Thursday, 4 May 2017

TV Review No. 46 Doctor Who: Smile (S10, Ep2)

Strong Points:
Great opening
Creepy robots
Twists and turns
Modern day sensibility to The Doctor Who universe
Politics joke
Emotions on a screen

Weak Points:
Fell flat in the second half
Surely they'll just learn again
I just didn't pity some of the humans
Jumps in logic

Spoilers ahead:
In-depth Review:
Don't forget to smile. *shudder* The opening of this episode was by far the best part of the episode, chilling and creative and who would've guessed that smiling could be so creepy? While I do find it a bit odd that she just flat old told the other person that their entire family had died but still expected her to smile, the rest of it was just deeply unsettling and gave me a distinct dystopian 'Bioshocky' feel where everyone is happy until you look under the surface.

So the humans are compost for the plants they grew to eat? *double shudder*. That's some dark stuff there, all right, only accentuated again by the apparent innocence of the robots. This stuff shouldn't happen but it could and serves as another talking point for the field of robotics and AI - the robots aren't evil, they think they're doing right by removing humans who aren't happy. Even the emoji's showing emotion on the backs of the people is unique and original but not wholly removed from what could happen in the future. So let's just blow it up, shall we?

There's a reactor in the centre of the base and The Doctor has to blow it up to avoid mass genocide when the humans get here, realise their friends are dead and start to feel sad. Seems logical, I mean, when has The Doctor ever tried to figure out what's wrong instead of blowing everything to the sky? It was logical, it was the right thing to do but why did it still seem a bit rushed like The Doctor just didn't want to figure it out? Because, oh boy, did he get it wrong. Two words. Cryostasis pods.

The explanation of grief as an 'illness' which the robots wanted to fix by eradicating the humans was great - both creepy and pitiful. The robots believed they were doing the right thing, it was literally just their programming, but they got the wrong interpretation of grief and all hell broke loose. It was a nice distinction between robot and human, with humans understanding the multiple layers emotions have. Or at least I thought they did.

I personally don't believe (or hope anyway) that humans won't just grab the nearest gun and shoot anything that moves, but who knows, maybe we would. There was still something odd about these people who had just come out of cryostasis straight away taking the fight to the 'enemy' without protecting their children/elderly in the base or even stretching their legs. This jump in logic happened quite a lot this episode, and not only made me not pity the humans, but not pity the robots either, leaving me just wanting to leave them to hurting each other.

The beginning and end of this episode seemed to have been to different stories plastered together - one about learning that grief is OK and another debating sentience of robots. This plastering made them feel disconnected, as if we, like the robots, forgot about the first half of the episode as soon as The Doctor learned they were sentient. Personally, I think The Doctor should've taught the robots that grief is OK maybe via one of the robots dying or something. They could still keep the sentience idea but remove the plot hole of the robots just learning about grief again once someone dies.

Conclusion: overall this episode had promise, a great opener, a great relationship between The Doctor and Bill but suffered from a weak second half, leaps in logic and a finale which seems to not do anything.

Rating: 67%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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