This weeks Doctor Who took us to one disconcerting future: a world where emoji-speaking robots exist, perhaps proving that Sony’s Emoji Movie might be more popular and influential on A.I. design than we wanted it to be. But put that chilling thought aside for a moment, and come share your thoughts on tonight’s episode!
Another day, another misunderstood race of Doctor Who robots who go about murdering humans because someone didn’t think for more than a few minutes while programming them. I mock, but there’s been an awful lot of “misunderstood monsters” on the show lately that the emojibots almost feel like they would have been a bit more fun if they were just killer robots for the sake of it.
Otherwise, “Smile” represented a solid, if not particularly stand out sophomore episode for writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce, and a definite step up from his bafflingly messy season 8 episode “In the Forest of the Night”, even if it played on the aforementioned familiar tropes of robots misunderstanding the depth and vagaries of human emotion to deadly effect.
Fascinatingly, it’s also a rare episode where The Doctor and his companion are pretty much the only characters around for 90% of the story, and in the case of Bill, it meant we got to spend a little more time seeing her sorting out her developing relationship with the Doctor. Thankfully, still no mystery to solve behind her (a welcome respite after Clara and Amy), and Pearl Mackie makes up for that by continuing to give a bouncy, excitable performance that makes it feel like she’s genuinely amazed to be going on the journey of a lifetime. Even if this episode didn’t really have much going on beyond the misunderstood killer robots, seeing Peter Capaldi and Mackie light up the screen makes for a lot of enjoyment anyway.
Our full recap of “Smile” will be up soon, but for now, share your thoughts in the comments below.