Hello everyone! 🙂
Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!
It’s the penultimate episode of Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’! I’m sad this season is coming to an end! I’ve enjoyed Series 11 this year! This ‘Doctor Who’ season has been pretty good so far and I’ve enjoyed the character journeys of the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz. I hope it will be good in the season finale!
So what’s the latest ‘Doctor Who’ episode about then? Well, ‘It Takes You Away’ is an episode by Ed Hime, a new writer to the TV series. The story is set in the Norweigan fjords. The Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz come across an isolated house where a scared girl is inside, alone and without her father.
I like how the episode begins with the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz investigating something and they become curious about it. This is something that’s become a thing wherever the Thirteenth Doctor TARDIS team go in time and space. It’s something I prefer as opposed to what was in the previous era.
Apparently, there’s this monster that comes to steal people away. It scares the blind girl, Eleanor Wallwork as Hanne, who hides underneath the table. I was pleasantly surprised to see a blind person represented in this episode. This put me in mind of blind people in ‘The Moon Stallion’ and ‘Daredevil’.
Very soon, the Doctor and her friends find themselves going through a mirror that doesn’t reflect people’s images all of the time. I did wonder if this episode was actually going to be about vampires and whether Graham and Ryan had turned into vampires. That would’ve been fun and interesting. 😀
Thankfully that’s not the case, as the mirror is actually a portal to a gateway or a corridor of a cave-like structure to another universe that has a consciousness. I found this concept of two universes connected to each other intriguing. Can the Doctor and her friends resist the desires of this universe?!
Now from watching this episode, you’d think this was one of those complicated timey-wimey episodes from the Steven Moffat era. But for the most part, I was able to follow what was going on in the episode without too much trouble. This was down to the strong character drama featured throughout.
Yeah there were things about this episode that I didn’t get initially concerning the intersection between two mirrors; the concept of a conscious universe and how the alien Solitract is supposed to work. But the more I thought about it, the more I found the ideas interesting, plausible and easy to comprehend.
I suppose it helped with the fact that this episode had an Earth setting in Norway, 2018. Also, like I said, there was some pretty compelling character drama featured throughout this episode. That’s not just from the regulars but the supporting characters too. The character drama’s been good this season!
I didn’t feel like anything was silly or being played for laughs in this episode. I was able to take things seriously; finding the concepts and the emotional drama easy to take in. You think for one moment the episode’s going to be something; then it turns into something else and it didn’t seem to disappoint.
I also found it interesting to see a blind girl in this episode through Hanne’s character and how she was depicted, being scared and wanting to see her father again. Hanne seemed to be feisty and reckless, especially when going through the Antizone and when sensing her mother was not real.
I enjoyed it when the Doctor, Graham and Yaz had to gain the assistance of Kevin Eldon as the alien-like Ribbons in order to gain passage through the Antizone. Ribbons seemed greedy for profit and he put me in mind of a Ferengi from ‘Star Trek’. Surprised he didn’t ask for gold press latinum. 😀
It was tense when there were these flesh moths that came out to attack and were attracted to Ribbons’ red glowing lamp light. It was tenser when the Doctor, Graham and Ryan remained still whilst the flesh moths killed Ribbons, before the three ran for their lives away from the flesh moths chasing them.
The episode also features Christian Rubeck as Erick, Hanne’s father, who has been on the other side of the Antizone with Hanne’s mother, Lisa Stokke as Trine. The episode also features a surprise appearance of Sharon D. Clarke as Grace O’Brien. I wasn’t expecting to see Grace back in ‘Doctor Who’!
Jodie Whittaker is wonderful as the Doctor in this episode. I find how increasingly confident she seems to be in the role and I feel she’s managed to find her feet with the character. There were some pretty amusing moments with Jodie’s Doctor. The soil eating moments in the tale were a bit strange, but still.
I enjoyed the intensity in those emotional moments when Jodie’s Doctor tries to explain what’s going on with the Solitract and how she tries to persuade everyone to get out of the Solitract universe in order to return to their home universe. I like how Jodie’s Doctor worked things out during the episode.
I was anxious when the Doctor might lose her own sonic screwdriver to Ribbons when he wanted to buy it from her. The Doctor manages to maintain her cool when negotiating with Ribbons, not letting him have her sonic screwdriver and when she tells Graham and Yaz not to move with the flesh moths about.
It’s interesting when it got revealed that the Doctor had seven grandmothers in the days of youth. Not sure whether that’s actually seven grandmothers or seven incarnations of the same grandmother. Take your pick. It was a bit amusing when one of the Doctor’s grandmothers was a Zygon secret agent.
Bradley Walsh steals the show as Graham in this episode. This episode features some defining moments in Graham’s character. I did a double-take when it turns out Graham’s been keeping cheese and pickle sandwiches in his pocket whilst travelling should he get hungry. (Pause) Well, obviously! 😀
But the strongest set of defining moments for Graham is when he finds himself reunited with his former dead wife, Grace. Graham finds it a struggle to let go of Grace before he finds out that she isn’t real. The emotional moments with Graham’s character in this episode have been pretty standout here.
Tosin Cole is equally good as Ryan in this episode. Ryan becomes suspicious about Hanne having been abandoned by her father and mistakenly assumes her father doesn’t love her. Despite making that mistake, Ryan is still suspicious and struggles to get on with Hanne when he’s meant to look after her.
