Doctor Who : Arachnids in the UK

This episode of Doctor Who is not for arachnaphobes as it features quite a lot of rather overgrown spiders, including one about the size of a small van, and others about the size of dog scuttling about, literally breaking out of bathtubs, cocooning people, and generally scuttling about running up and down floorboards and on ceilings and usually spidery activities.

When you saw the spiders up close they did look a little less like real spiders than they could have done but I think that they did as well as they could have done. They certainly made you jump when they couldn’t be seen but could be heard, such as when they locked the spider in a room in Yaz’s neighbours house, or when they looked under the bed. In general Spiders make me jump when they suddenly appear out thin air and this certainly happened a couple of times in this episode.

The rest of the story was very much a traditional base under seige story set in a new build hotel where Yaz’s mum works where they inadvertently end up, when Yaz has to go and pick up her mum, and then getting trapped in said hotel, due to massive cobwebs, made by equally massive spiders.

The hotel is ran by a geezer called Robertson, a rather smarmy American, who is a sort of proto Trump (even though he claims to hate Trump, but is really a case of the pot calling the kettle back as they are basically one and the same) and is known for building stuff on reclaimed land and who is the sort of person who puts bathroom breaks on his schedule so, basically, a total and utter arse. I mean who does that? If you gotta go you gotta go, not at specific times in the day.

Anyway, this guy has inadvertently cause his own problem when Jade, the scientist whom they had conveniently met at the start of the episode as a colleague of her’s lives next door but one to Yaz, realises that they are sitting on the place where her discarded spider carcasses from her work on the creepy critters are being chucked as well as all sort of shit that usually end up on landfill sites which has basically fucked up the spider population of Sheffield hence massive spiders roaming around runing amok.

There was a lot of running up and down corridors in this episode which is good old fashioned Doctor Who fare and quite a bit of jeopardy which is nice to see as these spiders were really, really big and were the sort that you would not want to find in your bath in the morning.

I really enjoyed the performance of Jodie Whitaker this week and she had some really great lines such as “Dude, I have all the authority that I need. I call people Dude now” which is, at once not a very Doctorish thing to say, but also a very Doctorish thing to say. I also loved the Ed Sheeran jokes where the Doctor kept asking Robertson if he was the ginger haired pop star, much to his annoyance. He must not be a fan I suppose.

Finally in this episode Yaz got stuff to do and we learned a bit more about her, and met her parents and sister, and it was funny when Yaz’s mum asked her if she and the Doctor were together. It was funny because it made the bottom half of the internet boil with rage. Having said that she also asked Ryan if he and Yaz were together, so she was covering all bases there.

What with Graham keeping seeing the ghost of his dead wife around his house (which given the situation is exactly the sort of thing that probably would happen), Ryan likely feeling abandoned, and Yaz having a really annoying family, you can’t really blame any of them for going with the Doctor at the end of the episode as how cool would be it be to have the opportunity to travel in a space and time ship. It is a total no brainer when you think about.

The story very much has an environmental message about the dangers of landfill sites, which I didn’t find particularly preachy, but a fair warning of what might happen if this sort of thing continues, and also a little dig at corporate types who will cut all corners that they can to make more money, despite the consequences of their actions, which is quite a reasonable thing to be angry about if you ask me, and why shouldn’t Doctor Who deal with these sort of issues. It was also quite nice that there was no actual alien involvement in the episode as the spiders were created by mankind themselves and was not an alien invasion of spiders, which I did kind of expect when I heard about the episode. I didn’t even mind the use of grime music to get all of the spiders where they wanted them to be even if don’t care for that music at all but it seemed appropriate and, who would have known, that Spiders like Stormzy.

All in all I enjoyed this episode and think that Jodie is getting better in the role with each and every episode.