Yes, that's the word. Fine. It was a fine debut. I wasn't bothered. But I have to admit, it felt a bit... routine. The story arc with the new companions was refreshing, and I look forward to seeing more of them, but the Doctor's (and the production team's) own rebirth wasn't much of anything that we haven't come to expect.
Introduction to any new cast members? Check. A disoriented Doctor tumbles into the lives of our unsuspecting humans? Check. Comic relief while wobbling all over the place being wacky because of post-regeneration silliness? Check. Pass out on the new sidekick's couch while blowing cosmic snore bubbles? Check. Disposable bystanders slaughtered in order to make the bad guy seem like a credible threat (and subsequently forgotten about since they're not people the Doctor knows personally)? Check. Pull it all together in time to climb up someplace high and confront the alien menace while giving a triumphant little self-affirming speech announcing that she's the Doctor? Check. Tiny bit of pathos at the end? Check. On to new adventures! It was all capably handled, but my God has it been done to death. Even the alien wasn't remotely creative. Generic honorable/dishonorable warrior predator? Pretty par for the course. I was hoping that something interesting would come out of the giant Smurf turd!
As for the elephant in the room, while I'm glad that the Doctor's new gender wasn't as big of a focus as it might have been, I found myself rather disappointed that it wasn't given a little MORE focus. And I don't mean jokes pertaining to the new biology or whatnot. This is a wonderful opportunity at which a curious mind should rejoice! Remember how Tennant's Doctor was so delighted at the prospect of having a mole on his back? Or how Smith fell over himself examining his fingers and hair? Examination is part of the usual process that wasn't quite checked this time around, and it's especially odd since this is one of the most extreme changes the Doctor's ever experienced! I would have expected that trope to be emphasized, but instead it was shrugged off almost entirely. There was precious little period of discovery, even though womanhood is a wholly new frontier for our great explorer! A baby Doctor looking in a mirror for the first time should be an adventure of its own, but we missed it! Maybe we'll get to it later. I hope?
Otherwise, she's too busy going through the motions of a typical caper, one beat after another, like Chibnall's trying so hard to show us that she's still the Doctor that they forgot to give her something truly unique besides her look. Which, to be fair, seems to be the case with most modern regenerations. They're usually basically the same goofy space person before they've had at least a couple of episodes to come into their own and find their voice. It's all part of the process, and it's perfectly understandable. Jodie Whittaker certainly isn't a BAD Doctor by any means. I'm eager to see what kind of person she becomes!
Now, it might sound like I didn't enjoy this episode, but I really did. Like I said, the new cast members are refreshing in their own right, the missing TARDIS is a promising touch, and I'd be perfectly willing to go back and watch this story again! Which isn't something I often say about regeneration episodes. Come to think of it, given how shaky those stories often are, this is one of the few which I feel quite comfortable with! And that has to be a good thing. In fact, I was often reminded of one of my favorite debuts, Paul McGann's ill-fated performance as the Eighth Doctor. Though that might have been partly due to the presence of a "Grace" in the cast, tugging at my memory. I always thought Daphne Ashbrook was an underrated companion. Never even mentioned in all these years. Sad.
Anyway, all told, I'm satisfied. I was seriously edging away, but... here I am, typing up a storm, going all on about it once again. I guess this series has hooked me in for at least one more Doctor. Fourteen and counting!
Yes, fourteen. I'll fight anyone who tells me that John Hurt wasn't a Doctor, and that I haven't a right to say otherwise (and that's happened several times). I hope, oh, I hope that they address the numbers at some point during the season. Just a line or two could give me peace. It's been driving a wedge between me and the show for years! It's why it was so hard for me to come BACK. But it's an issue for some other journal entry.
Bottom line: The woman fell to Earth. She bounced. I've seen worse.