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< 11.8 - The Witchfinders
11.10 - The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos >

11.9 - It Takes You Away

Rating Votes
10
13%
4
9
42%
13
8
10%
3
7
16%
5
6
6%
2
5
3%
1
4
3%
1
3
0%
0
2
3%
1
1
3%
1
Average Rating
7.7
Votes
31
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: PilordeReview Date: 12/17/18 8:34 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

All the season make sense here. It was always about grieve. About the lose of someone important. It's a great message, and there is a lot of people I would love to watch this episode. Even the ending, which has been talked all over the place, was great. Where else than in Doctor Who can you found something like this ? The three companions have grown a lot, specially Graham. I hope, if they stay longer, that we'll learn a bit ore about Yaz which has been a bit on the side those last few episodes.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: GuiannosReview Date: 12/16/18 6:32 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Although it's an imperfect story this is easily one of the highlights of Series 11. The plot unfolds cleverly with a series of reveals that are satisfying. As a creepy house in the woods story it would have fit well in Moffat's era. Graham and Yaz had some very nice character moments while The Doctor and Ryan were both passable. I loved the concept of the mirror universe as well as the reason for it's existence.


On the negative, there are pacing issues in general that hold the story back, especially in the antizone. There's no explanation for why the TARDIS team arrived (and promptly left having completed the adventure). Some of the threats evaporated after they were no longer convenient and the conclusion was particularly rushed.

Overall this is a satisfying romp as long as you don't think too hard about it.

Other Recommendations

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 12/11/18 1:54 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This is clearly a divisive episode that some will hate but most will love. Meanwhile, as is often the case in divisive matters I am somewhere in between, mostly positive but with reservations. People, I feel, often over react and proclaim hate when in fact it is just a few aspects which spoiled something good. I prefer to acknowledge those problematic aspects but also take into account all the good parts. Overall there is a lot of good stuff in this and it is great as entertainment if you ignore the annoying issues which clash with the lore of the show or logic. I cannot ignore them but I cannot ignore the great qualities either. You also have to give credit for the great ambition even if it does not all work.

The story is that the TARDIS arrives in Norway near a secluded house where they discover a blind teenage girl all alone who says her mother died a while ago and that her father who she lives with has been taken by a monster. They hear the sounds of the monster outside but find a strange mirror inside which turns out to be the real story as it is a portal to an 'antizone', a barrier zone between two alternate universes. The other universe is ruled by the Solitract, a sentient power from Time Lord mythology.

This has some similarities with those occasional classic Who stories which delved into a fantasy world like The Celestial Toymaker or The Mind Robber or more recent efforts like Amy's Choice or The Doctor's Wife. In another way it very much reminds me of a Moffatt era story in that it is crammed with clever ideas, some excellent, some that felt good to the writer but end up appearing contrived and illogical to people who question it. Like many Moffatt stories this lacked a firm hand in charge to stop the writer getting carried away with the ideas and losing focus on some elements to ground it in believable limits. There is so much good stuff in it but it almost comes off the rails and for some viewers it turns them completely off. For me I still appreciate all the good elements but feel sad that as with so many stories ever since RTD left this ends up failing to be the classic it could have been and becomes just a decent effort due to ambition overriding good storytelling decisions.

The TARDIS arrives near a fjord and from that moment we get fantastic cinematography and production values as with the rest of series 11 (until one effects aspect at the end which feels a letdown). The problems begin though in an initial little introductory scene where The Doctor tastes soil and makes silly proclamations based on that 'sample'. A totally unnecessary and stupid little moment that would have been far better and more logical if she had just read the TARDIS scanner and told them they were in Norway in the middle of nowhere but there was a life sign nearby. There is also a misleading camera shot appearing to represent something watching them which turns out not to be the case.

Immediately after that initial silly scene it becomes a really good creepy episode as they discover the boarded up house, meet the blind girl who tells them her father has been taken by a monster and hear the monsters roars outside. These scenes are unsettling, intriguing, brilliantly scripted and well acted by all the cast so I felt we were going to get a classic scary tale as trailers had suggested. They then find the mirror portal and the antizone and all the scenes in this part continue with the great quality of production, acting, creepy atmosphere and enjoyable story. We now are moving away from the scary monster in the woods idea and into pure fantasy but it is working well. When they reach the alternative universe there is a brilliant, clever touch that has everything subtly reversed as if in a mirror. Almost impercebtibly everything is backwards from their faces to the logo on the T-shirt worn by the blind girl's father Erik. So far, apart from that tiny scene at the start this episode is tremendous. But then The Doctor tells Yaz and us about the Solitract. It is not necessarily any more silly or illogical than a hundred other ideas in Doctor Who but it just seems a silly concept and it seems odd we would never have heard of it. If only they had made the universe the realm of the Celestial Toymaker or linked it in with the Mind Robber, Amy's Choice, The Doctor's Wife or another existing idea fans could get excited about. The Solitract just feels a bit of an over complicated new idea. The dialogue where The Doctor describes her 7 grannies also feels wrong. Finally when the Solitract manifests itself as a frog, not only is that idea pretty strange and silly but the frog itself is poorly created and stands out as a bad effect in series 11 which otherwise has been visually the best ever. Why did they go with the idea of the frog when that would obviously annoy a lot of viewers and they could have had the Solitract fake Susan, a former companion or The Doctor's mother? Why did they not do a proper realistic CGI frog at least?

