Doctor Who 11.02 - The Ghost Monument (Review)
The second episode of Doctor Who series 11 aired Sunday 14th October. Can someone explain to me what she's so sorry about? And where did the sunglasses come from?
Like the last episode, The Woman Who Fell To Earth, The Ghost Monument was also written by the showrunner Chris Chibnall. That's not uncommon - new showrunner will often want to put their stamp on their new creations and write some series important episodes.
After finding themselves on the brink of death in the middle of space, the Doctor and her three new best friends are saved by two mysterious aliens, Epzo and Angstrom. Together, they all end up on the planet of Desoluation and find themselves in a race to survive in a hostile environment. Why are they there and who exactly are Epzo and Angstrom?
Warning for slight spoilers ahead!
I found this episode unfortunately bland. Highlights include five minutes of info-dumping - but done on a solar panelled boat. While sailing down a lake of lethal water which is darkly foreshadowed but never comes back. The hammy conversations between Ryan and Graham. And best of all, trying to subvert cliche by having the Doctor point out the cliche. We also need to chalk up two episodes out of two were alien technology is involuntarily planted in our heroes for plot convenience. Something the Graham himself points out is an unnaturally frequent occurrence.
We can't all like Steven Moffat.
I also found it odd to have paid for an actor like Art Malik to appear in your episode and only use him in two underwhelming scenes! Though I was glad to see what we saw of him. No matter how little.
The Sorry Count for this episode was FOUR.
As I mentioned last week, I’m not comfortable with this new apologetic trait the Doctor has acquired. So few of her male counterparts ever apologized for anything, and rarely did they apologize four times in one episode. The implication rankles me.
I think what we're dealing with here is a far more human Doctor. That's not a positive, at least not for me. The Doctor's character has always been certain, sure and essentially, ruthless. At the moment, I can't imagine this Doctor making the same decisions as the Eleccsten, Tennant, Smith or Capaldi Doctors. At least, not without apologising for it a great deal.
At this point, I'm rather leaning towards Yaz as our new, headstrong woman.
FANS OF PRE-NINTH DOCTOR! Please let me know, do you remember any of the earlier Doctors apologising regularly. Drop me a message if so - I'm genuinely interested!
The Positives, Sunglasses and Custard Cremes!
I'm loving the new Tardis! It seems to have shifted into a brassy gold, which fits in with the slightly glammed up and polished title sequence. We've obviously moved back into hexagons - the coolest of all the shapes. And, while apparently pointless - as almost everything on the Tardis is, I couldn't help but love the addition of the egg timer.
Despite Chris Chinballs assertions that there wouldn’t be much of an arch going on, one seems to have been introduced. Who or what is is the Timeless Child? This is a reference to the Doctor herself or a reference to some child of the Doctor? I really hope not. The last thing I want is the Doctor to immediately become a mother - as though that's the exclusive purpose of women.
Although her confused calls to the Tardis elicited my only chuckle in the episode.
The potential for some mystery and long-term arcs is a relief for me, because overarching storylines are probably one of my favourite parts of Doctor Who. From the Crack in the Universe, to Bad Wolf, to the Pond Ménage, I'd be disappointed if every episode is a stand alone.
It's also apparent that the Stenza, those toothy, Tim Shaw aliens, also look to be our reoccurring bad guys for this series.
The sunglasses discussion between the Doctor and Graham was also an odd element. The Doctor claims that she got those sunglasses from either Audrey Hepburn or Pythagorous. However, this Doctor has not yet had access to her Tardis. Which means that Capaldi would have had to have had these sunglasses on him when he left - but these are not Capaldi's sonic sunglasses, which are a far darker shade.
No reason to bring this up. Just bothered me.
The Doctor also ends the episode with a triumphant Custard Creme. Not completely sure of the reference, unless it's a weird connection to fish fingers and custard. A quick Google search tells me that the Tenth Doctor says that custard creams and Garibaldi biscuits "are the best" in Code of the Krillitanes a book written by Justin Richards.
However, this was answered for me on Doctor Who's office Twitter:
I heartily thank Chris Chinball for getting our new Doctor started under difficult circumstances. She’s dynamic, powerful and flawed in all the good ways. The series feels darker while being glammed up and I think he's done an amazing job. Now please, Chris, don’t write another episode.
Another solid Meh from me.
But no need to worry just yet - I can't wait for the Rosa Parks episode! I hope to see you all back here for that!
If you'd like to read my review for last week's episode The Woman Who Fell To Earth, click here!