Written by Steven Moffat, directed by Lawrence Gough
“What’s the one thing you never see when you look at your reflection?”
Meet Bill Potts. She works at St Luke’s University, serving chips to students, and nothing ever, ever happens. Then, one day, she finds there’s another world beneath the one she knows. A familiar face in a pool of water, and a love that is over before it can begin, will change her life for ever – because this is the day Bill meets the Doctor.
The Pilot opens in the office of an instructor at a university. A ticking sound is heard, and a door opens. Nardole leads Bill into the office. A screw falls from him, giving the impression that the robotic body that The Doctor has constructed for him has fallen into some slight disrepair. Bill sits, silently, at a desk. She hears the sound of an electric guitar and clears her throat. The guitar stops, and The Doctor enters the room. The two have a discussion about why Bill has been attending his lectures at the University when she is not a student. She informs him that she likes the lectures, as does every other person, and wonders why he singled her out when there are many other young people who attend the class and are not students at the University. He decides to tutor her, sending her on her way.
The Doctor is seen giving a lecture about time and relativity, comparing time to a film, in which each moment is nothing but a picture that, when combined with a series of pictures, gives the illusion of movement. He uses the term, Time And Relative Dimension In Space, or TARDIS, as the term to describe this phenomena as it pertains to the passage of time. While The Doctor lectures, we see clips of Bill going to his office to be tutored, regularly, while the grades on her assignments that he gives her improve.
One night, Bill sees The Doctor and Nardole running toward an area of the university. She follows them into a cellar where they seem to be speaking about her and him needing her for something and he shouldn’t be getting close. She accidentally makes a noise, and The Doctor asks Nardole about the security, which he says was set for “friends only”.
Bill has met a young girl, named Heather, at a bar, who she sees sitting on a bench. She sits next to her and asks if she is okay.
Heather seems upset or scared about something, and Bill notices that her eye seems to have a star in it. Heather informs her that it is a defect that she was born with and that she is planning on fixing it. When Bill pushes the subject of what Heather might be afraid of or upset about, Heather asks her to follow her. While discussing the fact that she always wants to leave wherever she goes, Heather brings Bill to an area in which there is a strange puddle. She explains that it hasn’t rained for days, and asks Bill to look into it. Bill notices something off about her reflection but can’t quite put her finger on it. Heather leaves Bill standing alone by the puddle. As she follows, a voice is heard from underneath the puddle, saying that a pilot has been found.
Bill spends Christmas with The Doctor, and gives him a rug as a gift. They have a brief discussion about him and not having anywhere to go. After this, Bill speaks with her foster mother about some photos of her mother that had been found. Bill examines a picture to see what looks like The Doctor, holding a camera in the mirror behind her. She leaves, presumably to confront The Doctor about the picture. She sees heather near the puddle again, and asks if she is okay. Heather asks if she had discovered what is wrong with the reflection yet and asks her to come and look again. Bill makes her promise not to leave without her again but when she goes around the corner to join Heather, there is no one there. She gets upset about heather leaving her again and leaves. After she leaves, a voice is heard, speaking of a passenger being found. As the voice is heard, we see Heather, looking terrified, underneath the surface of the puddle.
Bill goes to The Doctor and begins telling him about the puddle. As she is explaining what happened and what she thinks it might be, she looks out the window to see that he has already left and is running across the lawn. She follows him to the puddle while he investigates. He explains to her that the reason her face looked off is because it is not reflecting her in a mirrored state. Instead, she is looking at herself the same way that an onlooker would see her and that the reason Heather noticed was because of the star in her eye. He tells her that it is a strange optical illusion and that there is nothing to worry about.
