In the Forest of the Night

As always it’s time for a Doctor Who review on Saturday! This time I’ll be talking about Series 8’s “In the Forest of the Night” and we all know what comes now: Spoilers ahead!

A lot happened this week, but it wasn’t at all like I expected it to be. There was global forestation over night, a solar flare that should’ve destroyed the Earth and some really great Clara/Doctor moments. I should say upfront that while there were some really sweet and amazing scenes in between, this again isn’t one of my favourite episodes. I want to clarify that that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it at all, I just liked others better. But since I seem to complain a bit too much about Doctor Who as of late, I’m trying to find some good things in there. So, let’s break it down:

  • I actually liked the message: Trees are our friends! But the thing was that they tried to sell me that I was supposed to be scared in forests, because of fairy tales and such, but I actually quite like them. Never felt uneasy there, but rather calm instead. What I am scared of though, is getting lost, which seemed like a real possibility during the episode. Also, it would have been way different if it all had played during the night. Everything can be scarier in the night and I will admit that I wouldn’t want to be alone in a forest in the dark.
  • There was some speculation that the episode might have something to do with William Blake‘s poem “The Tyger“, so I’m really glad that there was an actual tiger and that it made sense that he could be there. Cool reference in my opinion!
  • The kids were all great little actors and actresses! Often I’m a little anxious about episodes with loads of children, because they are often not very convincing, but the casting director of Doctor Who either has a ton of luck or chooses really well (I’m guessing a bit more of the latter). Abigail Eames, who played Maebh, did a great job portraying that seemingly troubled little girl and it was creepy when her voice mixed with the one of the “firesflies” (or “trees” whatever I’m supposed to call them).
  • If you’ve followed my blog the past weeks, you probably noticed that I am huge fan of BBC’s Our Girl. The woman who played Maebh’s mother, Siwan Morris, starred as Mrs Smurf/Smith/Candy on that show as well. Just seeing her in another storyline that involves losing a child made the story so much more emotional for me, just because the wounds of Our Girl are still so fresh.
  • I still wonder where Annabel, Maebh’s sister, was and why she ran away … assuming that she left home willingly.
  • I sort of doubt Danny‘s intelligence if he seriously believed that Clara didn’t meet up with the Doctor. He’s a great man, as this episode proved once more, but I just can’t imagine him not noticing that his girlfriend was spending time on the TARDIS, especially not after last week. Also, I just want him to tag along for an adventure and he seems so utterly unwilling to do that, that I’m starting to get tired of him. He has his reasons, and good ones too to be fair, but … I thought this might become more of a Rory-Amy-Doctor dynamic with a twist over time and that’s just highly unlikely now.
  • Twelve and kids is such a fun combination. I like it when they let him play the grumpy Scottish man!
  • Another glimpse of Missy that I could do absolutely nothing with. So glad next week will start to unveil what’s been going on!
  • I loved the scene when Clara told the Doctor to leave without them (although I am not sure if, at that moment, it really was wise to say that they should all die instead of saving at least a few people). Capaldi and Coleman just have this great chemistry and also conflicts with each other, most of the time their confrontations are my favourite part of the episode.

I guess that’s it for today. Concerning “Dark Water” next week … I’m scared to be honest, and not because the Cybermen will make their return. It’s the first part of the finale and I am always anxious about those, because I hate endings, but also because of what I saw in the promo. That just wasn’t like Clara at all and I’m going to freak if nothing was real!

What are your thoughts about “In the Forest of the Night“?

23 thoughts on “In the Forest of the Night

  1. I rather liked this episode and I thought it was interesting (though given it involved the infamous Coal Hill school kids, I was wondering where Courtney was). And I understand being a little afraid for next week. Clara was acting very unlike herself, even saying she doesn’t exist. It kind of makes you a little nervous. I have some thoughts on what might happen, but there’s the chance I’d be wrong, so I won’t say anything.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! I think all the kids that were on the field trip were definitely in a lower grade than Courtney and therefore she wasn’t there. Did you get the whole story about Maebh’s sister though? I found it to be very confusing in the end, because they didn’t explain it at all.
      The lights and the child missing really remembered me of the fairies on Torchwood for a second.

