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October 14th, 2018

New Who 11.2 The Ghost Monument

I think we can chalk that up as another cracker. I don't have time to write much about it, as I'm going to Romania tomorrow and need to prioritise prepping for that, but a few thoughts.

God, I love stories about a small band of people trapped in an adverse situation. I believe I have mentioned this before - e.g. it's why one of my favourite early Classic Who stories is The Edge of Destruction. They are so good for character development, and just as The Edge of Destruction really helped to seal the main characters for the Hartnell era, so also this was a very good choice of format when we were getting to know a new (and by recent standards unusually large) TARDIS team. There's still more development to go, but we have moved forward with them. I think I still love Graham the most - probably largely because the other two are (sadly!) a bit too young for me to relate to these days. He did something particular which really made me *heart* him part-way through this episode, but I already can't remember what. Feel free to write suggestions as to what I might have like in the comments!

Angstrom's response to his comment that the Stenza had killed his wife - can't remember the exact words but something like "Mine too" - gave us the first explicit moment of queer representation under the new regime. Good - I'm pleased that that is still in place.

That first location they found for the ruins - the crumbling concrete with the green paint - was absolutely spectacular. Judging from the opening credits, it was somewhere in South Africa, which speaks of a commitment to high production values.

The whole thing felt gritty, serious, and sometimes outright scary - and in my book those are good things. Angstrom's references to her world being cleansed, and both her and Epzo's willingness to undergo huge hardship and almost certain death in order to win a better life for their families (in her case at least - I think his motivation was more self-centred), both felt like parallels for the desperation of real-world refugees from war and persecution, and I'm pleased again that the new regime continues to see it as part of Doctor Who's role to raise and explore these issues.

The burnt-edged papery, fabricy, snakey things (according to Wikipedia they were called the Remnants) were quite M.R. Jamesish! And I liked how the set-up for defeating them worked through, from what seemed initially like the Doctor just finding a way to help Ryan find the courage and focus he needed to climb the ladder, to a scientific solution which he had contributed to. Though I'm not sure I fully understand why they didn't just attack everyone straight away, and although I probably didn't catch it fully, I didn't much like the sound of prophetic stuff about a 'Timeless Child' either. That's exactly the sort of thing I was pleased not to be hearing last week. :-/

Finally, the new TARDIS interior genuinely was awesome, and I'm glad I saw that completely unspoiled. Hexagons, circles, an organic crystalline feel, and custard creams to boot! Judging from next week's setting, though, it looks like her time and space calibration is a bit off-kilter. It could take a while before the Doctor can get her chums back to where and when they actually came from. :-)


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