Monday, October 27, 2014

Doctor Who, Series 8 - Episode 10 - In The Forest Of The Night


A light episode that plays with some interesting ideas but ultimately feels like filler pretending at a deepness it doesn't possess.


All around the world, trees have suddenly sprung up in all of the major cities and towns. Trees that don't burn and resist all efforts at being destroyed.  The Doctor is on the case, along with Clara, Danny and some of their students.  But the only lead The Doctor has is an odd little girl who sees things that aren't there, who is now lost in the dark and spooky woods...


A great premise to start with - what if forests suddenly grew up out of everything?

* A lot of great lines and ideas in the script.  Especially the general idea of The Earth literally saving itself from disaster.

* Good direction and imagery, with the camera shooting things from a down-up perspective emulating a child's view of the world throughout.

* Somehow, the child actors here manage to avoid being annoying and the script allows them to act like real kids - clever, without being wise and still sounding like kids - i.e. getting tired and just wanting to go home after a long day and not being astonished at The TARDIS because they don't have any expectations as to what is impossible after a forest grew up out of nothing.

* Capaldi and Coleman continue to sell even the worst bits of every individual script.  Of particular note is the scene where they both try to save the other one, with Clara trying to convince The Doctor to just give up on The Earth and The Doctor trying to convince Clara to come with him.


* Even by the loose standards of science in Doctor Who, trees generating extra oxygen to shield Earth from the effects of a solar flare is a bit dodgy.  Expect much grousing from the same fans who complained about the idea of The Moon being a giant egg a few weeks ago.

* Nothing much is done with all the fairy tale references apart from falsely building suspense.

* On that note, society at large seems to take the reforestation of the Earth remarkably well from what we see on the news.


In The Forest Of The Night is unlike any other Doctor Who story ever but that isn't altogether a good thing. While there's some good ideas and imagery throughout, the script pushes its fairy-tale symbolism way too far while making too little of it.  Still, the episode largely succeeds but that's due almost entirely to good direction and good performances on the part of Capaldi and Coleman.

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