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< 11.7 - Kerblam!
11.9 - It Takes You Away >

11.8 - The Witchfinders

Rating Votes
10
9%
3
9
12%
4
8
18%
6
7
24%
8
6
24%
8
5
6%
2
4
3%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
3%
1
Average Rating
7.1
Votes
33
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: PilordeReview Date: 12/17/18 8:32 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

It's kind of a mixed bag for me.

I love all the historical stuff, the king and the witch hunt.
But then, it started to get really messy and the ending was really rushed. I miss the classic series when they were able to do historical stories without aliens intervention. What's really sad in this case, is that I really loved it until the last ten minutes which was "meh". But a good epiosde none the less, saved by the atmosphere and the King James, which I found really funny.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/28/18 2:27 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This episode features the TARDIS arriving in early 17th Century Lancashire in the middle of a witch-hunting campaign. They meet King James I himself who takes charge of the witch-hunt. There are alien powers at work with the dead rising from the mud and the Doctor has to try to try to resolve the situation.

The reanimated corpses filled with mud are tremendous and creepy providing great scary scenes and the alien threat when revealed is sufficiently threatening. Alan Cumming is excellent and fantastically funny as King James I while the acting of Siobhan Finneran as Becca is terrific. The TARDIS team are good and the period setting is great. The plot itself is really good too.

The first 30 minutes of this story especially is excellent with a mixture of great humour, creepy menace and historical interest combined with great acting and top production values. The script in that first 30 minutes is excellent but becomes more patchy towards the end with some less convincing dialogue creeping in on occasion as it had in several episodes this series. The main problem is another bit of heavy handedness in rather forcing a moral into the story (about bullying and about people reacting badly to issues in their lives). This detracted from the climax of the story by not allowing it to flow naturally. The ending was also just not as good as the first half of the episode, they did not quite nail bringing things to a great conclusion. Those little issues towards the end stopped this from being a brilliant 9 /10 episode or better. It does not ruin the story as there are still so many brilliant things about the episode but this clumsy dialogue on a few occasions and slightly flat conclusion stops the story reaching its full potential. It ends up a good, solid 8/10 but it could so easily have been better.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
4
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 11/27/18 4:14 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

When telling any story, the ending is paramount for the overall quality as a bad ending can leave a bad taste in the viewer's mouth. It's the last thing you see from a story and what is most likely to stick into the mind once you go away from the story. The Power of Three is perhaps the first Doctor Who story to come to mind whenever a bad ending ruins the previous good will of the story, but The Witchfinders is joining it in its ranks. The story starts out great, with the Doctor and company being caught up in witch hunts in a small village where a radical landowner is testing people even if she hides her own secret. Throw in James I played brilliantly by Alan Cumming, and you should have a pretty good romp and to be fair for the first 30 minutes or so Joy Wilkinson writes a really good story. It's just that the ending does not make any sense with a resolution that feels tacked on. The reveal of the aliens being the source of the witches feels like it is meant to be a cliffhanger and the characters are so engaging it would be great to see them continue in a second part fighting the mud aliens. That and there are a couple of moments that just take me out of it, the Doctor thinking she wouldn't be tried as a witch if she were a man just takes you out of the action considering the events from The Witch from the Well and the fact that men were tried as witches (witch until relatively recently was a gender neutral term). Outside of that Whittaker gives a great performance and her scenes with Alan Cumming are just great. Wilkinson also seems to be the first of the writers to give each of the companions something to do, even giving Yaz some decently written character development. The episode in conclusion could have been one of the greats had its conclusion been expanded upon.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 11/27/18 3:43 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

One of the biggest sub-genres of spooky drama and horror that appeal to me as a viewer is the idea of witches and the witch hunts of the 1600s. Something about the fear, the paranoia, and the lengths people will go to in order to justify their actions in combatting something fake or real makes stories like the Salem witch trials or the persecutions in Britain fascinating to me. Doctor Who has tackled such stories in extended media before usually turning out to be some of my favorites but it's never been tackled on TV before which is why I was both anxious and excited to see "The Witchfinders" as a story in the main series. The TARDIS team land in Lancashire 1612 right in the middle of a time of great paranoia. Witch hunts, torture, and persecution are all running rampant and when the Doctor interferes with a dunking ritual involving a local town's medicine woman, the crew are thrown right into the middle of a dark and atmospheric drama involving King James I, a persistently devout hunter, and a mysterious plot that might in fact be alien.....As a story, 'Witchfinders' is certainly not flawless. There isn't much setup or time to enjoy the setting before we are immediately thrown into the proceedings, writer Joy Wilkinson's pacing is all over the place, and the climax of everything while cool is a little bit too rushed for an hour story. This one really could've been done better as a two-parter to allow things to settle a bit more and give everything the weight and drama it deserves. But at the same time when it does work, it really works and this story might be my favorite out of the season minus the opener. The atmosphere of the time is dark and perfectly captured onscreen and the monsters are genuinely frightening in a first for the season that doesn't involve personal phobias. It's not quite a pure historical and more in the vein of a pseudo-historical that New Who is so fond of doing which does take away at times from the Crucible-like atmosphere the story has going for it. But from the opening moments in seeing an old woman executed by being dunked as a witch despite the Doctor's attempts to save her, it doesn't pull too many punches and the mud-monster zombies that the story comes up with are frankly nightmare-inducing. That's not to say there aren't some moments of levity as once again Jodie Whittaker gets some fantastic speeches and moments all to herself especially when she herself is accused and tried as a witch. This one really puts the Doctor's new gender not only on display but also as an impactful plot point as a male Doctor wouldn't be going through or dealing with some of the rampant misogyny or the accusations that come up in the course of the narrative. This is a story that only Jodie's Doctor could do right now and it's all the stronger for it. In terms of performance, however, the companions and cast are all good but this time Jodie is matched by Alan Cummings as a flamboyantly hilarious King James. Every moment he's on screen, Cummings steals the show despite the subject matter and he gets a very strong character built up hiding a deeply distrustful and broken man behind the flourishes and excessive glee of his witch hunting. There are also some moments of hope here when all is said and done and its handling of some of the stronger themes while still working with some great spooky scenery make this story an absolute treat. I was smiling going into "The Witchfinders" and I was smiling even more coming out of it. It's not a perfect story by any means but I loved the hell out of this one from start to finish and it's a big series highlight.