Monday 10 December 2018

Doctor Who - The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

Ux Dodgers

Doctor Who - The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos
Airdate: 9th December 2018

Hooray... we actually had a finale to the series which wasn’t half bad.

After a prologue where we see an alien race (a race which consists of only two people) called the Ux witness a person transported into their midst, we jump thousands of years in the future to find The Doctor (as played by the excellent Jodie Whittaker) and her three companions Graham, Yas and Ryan (played by Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gil and Tosin Cole) answering a distress signal from the same planet. The planet has unusual properties which attack and break down a person’s grasp of reality so The Doctor fits them all with neural inhibitors and they go to the rescue of the latest in a crew of people who have fallen victim to the floating building at the centre of the planet and its sinister inhabitants.

Now, it has to be said, when we got to the point in this story when the main villain from the first episode was obviously supposed to be someone I should remember... well, I’m sorry but I didn’t. I did figure he would be back at some point but new show runner Chibnall said there would be no multi-part story arcs this series so I kinda assumed they were saving it until next year. So I was a little surprised when the four main protagonist twigged just who the villain was way before I’d cottoned on. When I saw that it was, indeed, the rubbishy looking villain from the first episode... well... my heart sank a little.

However, it turns out it was a nicely staged, compelling episode and somehow the director even, for the most part, managed to successfully distract me from the somewhat cheap looking sets.

There was also a nice dramatic edge to the episode set up where Graham takes The Doctor to one side and makes it clear that when he catches up to this alien who took the life of his wife, he would definitely kill him... despite The Doctor’s warning that if he killed anyone he could no longer travel with her. And, I have to say, Bradley Walsh carried out the various scenes where he really made you think he was going to put down said alien villain with such expertise that it was an absolute pleasure to watch. It gave the episode a certain dramatic weight which would have been sadly lacking, I suspect, if a personal element had not been added into the mix with one of the regular characters.

So, yeah, some of the props and effects did look like they were conjured up from leftover packaging left over from Marks And Spencer but when you have a dramatic tension created by the characters like this... well... appreciation of the quality of the special effects goes out the window, to be honest.

It was also nice, if just a little corny, to have The Doctor give one of those little speeches to the various supporting characters before leaving in the TARDIS which was another of those dialogues towards living in hope. It kind of reminded me of Hartnell’s Doctor leaving Susan Foreman in The Dalek Invasion Of Earth (reviewed here) speech a little bit. I don’t know if that was the vibe the writer was going for with this but that was the way it came across to me, at any rate.

So, yeah, yet another short review on this one (my apologies) as I don’t really have that much else to say about The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos... but this time because I don’t have any really negative take aways from this specific episode, I'm happy to say. It was nicely paced, brilliantly acted by all who sailed in her and not badly written, either. Some fairly nice music too which I believe is being released on CD by Silva Screen in the new year so... you know... looking forward to that (although, note to Silva Screen... can we please have Murray Gold’s music from Series 10 before you release that one please?). And, you know, there was honestly not a dull moment in this one (which is good because there have been plenty of dull moments in some of the previous episodes this year.

Quietly looking forward to the New Year’s Day special now which, if the teaser is anything to go by, features the most terrifying, evil creature in the universe dormant and buried in the Earth for gazillions of years. If it’s not the Daleks then I may get a little annoyed but we shall see. Expect the review of that one to go up in early January.... in the meantime lots of reviews and the annual Christmas cryptic movie quiz to go up here so, hopefully you’ll give this blog another read before then. All the best.

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