TV Review: "Doctor Who" 8x10: In the Forest of the Night

Written by: Lord Gremlin

Well…it had to happen sometime didn’t it? I knew my love affair with Season 8 couldn’t go unchallenged. That would be too fortuitous.  Ladies and gents, we have our first and hopefully only dud this season. Like a twisted version of “Flatline” which just gets better the more I mull it over in my head, “In the Forest of the Night” only gets worse. When the credits rolled I sat there a little befuddled. I thought: “Eh, that was decent I guess….” And I just went about the rest of my night. Little did I know the episode would nag at mind for hours after, revealing all of its shortcomings to me.

First let’s get the positives out of the way. Like I said, the episode looks good, if a little stagey at times. Some of the CGI left much to be desired as well Capaldi, Coleman, Anderson and the child cast all carried the dreadful script on their shoulders. Speaking of the child cast, they were actually the best thing about this story-which is odd considering how hit and miss children can be in entertainment.

All the ingredients for a good story were there. The idea of an overnight forest taking over the world is novel and can open up lots of cool sci-fi ideas. Too bad the script doesn’t fulfill any of the intrigue it puts forth. Everything is just sort of juggled and jumbled together and not wrapped up in a satisfying way. The threat was never felt, the danger never immediate. We are dealing with an end of the world scenario, and I couldn’t care less. The peril was just not present. Not to mention the environmental message felt lazy and slapdash. I’m not looking for ultra-deep social commentary in Who (and when they do inject that stuff it’s never cryptic in execution), but what we got in this episode was pitiful.

The biggest sin “In the Forest of the Night” commits is giving us vital character development for Clara, Danny and The Doctor…but delivered in a horrible fashion. The characters react to certain plot developments in ways that are entirely out of left field and forced. Clara’s decision in particular literally made me say out loud: “What!?” It’s a bummer too, because I have a feeling this stuff plays into the finale.

4/10. There was a good episode here somewhere, maybe even a great one…but a serious script overhaul was desperately needed. Good performances and decent production values and some charming comic relief are the only saving grace for this plodding, sloppy, and confused episode. I haven’t disliked an episode of Who this much in a long time. Let’s hope Moffat can knock the finale out of the park. 
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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