We’ve been back in the past, to a warehouse on the moon and on a hospital spaceship being attacked by the cutest monster you’d ever imagine. We’re back this week to 2018 where once more there is something mysterious going on.
Just this time not in the UK and it isn’t spiders…
This episode is the weakest of the season for me and not because I didn’t like it but because there were too many bits and pieces that it felt very disjointed.
There are some things I loved about it, bits that I didn’t mind and then other times where the episode bored me to death.
It really seemed to be the tale of three different guest stars if I’m honest.
We start with Hanne. The crew land down in a breathtaking part of Norway to find this blind girl all alone, her father has left and she’s scared of noises that come out at the same time every night. She feels like she’s there for two reasons. First off to bicker relentlessly with Ryan because of Ryan’s father issues and secondly because she was blind she was able to react the way needed to find the solution to the “monster” at the end of the episode. More on that in a bit.
Whilst I liked Hanne well enough and think Eleanor Wallwork did a good job for the majority of the episode, Hanne and Ryan had no real chemistry which was a shame. It was a way to once again really open up Ryan as a character but it was done much better in other episodes and he just came across as a bit of a dick in the episode which is a horrible thing to say because Tosin Cole is one of the best companions we’ve had on Who since its return. They just didn’t work.
The second part I enjoyed, this was the Doctor, Graham and Yas meeting Ribbons of the Seven Stomachs in the Anti-Zone. This felt like Hellraiser for children in many ways with its creepy, nightmarish ascetic and creepy demon looking to trade for just about everything. I loved the Anti-Zone and it was sad that to be honest THAT wasn’t the “big evil” of the episode either. It was a dangerous corridor connecting two places and the big “bad” in there were flesh eating moths that lead to a few decent, grizzly scenes to send the kids to bed scared of moths and some dramatic moments but which in the end wasn’t really that important.
Moving onto the third and I say that there were three guest stars this episode revolved around so you’ll be surprised to find out that there were a whole bloody bunch in here. We find Erik, Hanne’s dad, who has kind of abandoned her after finding this mirror universe where his wife Trine still exists. We also have the return of Grace played perfectly by the wonderful, lovely Sharon D Clarke.
For me this was the part where I stopped caring. I got the point of it and I liked it but by this point I had been bored, transported to something really creepy that got me back interested in everything but then ended up with something I personally found a bit of a let down.
That third guest is a combination of Grace and Trine, the sentient universe called the Solitract. It is trying to connect to something from our universe after being cut off and exiled from it and is basically making itself a trap. Erik and Graham both want to stay in this universe to share their love and companionship with the people they believe are the ones they miss in our universe. I didn’t find it as interesting or as emotional as I should and it didn’t help that we were then given extra drama of the universe collapsing and them not being able to leave, Ryan being stuck in the Anti-Zone but nothing actually being that bad for him when in there and Hanne completely under reacting to knowing her mum isn’t really her mum and finding out that her father did kind of abandon her.
Graham and Grace once more made the episode and his realization that it wasn’t the real Grace because the real Grace would never EVER let Graham leave Ryan when he was in trouble really was touching. Bradley Walsh has been the rock of this season and he stole the episode once more in that one tiny scene.
Again the big bad wasn’t really big or bad it was just lonely and the Doctor was able to talk it round, save the day and move home.
The one thing this episode did perfectly was Ryan and Graham.
Ryan never made it past the Anti-Zone to the Solitracts universe, he never saw that Grace. He was told what was going on and found out that Graham gave up being with Grace, no matter what that Grace was, not because he had to or the Doctor forced him out like she managed to do with Erik but because of how much Ryan meant to him. Yes the logic is that Grace would never let Graham stay with her when Ryan was in danger but the fact of the matter is that Graham also would never let Ryan be in danger either. Erik didn’t care. He did but when Hanne was sent back to the Anti-Zone he still didn’t budge. Ryan could be nothing to Graham but Graham gave up his happiness, unlike Hanne’s father and to be honest by the sound of it Ryan’s father, to go to Ryan.
The moment wasn’t all emotional, no one cried. It was understated and wonderful as Ryan finally accepted Graham as his granddad. Perfect scene by Cole and Walsh.
It wasn’t a bad episode, it wasn’t a brilliant episode but boy isn’t it good when the weakest episode of the year still looked brilliant, had wonderful little moments and a decent story and wasn’t just pish.