Doctor Who? Jodie Whittaker, That’s Who!
Like everybody else around the world, I was super excited to see the debut of the new Doctor on last night’s episode of Doctor Who! Jodie Whittaker took on the role of the first female version of the Doctor, and I think she nailed it. She was warm, heroic, delightfully scatterbrained and very friendly. She should be a great Doctor!
As with all Doctors, I’m especially looking forward to when she can really sink her teeth into the gravitas and mythology of the Doctor. She needs some damn good speechifying.
I like all of the new companions so far — Yaz, Graham and Ryan — and I’m looking forward to a more crowded TARDIS. That should be fun.
The episode itself — “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” — is largely fine. The villain was cool and there was plenty of time for Whittaker to be entertaining. But there were a couple gripes that really dragged it down for me.
The companions were a little too quick to join up and start following around this crazy woman who claimed she was an alien. No hesitation, very little questioning, everybody just loads up the car and follows the Doctor around like puppy dogs.
SPOILERS for the first episode.
I also didn’t like how the show handled Grace’s death. Grace was a fun character, but the show underplayed her death to the point that I wasn’t even sure what she was doing zapping that alien machine. I rewatched some of the scenes to figure it out, that she felt her grandson was in danger. I suppose that ball of electricity and tentacles was zapping the crane, but I don’t think we actually saw Ryan and Yaz in danger. They didn’t react or act like they couldn’t get down safely. Then all of a sudden, this grandmother is dangling from the side of a crane and stabbing the alien monster, and of course she falls to her death. But the show really underplayed the moment, I felt, and didn’t give it enough foundation.
There was nothing in the climax that indicated the Doctor couldn’t handle the problem after she took care of the main villain. So it felt like Grace died unnecessarily.
And then the episode rushes through her funeral and everybody is back to being friendly and hanging out as a group with the Doctor immediately afterwards. I dunno. It just didn’t sit right with me. It felt rushed.
Especially when you consider that funerals take a couple days to plan and pull off. So was the Doctor crashing on one of their couches or something? And did she really just redress in the same clothes each morning?
Personally, I think they should have stretched out adding all three companions to the team, and kept Grace alive for a bit longer. Maybe start with Ryan and Yaz joining the Doctor this episode, leaving Graham and Grace to fill the Jackie Tyler role of loved ones staying home. It’s been a long time since we had a companion who left family behind. Then they could have built both Graham and Grace as characters, until Grace does end up dying in a real tragedy. Then we’d actually know the character and her death would matter, and that’s a solid excuse to add Graham to the TARDIS to tag along with Ryan.
Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Solid first episode, Whittaker was great as the Doctor!