I quite liked this, I thought it was a good start to Capaldi's last season. The story itself was good, and I liked Pearl Mackie and Bill, I think she has potential. I gather Moffat intended this episode to be a "jumping-on" point for new viewers, and I think he largely succeeded.
Some interesting questions raised: why is the Doctor teaching? (Taking a tip from his old pal Chronotis?) What's in the Vault that he and Nardole are so concerned about?
Lots of callbacks to old stories here, like the "Out of Order" sign on the TARDIS. the collection of screwdrivers, the pictures of River and Susan, and of course, the brief return of the Movellans, who were up there with the Monoids on the list of people I never expected to see again.
Heather made an interesting "monster", full props to the actress for conveying menace just by essentially being "wet" at people.
Overall, this was good stuff.
I liked it, too. I agree with what you said about this being a good jumping on point for new viewers. Until now, Capaldi hadn’t had one, and Tennent didn’t really get one for a while. I see them as:
10th Doctor — “Rose”
11th Doctor — “Blink”
12th Doctor — “The Eleventh Hour”
13th Doctor—“The Pilot”
(Yes, I count the so-called “War Doctor” as the Ninth; I see no reason not to. Maybe the title of Matt Smith’s first full episode should be retitled “The Twelfth Hour.”)
My question: What connection does the Doctor have to Bill’s mother? And what’s Bill’s given name?
Regarding the pictures of Bill's mother - I figured that after Bill told him she didn't have pictures of her mother, he went back in time and took some, and then left them for her roommate to "discover".
You're probably right. I thought there might be more to it than that.
What I particularly liked was Capaldi being quite serious as the doctor, with some humour but nowhere near as slapstick as he was when they introduced him.
If this was his first season I think more people may have liked him/stayed involved.
I also liked that Bill is the companion - not the story/lead character - had enough of that with Clara.
Yeah, what I really want is a companion who is a nice person that hangs out with the Doctor, and not someone who is either:
a)In love with him
b)The secret linchpin of the universe