May 26, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Pilot”

The Doctor takes on a new companion.

So, I had heard the Twelfth Doctor may not have had particularly good chemistry with his original companion, but the one he picked up in his final series of episodes more than made up for that.  So yeah, let’s meet Ms. Bill Potts.

Bill Potts is a cafeteria worker at a big university where the Doctor is teaching…whatever he feels like apparently.  He’s undercover with Nardole as his all-purpose assistant.  Why is he undercover?  I don’t know.  He isn’t giving out a name, prompting Bill to actually ask him in a nice change of pace “Doctor what?” at one point.  Regardless, the Doctor is undercover and he has a giant office.  The TARDIS is tucked into one corner.  He has a pen dispenser full of sonic screwdrivers.  He even has framed photos of his only two known relatives on his desk, namely River Song and Susan Foreman.

Given the time line, River is probably not Susan’s biological grandmother…but who can say given River’s timeline?

Anyway, Bill Potts gets ushered in by Nardole since the Doctor is wondering why she’s been sitting in on his class without being enrolled in his class.  Well, she says he’s fascinating.  He spent a lecture that was ostensibly about quantum mechanics discussing poetry.  Sure, the Doctor doesn’t see the difference, but he’s the Doctor.  He wouldn’t.

So, here’s what little I know about Bill Potts:  she’s smart, asks the right questions, and unless I missed something, she’s the first LGBTQ+ companion in that she falls for a girl in the Doctor’s class who has a birthmark of some kind in the form of a star in one eye.  This girl, Heather, says she wants it removed, and there’s a weird puddle that doesn’t work quite right in that the reflection in it is off.

OK, so, I like the idea of the Doctor having a companion like Bill since there is now, like, zero chance that this will ever even be hinted at as a possibly romantic relationship.  Too many times since the reboot has the female companion been presented as, if not a love interest, than a potential one.  Rose and the Doctor fell in love.  Martha was interested.  With Donna, it was played largely for laughs as she kept denying it until she kissed him once to give the Doctor a good shock.  Amy seemed to fall for the Doctor initially.  Clara had to be told the Doctor was not her boyfriend, and that was more of his reminding himself than telling her.  Bill?  Nope.  No chance to that.  She prefers women.

In fact, that preference is how she more or less becomes the Doctor’s companion.  She spies on the Doctor and Nardole up to…something, but then Heather disappears because the aliens below the puddle decide she’s to be their new pilot.  However, this dripping wet Heather keeps appearing to Bill, and the Doctor tries to help her escape something that might be dangerous.  That doesn’t mean she might be evil.  Just dangerous.

That involves a trip in the TARDIS.  First, a trip to Australia.  Wet Heather appears there.  Then to another, far distant planet.  There’s Wet Heather again.  Finally, a different time, where the Daleks are involved in yet another war, and Wet Heather not only appears there, but she takes some shots from a Dalek and not only takes the thing out, but she takes its form.

By then, the Doctor realizes Wet Heather isn’t actually trying to hurt anyone.  She just wants to fulfill a final promise:  namely, according to Bill, that Heather wasn’t going anywhere without Bill.  Bill has to release Heather from that, but not before seeing what she was giving up: a chance to travel the stars.  Heather disappears, and Bill seems to be crying.  The Doctor doesn’t notice.  Nardole says the Doctor doesn’t always notice tears.  Bill says the tears aren’t hers.

Then she talks the Doctor into not erasing her memories.

That’s good enough to be invited onto the TARDIS.  I mean, here’s a woman who asks good questions, something the Doctor always appreciates, and she won’t be swayed by romantic feelings for the Doctor.  She has a good head on her shoulders.  She’s brave.  She takes the weird stuff in stride.  She’ll be a good match from the looks of things.

But this is only one episode.