Doctor Who : The Ghost Monument
Episode two carries on directly from the end of the episode one, and we jump straight into the action and it is much more like traditional Doctor Who than the first episode was. For one it featured space ships crashing, a hostile alien environment, strange robots, mysterious happenings and a mystery to be solved.
The four regulars got split up early on in the episode and both parties had no idea of where their friends were , and if they were ever going to see them again which is also pretty standard fare not just for Doctor Who and does give the start of the episode a bit of tension even though you know what they are bound to meet up again at sometime, but for the characters they really didn’t know, not even the Doctor. The Doctor and Yaz were paired off together as were Graham and Ryan. Luckily for them, and for the story and the rest of the season, they all ended up in the same location. Phew!!!
I thought that Jodie Whittaker gave a good account of herself in the episode, and was very forceful in getting the skipper of the ship, that she was rescued by, to allow her to land his ship, well crash, if we are being honest. To be honest both of them pretty much did as she said throughout the episode, especially when they realised that she was quite capable at helping them get what they want, which was really all that they wanted. She certainly took centre stage in the episode which is what she should be doing.
In fact Jodie was very Doctorish in this episode and I thought that she was very authoritative throughout this episode. I liked the fact that she took charge and also the way that she was able to handle both of the skippers who were quite strong characters in their own right.
The guest cast comprised of Shaun Dooley, Susan Lynch and Art Malik and they were all pretty good in their roles but Art Malik was criminally underused for an actor of his calibre, despite being quite menacing in his role, but definitely didn’t get enough screen time for me. Dooley and Lynch played the skippers of the ships (Ezpo and Angstrom) that the regulars were rescued from space by, and who it turned out were the remaining contestants from a race to discover something called the Ghost Monument. I guess this whole thing could have been a bit better explored but then again they only have 50 minutes to play with so I can let it slide.
Ezpo wasn’t a particularly likable character especially when compared to Angstrom who apart from being a bit harsh towards Yaz when she was just talking to here but was generally more pleasant then Ezpo was but I think that was deliberate as it did create tension and part of me wanted Ezpo to be choked by the sentient rags and also part of me understand why his mother had let the little shit fall and break his arms and legs..
The Doctor and team have little choice but to follow them when they discover that the Ghost Monument is actually the TARDIS (which is both rather convenient and also means that the Doctor was actually sort of in the right place) not that either Graham, Ryan or Yaz have the slightest idea of what the TARDIS is, only that it looks like a police box. Now Graham being so much older than the rest of the companions would likely have seen as a small child but not that Ryan or Yaz would have been that familiar with other than the fact that there was one in Sheffield, which does get name checked in the episode.
As for Yaz she still didn’t get a great deal to do in this episode apart from the odd line of dialogue here and there but, we did learn, that she still lives a home with her parents and that she doesn’t get on well with her dad, and that her younger sister wants her to move out so that she can have her own room. At least we do get a little snapshot into the life of Yaz in this episode, which was nice.
There is also a nice little moment when she waits for Ryan to come down the ladder when they descend into the underground area of the the ruined building which shows a little bit of chemistry between the two of them which I am sure will be built upon throughout this season.
I liked Grahams affrontery after finding out that he has had a universal translator implanted into him after being implanted with a DNA bomb in the first episode so you can kind of understand why Graham is not so happy about it. I guess that without the link with the TARDIS then they may not understand the way aliens speak as you would imagine that they don’t all speak English.
I also like the way Graham looked very tired when he was running, which is something that I can relate to in a big way and I think is probably more likely the same for quite a lot of the companions as they can’t all be super fit can they? Graham is easily my favourite of the new companions as he is closer in age to me than the other companions are for a start, and also, that he says the sort of things that I think I would say in the same situation, although I would definitely be a lot more scared, and less composed than he seems to be.
I do think that it is a shame that with three companions that it is is likely that one of them is going to get less to do than the others and, in this case, it appears that Yaz is the one who is getting the least to do, at least in the past two episodes at least.
I did think it was a bit odd that when the race was won that they just all disappeared and left the Doctor and co alone on the alien planet without so much as a by-your-leave but I guess that part of the story was done, but it was still a bit odd to be honest.
However the return of the TARDIS more than made up for that and I absolutely loved the new interior. It looks quite different from the previous console room and a little bit like a cross between the TV movie console and the Eccleston console. My favourite bit is the custard cream dispenser. I mean who doesn’t like a custard cream? I love the Doctor’s reaction at that feature and I also like the blue spinning TARDIS thingie even though it probably doesn’t make that much sense but it is quite cool.
It has to be said that the episode looked great and they really chose a great place to film the alien planet as it really did look alien and also quite like nothing that you would ever find the UK, so it was definitely worth going all the way to South Africa to film this episode for the results that we got. It was certainly nothing like the old gravel pits that were were used to in the old day. I also thought that the effects in the episode were pretty impressive especially the scene where Epzo’s ship crash landed on the planet.
Some other amusing scenes involve Ryan going all Call of Duty on the robots and very quickly regretting it. Well he is nineteen and he was probably trying to impress Yaz a little bit! Well I probably would have done at his age.
I thought that this was a decent episode, and a nice little detour into an alien world for the companions, and also saw Jodie Whitaker more in her stride as the Doctor now she has gotten used to her new body and is more sure of herself.