      Next week looks so strange! Maybe Clara was possessed or something hahaha

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      • It’s so hard to tell with the Coal Hill kids. They’re all young, and I sometimes really wonder about their academic standing. I have a feeling Maebh’s sister might have been taken by the trees so they could communicate with Maebh in the first place. They may have realized they could use her as a conduit to help ave the Earth, but they had to get her in the right emotional state to make contact. But you’re right, it did remind me of the fairies from Torchwood. Very similar.

        I don’t think Clara’s possessed. I think it may have something to do with an alternate timeline. And perhaps something with the Moffat loop that brought the Doctor to Clara in the first place. If you think about it, without the Doctor meeting Clara in the 19th century, the Doctor wouldn’t have saved her in the 21st, and she wouldn’t have saved him at his grave on Trenzalore, which would’ve stopped her from meeting the Doctor in the first place. I wonder if it might have something to do with that.

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      • I don’t think Clara’s possessed either, but it would have been a fun turn of events. There are so many different versions of Clara out there and maybe it has something to do with the Name of the Doctor. We never actually got to see how they got out of the Doctor’s time stream.

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      • Yeah, I’ve wondered about that. I actually was rather surprised when Day of the Doctor started with Clara at school. I kind of expected that to start with the Doctor still in the time stream, trying to find a way out.

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      • I wasn’t just surprised, I was actually a little mad at Moffat for pulling that stunt. The Name of the Doctor had such a major cliffhanger and I don’t think that it was obvious in any way how they would have been able to get out of there. So, maybe he finally gives us the explanation we deserve in the season finale.

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      • I have a weird love-hate-relationship with two-parters. On the one hand, I really like them because the story is better developed a lot of the time, but on the other hand I hate them, because I’m way too impatient to wait for the conclusion a whole week.

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      • Have you heard anything about the contracts being renewed? I know that Capaldi originally only signed for 13 episodes and that there were rumours of Coleman leaving the show (even if they came from something unserious like the Mirror).

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      • Haven’t heard a thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Capaldi signs on for another season or two. Playing the Doctor has been a dream of his, so I can’t imagine him not staying on a bit longer. As for Coleman, she’s set to stick around through the Christmas special. Anything after that, I have no idea.

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      • Yeah, I just tried to google it and since they start filming Series 9 in January, Capaldi is likely to keep being the Doctor, which I think is great.
        As for Coleman – she refuses to tell the truth because she likes the rumours. She doesn’t want fans to know what’s going on and Samuel Anderson aka Danny Pink hasn’t been confirmed for Series 9 either.

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  2. I thought it was an awful episode. I’ve be a Doctor Who fan since before I could talk. I’ve seen some stinkers but this episode has to be up there with the worst of them. The acting was great, the directing was great but the writing was just awful. It felt like it never really got started.

    There was also the whole;

    “Will we save the children and take them on the TARDIS?”
    “No, they’ll miss their families so just let them die”

    That was so uncharacteristic of not just Clara but Doctor Who in general. I really felt it was a waste of an episode.

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    • I wasn’t swept away, but I didn’t hate it. Lately, I just seem to have problems with every single episode, without ever thinking that they are terrible … so, I tried to find something positive in this one. But leaving the children behind was just beyond me … very uncharacteristically of the show and Clara and comprehensible in addition to that.

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  3. Actually was one of my favorite episodes this season – I do like when they’re on Earth and at the present.

    I don’t think that Danny was naive or anything, he understood from the get go that she was still going on board the TARDIS, he never said she shouldn’t go, just that she shouldn’t lie to him. Also, it doesn’t bother me that he’s not the “Rory type” that just goes right ahead – he had his fair share of adventures and doesn’t need anymore. It’s also not like first season Mickey, that just couldn’t stomach it, Danny is just not interested… that’s fair.

    2 more to go!

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