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“In The Forest of the Night” – Doctor Who Review

Posted on October 26, 2014 at 9:53 am by Darth Shiva

 

forest mainHello all, and welcome to another episode of Doctor Who!  We spend another week on Earth, saving it from another proclamation of doom.  Episode spoilers ahead, so tread (or read in this case) carefully!

forest 8“Fear less, trust more.”  That statement could safely sum up this week’s theme.  The Doctor is roused from inside the TARDIS by a little girl, Maebh, who attends the school Danny and Clara teach at.  She tells him that she was told to find him because he could help her and that she’s being chased.  When he finds out that she was supposed to be looked after by Danny, he informs Clara and tries to return her to the group of students that are staying the night in the museum (where is Ben Stiller and all his nighttime museum companions?!), but finds that instead of being in the center of London as he thought, he is in a giant forest, which turns out, IS the center of London.  Overnight all the trees have grown to encompass the entire world.  In typical human fashion, the government immediately sets out to burn them down to get things going again, only to find out these trees can’t be burned.  It looks as though nature is fighting back from all the deforestation in a big way.  Coupled with an impending massive solar flare that could wipe out the entire planet, things do not look good for Earth.

doctor maebh forestOnly little Maebh seems to have any idea what is going on, telling the Doctor that the trees can communicate, at least a little, in order to all grow at the same time, but the Doctor dismisses her statement, as he does with what most people tell him.  We find out that Maebh has been hearing voices since her sister disappeared and is usually on medication, seemingly further reason to dismiss anything she says.  When everyone is reunited at the TARDIS, Danny realizes that Clara has been spending a lot more time with the Doctor than she has led him to believe, and much more recently than she’s been telling him.

This episode felt like it was all over the board, and because of that, I can’t say I was very emotionally invested in any of the episode.  The premise for destruction felt pretty weak, and having a forest grow overnight as an invasion or a massive solar flare destroy the Earth sounds really bad, but as Clara pointed out, they have been to many futures and Earth is still there.  The explanation to this is always that there are certain points in time that are fixed but the rest are in flux and could cause the future to change drastically.  Either way, it felt like a thriller that tries to build suspense when you know the heroes are not going to die.

clara danny forestIn addition, the growing Danny/Clara/Doctor triangle has not really gone anywhere in the past few weeks, it just seems to make Clara lean towards one of them one week and the other the next.  The interesting part of this episode was when Clara wanted to see the solar flare close up from the TARDIS and Danny was uninterested, stating that one person can be more interesting than anything in the universe.  Danny has lived the life of a soldier and actively chooses to avoid that life, whereas Clara still enjoys the exploration and adventure as well as the danger of traveling with the Doctor.  Danny seems to understand this desire and is fine with Clara going off, he just wants her to be honest.  It seems like she has yet to be honest with herself about the life she wants to lead, but I believe the next few episodes will define her final choice.

The Doctor has been pretty powerless in this episode, as we all know that sonic screwdrivers don’t work on wood, so he is unable to communicate with trees.  He had to listen to Maebh to find out what was going on, and this seems to be a pretty significant statement that when you rely too much on technology, you lose the ability to listen and communicate.  We end with what seems forest 9like the obligatory snippet of Missy being cryptic and mysterious.  I sincerely hope that the creators have something really fascinating planned with this plotline, because every time I see her, I just get vaguely irritated that they’re spending time on a character they have yet to flesh out.  If you want someone cryptic and mysterious, bring back River Song!

This episode gets a C from me.  It didn’t move the overarching story very much, and for some reason, even though the Doctor has always tried to keep the TARDIS and who he is a secret, the entire group Clara and Danny were with were in the TARDIS for extended periods of time and none of them really felt the wonder at seeing this technological marvel for the first time.  This is not the first time that students from Clara’s school have been in the TARDIS, and it seems like this Doctor is much too forgiving of the sheer number of people that have been traipsing through lately.

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