TV Review – ‘The Ghost Monument’ (Doctor Who)

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

After the exciting start to Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ with Jodie Whittaker in ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’, I was looking forward to finding out what the next episode was going to be like. Will it be good as the first episode? Will I enjoy the story and the characters? Would I get flummoxed by anything?

Well, let’s take a look! The season continues with ‘The Ghost Monument’ by Chris Chibnall. We go straight into the opening titles with new theme music arrangement by Segun Akinola! I love the new ‘Doctor Who’ opening titles and theme music. It was good to see since it was not in the first episode.

The titles sequence got me very excited since it has elements of the original William Hartnell titles from the 1960s as well as traces of Jon Pertwee’s from the 70s when travelling through the time vortex. By the way, is it me or does the time vortex have an underwater feel to it in the opening titles?

The theme music also sounds really good, echoing the original Delia Derbyshire theme music from the classic series with a new spin on it. By the way, most of the episode was filmed in South Africa to create the planet of the Desolation. It looks impressive and makes you think you are on an alien planet.

Anyway, the episode begins where we left off in the previous episode. Our four heroes, the Doctor; Graham; Ryan and Yaz are in space before they get rescued by two pilots. Graham and Ryan get rescued by Susan Lynch as Angstrom whilst the Doctor and Yaz get rescued by Shaun Dooley as Epzo.

It’s interesting how the episode begins with it seeming like we were going to have two subplots with Graham and Ryan on one ship and the Doctor and Yaz on another. I expected the two groups to be separate from each other in most of the episode before reuniting at the end. Thankfully it didn’t occur.

Had this episode been a four-parter in the classic series, it would’ve accommodated that aspect of the storytelling. I must admit, there did seem a lot going on with some panic in the early part of the episode. But thankfully I was able to follow the story without any problem while watching the episode.

Even my parents didn’t find it difficult as they were able to enjoy it and follow the story. This surprised me as I expected them to be flummoxed. Thankfully this is a new era with a fresh approach and there is a story and main characters to enjoy without any complicating factors to get in the way.

The Doctor and her companions meet up with each other along with Angstrom and Epzo on the planet simply known as the Desolation. It seems Angstrom and Epzo are in a race to win a certain prize. Our heroes meet up with a certain race organizer, Art Malik as Ilin, who sets up the challenge.

Ilin, who happens to be a hologram, says that our heroes must reach something called the Ghost Monument in order to win the race and then to acquire their prize. The Ghost Monument of course happens to be…the TARDIS! Oh thank goodness! I thought we would never see that police box again! 😀

The two pilots, Angstrom and Epzo, aren’t exactly a friendly bunch. The two are in competition with each other. Epzo is ruthless than Angstrom is and it was quite horrifying to hear him share a story about his past when his mother had him fall to the ground to injure himself. He doesn’t seem to care.

Angstrom is not a very sociable person, especially when Yaz tries to chat up with her. There are traces of compassion in her character, but like Epzo, she seems keen to get her prize and not let her competitor win. But is she just as greedy as Epzo? Will she have a trace of decency in her character?

I like our main heroes in this episode. Jodie Whittaker is very good as the Doctor. She comes across as energetic, especially when working things out. She’s also very caring and looks out for her companions, determined to get them back home once she finds the TARDIS. I enjoyed her Venusian aikido moment.

There are also occasions when she can let out her anger at times, especially towards Ryan when he tries to use a gun to fight against the Sniperbots. I like how Jodie’s Doctor abhors violence as much as her previous incarnations did, since she refuses to use guns and prefers to use alternative approaches.

Bradley Walsh is very good as Graham in the episode. He does come across as the cautious type among the Thirteenth Doctor group and can often be negative as well as flummoxed at times. But despite that, Graham seems willing to put his trust in the Doctor to return home and being very willing to help.

Graham even tries to put his mechanic skills to use when trying to fix something spacey on an alien planet. I liked it when Graham was given shades by the Doctor to wear on the hot sunny planet. It was intriguing how Graham’s relationship with Ryan develops in the episode as he tries to connect to him.

Tosin Cole is equally good as Ryan in this episode. As well as that moment when Ryan hastily uses a gun to shoot at the Sniperbots, his dyspraxia gets touched upon especially when the Doctor uses words of encouragement to help him climb up a ladder. This is after the Doctor ‘had a go’ at Ryan earlier on.

Ryan does seem unwilling to accept Graham as a ‘grandfather’ though. I wonder how this is going to progress in the episode, especially since Ryan’s nan Grace died in the previous episode and doesn’t seem willing to talk to Graham about it. I also do like how Ryan and Yaz seem to be bonding as friends.

Mandip Gill is also very good as Yaz in the episode. I know it was argued that her character was a bit underused in the previous episode and the same can be said for here. But I like how her family background gets touched upon in the episode. She even assists the Doctor on board Epzo’s spaceship.

I like Yaz’s reaction to being on board a spaceship when she wakes up. She comes across a nice person as well as Graham and Ryan. I like how she shares a bond with Ryan in this episode. Whether that will be progressed further and whether she will have an episode dedicated to her, I’m not so sure of it yet.

The Sniperbots do seem terrifying as robot monsters in the episode, especially when they’re on sentry duty in the ruins of a former civilization and when they open fire upon the Doctor and her friends. I wish we could’ve seen more of those robots in the episode as they seemed really terrifying.

There are also the Remnants, voiced by Ian Gelder (Oh! He was in ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’!). These are sentient shroud-like creatures that are the result of bio-engineering. They also have a connection to the Stenza, which is the name of the alien species Tzim-Sha or ‘Tim Shaw’ belonged to.

