Peter Capaldi as the Doctor: S8 E10 In the Forest of the Night

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Peter Capaldi as the Doctor: S8 E10 In the Forest of the Night

The Lat­est of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doc­tor Who

Sum­mary: Sud­denly the Earth is cov­ered by a For­est, is it an inva­sion, a mad environmentalist’s exper­i­ment gone wild or some­thing else?

Plot: A lit­tle girl knocks at the TARDIS door the Doc­tor dis­cov­ers she is part of Danny Pink’s class who says she was sent there when the Doc­tor. Look­ing out­side he finds that although land­ing next to Nelson’s Col­umn he is sur­rounded by a for­est, mean­while Clara & Danny are on a sleep over field trip to the nat­ural museum with a “gifted” class and they dis­cover the for­est as well. Being informed by the Doc­tor that Maebh is miss­ing they make their way to the TARDIS where the Doc­tor deter­mines both that this is a world wide phe­nom­e­non and that Maebh some­how per­ceives what is going on and what does it have to do with an impend­ing solar storm? Can they solve the mys­tery of Maebh, the new for­est, sur­vive the solar storm and most impor­tant get the kids home before they set up camp in the TARDIS per­ma­nently?
— — — — — — — — — — — –

Writ­ing: Frank Cottrell-​Boyce the famous Marx­ist filmwriter takes his first crack at Doc­tor Who and man­ages an inter­est­ing plot with sev­eral ele­ments that work such Danny’s aloof­ness to the threat, the inter­play between Clara & Danny and the kids who were under­uti­lized. These how­ever are over­shad­owed by sev­eral holes that you can drive a truck through (more on that later). While I found it worked bet­ter with repeated watch­ing it was one of the weak­est sto­ries of the sea­son, I think would have been bet­ter if writ­ten as a two parter expand­ing both the roles of the kids and per­haps some inter­ac­tion with the authorities.

Act­ing: Capaldi’s inter­ac­tion with the kids makes a good per­for­mance even bet­ter, Sam Ander­son has his best episode bar none and the kids all do their job well. They really should be on screen more.

Mem­o­rable Moments: Do you have an appoint­ment, don’t touch anything,

Doc­tor Who Flash­backs: Solar Flares (4th Doc­tor) the Bank of Karabraxos (this season)

Odd­i­ties: If the trees save the planet from the solar flairs that sug­gest that in the time of the Solar flairs (see 4th doc­tor sea­son 1) It’s quite likely that as mankind fled earth remained hab­it­able but they sim­ply didn’t real­ize it.

Pet Peeves: OK there are a boatload:

1. If the trees were wedg­ing the door of the Museum shut how did Maebh get out to find the Doctor?

2. Maebh says she had a voice from Ms. Oswald to find the doc­tor but at the time she gets the “thought” claris unaware of the threat.

3. You are going to cre­ate “care­fully con­trolled fires” in a planet cov­ered with forests? Peo­ple are stu­pid but they aren’t THAT stupid

4. I under­stand they need to see there are no rings on the tree but if a branch can break they can cut down the trees as needed (see 3)

5. At one point Clara is con­vinced the world is doomed and decides it’s bet­ter for all the kids to die rather than escape with­out their par­ents send­ing the Doc­tor to leave on his own. That not only a vio­la­tion of basic moral­ity & the mater­nal instinct (granted he is not yet a mother at this point) but it’s the exact oppo­site of Clara in Day of the Doc­tor wor­ried about all hose kids that are going to burn.

6. There is absolutely no rea­son why Maebh’s sis­ter would sud­denly come back there is noth­ing in the plot to sug­gest that is con­nected with the trees.

And finally the sin­gle most unbe­liev­able busi­ness in the whole episode.

Is any­one ANY­ONE going to tell me that a batch of kids, sud­denly find­ing them­selves in the TARDIS are:

#1 Not going to touch any­thing after the Doc­tor leaves
#2 Not going to start wan­der­ing through the TARDIS

par­tic­u­larly after the Doc­tor and Clara leave it?

I know Sci­ence Fic­tion requires a level of “will­ing sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief” but a batch of school kids doing that? I’m sorry that’s beyond my capac­ity to do it.

Great Quote(s)

********************

Maebh: MAEBH: I need the Doc­tor. Are you the Doc­tor?
The Doc­tor: Yes. Do you have an appoint­ment? You need an appoint­ment to see the Doctor.

********************

Clara: You are enjoy­ing this just a lit­tle bit too much. Come on. Are you not even a lit­tle bit curi­ous about how? Who? Why? When?
Danny: I am curi­ous. I am bewil­dered. I am, in fact, enchanted. But I’m not the pri­or­ity. The kids are.
Clara: You see, now, that atti­tude is…actually very attractive.

********************

The Doc­tor: Haven’t any of you been struck by the fact that it’s, look, it’s big­ger on the inside?
Ruby: There wasn’t a for­est. Then there was a for­est. Noth­ing sur­prises us any more.

*******************

Clara: Tell them, Mis­ter Pink, what an edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­nity
Danny: You, you go. This. This is enough for me.
Clara: What? Coro­nal ejec­tions, geo­mag­netic storms. How often do you get a playlist like that?
Danny: I was a sol­dier. I put myself at risk. I didn’t try too hard to sur­vive, but some­how, here I am. And now I can see what I nearly lost. And it’s enough. I don’t want to see more things. I want to see the things in front of me more clearly. There are won­ders here, Clara Oswald. Bradley say­ing please, that’s a won­der. One per­son is more amaz­ing, harder to under­stand, but more amaz­ing than universes.