Later that night, Bill returns to her flat. She gets a call from her foster mom, who explains that she isn’t there because she wants some time for herself. Bill hears water running from another room and asks if there’s someone else there. When her foster mom tells her that there is no one else staying there, she hangs up to investigate. She goes into the bathroom and no one is there. She sees a silhouette behind the shower curtain and threatens whoever might be there. When she pulls the shower curtain back, there is no one there, but there is water going down the drain. She peers closer to the drain and sees what looks like heather’s eye, staring up at her. Terrified, she runs toward the University to hide with The Doctor. As she approaches the university, she sees Heather standing in the distance. As she approaches, she notices that there is water dripping from her at a constant rate. She asks if she is dead, and Heather repeats the question…
The Doctor is in his office when Bill comes bolting through the door, wedging a chair against the knob to try and keep something out. The Doctor asks what is going on and Bill explains that it is not an optical illusion. Just then, water begins to creep under the door and materializes as Heather. At this point, The Doctor suggests that they enter his box. When they enter the TARDIS, The Doctor explains to a skeptical Bill that nothing can get through those doors. As she speaks about the creature resembling Heather, The Doctor turns on the lights to the TARDIS, and she finally notices. The speak about her amazement at the machine when Nardole enters the console room. The Doctor moves the TARDIS to the cellar to investigate the vault that he and Nardole were looking at previously. When Heather appears in the cellar, The Doctor assumes that whatever has taken control of her is after what is in the vault. This is quickly discredited when she proceeds to attack them. They run back into the TARDIS and take off.
The TARDIS materializes in Sydney Australia. This is when The Doctor explains to Bill that the TARDIS is able to move great distances very quickly. Heather then appears through a mirror in the bathroom. Bill and The Doctor get back into the TARDIS and travel to another planet, far into the future, where he explains to her that it is also a time machine. The Doctor has deduced that Heather has become the pilot for a futuristic ship that has taken the form of a puddle and has been there for quite some time. Heather appears in a puddle on this planet and makes an attempt to pull Bill into it. Nardole and The Doctor pull Bill back and they enter the TARDIS again. The Doctor explains that they are going to have to fly Heather through the deadliest fire in the universe, but that they will have to fly through it first. He lands them in the middle of the Dalek and Movellan war. Throwing an old sonic screwdriver to Nardole, he tells him to run interference while Bill and The Doctor try to lure Heather into the ship. They see Movellans running toward Daleks, around a corner. He tells her not to worry about them when a Dalek appears from around a corner, along with Heather behind them. The Dalek shoots at them. They dodge it and the Dalek continues to shoot at Heather as they run away, bill asking questions about the Daleks the whole time. When the Dalek follows them, it shuts down. The Doctor explains that all of the Daleks have been shut off from their area, thanks to Nardole, and that this Dalek is not one. It reduces itself to water and reappears as Heather. Bill discovers that the reason the ship is after her is because it is feeding off of Heather’s promise not to leave without her. Knowing this, The Doctor pleads with the ship to leave Bill and go on its way. Bill touches Heather and is shown images from all of time and space. She tells Heather goodbye. When she lets go of her hand, Heather dissolves back into water, leaving Bill and The Doctor to return to the TARDIS.
When they arrive back in The Doctor’s office, he tells Bill to come closer to him. When she does, he raises his hands to her head. She backs up and tells him that she’s not stupid, she’s seen a movie once in her life, and she knows a memory wipe when she sees one. She begs him to let her keep her memory because nothing exciting has ever happened to her in her life. When he tries to explain that no one can know who he is or that he’s even there, she tearfully tells him to do what he needs to do. As he raises his hands again, she tells him to imagine if someone were to do this to him. Just then, he stops, remembering that he had his memory wiped, but can’t remember who it was that did it. This makes him pause and tell her to leave before he changes his mind. After she leaves, The Doctor looks at the pictures of Susan and River on his desk and tells them to shut up. The TARDIS makes a noise, and he repeats the sentiment to it. He says that he doesn’t do that anymore and he made a promise. Meanwhile, Bill is leaving the building and enters the quad. When she does, she sees The Doctor standing next to the TARDIS. She asks what changed his mind and he responds with “Time And Relative Dimension In Space”, gesturing for her to enter the TARDIS with him. The TARDIS doors close, as they begin their journey to new adventures in space and time…..