Synopsis: Legend of the Sea Devils finds the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) in 19th century China. Where a small coastal village is under threat. From both the fearsome pirate queen Madame Ching (Crystal Yu). And a monstrous alien force which she unwittingly unleashes.
Legend of the Sea Devils is a perfectly serviceable adventure story that felt a little disjointed in places. Which is true of a lot of Chris Chibnall‘s writing. There were some funny moments as well. I laughed out loud when the Doctor said Dan was her mate. After Jihon says they don’t stand a chance. Perhaps most importantly we saw the Doctor address Yaz’s and her mutual attraction. Personally I felt it was disappointing that 13 didn’t kiss Yaz this episode. Although I must applaud Chibnall for staying true to a long established theme of New Who. That the Doctor cannot ever truly be with anyone romantically. It might possibly have been better if 13 had said something like “Screw fate, I love you Yaz.” And then kissed her. However. Her decision did make sense in the context of the new series as a whole.
Jodie Whittaker’s performance during the quiet moments with Mandip Gill’s Yaz. Was excellent. I really felt when 13 said “Not a bad date, am I?” And Yaz did not react. Whittaker’s scene where she confessed her feelings to Gill. Had me on the edge of my seat. As did their final scene at the episode’s end. Where Whittaker falls down in my view is during the scenes where she is facing down the Doctor’s enemies. As she doesn’t seem to have the same intensity as someone like Peter Capaldi or Tom Baker. Arthur Lee by contrast showed great intensity throughout the episode. And great range as well. Going from villainous to heroic in one episode. Additionally, Crystal Yu did likewise. David K. S. Tse got a great moment with John Bishop where he said that Dan was “70?” And Dan replied he was 42. Also great was when Tse hugged Yu and she told him not to do that again. Speaking of John Bishop. I really enjoyed his moment near the end. When he left a message on Di’s (Nadia Albina) phone. You could really feel his loneliness and stoicism. And it was great when Di phoned him back.
Legend of the Sea Devils boasted some excellent incidental music. The almost spaghetti Western like theme at the beginning really helped to establish the danger and that the characters’ lives hung in the balance. Moreover. There was a really good kinetic theme when the Sea Devil broke out of the statue and started killing the villagers. The sea monster theme was very MCU and helped put across the massive threat the creature represented. Furthermore, the theme that played when Jihon offered to stay behind so that 13 and Yaz could escape. Was perfect for that moment. As was the ocean floor theme.
Legend of the Sea Devils’ CGI was off the charts brilliant. The FX of the ocean floor were beautiful and really created the magic and romance of that moment. Between the Doctor and Yaz. Into the bargain the CGI of the ocean floor disintegrating was also great. On top of that. The FX of the Sea Devil statue glowing green and exploding was brilliantly done. To boot I’d say that the CGI of both the interior and exterior of the Sea Devil ship was utterly stunning.
Legend of the Sea Devils was a good story. It had adventure, excitement and laughs. It seems to me that the way the 13/Yaz storyline has developed. Will likely divide opinion. My own view is that the Doctor should have kissed Yaz to end the episode. Although I’m aware that this would not have been in keeping with her character development throughout the new series. A tentative thumbs up from this reviewer.
- Incidental Music9.8