Written by Ed Hime. Directed by Jamie Childs. Episode reviewed by Sean Alexander.
“A cottage in the winter in Norway, with a chimney but no smoke.”
I’ll be totally honest here - this series of Doctor Who hasn’t done too much for me. Generic villains, an almost pathological decision to keep fifty-five years of continuity out of the mix (almost as though showrunner Chris Chibnall took one look at last Christmas’ Doctor-mash ‘Twice Upon a Time’ and had the same misgivings about the direction of things as he did in 1986), a severe lack of consequence in these hermetic ‘bubble’ episodes, and a Doctor who was both generically written and, in Jodie Whittaker’s hands, seems to lack the kind of star power to not only carry a show but extinguish any lingering accusations of the show ‘going female’ for political rather than dramatic affect. Bradley Walsh remains for me the only great triumph: humble, blokey and capable of saying far more with an anguished frown than some of his costars manage with reams of exposition or passionate grandstanding eulogies. Oh, and on the subject of dialogue, possibly my greatest bugbear: telling rather than showing. Week after week the expositional level of each script has been at the cost of actually engaging this member of the audience, almost as though the lengthened timeslot has demanded more jaw-jaw over war-war. Perhaps it’s the presence of prose writers amongst the all-new writing team, I dunno. But where I once hankered for the 80s incidental music to tone things down so I didn’t miss the dialogue, now the dialogue intrudes on Segun Akinola’s score. And that can’t be good, can it?