Reviewed By: TCar96
Review Date: 7/4/17 6:02 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Whilst less experimental than sleep no more, Gatiss has written a more conventional story in the best possible sense. There are no daft, excessive plot elements, and despite the outlandish premise, no forces comedic juxtaposition. Essentially it's a moral dilemma (in which for once the morality doesn't appear to be totally warped and crow-barred in!) on Mars with pastiche Victorian Imperialists and frumpy ice warriors.
Fun dialogue and no frills really strengthen this classically studio bound episode, and gloss over the defects - namely thin characteurs and paint-by-numbers approach... Big baddie in a servile role with dainty China? Doctor & Co. in a cell? Not much you haven't seen before, hence my giving it a 7 over an 8, but it's fun enough to give a pass.
Normal gripes are completely thrown to the wayside! The score is quirky and fun with lots of electronic and synth cues. After that one twang in Heaven Sent, I wanted so much more of this sort of thing in series 10. 12th's theme and other reused bits and pieces are barely used with one exception, a justifiably brief and appropriately shlock-tastic cameo from Alpha-Centauri. Fantastic stuff.
Politics is always a contentious point to raise, and unfortunately, again, it appears to be that aggressive as to merit comment. Precious time is taken to have a peripheral character make a sexist comment. As often seems to be the case, it's forced in, redundant (even acknowledged in dialogue) and forces characters to lunge from pastiche to parody. Conversely we have quota casting leading one African cast member to longingly look at a picture of his White fiance. Are these characters Victorian parody bigots, or members of a multiracial, multicultural Empire - an antecedent to our times etc. etc. Seems increasingly aggressive, on the nose, and in the aforementioned case - genuinely quite confusing to piece together the message and detrimental to what ought to be taking place on screen: a romp - not a rally.
Niggle aside, it's a fun and punchy little episode with a great premise, fun new monster and fab direction and music. In a final aside comment, again Nardole has been treated like Kamelion or any other number of JNT companions: sidelined within minutes. Why was Nardole brought back, and how late in the game were writers informed?