This review contains spoilers for the episode of Doctor Who.
Doctor Who has made a really solid start to Season 10 and it looked to continue that streak with Bill’s first trip to the past in Thin Ice. The Doctor and Bill are in 1814 London where people are disappearing during a frost fair on the river Thames.
Thin Ice is an episode that was very reminiscent of the underrated The Beast Below from Season 5, which was Amy’s first outing in the TARDIS. And much that episode this was a chance for the companion, Bill in this case, to prove that she is worthy of travelling with The Doctor by demonstrating her compassion. The Doctor leaves the choice to her, and is clearly visibly happy when she tells him to save the creature. When The Doctor left the choice to Bill you felt as though this was a test as to whether she would value the life of this creature as much as the lives of any other creature.
And that bring us round to the stand out moment of the episode, The Doctor’s speech to Lord Sutcliffe, the man behind the creature’s capture. His rage at Sutcliffe’s racist behaviour, and subsequent speech about the value of all life being equal to one another regardless of class, race, or anything else, is a great speech from writer Sarah Dollard. The Doctor’s quote about wishing Sutcliffe had been an alien so he could understand how Sutcliffe could disregard human life that easily is also really powerful. It’s a wonderful scene, that gave Capaldi a real chance to shine, and was a quintessentially Doctor Who moment.
We also got a tiny bit more information on the vault that The Doctor is meant to be guarding. After The Doctor uses a coin trick to win a bet with Nardole meaning he’ll be allowed to leave Earth we hear knocking coming from inside the vault. Nardole responds to it saying that whoever is inside is going nowhere as long as he’s still there, never mind how distracted The Doctor is. So it appears as though the vault is a prison for something that needs to be contained and The Doctor is the guard.
This was another really good episode at the start is Season 10 of Doctor Who. Thin Ice was an episode that focused strongly on the value of life, which allowed both Capaldi and Pearl Mackie to excel. The story as a whole was nice contained period adventure that allowed for good comic moments, and further exploration of the dynamic between The Doctor and Bill.