“In the Forest of the Night,” by Frank Cottrell Boyce is one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who series 8 so far, and certainly the best I’ve seen in a couple of weeks. I’m sure that means the Internet didn’t like it, hee hee. I seem to be doing opposite reviews this season. Let me say before I get started, these posts are getting difficult to write, whether I like the episode I’m writing about or not. Hannah’s idea of doing reactions instead of reviews is a good one, and I wish I’d gone that direction from the beginning.
The problem is that the new has worn off and we see what sort of Doctor Peter Capaldi is going to be. We can pretty much count on stellar acting, so no need to even mention it at this point. The overall production of the show is as good as it’s ever been. That only leaves plotting and direction to talk about. Unless I see see either something brilliant or a big problem, there’s just not that much to say. “In the Forest of the Night” isn’t brilliant, but it’s good. It leaves me with hope that we’re going to see the season end on a high note. And despite the problems I’ve expressed with the last few episodes, this season is a definite improvement over the last two.
The two things I like most about “In the Forest of the Night” are that we saw a lot of Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), and that the school children are an integral part of the story. I could’ve done with more of both all along, and I came away from this episode wondering what this season might have been if Anderson had been given center stage more often.
I wanted to like the part where Clara and Danny had the honest conversation about Clara’s travels with the Doctor. The creators definitely get points from me for trying. But really. Been there, done that. It was the same conversation Danny and Clara had earlier in the season, and we’ve seen how that turned out.
We also caught another brief glimpse at Missy. I still have no idea what she is up to, but I have to wonder if Maebh’s missing sister Annabel was with Missy during her absence. Rather than go on for another 200 words about the episode, I’ll wrap up with a review of my favorite Missy-related theories since we’re down to the last two episodes of the season.
- Missy is a future TARDIS.
- Whatever Missy is doing, it’s leading to the restoration of Gallifrey and the return of the Time Lords.
- Missy is a future Clara.
- Despite the creepy, sinister atmosphere surrounding her, Missy is actually helping the Doctor somehow.
- Missy is building an army of people who have died (or almost died) because of the Doctor’s actions, either by snatching them away at the last minute or cloning them.
A few other items of note.
- I liked that this episode revisited the “life persists” theme from “Into the Dalek,” and I wonder where that’s going.
- The Doctor’s line “Forgetting is a superpower” is nice. It relates this episode to “Listen” in an interesting way, and I hope the idea that fear and forgetting are superpowers is actually going somewhere.
- I also wonder if the whole Orson Pink thing is just going to end up being an inexplicable, unresolved thread. I hope not, because Danny and Orson are the most interesting parts of Doctor Who this season.
The preview of next week’s episode left me wondering whether I should be excited or be afraid of what’s coming next. I choose excitement. We’ll just see if I’m right.