Reviewed By: Mercury
Review Date: 3/18/19 12:09 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
This is the second episode in a row that manages to be a terrific 10/10 classic worthy of the great stories of the show's past. The one and only thing I was not 100% keen on is that yet again the Doctor's 'dark' morals and questionable 'goodness' are brought into play. It is one of Moffatt's obsessions and is so repetitively hammered over and over again that one wonders whether he really would rather change the whole series and make the Doctor the villain! Fortunately in this instance Jamie Mathieson is such a good writer that he weaves that theme cleverly into an awesome episode and does not allow it to detract from the overall story. The Doctor, right back to the 1st Doctor, made choices and carried out actions that their companions found hard to cope with. Yes there is a darkness and moral question that can be made into interesting themes to discuss BUT Moffatt hugely overstates and overuses this. Thankfully this episode is so well written the theme is used well with Clara taking on the difficult choices herself and the Doctor finding it uncomfortable to see his companion pushed into his role of making the tough choices. It is in other episodes that the theme of the Doctor's dark side is overstated and overused.
The concept of the TARDIS exterior shrinking with the Doctor trapped inside is fun and interesting and it is made both thrilling and funny. It harks back to the TARDIS shrinking in the classic era story Planet of Giants but with the twist that the interior and the occupants this time remain normal size. The creatures from a 2-dimensional universe clashing with our 3-dimensional world is a fresh and exciting idea. The ingenuity of this concept and how it is used along with how the scenes are successfully made menacing and suspenseful makes this tremendously enjoyable and memorable. The antagonists are a superb addition to the greatest adversaries the Doctor has faced.
Peter Capaldi is always brilliant and despite being trapped in the TARDIS he gets plenty of chance to show his talent, proving yet again how perfect he is for the role. He is dark yet funny, other worldly, charismatic and powerful. Sometimes he carries weak episodes with his great performance as the Doctor but when he gets terrific material like Mummy on the Orient Express and this it is wonderful to see.
Jamie Mathieson, on the evidence of these 2 episodes, is a writer who should be hired to write as many episodes as possible and maybe drive some of the overarching ideas. Personally I think the role of showrunner should be split between 2 people. Steven Moffatt and Chris Chibnall have given the impression that too much power for one person can limit the show's potential. A Russell T. Davies type carefully holding the power to control the direction of the show while working with another genius writer, perhaps Mathieson, in co-control coming up with stories like these and working together on overarching storylines would be simply amazing. My advice speaking now in 2019 would be that Mathieson should be brought in to team up with Chibnall to see if a balance of the two of them can bring greater results.
Clara is made central to this story and Jenna Coleman acts her part very well showing Clara's strength and bravery. The rest of the cast act their roles really well and the guest characters are all strong and well defined.
The direction by Douglas Mackinnon is perfect, the dialogue is sharp and intelligent, the effects are fantastic and the episode is just an instant classic.