The TARDIS lands in present day Norway in the middle of winter, and the Doctor, Graham, Yasmin and Ryan discover a boarded-up cottage with a chimney that has no smoke. Inside they find a young girl called Hanne who is desperate for help. What is this monster which Hanne speaks of that lurks in the woods?
We have now reached the penultimate episode of ‘Doctor Who: Series 11’ and with the finale just around the corner this episode has a lot riding on its shoulders – it needs to keep the strong quality this series has had in order to bring high hopes to the viewers if they want lots of people to watch the final episode.
Whilst this episode wasn’t bad, it didn’t quite knock it out of the park for me. I do think that there’s a nice fairytale element to it with some creepy and emotional moments, but overall, I was a little bit underwhelmed.
We have our last guest writer this year – Ed Hime - and he delivers a script that thrives in the character moments, but lacks strength in the plot and the aliens.
The characters are great, Ed really gets our main protagonists right and the supporting characters also serve well. But the antagonists are pretty much just obstacles; sure they play a part in the story’s emotional elements, but I doubt they’ll go down as one of the greatest aliens in ‘Doctor Who’ history.
The script does touch upon themes of loss and loneliness well, but it didn’t bring everything together in a satisfying conclusion.
Like I said earlier, the script absolutely nails the characters. Every scene had me emotionally connected to every character which was helped by the marvellous performances by all of the actors.
Jodie Whittaker is great as the Doctor, she has some cracking moments in the 3rd act of the episode, I love her speech to the antagonist about how she has seen so much in the universe and experienced everything any human has experienced, it’s a beautiful moment that Jodie (once again) shines in.
Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole continue to shine as Yasmin and Ryan, both are given some lovely character growth, but this is more Graham’s episode. Bradley Walsh is just beyond amazing and his scenes brought a tear to my eye. And there is a lovely moment between Ryan and Graham in the end which had me weeping.
The guest cast serve well here, we have Eleanor Wallwork as Hanne – a blind character played really well by a blind actress, Hanne may appear vulnerable on the surface, but finds strength as the story develops. Kevin Eldon is good as Ribbons but sometimes comes across as the type of character you’d see in a kids show on CBBC. And all other supporting actors do well.
This is Jamie Child’s third directing credit for Series 11 and he does a great job at bringing atmosphere to the screen.
The Norwegian setting gives ‘It Takes You Away’ a wonderful look, Jamie does wonder with the location shots, and the music is glorious.
The special FX are also really good, apart from a thing in the end that the Doctor has a conversation with, I just stared at the screen and thought “what the hell is that?!”
Sadly an underwhelming story. It has its highlights here and there, but it needed stronger storytelling in the plot and the antagonists.
‘DOCTOR WHO: It Takes You Away’ result = 5/10