Hanne doesn’t take to Ryan much either in the episode, as she knocks him out before going into the Antizone to find her father. Thankfully Ryan catches up with Hanne and the two get on, getting over their differences. I liked that moment when Ryan calls Graham ‘granddad’ at the end of the story.
Mandip Gill is very good as Yaz in the episode. I don’t think this is a standout episode for Yaz’s character here, but she has a fair share of good moments. I liked it when Yaz comes to Hanne’s defence as she rebukes Ryan’s suspicions about her father. She seems more compassionate and sensitive than Ryan is.
I’d like to think Yaz is the person who’s there to explain to the audience what the Doctor’s on about describing the Solitract. Yaz copes well due to her police officer skills, especially when investigating Hanne’s father’s disappearance and in accompanying the Doctor and Graham into the Antizone.
The episode concludes on a particularly strange note. After the Doctor has her friends; Hanne and her father sent out of the Solitract universe back into the Antizone, she finds herself in a white void…with a frog on a chair. (laughs) It seems it’s the Solitract in the form of a frog…with Grace’s voice.
You know something? I’ve reviewed plenty of ‘Doctor Who’ stories on my blog as well as movies and TV shows I like. Many of them have strange oddities within them that I can like and appreciate gradually, even if they don’t make sense initially. And yet…something like this is still pretty darn weird!
But it also feels strangely appropriate for ‘Doctor Who’. I’m surprised Jodie’s Doctor didn’t kiss the frog and turn it into a prince instead of blowing a kiss like she did in the episode. 😀 I wonder if it’s the same frog that Jodie’s Doctor got chased by outside Buckingham Palace in the ‘Rose’ novelization? 😀
Anyway, Jodie’s Doctor gets back into our universe and returns with her friends. All is well, as the Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham say goodbye to Hanne and her father before they return to the TARDIS. I liked the misty, spooky atmosphere featured in the Norway setting, which suits the episode very well.
‘It Takes You Away’ has been a terrific ‘Doctor Who’ episode to watch. It’s an episode you need to watch more than once, but I enjoyed what happened to the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz in the trap they seemed to have got themselves into. All was satisfying and entertainingly resolved for me.
Like I said, I’m saddened about Series 11 coming to an end. I’ve enjoyed this season so far. I wonder what’s going to happen next in the season finale. How will Jodie Whittaker’s first season of ‘Doctor Who’ come to an end? Will it end on a satisfying note? Will our four main TARDIS characters survive?!
Next week’s episode is called ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ by Chris Chibnall.
Thanks for reading!
Bye for now!
Excellent review Tim & i agree with your comments, i like that we have a episode that’s a bit out there & misleads the viewer by changing the story’s plot, i thought this was a monster of the week story but turned into something quite wonderful.
However that frog was a bit too out there & I’d done it differently & had the Doctor see great grandson Alex from the Eighth Doctor adventures, this would’ve introduced a new member of the Doctor’s family & for fans of Big Finish been a nice easter egg, could you imagine Jodies Doctor how she’d react seeing her great grandson who the Doctor couldn’t save in To The Death i think that would’ve been a far more emotional & gut wrenching ending especially when the Doctor blows a kiss.
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Glad you enjoyed my review on this story and that you agree with my comments. I didn’t know what to expect when watching this story. But the surprises and twists of what happened and turning this story into something else took me completely by surprise and it was very welcoming at that.
Yeah I agree the frog scene was a little bizarre in the viewing and it would’ve been nice if we saw someone who was close to the Doctor to represent her staying on in that place, especially with justifying that blowing kiss moment. I think it’d be great to see Alex, the Doctor’s great grandson in that moment. I’m not sure if Jack McGann would’ve available though. I would’ve gone with a multitude of past companions for Jodie’s Doctor to react to, both from classic and new series.
Otherwise, I enjoyed this episode very much. Looking forward to the series finale next week.
Thanks again, Simon.
I thought of Alex because he’s a blood relative of the Doctor whom he/she failed to save, I think it might been nice delve into the Doctor’s family as i thought maybe choose Alex as he works on a fan level as well as casual viewers who don’t listen to Big Finish.
it be great scene were the Doctor relives Alex extermination by the Daleks & that true sense of loss cut to Jodies Doctor with tears in her eye’s saying I’m so sorry Alex I failed you & Alex replying “yes you did” that would’ve been a emotional gut punch moment I think.
I think the writer’s missed a opportunity there, ole Chibnall needs to give us a call Tim lol.
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Yeah that would’ve been a great way to introduce casual viewers to the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’ by having Alex appear instead of the frog. I’ve not heard ‘To The Death’ mind, but from what I’ve heard about it it would be interesting to see how the death of Alex would be painful for the Doctor.
Mind you, there have been other painful deaths of friends and companions the Doctor’s had such as Adric and such. It would’ve been interesting to see Jodie’s Doctor react to that with pain and remorse whilst also being strong at the same time. You’re right, the writer did miss an opportunity here. I don’t blame Ed Hime for it since this is his ‘Doctor Who’ episode, but it’s a shame it wasn’t followed up.
I’m curious about who the enemy is in the Series 11 season finale, ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ as well as in the New Year’s Day Special. I have my guesses, but I’ll reserve them for when we get to those episode. But I hoping they’ll feature monsters/villians from the past.
Thanks for your insight, Simon.