Thursday, 8 June 2017

TV Review No. 55 Doctor Who: Extremis (S10, Ep6)

Strong Points:
Use of blindness
Sudden flick between comedy and tragedy was extremely effective
Great acting
Running away from The Monks scene was a great bit of cinematography
Nardole's grown to be a great character
River's Book is back

Weak Points:
Email, really?
Slow to begin
The Doctor and [redacted] scenes seemed slightly out of place

In-depth Review:
In what other show can the Pope pop up to ruin a date? Because that's exactly what happens in Doctor Who and this episode, with the Pope asking The Doctor for help as a text called the 'Veritas' is killing anyone who reads it. Quite bonkers, very Doctor Who.

Blindness of The Doctor wasn't something I thought they would include in this season, especially not for more than one episode but it works, adding a layer of apparent vulnerability to The Doctor as well as allowing us to see just how clever The Doctor is (although unobservant of the general populace's observations) as he figures out to 'see' without anyone knowing he is blind. Of course, he had a thingamabob that could cure his sight for a bit, and I'm still not completely sure why he can't just regenerate it back but it's still a unique idea to give The Doctor some sort of weakness.

The scene where The Doctor is running away from the Monks is a great piece of cinematography, used the slow increase of blindness well and was overall I think was one of the two best scenes of the episode with the other being the CERN scene (talked about below), although while that one was unsettling, this one was just plain frightening. Kudos to Capaldi as well, you could feel that The Doctor was scared.

The CERN scene in Extremis was one of the most unsettling scenes I've watched for a while, effortlessly jumping from comedy as Bill and Nardole react to suddenly being in CERN and seeing someone happy (but in a slightly 'off' way), to tragedy as we realise just what they're all doing. Suddenly seeing the dynamite under the tables but everyone still being happy and cheering their wine glasses in a relatively average setting (this isn't a medieval dungeon) while it's going on just made me uneasy and the explanation with the numbers was just as unsettling. Overall, a great scene.

They're inside a simulation (inside a simulation, inside a simulation), so just take the red pill, right? Oh, wrong sci-fi show, oops. But anyway, I'm sure this would've been a great twist if I wasn't spoilt it slightly by people on the Twitterverse mentioning the aforementioned Matrix film, and the way they slowly built up to it was nice, especially in a season of standalone episodes (which I have no problems with either). Originally, I thought they were still in the real world and each portal was a projection to another world, so I was still surprised by the sheer scale of this mimicry - they are some pretty powerful aliens to manufacture The Doctor and the TARDIS.

Doctor Who has tried to be more 'hip' and 'trendy for the past couple of seasons now, with mixed results. For every Doctor guitar solo there's the Sonic Sunglasses. This week we had the big evil deceived by an email. Email. In the world of social networking and even texting, they chose email. I don't know why this bugged me, probably because The Doctor was saying that there's one thing that everyone uses and I expected something different but it did all the same.

Just like as in the episode, this paragraph about The Doctor and Missy is going to be slightly out of the way of the rest of the review. Now, they've had multiple storylines before in Doctor Who, and the actual story between The Doctor and Missy was pretty good but in an episode where we had to continually question what was real, it felt slightly out of place.

Conclusion: overall, this episode showed a departure from the rest of the season, taking it's time to build up (although simultaneously taking a while to get going) and then throw us around like only Moffat can.

Rating: 88%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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