Episode 7 – THE UNICORN AND THE WASP

Gareth Roberts proved again what a good writer he is of fun and vibrant Doctor Who stories. He’s written The Shakespeare Code and The Caretaker but this is his best piece of work for the show. It’s an episode that has nothing to do with the series’ story arc, and without it, the continuity of the show wouldn’t be affected in any way. But it’s still a great watch and an episode that it’s hard to take your eyes off of. The set is beautifully designed, as is the massive CGI wasp. The episode also has a stellar cast that makes the story even more enjoyable. Agatha Christie and a murder mystery are two things that fit Doctor Who perfectly, and Roberts did a great job of tying the two together while maintaining the feel of a science fiction show, with the inclusion of the Vespiform. There were also many clever points intertwined through the storyline. They weren’t giveaways, but they all came together nicely when the murderer was revealed. Lady Eddison locking herself in her room for six months was an especially smart one as nobody would blink an eye at somebody returning from a holiday with malaria. However, as she was pregnant with what turned out to be the wasp, it all made sense and fitted together beautifully. At times in this episode, there were scenes with too much dialogue and I suppose it was quite easy to lose track a bit, but that’s part and parcel of a murder mystery. The scene where the Doctor was poisoned by cyanide wasn’t essential to the plot, but it was a particularly intense moment that showed that there was a serious threat to the Doctor too, and not just mortals alone. Although murder mysteries shouldn’t become a regular genre in the show, this one worked very well and Gareth Roberts was the perfect man to write it. 8/10

Episode 8 – SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY

Series one’s Dalek is the only episode I’ve rated a perfect 10/10 so far in this marathon, but not anymore. This is by far the most perfectly crafted, written and produced two parter of the modern era. For forty five minutes, there is not a dull moment in the first part, and that goes for part two as well. Steven Moffat yet again invented a genius monster, this time the Vashta Nerada. “Not every shadow, but any shadow” was a perfect line to capture the danger everyone was in from the flesh eating swarm. They simply just did not know where to stand and it seemed like an impossible place to escape from. The setting of the library worked perfectly. Often innocent settings like a library make for the most terrifying episodes for monsters to shine. David Tennant’s delivery of the line “We need to get back to the TARDIS” to Donna, set the tone right from the start for a terrifying and spooky episode, it was pitched to absolute perfection from the Doctor. There were several other chilling lines too; “The dust in the sunbeams” was another creepy one and Dr Moon’s “The real world is a lie, and your nightmares are real” line to the mysterious little girl added a new dimension to the story. “4022 people saved, no survivors” again threw in a huge slice of mystery as nobody could work out the exact meaning of that message. The ending where Donna’s teleportation was hijacked and her face appeared on the information statue was a shocking cliffhanger to a sensational first part. 10/10

Episode 9 – FOREST OF THE DEAD

Sometimes when you change the tone of a story midway through, it can start to fizzle out. However, Moffat’s introduction of the parallel universe that was “wrong” somehow made this already brilliant story even better. Dr Moon was a complete enigma of a character and every time he said “And then you remembered”, it made his world even more intriguing. This story also introduced us to River Song, and despite it being her first appearance, I think she’s at her best in this story. Her flirting is kept to a minimum, she’s strong, takes control and she has a charismatic aura about her. When she whispers the Doctor’s name in his ear, it’s a powerful scene in the episode as its when we truly find out she an important person in his future. It’s a turning point for their relationship within this episode too as its when he starts to really trust her for the first time. Seeing the Doctor struggle in the library while also seeing Donna live out a mysterious life was brilliant, especially when the two worlds started to intersect. The idea that CAL was the computer that controlled the Library and she/it had saved all 4022 people to the hard drive was genius. Using extra memory space to retrieve the saved people was a valid way of resolving the story, too. It’s an impossible story to fault. The way the Vashta Nerada killed off the crew one by one while continuing to hunt for meat was amazing. The set, the characters and the tone all came together as well as it possibly could have. A lot of people say Blink is Moffat’s best story, but for me this two parter wins it by a mile. 10/10

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