You’re in for a big surprise…especially if the woods weren’t there the day before.
(Spoilers all the way down this week, come on, it IS episode 10!)
Firstly, I enjoyed this episode – I’ve been saying since Capaldi was first announced that he’s a natural for the part – the moment I saw him on screen in Deep Breath, I immediately couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t the Doctor. He harks back to ‘old’ Who with his lovely nods to the grumpiness of Hartnell and Colin Baker, the silly jumping up and down-ness of Troughton, the strangely old youthfulness of Tom Baker (rather than Matt Smith’s young oldness) – he’s a joy to watch and for the most part this series I’ve loved watching everything HE does, BUT it does come with a whole heap of problems, which Jo the Hat has talked about in past weeks.
Whether the rumours are true or not, they’re definitely experimenting with the idea of the companion being less of a ‘joined at the hip’ compadré, signalling the end of this partnership and I just don’t like the way it’s been handled – Clara seems to be caught between an abusive relationship with the Doctor (where she’s as much perpetrator as victim) and the doormat that is Danny. She’s a pathological liar; he appears to be unable to lie (or indeed dream or be anything other than DULL). It grates, endlessly, the soapy way in which it’s played – as if Clara is having an affair with BOTH of them and that they’re both aware of it and dislike it and yet they both still want to hang around with her. I really don’t know how many more of Danny’s ultimatums (which come to nought) I can be bothered with, and we were left with another at the end of this episode.
Anyway, I digress, I liked the idea of this episode and how it unfolded – there’s been a theme through this series of showing us the obvious at the beginning, making it really apparent throughout and letting us work it out with the Doctor – sign posts of rings in trees and shots of the CMEs from the sun and a little girl who heard Clara ask her to find the Doctor in her head. Yet again, Moffat’s Sherlock is showing but on this occasion, I didn’t mind so much.
I enjoyed this episode best when it was just the Doctor and Maebh, I like how this Doctor is with kids – he treats them evenly, without patronising them and without much affection either. He’s like that grumpy teacher you had at school that doesn’t seem to like kids but who is loved by them all regardless. He actually most reminded me of David Bradley, playing William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time (no bad thing, at all).
Things I liked:
- Fairytale myths – a girl in a red coat, wolves, protecting children at all costs – loads of nods to Neil Jordan’s Company of Wolves without the sexual allusions or lack of plot
- Maebh and her ‘fragile state’ – part Vincent Van Gogh part “Are you my mummy?”
- Danny outwitting a Tiger calmly and without fanfare (see, I don’t totally hate him, I just wish he was less of a wet blanket)
- Clara finally acting like there’s something about Danny that she likes (Danny: “I’m not the priority here, the kids are.” Clara: “Now that kind of attitude is… actually very attractive…”)
- Trees! All over London! Wouldn’t that be cool? And Trees are time machines – lovely idea
Things I didn’t like
- The other kids – badly written lines said by not great actors. Kids don’t talk like that at all (worst example: “Miss she’s stressing me now, when I get stressed I forget my anger management”)
- Also – I thought Cole Hill was a secondary school? Clara mentioned Year 8 (12-13) but these kids all looked, dressed and sounded like MUCH younger kids – drawing pictures in homework books? Maebh looked about 10 AT MOST.
- Danny, saviour of the kids being outraged at the Doctor ‘experimenting’ on Maebh until ‘ooh look, shiny things’
- Missy – just no, unless there’s a really good pay off next week, it’s just annoying. And I LIKE Michelle Gomez.
- The sister reappearing in the hydrangea bushes at the end – again, just no
Thanks to Jo the Hat for indulging me this week while she’s away. Her usual brilliant (& prompt) self will be back next week for what looks like an AWESOME episode (I do hope so!)