Doctor Who season 11 premiere recap: Season 11, Episode 1, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” Aired Oct. 7, 2018
Let me start by saying that Jodie Whittaker IS The Doctor. She is The Doctor from the very first moment she appears on the screen. Jodie Whittaker is the shining light in the premiere. If anyone had any doubts about her as the Thirteenth Doctor, her performance will blow those doubts away.
This season looks promising, and I’m just so happy to have Doctor Who back on my TV. Be sure to stick around for much, much more, Whovians. But for now, let’s talk about “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.”
Finally, we have answers to how the companions end up together and with The Doctor. Graham is Ryan’s step-grandfather. After a bike lesson with his grandparents gone wrong, Ryan chucks his bike off a hill. Going to fetch it, he encounters this mysterious blue pod that appears out of nowhere. Yes, it’s alien.
Yasmin is basically the Judy Hopps of Doctor Who. She’s a police officer put on parking duty, but knows she is capable of so much more. When Yasmin begs for a different assignment, she gets put on Ryan’s – the alien pod in the woods.
And the rest – you know the saying – is history.
Giving the companions history is a smart move when there are so many. This will make for better character development. But do they all have to have sob stories?
No sonic, no TARDIS, and no clue who she is, The Doctor drops into a train and immediately sets to work. She’s still regenerating, and Jodie Whittaker manages to capture that residual regeneration energy perfectly. The Doctor quickly befriends the group of people on the train she falls into because, as we all know, The Doctor needs companions.
With new companions and a sonic screwdriver she creates from scratch, she saves the day like the Doctor we know and love.
After all, when people need help, she never refuses.
All new monsters
I must admit the thought of not seeing ANY of the monsters from past seasons is a bummer. There’s a reason monsters like the daleks and cybermen are classics. That said, there is room for a ton of creativity in coming up with new monsters to make us all jump behind our sofas.
I didn’t love the monsters in the premiere until The Doctor inspected the cluster of tentacle-y gathering coils and got a tooth-faced reveal. Tim Shaw’s appearance is the kind of scary, freaky monster I’ve been hoping for. I just wish he was more threatening in other areas.
On the shoulders of giants
While the show is brand-new in nearly every technical aspect, there are still elements of absolute quintessential Doctor Who. It’s relatively dark and cloudy, per Doctor Who standards; it wouldn’t feel right if it was bright and sunny. There are loads of unanswered questions that get resolved by The Doctor herself. The new composer is absolutely killing it with the music; seriously, it’s amazing. And there is triumph that doesn’t feel so satisfying along with the multiple deaths of the innocent; the emotional layering remains, and I am so glad to be able to say that.
I will say there was a lack of corridor-running, but there’s still a whole season for that.
I can’t possibly include every detail of the nearly 2-hour premiere, so I recommend watching the episode for yourself. There’s a new showrunner, a new Doctor, new companions, and new monsters. If you’ve never watched the show, stopped seasons ago, or have been a fan from the start, I think everyone should give this new era of Doctor Who a try.
What did you think of “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!
Doctor Who airs Sunday nights on BBC America at 8/7c.