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‘Doctor Who’ season 10 premiere recap: 10×01 “The Pilot”

Doctor Who recap: Season 10, Episode 1, “The Pilot,” Aired April 16, 2017

The wait is over! With the exception of the Christmas special, Whovians have gone a year without regular Who in their lives, but Doctor Who finally returned this week with its tenth season. It’s been a long wait, so let’s skip the preamble and talk about some of the highlights from “The Pilot.”


Why do you run like that?

Pearl Mackie as the new companion Bill Potts was a breath of fresh air and fans have already fallen for her. Her enthusiasm and curiosity are readily apparent, as is her love of pop culture. Also, her observations about the Doctor are spot on. In one scene she notes how the Doctor’s run resembles that of a penguin’s ass on fire.


Human alert!

So it looks like Nardole’s been with the Doctor for some time now given how easily the two work alongside one another. Although he wasn’t in the episode as much as the Doctor or Bill, he had a lot of quippy one-liners.

Ugh, human alert. Do you want me to repel it? – Nardole


Family pictures

Family pictures were heavily featured in this episode. In his office, The Doctor had a picture of River, his late wife, and Susan, the Doctor’s supposed granddaughter who was introduced as the Doctor’s first companion in classic Who. Having recently left River just before her trip to the Library, it makes sense that the Doctor would have a picture of her on display. But why Susan? We’re guessing there’s a specific reason the Doctor had her picture out – maybe she’s connected to Bill in some way, or maybe she’ll be returning to the show in some new form.

Another set of pictures we get to see is photographs of Bill’s mom. After telling the Doctor she didn’t have many pictures of her birth mother, the Doctor goes back in time and secretly takes a ton of pictures of her. In hindsight, it sounds kind of creepy, but it was obviously meant to be a sweet gesture that meant a lot to Bill.


Why is it called the T.A.R.D.I.S.?

One of Bill’s traits that will undoubtedly be useful in her travels with the Doctor is her keen observation skills. At one point, she asks the Doctor why he named his time machine in English when he’s from another planet since the T.A.R.D.I.S. acronym would only work in English.


No more memory wipes, please!

I feel like we’ve reached our cap with memory wipes on Doctor Who – there’s only so much heartbreak a fan can take! When Bill asks the Doctor to imagine what it would feel like to have his memories taken from him, he clearly has a moment in which he recalls something of his repressed memories of Clara. The moment is punctuated by the score as Clara’s lilting theme begins to play just moments before the Doctor decides to let Bill keep her memories of him and their adventure. Whether or not this means that Clara will return has yet to be seen, but it’s nice that the Doctor’s connection with his former companion is what spurs him to ask Bill to join him.



  • For someone who’s so well versed in sci-fi tropes, Bill made a lot of questionable choices! Guess that’s just the curious streak in her.

Lingering Questions

  • Why has the Doctor taken an interest in Bill?
  • What’s in the vault?
  • The Doctor says he’s on Earth for a reason, and that he has promises to keep. What are those promises? And who did he promise? River? Bill’s mother? Susan?


What are your thoughts on Bill, and what do you make of the Doctor’s promise? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!

(Image: BBC)


Tamar Altebarmakian

Writer, fangirl, and cat-enthusiast. My work has appeared on The Mary Sue, The Portland Review, Ranker, and other websites. My favorite show growing up was Xena – I've tried to emulate the Warrior Princess in every way (see current hairstyle).

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