There isn’t much to say about the story in itself. The main feature is that it is a serviceable Doctor Who style SF story with a weak resolution and ending. The look and overall design, as well the cute/creepy emoji robots, mark it as recent but in other ways, it could have been a story from any era of Doctor Who.
So what’s that all about then? Stephen Moffat is many things but one thing he is is a very self-conscious producer of TV shows. He attempts to change rules and dynamics of the shows he runs, often unsuccessfully. He also tries to avoid doing a season of Doctor Who the same way twice – again often unsuccessfully.
Based on just the first two episodes it does sort of look like this time Moffat is trying to do Russell T Davis. Again, Moffat has tried to evoke past Doctor who eras before. We know that this season will have a major shout out to the William Hartnell Doctor with the return of the creepy and ungainly ‘Mondasian’ cybermen, but my sense of this season so far is more Christopher Ecclestone than Hartnell.
Is it an intentional ‘back to basics’ approach? Could be, after all, what could be more different from Moffat’s previous over-complex story arcs than shifting back to the first season of the revival? A new companion allows a new introduction to the Doctor, and with Peter Capaldi retiring at the end of this season from the role, it also marks a chance for a handover like Ecclestone to Tennant. That next week’s episode takes our heroes to Victorian London also means the first three episodes match the same pattern as the first three of the revived season 1 (ep 1: present, ep 2: far future, ep 3: Victorian times).