Written with no prior knowledge of what’s going to be in the episode – I watch the ‘Next Time’ trailer and make sure I see, hear and read nothing else – and written immediately after my first viewing. This is my unfettered, emotional response to this week’s DOCTOR WHO fare.
That was a most enjoyably tense forty-five minutes of TV viewing.
Actually, the two scientists in the lab bringing about the end of the world through carelessness and the common cold – but not through broken glasses – would have made a fine incredible suspenceful episode of a TV show all by itself.
Mixed together with everything else, this made for one of the most nerve-wracking episodes of DOCTOR WHO I can remember in an age. The rising panic as the clock counts down, the sense of impending doom in the lab, Nardole collapsing, The Doctor’s blindness putting everyone at risk and Bill forced to make an impossible choice.
This was an episode to make you grip your seat, devour your finger (and even your toe) nails, and force grey hairs to sprout spontaneously on your head even if you’re bald.
But even beyond those bits designed to twist your insides, there were numerous moments to cherish here: The Doctor’s languid walk to the pyramid, sunglasses on and jacket blowing in the breeze, that was so rock’n’roll it was like Keith Richards playing the part for the moment; elsewhere we had Nardole’s sexiness; and The Doctor’s instant – flirtatious, though respectful – rapport with Erica in the lab. The show could do with a Twenty-First Century Liz Shaw, and there’d be worst candidates.
Indeed, the only bit that irritated me was the U.N Secretary General crashing into the date. Having done it with The Pope last week, it was the law of diminishing returns this. Obviously Moffat thought he’d found gold and wanted to pass it off again, but with jokes you’re supposed to top what went before rather than give slightly less good versions.
Despite that though, I once again loved it and, once again, am hoping with every fibre of my geeky being that next week lives up to it. In short I hope next week is not ALIEN 3, although I would be perfectly happy if Paul McGann showed up.
- The Monks are a great villain. Not just their design (although it is a bit derivative of The Silence) but the fact that they seem to be acting out of some weird sense of compassion. If it turns out that the rumour is correct and they are the proto-Mondasian Cybermen, I’m going to be a tad disappointed. We need a new great villain in the Pantheon.
- It’s interesting, given how often love saves the day in DOCTOR WHO (‘Closing Time’) for instance, that here it’s Bill’s love for The Doctor that curses the world. A neat twist against the norm.
- I’m typing this in a hotel in Southsea, with Mrs Jameson on the bed beside me and Baby Jameson asleep in her travel cot four feet away. It’s our Bank Holiday trip away, but we’ve still built our Saturday night around DOCTOR WHO. That’s how rock’n’roll we are!