Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Doctor Who: Kill The Moon / Mummy On The Orient Express ( mini reviews )

With these two episodes Series 8 seems to be taking the darker turn we've been promised since the beginning. Kill The Moon is one of my favourite stories this year: a seriously creepy ( lack of ) atmosphere, coupled with some impressive visuals and a tough moral choice for the characters, all justifying the later time-slot. The production team have taken quite a risk with making Capaldi's Doctor so alien and this episode really pushes that theme into new territory. Is he a good man? Can he be trusted? For Clara, as the Time Lord seemingly abandons her to make an impossible decision on her own, the answer appears to be "no"...
Of course, it's no real surprise that the Doctor does the right thing at the last moment but his arrogance and aloofness are put under the microscope in Peter Harness' script and Clara's hurt, betrayed reaction is understandable. ( Jenna Coleman yet again knocks it out of the park in this episode. ) As well as all this angst, this episode also gives us a brilliantly-conceived moonscape
( filmed in Lanzarote ), some extremely nasty space spiders and a fine performance from young Ellis George as Clara's pupil, Courtney. ( There's also some very dodgy science on display here, but we'll ignore that for now. )
I'm giving this one Four Out Of Five Sonic Screwdrivers ( or alien eggs )
Mummy On The Orient Express sounds like it's going to be more of a romp, but still goes to some fairly dark places as the grisly Foretold stalks the titular space-going train, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. And after their falling out in the previous episode, this is going to be the Doctor and Clara's final trip together, their "last hurrah..." Yeah, right...
This is a story that could only appear on Doctor Who  -  a mix of Hammer horror and Agatha Christie in outer space, with an appearance by pop star Foxes singing a jazz version of an old Queen song. As I said, only on Doctor Who...
The Foretold is a pleasingly old school menace, with the added, Moffatt-era high concept of the 66-second time limit between first sighting the creature and dying at its bandaged hands. "Start the clock..." A visually sumptuous episode  -  the train interiors are suitably glamorous, Capaldi looks great with a touch of the Southern riverboat gambler about him, and Jenna Coleman is absolutely stunning in her Art Deco dress.
By the end of the episode it looks like Clara is finally beginning to get under the new Doctor's harsh exterior and may be just about thawing those two cold hearts. Nice to see things progressing and it's always a treat to see this dour Doctor smiling once in a while. We could do with some more of that...
I make that another Four Out Of Five Sonic Screwdrivers ( or bandaged toes )

2 comments:

Steve Does Comics said...

I enjoyed it. It was that rare thing, a Dr Who episode that I could find no real fault with. I also liked that Capaldi seemed to be chanelling Tom Baker in places. I'm not sure why he was doing it but it was oddly pleasing.

cerebus660 said...

Yeah, at one point I actually thought "Have they dubbed Tom's voice over Capaldi?" It was very strange...

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