I did like how the episode ended with the TARDIS not seeming to be there at the end of the race and the Doctor is distraught. When Angstrom and Epzo are about to claim their prize from Ilin, the Doctor suggests they should claim a joint victory. It works and Angstrom and Epzo get off the planet.

But the Doctor and her friends are left behind. The Doctor is apologetic to her companions that she didn’t fulfil her promise in getting them all back home. But Graham; Ryan and Yaz don’t give up on the Doctor and on finding the TARDIS, as they seem to be very willing to wait until her ship turns up.

I must say, I really like how these companions of the Thirteenth Doctor come across as likeable characters. They truly display the qualities that companions should be. They don’t complain a lot and they seem willing to put their trust in the Doctor, even when bad things seem to be going on in this.

Thankfully though, the TARDIS does reappear and the Doctor uses her sonic screwdriver to bring the ship back. I was so pleased to see the TARDIS again. I thought we were going to have to wait a long while before the TARDIS came back. Thankfully not! The Doctor can’t go without her TARDIS, can she?!

And of course we get to see inside the Thirteenth Doctor’s TARDIS and what the console room looks like. I must say…I really love the new TARDIS console room! I honestly do! It has echoes of the Russell T. Davies era TARDIS console room, looking almost organic and having a crimson quality to it.

I really like the reactions given by the Doctor’s companions, Graham; Ryan and Yaz when they see the inside of the Doctor’s TARDIS. They’re in awe and are impressed by it, as they should be. I like the build up to the TARDIS interior reveal and it is one of my favourite scenes from the entire episode.

I enjoyed it when the Doctor started setting the TARDIS off in flight to get her friends back home. She pulls levers and presses a pedal to which pops out a…I had no idea what it was at first when Jodie took a bite from it, but it was a custard cream. Apparently it’s Jodie’s favourite biscuit. Are there any bourbons? 😀

‘The Ghost Monument’ has been a great episode to watch from Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’. It did have a lot going on at the start with it all panic stations and such. But once that was out of the way, I was able to get into enjoying the episode without a problem, liking the story and the characters in it.

My favourite bits from ‘The Ghost Monument’ episode are the new opening ‘Doctor Who’ titles with new theme music as well as the reveal of the new TARDIS interior. I’m also really getting into the Thirteenth Doctor; Graham; Ryan and Yaz as characters. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them.

Next week’s episode is called ‘Rosa’ by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘The Ghost Monument’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Excellent review Tim, I agree with your comments about this excellent episode, for me the tone seems more mature & grown up than the panto tone of the Moffat era.

    I like that they restored the Doctor’s love of adventure & exploring, Jodie was awesome & I like that her Doctor gets involved & mucks in, I’m shocked because up until last week I more or less wrote this series off, thanks for keeping the faith Tim, the show feels fresh & revitalised & actually shows how tired Moffats era had become.

    Only gripe Yaz underused again hopefully she’ll get a chance to shine soon.

    p.s what you think about Kamilion joining Big Finish? I’m a bit gutted we ain’t getting the season 19 trio.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘The Ghost Monument’. Glad you enjoyed this episode too and found it excellent. I wouldn’t call this a perfect episode, but it’s a lot better than some of the episodes I’ve seen in the Steven Moffat era and it harks back to what I enjoyed in the Russell T. Davies era.

      I’m really liking Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ so far and Jodie Whittaker has made me happy in playing a female Doctor who’s likeable and easy to watch, which I found difficult when watching Matt Smtih and Peter Capaldi’s Doctors at times. Yeah I agree, the sense of adventure and exploring was lost during the Steven Moffat era and I’m glad it’s been put back in the Chris Chribnall era.

      I’m very pleased this season’s impressed you and that you’re enjoying it so far compared to when you were against watching the series from the start. I love ‘Doctor Who’ and I feel the show has done well for itself in its rejuvenated state. There are people I’ve come across who don’t like this episode and possibly Series 11 in general, saying the writing’s lazy; they don’t like the new TARDIS interior and they don’t like the titles sequence much. I don’t agree with them of course and it upsets me they think this way as I’m enjoying Series 11 very much and don’t find the writing lazy as other people have implied. I know not everyone is going to agree with my thoughts and that they won’t like Jodie as the Doctor. But I do feel that the new direction of the show and the casting of Jodie as the Doctor is probably what the series needs in order to keep it going and rejuvenated for people to enjoy. I’m pleased you see that as well as me and I can only hope for the season to be better by the end and a vast improvement on what had gone in the Moffat era.

      Yeah Yaz did seem underused again in this episode, but there were moments I like with her character. I believe we’re going to meet her family in a future episode which I think is the fourth one, ‘Arachnids in the UK’, so that should be something to look forward to. I don’t know if Yaz will have a character journey in the next episode, ‘Rosa’, but she might do after seeing the ‘next time’ trailers for it.

      BTW, there will be a delay for my new review on ‘Rosa,’ as I’ll be going to ‘Destination Star Trek’ this coming weekend. I hope to post a review on the episode next week asap. Stay tuned.

      Regarding Kamelion in Big Finish, yeah I don’t mind that so much. I’m glad BF are doing stories with Kamelion, the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. I admit I’m disappointed there aren’t any Season 19 trio stories next year and I love listening to Nyssa anyway. But I suppose it’s fair we should give other chapters of the Fifth Doctor era a chance to shine and I’m sure there’ll be more Nyssa stories to look forward to in the future. I’m looking forward to ‘The Mistpuddle Murders’ next with Sarah Sutton. I just wish there was an announcement made about when Sarah Sutton is going to attend the next comic con as I haven’t seen her in a long while. But I suppose I’ll have to remain patient and hope she’ll do another comic con.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my review and the episode. I certainly did and loving Jodie’s Doctor so far.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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