Doctor Who: Spoiler free preview for Extremis
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I'm going to start my spoiler-free preview by not telling you anything that happened in Extremis. It one of those episodes that even teasing the plot could inadvertently spoil it for viewers. At least, I'm not going to talk about anything that wasn't shown in the trailer.
So yes, Missy is back and as brilliant as ever, though Michelle Gomez doesn't quite deliver the manic performance as you've seen previously, which become obvious when you watch the episode. Nardole again continues to step up as a key player in series 10, having great banter with Bill as they get to go off exploring themselves, while his purpose as the Doctor's confident and conscience becomes clear. I've grown to love him over the last two weeks and he continues to add an intriguing new dynamic here, while Pearl Mackie continues to have fun stuff to do; there is a scene in her bedroom that is comic timing at its best...no it's not as dirty as it sounds.
In fact, with Steven Moffat back on writing duties, we find out more about the vault, one of series 10's big mysteries. It's an episode that sets up series 10's big mid-series three-parter in style, while having a self-contained narrative within itself. It's also a much slower-paced episode than any episode we've seen this year. After the shock and thrills of the last few weeks, it's actually an story that some viewers might find - dare I say it - a little boring at first, but it is worth sticking with. The mystery becomes more engaging the more you watch and by the end of Extremis you'll be desperate for next week.
Plus, the frights are still there, the enemy monks that debut here proving to be as horrifying as last week's space zombies or the Foretold. There are some genuinely unsettling moments that remind me of the Silence and that's a very good thing. Plus after last week's shocking end, the Doctor's disability gives plenty for Peter Capaldi to do, making him a more introspective version of himself, even when wearing his mid-life crisis sonic sunglasses...
Extremis is another good entry in very good series 10. I suspect it can't be judged fully until we've see more of the monks storyline, but as we reach the halfway point of Capaldi's final series, there are no signs of the high quality faltering yet...