From here in there are spoilers!
I’ve been very down on the first two episodes of this season but ‘Thin Ice’ is a marked step up in keeping my attention.
The TARDIS has brought the Doctor (actor Peter Capaldi) and Bill Potts (actress Pearl Mackie) to 18th century London where a Frost Fair is being run on the Thames. I remember seeing something about this on the TV series ‘QI’ often in repeats and you do have to wonder if scriptwriter Sarah Dolland had seen it as well. Only this time there is something beneath the ice that feeds on anyone that its minions drops in for it. The poor creature chained up hasn’t got any niceties on choice in this. It is up to them to find out who has it under control and get it released, especially as its pooh is being used to make fire bricks.
In many respects, this story gives the opportunity for the Doctor to teach Pearl the power of choice and to stop some things from happening. Unusually, the Doctor sees nothing wrong in the creature being responsible for so many people dying although you do have to wonder how long the creature has been there and what size it was when brought here. Seeing its size at the end, you do have to wonder how it got through all the Thames bridges to get to the sea.
Although some elements of the plot are predictable and don’t really stretch the brain matter, this is still one of the better episodes so far. Even the villain of the piece has different ulterior motives which, on the face of it, reducing the danger to miners digging for coal seems viable until you realise the way he goes about it is wrong.
Oddly, in many respects, I get the feeling this story could have been written with Clara Oswald in mind. It’s a shame that one of the thieves, Kitty, wasn’t revealed as a distant relative of Pearl at the end but maybe that would have been a cliché too far.
The sets are exquisite and there’s even an elephant in the room or on the ice. The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver gets seen a lot but isn’t played up so much as anything more than its normal usage and not a saviour of all things as usually played.
(c) GF Willmetts 2017