Can you believe that we’re getting a story that features emoji speaking robots? Me neither. But, it’s happening this Saturday, when the Twelfth Doctor takes Bill to an alien planet in Smile. What do I expect from this episode? There’s only one way to find out…
So Smile eh? The second episode of Series Ten. It seems to me that Series Ten is going for a similar structure to Series One; both served as jumping on points as series go. The first episode of each introduced a new companion, and now, a week later, we’re taking that companion to have their first proper encounter with the future. Whilst The End of The World took Rose to Satellite Five, it seems that Smile is taking Bill to Gliese 581 D (a catchy name).
I have to admit that my expectations for Smile weren’t the highest, mainly due to Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s record of penning In The Forest of The Night which was less than stellar. I’m all for giving writers a second chance, but for me, the predominant use of emojis was the straw the broke the camels back. I thought that Smile would be middling at best; however, after reading some early reviews (if anyone at the BBC is reading this and would like to send me copies of episodes ahead of time to review, please get in touch) I have to say I’m slightly more optimistic.
What I’m about to talk about could be considered slightly spoilery to some, so if you really want to go into Smile totally blind, I recommend you stop reading now. You still here? Awesome. Basically, from the reviews I’ve read, it seems like the first half an hour of the story will essentially be a two-hander between the Doctor and Bill; whilst some might not think this is the right way to go, I have to say that I disagree with you. Considering in The Pilot, Bill was nearly thrust straight into an adventure, it’ll be nice to see the Doctor and Bill have some more time to really get to know one another.
Another aspect that I’ve read about is the lack of Nardole; and I have to say I’m on the fence about it. The little Nardole we got in The Pilot really entertained me, a lot more than I anticipated; and I think that once we’ve seen slightly more of him in the coming weeks, I’ll discuss why I think Nardole has the potential to be so great in a later article. Anyway, from what I’ve heard, Nardole isn’t very present in this episode, and part of me wonders if it’s because originally Nardole wasn’t intended to be in every episode. If you’d’ve asked me what I’m looking forward to least about Smile, a story about emoji robots, I can assure you that I wouldn’t have said “the lack of Nardole”.
One thing that I’m sure about from the stills that have been released for Smile, is that visually, this will be one of the most aesthetically pleasing episodes ever. Everything looks so clean, fresh and utopian, and I think that the trip abroad to film has really paid off. I don’t think I’d be talking about the general look of an episode if it was filmed in a Welsh quarry. Especially with Lawrence Gough directing again after his amazing direction last week.
Overall, I think that Smile will be an episode remembered more for its visuals than its storyline or monsters; I think it’ll be a slightly better than average episode, but I don’t see it being a fan favourite. Only time will tell though…
What do you anticipate from The Pilot? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @GallifreyRchive.