines.

I think every Doctor Who episode needs to end with an elephant strolling ON the Thames. Shouldn't there be a London place-name, "Elephant on Thames"?

According to ( some news reports, Freezeland Street was what Londoners called the Thames when it froze over. There is a road named Freezeland Way in London, though curiously it's nowhere near the Thames. And there's a number of Freezeland placenames in other parts of England, and even in the USA.

Now, didn't the Doctor bring River Song to this same place, the frozen Thames, for her birthday once? And he had Stevie Wonder playing for her? Curious. Hopefully the Doctor won't accidentally run into himself. In any case, his instant recognition of where they'd landed has to be because he'd been there before with River Song.

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