Synopsis: The Doctor and her friends try to make the connections between a missing astronaut, birds acting strangely in Peru and a US naval officer washed up on a Madagascan beach.
I really loved how the information in this week’s story was drip fed to us over 50 minutes. I felt this kept the tension sustained and built up to a thrilling climax. I liked how this time Pete McTighe and Chris Chibnall experimented with a thriller style format that held my attention throughout. There were some really fantastic moments here, such as when the Doctor pleaded with Suki to let her help and when Jake sacrificed himself to spread the vaccine across the planet only to be saved at the last millisecond by the Doctor. There was some good humour to be found as well like when Graham held the scanner the wrong way as well as his touching conversation with Jake. I really loved how this week’s episode leaned towards the harder side of sci fi with the Doctor and her friends having to investigate the problem and work together to find an antidote for the Praxeus virus. My one criticism is that I felt the environmental message was a little bit heavy handed but it worked in the context of the story. I loved the part when Jake and Adam were reunited on the TARDIS after Jake had basically saved the world and I liked Jake’s comment “Don’t I even get a statue?” at the very end. I also liked how the Doctor provided some actual education on real world science during the scene at Suki’s laboratory.
Jodie Whittaker’s performance as the Doctor in this episode is good at times, like when she rushes into the lab where Jamila is being held and takes charge. I felt that Jodie Whittaker did really well in the scene where she confronted Molly Harris’s Suki and begged her to allow her to help. Also great was the intensity Jodie Whittaker showed in the scene where the Doctor read the results of her scan of Adam from Suki’s computer as well as her reaction to Suki’s death. These are the kinds of moments and acting that we need to see a lot more of from the 13th Doctor. Warren Brown was absolutely sensational as Jake, giving us a likable male action hero with believable flaws who is ultimately redeemed by the end of the episode. Tosin Cole really showed us Ryan’s developing maturity and heroism throughout this episode, and Matthew McNulty was believable as someone who had contracted an alien virus. I thought that Molly Harris’s Suki was somewhat weak but I thought that Joana Borja and Gabriela Toloi weren’t bad as two vloggers who were caught up in a planetwide threat.
The music this week was brilliant all the way through, and really helped bring the feeling that the world was teetering on a knife edge and nobody really knew what was going on. I loved the score at the very start of the episode which put me in mind of the 9th Doctor’s era.
The CGI of the Praxeus virus was effective without being too disturbing, and I liked the underwater base that Yaz and Jamila teleported into. There were some really good visuals of the infected crows massing overhead and some absolutely gorgeous shots of the various places that team TARDIS visited over the course of the adventure.
An utterly fantastic episode with no real flaws.
- Incidental Music9.0