The Doctor and friends come across a girl who is scared of a monster and missing her dad. It's a set-up for a standard adventure, but then things go in an unexpected direction.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
- Why is the Doctor having so much trouble controlling the TARDIS this season? Did something happen to our favorite blue box between the time #12 turned into #13, and the time when they were reunited in The Ghost Monument?
- The "Wooly Rebellion" doesn't sound like a good time. Honestly, there's a decent chance we would have tried to join the sheep.
- Cheers to Graham for addressing one of the many challenges of travelling with the Doctor: You can in fact go a long time without eating, so it's good to bring a sandwich. The guy handles intergalactic time travel as well as anyone we've seen on this show.
- Ryan's dad issues are still a thing.
- Ooh, we love a good inter-dimensional portal. There's always something interesting on the other side. It looks like we're in for a legit science fiction story this week!
- This anti-zone looks like a cleaned up version of a "classic era" set. You can imagine punching right through one of those "cave walls" without much issue. Ribbons also looks like someone that maybe the 6th or 7th Doctor would have encountered, but he's also a straight-up villain, so that works for us. Series 11 has looked terrific all year, so if they had to cut the production budget on this episode to balance out the budget, so be it.
- Why on Earth (or the anti-zone) would the Doctor ever let Ribbons get behind her? Bad call. You want that guy where you can see him at all times.
- This multiple portals issue reminds us a little of "The Girl in the Fireplace."
- Hold on, if Ribbons cut the string, than Hanne shouldn't be able to use it to find her way in the anti-zone.
- Scaring your blind daughter to trick her into staying in the house by herself so you can hang out with your dead wife in another universe? We're starting to think Erik is not a "great dad."
- A couple of thoughts about these folks who have apparently come back from the dead: First, we know that this season is about a fresh start, but wouldn't #13 ask if this is connected to the Testimony folks from Twice Upon a Time? Measuring time is always tricky on this show, but she's not that far removed from that story-line at this point, is she? Anyway, next up, Bradley Walsh does a terrific job of showing Graham's excitement, confusion, and heartbreak when he deals with "Grace." You can see how badly he wants it to really be her, although he knows that's not possible. Third, it was a mistake for the BBC to release publicity photos for the New Year's Day episode that show the entire group together. If they only featured the Doctor, there would have been more suspense here about whether Graham would have stayed in this other universe.
- When the Doctor says she had seven grannies, is that supposed to be seven different women, or is she talking about one woman regenerating six times? Gallifreyan family trees must be a challenge to track.
- Ryan and Yaz also both end up being in peril for a moment, and again, it would have been better if we didn't know they'll be here for New Year's.
- Now we're getting to the heart of it. The Doctor tells the story of the Solitract, a consciousness that can't exist in our universe and is clearly looking for friends. From Graham to Erik to a frog (more on that in a second), we're talking about surviving grief, loss, and loneliness this week. We see what we want to see when reality is too painful. It's a (multi) universal situation, and we are here for it. We've got a 2000+ year-old alien talking to a frog, and the whole thing is about as human as it gets. Suddenly, this episode has a stronger emotional punch.
- Back to the frog. Having a lonely conscious universe take the shape of a frog feels distinctly Douglas Adams-esque, and there's always room for more of that.
- Ryan and Graham finally have the bonding moment that we've been expecting all season.
- Another week where the TARDIS only appears on-screen for 60 seconds? Boooooo.
"It Takes You Away" seemed like it might be a fairly average story at first, but Graham's struggle, the emotional impact of the ending, and the frog (yeah, we're in for the frog) makes it one of the most impactful episodes of the season.
Now, before we go, who is the voice that the Doctor recognizes in the season finale? Is someone making a return (hello, Missy!), or is a bait-and-switch, and it ends up being one of #13's friends? Guess we'll find out next week. See you then!
Everyone struggles with grief at some point. (pic via bbc.co.uk)