Can’t See The Wood For The Trees

Doctor Who : In the Forest of the Night

When I had heard about the episode In the Forest of the Night, and that it was primarily going to feature a bunch of school children in the episode I did wonder what sort of episode we were going to get, but after watching it I realised that I should not have anything to worry about the episode at all as it was absolutely fine.

For one it was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce who is a fine writer and also a fine writer for children; two it was directed by Sheree Folkson who is an excellent director and surprisingly has never worked on the show before despite her previous associations with RTD (although that might be the reason why she has never worked on Doctor Who before) and together they created a rather magical episode of Doctor Who.

The basic premise of the episode was that overnight the whole of the Earth was covered by forests that would normally take hundreds of years to grow to the extent that they appeared to do in a few hours in this episode. They also appear to be flameproof as when the army tried to burn the forest to create pathways through it, they did not burn. Also there was the fact that nobody could explain why it happened, not even the Doctor at first, much to his annoyance.

Yes, from a scientific point of view the episode made no sense at all but this episode was not really about the science of the premise, but rather why what happened and this was all from the mind of a little girl who was suffering from some sort of mental illness after the disappearance of her sister who had drawn such an event in her homework book.

I must admit that nobody in the episode did seem to be that bothered by the fact that the whole of London, and it would seem the planet, was now covered in a forest and all of the kids that were part of Clara and Danny’s school trip were particularly scared either and if this happened to me when I was on a school trip I would be well scared and would not have been able to function properly which all of these kids could do.

At the end of the episode when the forest disappear as quickly as they appeared the Doctor says to Clara that people will simply forget about it, like it was some sort of dream, which did dissipate the entire threat of the episode a little bit.

I thought that the kids were quite impressive in this episode most notably the ones playing Maeve and Ruby. They had the most interesting stories out of the lot of them and were the ones that got the most screen time so we got to know them a little bit better than we did the other kids in the class.

The kid Bradley was a little bit annoying and there was a funny bit near the end when one of them says “I sort of want my mum.” which made me giggle as did the fact that all of kids knew about Clara and Danny even when they tried to keep their relationship a secret, which has been a running joke for most of the series.

The Doctor was a little less grumpy in this episode which I do wonder if this is a sign that he is starting to mellow. In this episode he even appeared to tolerate just having a child in the TARDIS which is not a lot like the Doctor we have seen over the past ten episodes, so maybe this is a sign of him mellowing. Of course events in the last episode could completely blow this theory out the window and we get the grumpy Doctor back.

Dreamlike is good way to describe this episode or Doctor Who as a fairy story; either of these would be good descriptions of this episode which I think is an episode that you either love or hate, but one which I fully enjoyed and is a nice change of pace just prior to the two-part finale which is, I guess, going to be

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