Synopsis: Still reeling from their first encounter, can the Doctor and her new friends survive a hostile alien environment to solve the mystery of Desolation?
Review: This was an excellent episode that kept the tension levels high and provided some great explorations of idealism vs cynicism. Jodie Whittaker gets the intensity of the Doctor down when she challenges Shaun Dooley’s character Epzo throughout this episode as well as her admonishment of Ryan for resorting to guns.
I think it’s great that 13 seems to be on the path to being a more classically heroic Doctor in the vein of David Tennant or Peter Davison as was hinted at in her line “We’re stronger together”. 13 gives some great rousing speeches in this installment and I liked how her companions encouraged her at the end when all hope seemed gone. Good also was the continuation of the 13th Doctor’s knack of fixing things when she and Yaz were on Epzo’s crashing spaceship.
Tosin Cole gets some great scenes with Bradley Walsh as the former tries to come to terms with the death of his nan Grace. I did like the humour that almost called back to the Han Solo scene in A New Hope when Ryan charges the robots with a gun only to retreat when they rebooted themselves. I liked the gritty realism of space travel that was portrayed in this episode that seemed to evoke a Joss Whedon production. I absolutely adored 13’s use of Venusian aikido on Epzo and I liked the balance of humanity and unpleasantness conveyed by both Susan Lynch and Shaun Dooley.
There were some really great interactions in this outing such as Yaz’s conversation with Angstrom that was cut short by Susan Lynch saying “I don’t know you.” Shaun Dooley gets a great speech about why he doesn’t trust anyone which was nicely balanced by Bradley Walsh’s reaction to it.
The host of The Chase is coming into his own when he says “We’re human beings” in response to Epzo’s assertion that they should leave the Doctor and her companions to fend for themselves. Susan Lynch gets a great line about not taking family for granted when she reveals that the people she cared about were wiped out by intergalactic war.
Teamwork seems to be becoming a theme this series as the Doctor utilises all of the strengths and abilities of her companions to save the day. The references to the Stem’za and the Timeless Child should prove interesting as the series goes on. The standout moment of this episode has to be the reveal of the new TARDIS interior, which calls back to Paul McGann’s TV Movie TARDIS as well as David Tennant’s. Art Malik is a good villain if somewhat underdeveloped, and it was great when Angstrom and Epzo stood up to him near the end of the episode.
I thought it was an interesting touch that the search for the TARDIS took two episodes, as this has never been done in the new series before. It was affecting when Jodie Whittaker spoke to the TARDIS before going inside.
Overall, a very strong second episode.
- Incidental Music8.0