TV SHOW: Doctor Who
SERIES/EPISODE: 8.10 – In the Forest of the Night
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Frank Cottrell Boyce/Sheree Folkson
A mysterious Forest has inexplicably covered the entire World, leaving Clara and Danny to protect a group of Coal Hill School Pupils from the wild animals now loose in the city. The Doctor meanwhile tries to figure out why this has happened, and if there is more danger to come.
Okay, I have to be honest here. This is worst episode (as of this point) of the Eighth series of Doctor Who, but that is not to say it is terrible…far from it. It’s just that when you get down to the very meat of the story, there is just not a lot going on (unlike the previous episodes).
Now the idea of a mysterious forest just appearing overnight and covering the entire world is a very interesting idea, one that could have been used to great effect. I mean the picture of the city of London completely swamped in the forest is a very powerful one, that leaves much to the imagination of how this came to be and what it means. But unfortunately the execution of how and why it actually happens is rather weak and in the end, makes the episode feel almost entirely pointless.
The idea of the Planet generating a massive forest that helps to protect it’s inhabitants from the solar flare of the Sun before disappearing, with which ‘we Humans’ then just happen to forget is rather poor writing and ultimately deflates this episode’s quality to barely average. I mean there was no actual enemy in this episode, and for a Season that has given us more than a few misunderstood threats (‘Time Heist’s the Teller or the Mummy from ‘Mummy of the Orient Express’ come to mind), I can’t help but feel disappointed that all this episode does is give us a pack of Wolves and a Tiger that escaped from London Zoo.
I would have rather have the trees as the enemy (not in any way like M.Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Happening’), taking back the planet from us ungrateful Humans. It would have made for an interesting story with an environmental message, but what we were given in the end was a story about mystical fairies and Humanity’s ability to easily forget things.
On the acting side of things, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson are all on top form (as usual) as the Doctor, Clara and Danny Pink. And even the child actors playing the Pupils are in no way annoying (in the way that child characters can be), but with the over-excess of characters on screen, the Doctor is pushed into the side-lines and that is another negative mark on this episode.