Doctor Who Review: “In the Forest of the Night”

Written by Frank Cottrell- Boyce

Review by: Native Gamer

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“In the Forest of the Night” is the tenth episode, of the current season, of the long running series ‘Doctor Who’, and the last episode before the 2 part season finale that starts on November 1st, 2014. The episode stars Peter Capaldi as ‘The Doctor’ and Jenna Louise Coleman as ‘Clara Oswald’ and also features Samuel Anderson as ‘Danny Pink’. This Episode is set in present day London and centers on the mystery of an overnight forest that covers the planet. The episode opens up with a little girl, Maebh (Played by Abigail Eames) running through a forest and finding the TARDIS. She seems to know about the Doctor and asks for his help, where we find that the Doctor thinks he has landed in the wrong place due to a malfunction. But in fact, the TARDIS is exactly where it says, in the Middle of London, but a Forest has overtaken it. From here the Doctor, Clara, Danny, Maebh and the Coalhill “Talented & Gifted” group work together to solve the mystery of the Forest. The result being that, in fact, the trees were there to save the world. A huge solar flare was heading to the earth and the Trees were filling the atmosphere with excess oxygen to protect the earth from the resulting effects.

Now the thing that really makes this show wonderful is can always grow, and this episode is a prime example of that. It feels fresh and new, we get to see how traveling with the Doctor maybe changes the way you look at a crisis for starters. Danny is worried about the kids, he isn’t worried about the events happening around him as much as he wants to get the children home safe, while Clara almost immediately starts wondering what they can do to fix the situation as a whole. This difference of goals leads to some fun dialogue between the couple.

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Next thing that is interesting about this particular episode, is that there was no real conflict in the end to beat. Yes near the end they had to make a message to everyone in the world, but that message was to do nothing. The Forest that grew, grew to save humanity, it was the solution to the real problem not a problem in itself. Now my biggest criticism of all of this, is that the whole world stopped trying to kill the forest, based solely on the message of a little girl. This one glaring issue that is never addressed in episode bugs me, but it does not detract from the rest of the episode necessarily.

Here was my biggest takeaway from the whole episode, the only person who saw what was really going on, was the one person everyone but the Doctor completely wrote off. Everyone else thought she was crazy, that she heard imaginary voices because she lost her sister, but The Doctor realized that there was more to it than that, she wasn’t hearing imaginary voices, she was just hearing voices that no one else could. It was through her that the Doctor finally communicated with the forest, and it was her voice that sent the message to the world to stop attacking the trees. The Doctor was teaching us, that no matter who the person is, they can be extraordinary.

Now the thing that has most people abuzz is actually the “Next Time” Trailer that appeared at the end of the episode. It teases the next episode and it did exactly that, tease. We see a possible conflict between Clara and the Doctor, we see Cybermen invading London, we see Missy and the possibility of finding out who she is, and we hear a quote that might be very telling.  “I am no Clara Oswald, Clara Oswald has never existed.” But we will have to wait until next week to see if this is just a red herring or if there is more to the “Impossible Girl” than meets the eye.

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