Caution: There are spoilers in our Doctor Who Thin Ice Review
Thin Ice is the third episode of the 10th series of Doctor Who. In this episode we see The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Bill (Pearl Mackie) travel to London in the 1800’s where they attend the River Thames Frost Fair. The fair is basically a fair that’s held on the top of the frozen river during winter. All is good, except for the occasional person going missing at the fair, it’s up to The Doctor and Bill to investigate the suspicious disappearances.
As an episode, it’s okay. Most of the dialogue between Bill and The Doctor, is from Bill asking a couple questions to The Doctor about how many people he’s seen die, if he’s killed anyone and sort of what type of person he is. We as the audience know this already, The Doctor has a pretty bad past, he doesn’t really answer Bill, he won’t, it’s horrible some of the stuff he’s done.
Thin Ice as an episode has two simultaneous themes in there. As mentioned there is some focus on death here and also the value of one’s life in the world and how that is measured. But there’s also a much stronger theme of racism, especially in relation to people of darker skin who didn’t enjoy the same type of social status as they do today. We see this brought up by Bill when first arriving as she wonders if she can walk around in England during the time period they’re in. It’s not brought up again until we meet this week’s villain, who addresses Bill as not an equal due to her race which results in a punch in the face from The Doctor.
I do like an episode that has a bit of theme to it and does carry some meaning. However, the villain wasn’t really memorable and while the monster under the river is interesting in the beginning, it doesn’t really do that much. There is a bit of a mention of energy, with people burning coal in this episode. From watching things like In The Heart Of The Sea, I thought maybe they were going to put in something to do with whaling/getting oil from whales. I guess they may have alluded to it.
Special effects were okay. There was one part where The Doctor picked up one of the fish that was under the river. When he was holding it, to me it looked like a rubber fish. The episode did however use fog well which made things look bigger than they actually probably were due to set limitations. It was some good fog work there.
Overall, it was an okay episode. Most interesting is probably the ending where we hear some knocking. I don’t want to say for sure, but Doctor Who fans would know what knocking means, The Master may be returning… This is great, but knocking for The Doctor also meant death a while ago and we all know it’s Peter Capaldi’s last season. I’m interested to see where they take all of this in the future.