DOCTOR WHO REVIEW – IT TAKES YOU AWAY (2018)
Directed by: Jamie Childs
Written by: Ed Hime
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, Ellie Wallwork, Kevin Eldon, Christian Rubeck, Lisa Stokke
Produced by: Nikki Wilson
Executive producer(s): Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens, Sam Hoyle
Music composer: Segun Akinola
**MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
This episode, depending on your point of view, was either a strange, but moving science fantasy surrealist hybrid classic; or a collection of half-baked concepts that fell apart with an incredibly bizarre and silly ending.
Yet, It Takes You Away starts off very promisingly. For a start the title evokes suspense, mystery and an underlying sense of loss. The suspense builds when the Doctor and companions arrive in Scandinavia and are immediately faced with a mystery in the Norwegian wood. The beautiful landscape of blue fjords, green brush and scattered timber hide a dark secret within a boarded up cabin. The impressive cinematography also evokes an eerie atmosphere. Moreover, there’s a frightening monster hiding somewhere within nature. Or is there?
In the cabin, the Doctor finds a lone teenage girl, Hanne, blind and seemingly abandoned by her father. Of course, they all agree to help protect Hanne against the monster and find her father too. Up to this point the drama and mystery were intriguing and finely poised. Subsequent events descend to a strange place called the ‘Anti-Zone’. This is where it all begins to fall apart narratively speaking.
Emotionally the episode had some very powerful moments drawing on the breakdown of family relationships; Graham’s grief for the loss of his wife and whether it is better to live in or out of reality. However, within these fascinating themes were some stupid bloodsucking moths and the brilliant character actor Kevin Eldon was under-used as an underground demon-type creature. The less said about the ending the better, which I can only think was going for Twitter-like-clickbait trending rather than a coherent and believable pay-off.
The denouement, together with another massive exposition dump from the Doctor scrambling to convince us it all made sense, found the episode completely laughable. It was a shame as it had some fine ideas and Bradley Walsh gave a moving performance as Graham. Ultimately though, this season of DoctorWho is flailing having started so promisingly and It Takes You Away plummeted to a new low.