Synopsis: Injured and stranded in a far flung galaxy, the Doctor and her friends must unite with a group of strangers to fight one of the most unusual and destructive creatures in the universe.
Review: This was a brilliant episode. The pacing and build up of tension was spot on and there was a very nice theme of humanity prevailing despite the odds. The setting of the episode reminded me of a Peter Davison adventure and I really liked how the Doctor was challenged to find the answers instead of just knowing what to do, which made for some great dramatic tension. Brett Goldstein plays a great character in Astos. He and Jodie Whittaker played off each other really well and I liked it when Astos told Mabley to believe in herself right before he died. We got to see a glimpse of the Oncoming Storm inside the 13th Doctor in her and Astos’s interaction which I am looking forward to seeing when 13 faces someone truly evil. Jodie Whittaker shows the ability to turn from being intense, to being quirky, to being funny, to portraying the mixture of strength and insecurity that makes her Doctor so much fun to watch. It was great when 13 ran to help Astos despite being injured which put me in mind of 12’s blindness in last year’s Extremis. I also like this Doctor’s use of real world science to save the day which is a welcome contrast from previous series.
Bradley Walsh continues to provide some very grounded human humour throughout this episode. I liked his interactions with Ryan when they were helping Yoss give birth to his son. On that note I felt that Jack Shalloo gave a real emotional depth to what could have been a character who was just played for laughs especially at the end of the episode when he holds his new born son. Tosin Cole gets some great moments and lines this time. I really liked when Ryan talked about the death of his mum because the acting really drew me in. I loved when Ryan said “You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be there.” to Yoss after his son was born which brought Ryan’s previous line to Yaz “I never knew adults don’t cope either.” full circle continuing the theme of hope triumphing. I felt the side storyline between Eve and Durkas Cicero started rather uninterestingly but by the end the performances of Suzanne Packer and Ben Bailey Smith were utterly gripping. I liked the call back to Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor when Eve said “Everyone is going to live” which became ironic yet touching when she died piloting the ship to safety.
There was some great humour this time too. I liked the Doctor’s Poirot-esque summons of the other characters that was even lamp shaded by her. I thought it was great when Yaz and Ryan gave 13 a vote of confidence in being able to save the day. Lois Chimimba got my favourite line of the episode “There aren’t enough kind people.” It was really good to hear the 13th Doctor’s catchphrase “Get a shift on” when the P’ting was reticent to walk into the escape pod. The only thing I didn’t like was how the Doctor seemed to shake off her injuries from the start of the episode about three quarters of the way through, as I felt that this could have provided a lot more tension.
Overall, an excellent outing with a great central message.
- Incidental Music8.0