Having seen what The Doctor and his TARDIS are capable of, Bill is given the choice to go into the future or into the past, as the second episode of Series 10 hits our screens this Saturday.
Having chosen the future, and when asked why by The Doctor, Bill retorts: “Why do you think? I want to see if it’s happy!”, and she is about to see just how happy the human race are (and the cost if you're not).
This episode feels like a cross between The Happiness Patrol and Silence In The Library. The emoji-bots, as we've all come to know them as, have more than one similarity with the Vashta Nerada, and we genuinely thought they were going to be revealed as being behind the events of the story, but the emoji bots are something new to the Doctor Who universe, and we can't help feeling this was perhaps an opportunity missed. That being said, there's still something rather sinister in their cute exterior, coupled with the emoji's they display on their faces.
If you were a fan of Bill's TARDIS observations in episode 1, get ready for some more classic one-liners as she critiques the point of the chairs being so far away from the console, and whether there are seat belts! It's great seeing how differently Bill sees things, and, rather amusingly, how The Doctor reacts.
One of the main stars of this episode is undoubtedly the setting, and the Doctor Who locations team deserve a pat of the back for what they came up with in Smile. The main white structure, coupled with the surrounding wheat fields in contrast with the blue sky, make for a striking visual, and you really feel like this could be a futuristic city in a far off world.
Ralph Little's role was much smaller than we were expecting - he only appears about 10 minutes before the end of the episode, but he does a great job - as does Kaizer Akhtar as Praiseworthy! Mina Anwar is also a little underused; she's so loveable and watchable, and you can't help wanting more screen time with her.
Murray Gold's music features a little more in this episode, and it really helps set the scene and pace, further. Without giving too much away in the scene, there's a great piece of music that plays after The Doctor tells Bill to stay away from his browser history. It's the first piece of music this season that we've got really excited about and it was worth waiting for. There's something quite Classic Who about it in feel, and has a touch of Mark Ayres about it.
This is the second offering from writer, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, and whilst his first episode (In The Forest Of The Night) divided some fans (not sure why - we actually loved it), this episode should have something everyone likes. There's great Doctor / Companion dialogue, and the main plot point was cleverly constructed, albeit slightly rushed at the end - but this feels more of a production decision than a writing decision.
Smile is a great episode that neatly checks the box for futuristic adventure, and is only let down by the speedy resolution at the end.
5 Things To Look Out For:
1) “You don’t steer the TARDIS. You negotiate with it.”
2) Bill refers to Nardole as 'Little Fella'
3) A magic Haddock!
4) There's something in the fertiliser.
+ 10.2: Smile airs This Saturday at 7:20pm on BBC One.