What happens when a forest takes over the entire Earth overnight? Well, the Doctor ends up crashing a school trip, Clara’s big lie is revealed and saving the planet becomes a class project. At least, that’s what happens in the Saturday, Oct. 25 episode of “Doctor Who,” 810, “In the Forest of the Night.”
Is anyone else finding the adventures this season on “Doctor Who” just a bit too forgettable? Much like the Doctor tells Clara, it’s so easy to forget and just remember the fear, just like people did last time a catastrophic event like the solar flare happened. While it can be enjoyable to watch a companion’s lives collide, this one isn’t like others have been because instead, it’s Clara’s personal drama with Danny that seems to overshadow the fact that a giant forest consumed Earth overnight, just like that fact seems to stick out in her mind after she realizes he saw her work on the TARDIS.
That said, it has been especially entertaining to watch this Doctor interact with children, with Maebh standing out in this case. Yes, the Doctor can easily be “Doctor Idiot,” as he calls himself, but it’s almost like you have to give him a break with everything going on. And it certainly doesn’t help that, despite only being on screen for moments, the mystery surrounding Missy and the so-called Promised Land seems to be so prevalent.
What the adventure boils down to is this: a giant forest overtakes Earth to protect it from a solar flare heading its way, and it works. While Danny concentrates on keeping the kids safe, Clara alternates being a concerned teacher, a girlfriend caught in a lie and the Doctor’s companion, ready to run off with him at the drop of a hat, albeit to find a missing student, but still, even Danny can see how relaxed she is in that role, not missing a step, and that proves to be quite telling and a possible, but probably not because of how they seem to be doing things, problem for their relationship. In the end, Earth is saved and Maebh is reunited with her missing sister, and maybe there’s some lesson in there to listen to children and not be so quick to put them on medication because they’re not acting like every other kid.
But like stated above, while Danny is more concerned about looking after the kids, while Clara is as well, she’s also pulled into many directions, especially as it seems that there was zero progress made in her talking to Danny about the “long story” of what was happening to her in the last episode. If these last few episodes have shown anything, it’s that it’s easy to alternate between being frustrated and annoyed with Clara and Danny over her lies. He seems to just be accepting them but also saying he wants to hear the truth, she wants to tell him but at the same time seems to think she can keep her two lives separate without any real consequences or problems and both seem perfectly fine with constantly putting off the conversation they needed to have days/weeks/months/however long it has been for them ago.
Meanwhile, the question of “Who is Missy?” still remains. In “Flatline,” she commented, “Clara, my Clara. I chose well.” This episode, she’s only on screen long enough to watch the forest save the Earth from presumably her office, wherever it is, and remark, “Now that was surprising. I love surprises.” While it’s clear that it won’t happen because it’s a season-long arc, it’s been hard not to want to see less time spent on a not so exciting or memorable adventure and just a few more moments with Missy over these 10 episodes. (Fortunately, that is coming.) If there’s one thing that “Doctor Who” has done right this season, it’s teasing what’s going on with her, almost to the point of it being cruel how little they’re revealing.
“Doctor Who” season 8 airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America. What did you think of episode 10 “In the Forest of the Night”?