TL;DR – A very odd episode filled with 80s Technicolor, monsters in the woods, talking frogs, and a sheep rebellion. It didn’t quite get therein the end, but it did have some interesting moments.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
We are almost at the end of the 11th Season and Jodie Whittaker’s first as The Doctor. When you have a penultimate episode, sometimes you want to use it to give your audience a breather before the end, sometimes you want to build tension for the final episode. Today we went in a completely opposite direction by instead doubling down on the weird that can be Doctor Who, and boy is this a weird one.
Soto set the scene, we open as the TARDIS gang The Doctor, Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Yas (Mandip Gill) are trying to find out wheret hey have landed and discover they are in Norway (with nary a mention of Bad Wolf Bay in sight). So why would the TARDIS take everyone to a quiet fjord, as it is not one to pine for the fjords, well off in the distance we can see a house but no smoke from the chimney which is very suspicious for some reason,so they go to investigate. When they arrive they find a house that has been boarded up for a hurricane or a zombie apocalypse,with only a blind teenager Hanne (Eleanor Wallwork) inside. Her dad is missing,and every day a monster roams the woods around her house, and well it doesn’t take much to work out what happened to the dad. But when the monster’s roars happen and everyone mobilises to work out what it is, but Graham finds something even more perplexing, a mirror that does not reflect. Now as always we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
Look,I think we have already said it multiple times, but how good is Bradley Walsh in this show. In this episode he goes from the comic relief with a random sandwich,to being reunited with the love of his life Grace (Sharon D Clarke), only to leave her because Ryan was in danger. Being able to be the comic relief and the emotional core of an episode is not something that is easy to do, and I have mad respects at his talent, and how he has been written, that they were able to pull it off. Also, he finally got the Grandad he was after, which of course means that they are going to kill him off isn’t it … blast it. As well as this,I also really enjoyed the performance of Eleanor Wallwork, who had a really difficult part to pull off but really excelled.
One area where the show aimed for but did not quite land was the tone, which jumped all over the place. There were references with the colour scheme and in the character of Ribbons (Kevin Eldon) to the Technicolor dreamscape of 80s films most notably seen in the recent Mandy (see review).It felt like they were going for an acid trip vibe but were not able to commit to it because of that BBC mantra that this is a show for kids, even if this was still an episode where some dude gets eaten by moths. Because they didn’t quite commit to the tone, it meant that some of the more absurd things, like a talking frog, stand out rather than just being part of the groove. This has flow-on effects throughout the narrative, like the Dad looking hella negligent rather than enchanted and so on. It is this inconstant tone that I think holds It Takes You Away back and I really wish they had just committed to it or found a different angle to tackle it from instead.
In the end, do we recommend It Takes You Away? Yes, and No. Look I respect what they were aiming for with the style and tone of the episode, but I just don’t think they pulled it off. So it leaves it feeling disjointed, and that is a bit of a pity.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Doctor Who
Directed by – Jamie Childs
Written by – Ed Hime
Showrunner – Chris Chibnall
Starring – Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole & Mandip Gill with Sharon D Clarke, Eleanor Wallwork, Kevin Eldon, Christian Rubeck & Lisa Stokke