From the opening In the Forest of the Night promised to be a fun episode; the girl who played Maebh was an excellent young actress who carried off the wonder of experiencing Timelord technology for the first time brilliantly. Or was that the show itself? Every episode Doctor Who manages to put the viewer in the place of a character who is seeing all of this for the first time and makes you feel like you are first seeing the inside of the TARDIS even though we have seen it countless times before.
The opening sequence in which the Doctor realised that the forest he is surrounded by is actually London was impressive; the scene when the camera pans over Nelson’s Column showing that it is covered in moss and then elevates into a bird’s-eye view of all of London felt like a moment from a post-apocalyptic movie such as I Am Legend. This is due to the fact that though the buildings were present and in good condition they were completely overgrown by plant-life. It had the feeling, like most of the episode that nature was trying to take Earth back.
The premise itself, that the city was overrun by plants literally over-night was very compelling and provided great dramatic fodder for the actors to work off of. The various human characters emerging from their homes to find that their whole world had changed in a matter of hours was an interesting thing to present to the audience to ask them how they would react if the same happened to them. It was an interesting concept that was well executed mainly because of the beautiful shots of the bigger picture. Occasionally we would get a glimpse of the city on a bigger scale or even Earth after it has been transformed, reminding us that this is a global event.
However, in the many scenes that took place on the streets of London it had the unfortunate feel of a set, though there were occasional appearances of elements of the world before the incident it felt more like an actual forest in too many moments. It felt like they were running through the same sets a lot, this may have been intentional to create the effect that they were disoriented, walking around in circles. Nevertheless, they still could have done more to create both the feeling of a London street and a forest simultaneously than a forest with a landmark and the odd street sign here and there.
On the other hand the acting and dialogue was again fantastic. Capaldi, Coleman and Anderson were once again excellent which comes as no surprise, what does is how talented the young actors were. These aren’t randomly picked child actors only getting the role because they are the right age, BBC take the casting of their young roles as seriously as the rest.
I also like the fact that this incarnation of the Doctor does not take secrecy as seriously as the previous versions. He has revealed the wonders of the universe to regular, unsuspecting members of the public multiple times this season, exposing the TARDIS interior to a lot of people whereas previously he has been very cautious about revealing Timelord technology to just anybody.
Now of course what everyone is talking about on basically all forms of social media is the “next time” clip. I can’t blame them, it seems the last two episodes will be a two-part finale, which in itself I think is excellent. It also seems there will be Cybermen, (which I can’t wait for, love them as a villan) lots of explosions and a resolution to this “Heaven” story line that has been bubbling under for weeks. Also, evil Clara? It could be that this whole time Clara has been a sleeper agent for Missy, ready to flip completely on a single command. Also, who is Missy and what is this “Heaven”? Why do people die and reaper there? So many questions and only two episodes left to answer them.