Writer: Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Director: Lawrence Gough
Producer: Peter Bennett
Companions: Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), Nardole (Matt Lucas)
Series: 10, episode 2
Summary: The Doctor takes Bill to a planet that is ruled by small robots. When they arrive, they discover that the robots communicate by emoji and the robots give them “mood indicators” to keep track of their emotions. The Doctor is concerned because he doesn’t see any colonists, just the robots. He discovers the robots can read moods and act hostile when you’re not happy. He also discovers that they are called the Vardy and are everywhere, in fact, they can travel by dust cloud and are the colony itself.
Review: When I saw the “emojibots” in the trailer for this season, I was concerned that they’d be too cute to be scary. I was mistaken. This is a world where you’d better be happy, or you’re dead. Okay, they actually can be scary!
This story is actually similar to the Seventh Doctor episode “The Happiness Patrol”. Having seen both, I can say this is an improvement on the premise, especially since this one has a better-looking monster. It’s an almost dead world, giving the story an eerie setting.
Bill is funny in this story. I love her curiosity. The funniest moment had to be when they first stepped out of the TARDIS and she was snapping pictures with her phone.
My only gripes are the pacing and the fact that again Nardole had almost nothing to do. I don’t feel it’s right that we’ve had two stories and Nardole has been underused. When he was first announced for “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, the general attitude online was negative, and this was before the episode even aired! (see why I think the whining has to stop?) One would think the writers would work to do something with Nardole so we could actually care about him. Instead, I’m beginning to wonder why he’s there at all. Here, all he did was say some cryptic line about the Doctor not going off-world, which the Doctor ignored. (What was that about, I wonder)
In spite of the cons, I liked this story a lot.
Overall Review: 7/10
Continuity: The Emojibots seem like smaller versions of the handbots in “The Girl Who Waited.” This is another story where the Doctor sends a companion back to the TARDIS and tells her to stay in it for protection. (This happened with Rose in “The Parting of the Ways”, except Bill wasn’t sent back home this time)