Doctor Who Season 11 Premiere “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” Review
I will admit, during the early days of the announcement of our new Doctor, I wasn’t feeling all too enthusiastic. It was just too much of a mess between those who wanted a woman, and those who didn’t. It wasn’t until a few months later where I could wait for the dust to settle and form my own thoughts about where the series was going from here. Honestly I found myself getting anxious because there was a brand new tone, an interesting set of companions, and a new twist on what it means to be the Doctor. I couldn’t wait to see what happens when a more drastic change comes than being old as dirt.
Now before I dive into this season premiere, I will say that I’m not one of you longtime Whovians who have been around since the start or started at Tennant. I jumped in at Matt Smith and moved forward from there. I know, blasphemy right? Either way, from what I had seen of the series, this was one of the more unique beginnings. The episode started with us getting to know one of our main characters, which led to the introduction of another, which then led to the introduction of the big mystery of this episode as a whole. It was a lot to take in in a short amount of time I will say. If too much time had passed before the arrival of the Doctor, I feel like they could have lost some people. Pacing was on their side when it came down to the little things that we needed to understand about these characters over time to understand the role they had to play. Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O’Brien are very different from most other support characters as well. They had their moments of doubt, but for the most part they were open-minded to the wonders that were presented to them when there was no ignoring that the impossible was actually possible. This episode was the full package for them, and the enthusiasm to play heroes despite being out of their depth.
It also goes without saying that it is refreshing how these characters could represent a varied range of ages and still hold their appeal. The only problem I faced here was that from the very start of the episode they already hinted to how things might end for these characters when only given three names when there are four characters.
Fortunately they didn’t waste too much time before it came time for our new Doctor to drop out of the sky. From the very first line of dialogue I instantly began to like this Doctor more than the others. She may not have had everything together going through the final stages of regeneration, but she dodged a lot of the troublesome characteristics of the others. I think what stood out to me most was the way she connected with the regular people and the way she responded to this new danger. There was a sense of empathy that the other Doctors tend to lack. She put more effort into trying to save the people in front of her, and there was guilt for those who had fallen prey to this enemy. Even if lives flicker like a light to Timelords, I still want to see the Doctor give a damn.
I think where most skeptics will eat their words is the idea that this Doctor would turn into a symbol. What people don’t understand is that a strong female character can be written without shoving it in someone’s face consistently. That is what we got from this Doctor. She was just another Doctor, but a female, because gender has nothing to do with being the Doctor. It doesn’t change the Doctor’s mission statement, the fact that a Doctor will always have a sonic screwdriver, or that a Doctor will always be in the mood for something that gets the brain turning.
This new enemy introduced was refreshing from some of the others we would run into at the beginning. The mystery was great leading up to the person behind the attacks, but it was the actual reveal which fully grabs you. This wasn’t an enemy either who was stiff or without intimidation. Sorry Daleks or Cybermen, but when you have such limited mobility, some of us will struggle at times to believe that you are a real danger to anyone who doesn’t have broken legs. With this also being an enemy who can actually move, there was more reason to put characters into positions where they had to think outside the box to come out on top. Now that may normally be the usual, but this wasn’t an enemy who would back down without the right incentive to turn away.
The Doctor Who season 11 premiere was everything I hoped for from this new Doctor. A Doctor who is just like any other, but with a little more substance to her personality without being too over-the-top. The cliffhanger this episode ended on was a nice touch for those who maybe needed one more push to get hyped for what happens next. We haven’t had a full welcome just yet, so you want to tune in to see what happens when the full Doctor treatment is received.