The other thing that seemed more wrong than the Solitract when you think about it is Erik's behaviour. Why would he think up and fake a terrifying monster and leave his daughter alone and scared when he could have tried taking her with him to the other universe or finding another way to keep her safe? It would have been far better if the monster was a real one that entered from the antizone and Erik had gone to the other universe and been seduced by the Solitract's tricks so that he forgot about returning for his daughter until The Doctor made him remember her. Instead he just gets rejected by the Solitract and never chose to return to his daughter. This, along with the frog are the biggest issues I had with the episode.

On the plus side in this latter part of the episode there continues to be some really great acting and interesting themes about loss, loneliness and grief with emotional scenes with Graham and Ryan at the end. When you combine these with all the great stuff throughout the episode it makes this far above the worst Who episodes.

The issues of just a couple of scenes of dodgy dialogue and a couple of ideas presented in a way that feels silly or illogical sadly detract from what could easily have been a 10/10 classic. We had creepiness, cleverness, awesome cinematography, thoughtful themes, great emotion from Graham, solid acting from the whole cast, a great Norwegian location and the whole concept including the antizone and alteranative universe which could have been great if they had not confused matters with the questionable Solitract idea and Erik's weird decisions.

Overall: 7.5/10
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 12/10/18 9:38 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The penultimate story of the season takes the show back into the realm of fairy tales and fantasy with perhaps the most divisive episode thus far. The Doctor and co. land in the middle of a Norway forest and find a young blind girl hiding from a dark force outside that’s taken her father away. But there’s more going on than meets the eye and soon the TARDIS team is enveloped in a wonderland of mystical portals, dark caves, flesh-eating moths, and a being who just wants to be near to us. It’s a strange story that plants a strong focus on grief and loneliness and taints the whole affair with a very somber tone despite some of the more fantastical elements of the tale. Ed Hime’s script has a lot to do in juggling several different elements some of which do ultimately feel pointless even as they are incredibly entertaining. The narrative spends a good chunk of the story in one particular place that in the end felt like it didn’t need to be there except for some very creative padding. At the same time though, when it does work then the story hits in gangbusters particularly in terms of performances. This story represents not only the best that Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole have done but yet another stellar performance from Jodie Whittaker as she has to bring everything together in the face of some very tempting prospects. This is Walsh’s story in particular as he delivers some heart-rending moments and gets the most growth by far though how and why are massive spoilers. The side cast is all great and intriguingly grey in terms of motivation and action. I like how no one really gets out of judgment or forgiveness for their actions in this story and it works very well with the tone and atmosphere the script is going for. Norway is also beautiful and this is some of the best looking Who we’ve had in a season that’s already looked amazing for the most part. However, there is one big moment in this story that I guarantee is going to kill this one for a lot of people. Without giving too much away as it happens near the climax, it plays with the power of “2001: A Space Odyssey” but delivers it in perhaps the silliest way imaginable. It makes moderate sense in terms of the story and even the Doctor herself acknowledges how ridiculous it is more than once. But that doesn’t take away from its oddness especially with how serious the narrative treats it and it ends up being not only unintentionally hilarious but what I’m sure will be an easy deal-breaker for a lot of fans watching. In my case watching it, it didn’t break enjoyment for me at all. It’s not the strangest thing Doctor Who has done by a wide margin and it’s so weird that it kind of works especially with the very nature of the show itself. But it’s certainly a very divisive scene and that did hamper my view on it enough to where it became great but not perfect. Because don’t get me wrong: “It Takes You Away” is still a damn good story with more than enough to recommend. The more I think about it, the more I love it and it’s another personal highlight for me this season. But its flaws and sillier moments do keep it from the heights of perfection and I have a feeling that this one is going to be the subject of massive Whovian flame wars for years to come.