Twelfth: In the Forest of the Night

forest

Writer: Frank Cottrell-Bryce

Director: Sheree Folkson

Producer: Paul Frift
Companion:  Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman)

Series: 8, ep 10

Summary: A little girl comes to the TARDIS asking for help because she is lost. The Doctor drops her off where she wanted to be, but is bewildered by what he sees. The forest has overgrown, threatening to take over London.

Review: One of the unifying features of all the Doctors is that they are all friendly towards children. In fact, the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th each had children or teenagers as companions. I was pleased to see that the 12th continued this tradition of the Doctor being friendly toward children The episode had a great unsettling air to it, and Murray Gold had a great score.

But then the whole thing becomes an environmentalist fable. I’m not a fan of environmentalism, mostly because it’s all message and not very entertaining. This ruined the story for me, and I was actually enjoying it before this happened.

Overall Review: 6/10

Continuity: The Doctor quotes Clara’s remarks in “Kill the Moon.” This is the second time a human has been in communication with plant-based life forms. Of course, this being set in the forest, the sonic screwdriver is once again ineffective.

 

 

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One comment on “Twelfth: In the Forest of the Night

  1. This episode is actually one of my favorites of Series 8, which I spent a lot of getting very sick of the dynamic between Clara and Danny Pink. I didn’t at all find this to be ‘mostly an environmentalist fable’, although in a world where otherwise intelligent adults can, even for a moment, doubt that global warming is a danger to our planet, maybe we NEED a few ‘environmentalist fables.’ One of the things I often get angry at Moffat for is coming up with remarkable visual images that don’t have any logical underpinnings (i.e, the “cyber pollen’ from that one Cyberman story), But here, he gives us the remarkable image of a London overgrown overnight by forestation–and manages to craft a story that explains that in a way that, at least to me, made sense. I found “Kill the Moon” MUCH more of a political fable than this story, quite honestly, and that story was much more heavy-handed about it. Here, yes, you can get all distracted and bogged down by being on a political hobby-horse, or you can see this as a story about caretaking. The Doctor has been cast as a ‘caretaker’ a number of times in Capaldi’s run, and this is another example, whether it’s taking care of children or a forest trying to take care of a planet. Everyone in this story is concerned about taking care of *someone*, and I like that. I also love the Doctor’s interactions with kids. I’ve probably watched this one episode about seven times. I do think there is an element of messaging here, but I think it’s an important message. As long as people in our government try to make other people believe global warming and the environment is less important than building new ways to kill our fellow humans, these kinds of stories need telling, if they can be told well. And I do think this was told well, and, as I said, in contrast to “Kill the Moon”, I felt any political message here took a back seat to a more general human-interest meaning. I actually had to rewatch the episode, after reading your comments, to remember what any ‘environmentalist’ angle to the story even was.

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