Review: Doctor Who: In the Forest of the Night

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So. A forest just popped up in the middle of London (and the rest of the world) overnight. What do you immediately think of? Narnia but with trees? The 10th Kingdom? Ferngully? Those walking tree people from Lord of the Rings (Editors note: they are called Ents)? Am I going to get eaten by animals?!
Two of those thoughts were actually connected to the episode. “In the Forest of the Night” is one of the quietest and fantasy based episodes to date. It is essentially the quiet before the storm since the next episode shall begin the two-part finale. Judging from the trailer, this will offer up some much needed answers. For this episode though, it also amped up emotions as fans will either be confused, angry, frustrated, or bored. Whether they hate this episode or love it, I believe everyone is done with waiting for answers and want to see how this season will end.
Image Courtesy of Not-Literally.com

Image Courtesy of Not-Literally.com

Caution: Spoilers Ahead

The use of children in the season continues as we have Maebh running through the newly grown forest to find the Doctor, who  is the TARDIS in the middle of London. Meanwhile, Clara and Mr. Pink are watching over children as they slept over at the museum for a class trip. Everyone, including the Doctor is shocked by the growth of the trees. Believing it’s a threat, the government agency called Hydra ,er, I mean Cobra, begins to burn pathways to trees.  This plot description is really absurd to write, it’s really much more interesting to see on screen. As the episode plods along, you find that this is not an episode about monsters or evil creatures. It is all about Earth knowing how to handle its own [email protected]
This makes it  frustrating that this was even an episode at all. It is really just a filler episode to amp up the anticipation for the finale. There are some sweet elements of fairy tales, ecology messages, and science lessons for the children. It also did offset the gloomy and scary tones of the previous episodes. Even the goofy ending just points to how hard the season is trying to make this really friendly for children. The finale is really going to be the deciding factor but as of now this season has been really unfocused and balanced (what. about. Gallifrey?!?!).
The episode as a whole was a dud whereas parts of it were pretty good.
  • The affirmation that the sonic screwdriver does not work on wood reminds me of that comical scene in the 50th anniversary episode.
  • The character Ruby was a definite scene stealer and should have had the most focus. I wonder if she has some significance in the future? She was witty, quick thinking, and very observant. The Doctor had mentioned that people should listen to children and he had made that mistake of not doing so.
  • The Doctor can be wrong and can make the wrong assumptions. Good.
  • The use of the Tunguska event reminded me of the horrors of space (thank you lectures at the Griffith Park observatory).
  • Good lesson on tree rings! And the nuts and berries lesson!
  • Good use of a William Blake poem .

The parts that really kept me from loving this episode:

  • The passive aggressive nature of Mr. Pink. I was rooting for him earlier in the season but this constant bickering about her time with the Doctor is getting really old. Clara and the Doctor have been friends for a long time. They are not sleeping with each other, they are off saving worlds and galaxy! Mr. Pink, you are not the center of her universe.
  • The ending. I absolutely hate the ending. What was the point? So you’re telling me that the next time those earth tree fairy things happen, they will unite lost family members? That is absurd, creepy, and really selfish.
  • I am not an expert on tiger behavior but I doubt flickering a flashlight into it’s eyes would make it run away. I would think it would enrage it and have it attack it. On an added note, a little girl running away with a heavy backpack would not be able to outrun wolves.
  • B.S. on the trees wanting to save us. They want to save themselves. Humans are just bigger versions of pests that use trees like the insects, bees and other animals.
  • Also, how pissed off are the animals, ecology preservation groups, and other creatures that are suffering from deforestation knowing that trees can just appear and disappear so quickly? Trees are d*&ks.
  • Really? The whole world just forgets? I don’t think those would allergies would forget.
  • What about the escaped zoo animals? Kind of hard to forget that a forest came about when you have a tiger and wolves running around.
Ultimately, this episode is just going to separate viewers to love or hate it. Even with the  whimsy and forest magic, I’m not sure what would really appeal to children other than nothing bad happens. Even children may become disappointed in this episode.
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies. 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain, 
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 
When the stars threw down their spears 
And water’d heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright, 
In the forests of the night: 
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
William Blake

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