In Review: Doctor Who – Arachnids in the UK

"You made a very awesome human. Tell me what's going on."

Synopsis: The Doctor and her friends get back to Yorkshire, meeting Yaz’s family, only to find something strange going on with the spiders in Sheffield.

Review: This episode was a bit hit and miss. The pacing felt a bit too slow and I thought that some scenes, like when the Doctor, her friends, and Jack Robertson were in the hotel kitchen, went on for longer than they needed to. Against that, there were some fantastic performances from Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh and a very topical villain portrayed by Chris Noth. I liked the continuation of the theme from the Ghost Monument of the villain resorting to deadly force which 13 responded to in a very Doctor-like manner. Perhaps more chilling than the spiders, which were terrifying, was Robertson’s claim that killing the queen spider would get him into the White House in 2020 and that this was “what the world needs”. It was good to see a corrupted human as the real enemy again this week. I did like the line “Why can’t you grab a gun and shoot like a civilized person?”

Jodie Whittaker really brings an authentic quirky Doctor throughout this entire outing; from her charming attempt to make small talk in Yaz’s flat, to her use of real-world science when confronting the spiders, to her authority and utter opposition to the use of violence, which put me in mind of David Tennant’s Doctor. I loved 13’s snap reaction to Yaz’s invitation for tea at her flat and it was great to see the psychic paper make an appearance. I liked how the Doctor treated the spiders as any other living creature and made every effort to find a humane solution to the problem. Bradley Walsh absolutely shines in this episode. The scenes where he remembers Grace are brilliantly acted and seem very true to how bereavement would affect someone, which provides a very human reason for him to want to travel with the Doctor at the end of the episode. Also brilliant was his scene with Tosin Cole when Ryan discusses an e-mail his from his dad. There was a nice moment where Yaz’s sister, played with great snarkiness by Bhavnisha Parmar, asks if Ryan and Yaz are seeing each other. Her reaction was really fun to see.

It was great to see the theme of gentrification and its ill effects used as the central reason why the bad things were happening. The CGI in this episode was great. I liked how the spiders were gradually set up and slowly built up as a bigger and bigger threat only to find out that they were not the true enemy. The part where Ryan used the beats of a grime station to lure the spiders into Robertson’s panic room was pretty cringe-worthy. The ending of the episode was touching. It’s good to see that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor fully understands the dangers her companions will face if they travel with her which is good character development by Chris Chibnall. The CGI of the time vortex at the beginning of the episode was absolutely phenomenal and I hope we see a lot more of it. I thought it was touching when the Doctor and her friends pulled the TARDIS lever together.

Overall, a decent episode with some pacing problems.

8.6
Doctor Who - Arachnids in the UK
  • Story
    7.5
  • Acting
    9.0
  • CGI
    10
  • Incidental Music
    8.0

I'm a writer on the autistic spectrum who loves sci-fi, cosplay and poetry. I'm also an actor with Theatre of the Senses.
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