Far from being a romp of a number of Doctors, companions, villains or the rest, this story was as near a two-hander as we’ve had in a very good lengthy whereas. Perhaps Scott Handcock (welcome!) is already exhibiting his Big Finish pedigree, since he served as script editor there for a few years, however regardless of the actually lavish units (and… properly we’ll get to the VFX) that is very a lot a story exploring how the Doctor and Donna relate to 1 one other, in isolation, throughout their publish ‘Doctor-Donna’ entanglement.
Let’s rewind a bit. The Isaac Newton pre-title sequence is cute, lifted barely by the actual fact they alter historical past after which hold saying “mavity” for the remainder of the episode. (It’ll throw off each “Where to start with Doctor Who” video if that quirk sticks for the subsequent 60 years.) Next, the Doctor and Donna arrive – properly, smash themselves into – one thing that’s in all probability a spaceship, and an entity is clearly watching them whereas an impassive, computerised voice says… “Fenslaw.” Fenslore? Trenzalore? Coleslaw? I dunno.
The TARDIS is gone, maybe eliminated by the reactivation of its Hostile Activation Displacement System. (I may rant at size concerning the knowledge of this ‘feature’ even current, however we’re on a ticking clock right here. What is Den of Geek with out its Doctor Who overview?)
Whenever the voice speaks, the bodily structure of the ship shifts. Panels flip, lights flicker, and it’s all a bit Event Horizon. This isn’t stopping the Doctor and Donna from summoning a tuk-tuk and heading down the Very Long Corridor, although, passing a Very Old Robot as they do till they get to the management room (for a life-form with a bum) and confirming that they’re certainly on a spaceship. Not a starship, although, for there’s an astonishing lack of stars…
So. The tone of this episode, if we’re replaying the Tennant/Tate hits, is “Midnight”. It’s the unknowable, inscrutable aliens who perform on blue-and-orange morality, and identical to “Midnight”, they’re copycats. Unlike that episode, the truth that they will and can talk, if solely to predate and hasten their very own agenda, considerably robs them of their scary-factor.
This isn’t to recommend that there aren’t real chills available once we, mild viewers, first realise that the Doctor and Donna aren’t actually speaking to 1 one other as they begin to repair the ship. But by the third-such encounter the self-esteem is beginning to put on skinny. You can solely riff on “But only I would know, except then only YOU would know…” for thus lengthy.