Final Ver­dict: Two and a Half Stars. I really wanted to get it to three based on the per­for­mances but the more I thought about the episode the less I liked it.

Rank­ing of Sea­son: 10th of 10. When the only thing longer than the Pet Peeve’s sec­tion is the episode list sec­tion you know you’re in trouble.

1. The Care­taker
2. Mummy on the Ori­ent Express
3. Into the Dalek
4. Lis­ten
5. Flat­line
6. Robot of Sher­wood
7. Time Heist
8. Kill the Moon
9. Deep Breath
10. In the For­est of the Night

The Latest of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doctor Who

Summary: Suddenly the Earth is covered by a Forest, is it an invasion, a mad environmentalist’s experiment gone wild or something else?

Plot:  A little girl knocks at the TARDIS door the Doctor discovers she is part of Danny Pink’s class who says she was sent there when the Doctor. Looking outside he finds that although landing next to Nelson’s Column he is surrounded by a forest, meanwhile Clara & Danny are on a sleep over field trip to the natural museum with a “gifted” class and they discover the forest as well. Being informed by the Doctor that Maebh is missing they make their way to the TARDIS where the Doctor determines both that this is a world wide phenomenon and that Maebh somehow perceives what is going on and what does it have to do with an impending solar storm? Can they solve the mystery of Maebh, the new forest, survive the solar storm and most important get the kids home before they set up camp in the TARDIS permanently?
———————————–

Writing:  Frank Cottrell-Boyce the famous Marxist filmwriter takes his first crack at Doctor Who and manages an interesting plot with several elements that work such Danny’s aloofness to the threat, the interplay between Clara & Danny and the kids who were underutilized. These however are overshadowed by several holes that you can drive a truck through (more on that later). While I found it worked better with repeated watching it was one of the weakest stories of the season, I think would have been better if written as a two parter expanding both the roles of the kids and perhaps some interaction with the authorities.

Acting: Capaldi’s interaction with the kids makes a good performance even better, Sam Anderson has his best episode bar none and the kids all do their job well. They really should be on screen more.

Memorable Moments: Do you have an appointment, don’t touch anything,

Doctor Who Flashbacks: Solar Flares (4th Doctor) the Bank of Karabraxos (this season)

Oddities: If the trees save the planet from the solar flairs that suggest that in the time of the Solar flairs (see 4th doctor season 1) It’s quite likely that as mankind fled earth remained habitable but they simply didn’t realize it.

Pet Peeves:   OK there are a boatload:

1. If the trees were wedging the door of the Museum shut how did Maebh get out to find the Doctor?

2. Maebh says she had a voice from Ms. Oswald to find the doctor but at the time she gets the “thought” claris unaware of the threat.

3. You are going to create “carefully controlled fires” in a planet covered with forests? People are stupid but they aren’t THAT stupid

4. I understand they need to see there are no rings on the tree but if a branch can break they can cut down the trees as needed (see 3)

5. At one point Clara is convinced the world is doomed and decides it’s better for all the kids to die rather than escape without their parents sending the Doctor to leave on his own. That not only a violation of basic morality & the maternal instinct (granted he is not yet a mother at this point) but it’s the exact opposite of Clara in Day of the Doctor worried about all hose kids that are going to burn.

6. There is absolutely no reason why Maebh’s sister would suddenly come back there is nothing in the plot to suggest that is connected with the trees.

And finally the single most unbelievable business in the whole episode.

Is anyone ANYONE going to tell me that a batch of kids, suddenly finding themselves in the TARDIS are:

#1 Not going to touch anything after the Doctor leaves
#2 Not going to start wandering through the TARDIS

particularly after the Doctor and Clara leave it?

I know Science Fiction requires a level of “willing suspension of disbelief” but a batch of school kids doing that? I’m sorry that’s beyond my capacity to do it.

Great Quote(s) 

********************

Maebh: MAEBH: I need the Doctor. Are you the Doctor?
The Doctor: Yes. Do you have an appointment? You need an appointment to see the Doctor.

********************

Clara: You are enjoying this just a little bit too much. Come on. Are you not even a little bit curious about how? Who? Why? When?
Danny: I am curious. I am bewildered. I am, in fact, enchanted. But I’m not the priority. The kids are.
Clara: You see, now, that attitude is…actually very attractive.

********************

The Doctor: Haven’t any of you been struck by the fact that it’s, look, it’s bigger on the inside?
Ruby: There wasn’t a forest. Then there was a forest. Nothing surprises us any more.

*******************

Clara: Tell them, Mister Pink, what an educational opportunity
Danny: You, you go. This. This is enough for me.
Clara: What? Coronal ejections, geomagnetic storms. How often do you get a playlist like that?
Danny: I was a soldier. I put myself at risk. I didn’t try too hard to survive, but somehow, here I am. And now I can see what I nearly lost. And it’s enough. I don’t want to see more things. I want to see the things in front of me more clearly. There are wonders here, Clara Oswald. Bradley saying please, that’s a wonder. One person is more amazing, harder to understand, but more amazing than universes.

Final Verdict:   Two and a Half Stars. I really wanted to get it to three based on the performances but the more I thought about the episode the less I liked it.

Ranking of Season:   10th of 10. When the only thing longer than the Pet Peeve’s section is the episode list section you know you’re in trouble.

1. The Caretaker
2. Mummy on the Orient Express
3. Into the Dalek
4. Listen
5. Flatline
6. Robot of Sherwood
7. Time Heist
8. Kill the Moon
9. Deep Breath
10. In the Forest of the Night