Another self-contained adventure awaits viewers this week in “Thin Ice,” the third episode of Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi’s “farewell tour.” What’s the “monster of the week” this time around, and how effective will the team of the Doctor and Bill be in cracking the case? Read on to find out more!
WARNING: Spoilers for this episode of ‘Doctor Who’ lie ahead, obviously. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t wish for any of its content to be spoiled for you, the time to turn back is NOW!
RECAP: A fairly straightforward episode here, on the whole: picking up immediately where last week’s episode left us off, The Doctor and Bill find themselves deposited at the 1814 “Frost Fair,” the last of the celebrations designed around the freezing of the Thames River in London. The TARDIS has obviously intentionally brought the pair here – but why? We don’t have long to wait before finding out: there’s something under the ice that is killing people, and it’s up to our intrepid duo to figure out not only what it is, but why it’s doing so and who else might be involved…
- Believe it or don’t, the “Frost Fairs” in London were actually a legitimate thing that happened in England during the 17th, 18th, and early 19th Centuries. While the Thames River no longer routinely freezes over, back in the day it totally did, thanks to a combination of significantly cooler temperatures and the design of the Old London Bridge that served to slow down the current of the river, making it easier to freeze over.
- Believe it or don’t Part 2: the Doctor tells Bill that he’s actually been to the 1814 Frost Fair before, and it’s true that he has. In the 2011 episode “A Good Man Goes to War,” River Song explained that the Eleventh Doctor took her there to celebrate her birthday.
- The Doctor is quite clear with Bill that they have not landed on a parallel world this time – although he has several times in the past. It’s unclear where this certainty was coming from, but he was very certain about it, and of course was indeed correct.
- The Doctor was painted as a bit of a “bad boy” during this episode, as he at various points admitted to being both a thief and a killer. Both self-accusations, of course, are completely founded, ranging from the Doctor stealing the TARDIS itself all the way through the many, many foes of the Doctor who have fallen in battle.
- When Sutcliffe references the Doctor as “Doctor Disco,” it may have initially raised a few viewers’ eyebrows, until you do remember that this was a bit of a “pet nickname” between the Doctor and Clara from the past few seasons.
- Finally, the episode closes out with Nardole skulking around the vault – until something inside starts knocking. Whomever or whatever is inside only knocks three times, making it not quite a reference to the “4 Knocks” of Doom that came about during the end of the Tenth’s Doctor’s run. However, whatever might be inside the vault knocking clearly has Nardole spooked…
CLOSING THOUGHTS: Another fun episode, the “teacher-student” relationship between the Doctor and Bill is definitely being highlighted throughout the early portion of this season. Something ominous is clearly waiting to be unleashed from the vault – could this be tied to one or more of the classic DW villains we know will be coming our way later this season, or something else entirely? I guess we’ll have to wait until next week (or the week after, or the week after) to find out!
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Peter Capaldi as the Doctor
Bill Mackie as Pearl
Matt Lucas as Nardole
Tony Schaab loves Star Wars… ♫ something with Staaar Waaars, give me those Staaar Waaars, don’t let them eeeennnddd… ♫ A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.