Matt Smith steps into the TARDIS this week as the new Doctor. Following our brief glimpse of him at the conclusion of The End of Time, the story picks up moments later with the blue box plummeting to Earth and into a story written by Steven Moffat.
The episode first aired on 3 April, 2010, and introduced the world to two versions of Amelia ‘Amy’ Pond, first as the little girl (Caitlin Blackwood) who waited for the Doctor after first meeting him, and then the grown woman (Karen Gillan) he comes back for years later.
She’d spent her entire life waiting for him, telling stories of the Raggedy Doctor (based on his appearance) and when he finally shows, the two, along with her boyfriend, Rory (Arthur Darvill) caught up in an adventure that involves a crack in space-time, and an escaped prisoner.
All of this takes place while the new Doctor tries to figure out who he is, and whether bow ties are cool or not (they are).
I quite like this episode, it introduces the new Doctor in a very fun way, gives us a whole new set of characters to enjoy, and Moffat pens a very enjoyable story (and beginning a wonderful arc for Amy, not to mention setting up the season arc by mentioning the Crack, the Silence and the Pandorica) .
Coming in after Tennant, Smith had big shoes to fill, and you can see the excitement and enthusiasm that he brings to the role. He makes the role his own fairly quickly, but the audience isn’t completely sold (or not supposed to be) until the climax when he settles into his costume and confronts, rather boldly and adamantly with the Atraxi.
Amy joins the Doctor in the TARDIS at the end of the episode, leaving Rory behind as the Time Lord and his new Companion head out to adventure!
The Beast Below aired on 10 April, 2010 and was also written by Moffat.
The Doctor and Amy arrive on the Starship UK in the far-flung future, as it travels away from the Earth due to the death of the Sun. But the ship hides a secret, and upon discovering the truth of their mode of transportation one can choose to forget it, and live in ignorant bliss instead.
Beneath the ship, serving as its engine, and its guide is a Star Whale. The poor being is being tortured to keep Starship UK afloat amongst the stars.
There are creepy robots with rotating heads known as Smilers, a new Queen, Liz 10 (Sophie Okonedo) and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the level of special effects now at play in the series. It has come a long way since 1963.
There are in fact, a lot of things going on in this episode, probably enough for a few episodes, so part of the story can get lost, or at least muddled, but I think it’s more done in an attempt to populate the world the Doctor exists in.
And with their first real episode out amongst the stars, it’s very obvious that there is great chemistry between Smith and Gillan, and it really sparks and brings the show to life in a new way.
Decisions are made, the Doctor gets a little angry (always fun to see!) and as Amy saves the day, seemingly making an impossible choice the episode closes with a phone call that will lead us right into next week’s story.
The TARDIS gets a call from Churchill (Ian McNeice). He’s summoning the Doctor to confront the Victory of the Daleks!