Doctor Who: In the Forest of the Night First Impressions

(High pitched voice): Trees…they are us…*

To save some space on the front page, I’m just gonna put the rest under a “Read More” cut.

  • When I first saw Maebh running through the forest my first thought was “Little Red Riding Hood”, apparently the writer was thinking the same thing because there’s a pretty good payoff for that idea later on.
  • Actually, the whole thing felt a bit like a fairy tale; which was probably on purpose.
  • Maebh in the TARDIS: I really liked how the whole scene was pretty much filmed from her perspective.  I think that it kind of set the tone for this episode.
  • A Night at the Museum: Man, I never got to spend the night in a museum.  I would have loved that when I was a kid, hell, I’d still love to do it now!
  • Instant Forest, Just add ???: That’s some mad Miracle-Gro they’ve got going on there.
  • Life is too short for Les Miserables: *Deep breath* Ok, incoming Les Mis rant.  I get what the Doctor is going for here, Les Mis is a long ass book.  There’s a reason the fandom refers to the original novel as “The Brick”, a good unabridged version will run somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen-hundred pages or thereabouts.  But I would like to point out that there are exactly three-hundred and sixty-five chapters in that book, so even just doing a single chapter a day, it would only take you one year to read the whole thing (assuming you read every single chapter and don’t skip over any digressions from the plot, and there are a lot of those) and quite a few of those chapters are pretty darn short, like, two or three pages long.  Keep in mind that the Doctor is canonically somewhere in the neighborhood of two thousand years old.  You would think he could squeeze in some time somewhere!
  • Trees don’t have Facebook: Looking at this strictly from a real world perspective, Maebh’s right.  Trees do communicate with each other, not in a way we would call communication, but they do send messages to each other in the form of seeds, roots, and chemical compounds.  A quick google search will bring up a whole bunch of articles on the subject.
  • Danny, Clara, and the kids: Yes youngsters, your teachers talk about you behind your back.
  • The kids in the TARDIS: I actually kind of like how blase the kids are about stuff, “Our city’s a forest now?  Selfie time!  It’s bigger on the inside?  Whatever.”
  • Maebh’s gonna die!: I have no idea if the Doctor was just reacting to Ruby’s overreaction or he was genuinely freaked out there.
  • Why doesn’t Danny go?: Yeah Clara, why not send your highly trained, ex-soldier boyfriend out into the possibly dangerous forest while you stay safe with the kids in the TARDIS?  Methinks someone has become a little addicted to the danger.
  • Ok, so here’s where the fairy tale references kick into high gear.  I’ve already pointed out Maebh’s Red Riding Hood Coat, but we also get a reference to Hansel and Gretel with Maebh leaving a trail for the Doctor and Clara to follow, and a nice bit with Maebh being chased by wolves.
  • Tiger, Tyger: Well, that was inevitable.
  • Danny the torch wielding hero: Clara and the Doctor really need to start giving that man the credit he deserves.
  • Maebh’s “voices”: Ok, here’s my theory about Maebh and her “voices”.  I think that Maebh has always been something of a telepathic, and when her sister went missing the stress of that really caused her abilities to go haywire.  I also think that Missy may have enhanced Maebh’s abilities for her own ends, maybe even planting the idea of going to the Doctor into her head.  Her telepathy may have also made it easier for the trees to communicate through her.
  • Go save the next one: Wow.  Ok, Clara’s doing something really impressive here.  She is literally telling the Doctor to save himself because he’s more important to the universe than the entire human race.  In this one case there is nothing the Doctor can do to stop what’s happening, and Clara’s telling him to walk away and save himself.
  • Danny knows: Again, that was inevitable and Clara should have known better.
  • Save the trees, because they’re saving us!: Subtle guys.  I’ll just quote Stephen King here and say “I like my stories without billboards.”
  • There are wonders here Clara Oswald: Forgive me, gentle readers, for what I’m about to do.  Clara really does seem to be missing the trees for the forest.  As it were.  Danny seems content with the small wonders of life on Earth, but he’s been through a literal war, and small wonders seem even better after something like that.  Clara’s still in the “The universe is vast, and I wanna see all of it!” mood.  I have to wonder if something is going to happen that will change how she sees things before the end of the series.
  • Slightly awkward: I think it’d be a little more than “slightly awkward” Doctor.
  • Missy again: Like I said earlier, I think that Missy may have had something to do with what happened, but I can’t really back that up with anything more than a gut feeling given what I know about how previous series have gone.  But I would be very surprised if I’m wrong.

Overall while the message of this episode was about a subtle as a sledgehammer to the head, the fairy tale tone helped it not be too annoying; and the episode was way better than the last message episode, Kill the Moon.

Next week, some of our questions might be answered.  It’s Moffat after all, so you can never be sure.

*Bonus points if you get the reference.


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