Doctor Who - Episode 10.11 - World Enough and Time - Review
Well here we are. Every Doctor Who fan can attest to the feeling you get on finale week. We are so happy its here, because it is usually always the best, but also a bit sad because we know the season is almost over and we will have a very long time for another season. Sometimes, its more than a year. This was the start of the finale. We still have next week, but boy did Steven Moffat kick it off with a bang!
Warning: Do NOT read on if you haven't seen the episode. It will contain SPOILERS that are better left discovered by watching!
This episode was slow. It was a lot of exposition. There was a lot of setting up and putting people in places and situations that I assume will pay off in the finale. Slow can work. Take Better Call Saul for example. That entire series is one meticulous slow burn. They can take 10 minutes of a 42 minute episode just showing someone dismantle a car and it is enthralling. You want it to go on for the entire episode. The reason is because you know the payoff is completely worth it - that there is a point to it and they aren't just wasting time because they have nothing.
I know some will disagree, but that is how I felt about this episode. It was slow, but the pay off made it completely and utterly worth it. This episode will also be cool to rewatch once you know to look out for a certain thing. I caught it nearly right away, but for the people who didn't, it will be fun to go back and see it through a new filter. That makes slower fun as well. You can take your time and look at things you can't notice when it is too fast paced.
As I alluded to in the opening paragraph, the pre-titles sequence was an In-Media-Res scene that showed a shocking future where the Doctor was alone in the snow (during Christmas time?) and started to regenerate. Now, we've had fake outs before; in fact we had one just a few episodes ago. So to do that again would be too sloppy and against the grain of this season. I am guessing that was a genuine glimpse into The Doctor's regeneration. If you want to compare it to Better Call Saul again, I equated it to the post-Breaking Bad flashforwards we get at the beginning of each season.
There wasn't much in the way of plot, Bill gets hurt, and separated from the group. They spend the whole time figuring things out then finally meet and just as the story is about to take off the episode ends. But the stuff that we had in the last ten minutes was worth the wait.
A laser screwdriver to my head, if I had to criticize the episode I would say that The Master's disguise didn't work for me. Sure it was for the audience benefit, but if he had monitors up where the Doctor and company were, he would know they didn't come down without Bill. I guess it could be argued away that he wouldn't know if The Doctor had shown pictures of him or if she had any awareness of the Saxon identity. I know he was Prime Minister, but most of that time was erased and that was a long time ago. But on the surface there didn't seem to be any in-world reason for it, only to hide the actor from the audience until the final reveal.The other thing is what happened to Bill. We've seen something very similar to this happen to Danny Pink in the season 8 finale (that is where we also saw Missy team up with the Cybermen). Sure, next week's episode could re-frame this one and make us view it through a different prism that we don't have now but as it stands it is very similar. Also, next week's episode could very much elevate this episode or hurt it in the long run. Last season's finale was a perfect example of that. "Heaven Sent" was an absolute masterpiece in and of itself with not knowing what came after it. When you add "Hell Bent" to the mix and watch it as one long story it hurts the episode.
Nardole didn't have much to do here because Missy was with them full time and the story had to focus on Bill and her separation. But I think he will get some sort of closure or big story feature next week. As great of a character as he is, the story would have suffered focusing on him too much.
Pearl Mackie was great as always; so was Capaldi. But the two shining stars of the episode were Michelle Gomez who looked like she had an absolute ball pretending to be
Next week will wrap up the season and then leave only one episode of the Steven Moffat era left. I hope next week enhances this episode instead of hindering it.
The extended, ominously titled season 10 finale, "The Doctor Falls" airs next week at the earlier time of 8:30/7:30C on BBC America.