If ‘Doctor Who’ was ever science fiction, it’s clear in this season that it is departing from this notion more steadily than it ever had before. From the preposterous ‘Kill the Moon,’ we now go to the overnight forest that saves the world from coronal mass ejection but forgets about the accompanying EMP that surely would take out all of the earth’s electronics.
Still, ‘In the Forest of the Night’ was a fun episode, if only because it involved a classroom of students wandering through a forest that magically appeared around the world. Though, Clara’s constant ironic referral of the students as “gifted” was a tad offensive at times. If anything, these students were just complex people who were learning to adapt to the school environment… you know… like kids do.
In any case, imagine the world as it is. No, imagine it as if a giant forest grew up in the middle of it without actually destroying any of the pavement it had to have grown through or ruining the foundations of any buildings nearby. You’ve basically had the the crux of the episode.
Now imagine that trees grow like this in order to protect the planet, despite the fact that we humans are constantly chopping them down. Got that? Imagine that the Doctor didn’t have to do anything to save the planet but make sure the trees didn’t get destroyed before a coronal mass ejection, which he did by having a little girl call everyone in the world and ask them not to. I’m not convinced that work, as the trees seemed to do a good job of protecting themselves in the episode anyway.
So, as you can see, I’m describing an episode where if the Doctor just sat in his TARDIS and did nothing the result would have been the same. In fact, nothing anyone did in this episode had any bearing on the actually outcome of the story. Not the students’ phone call, the Doctor’s communicating with trees (are we sick of the whole sonic-screwdriver-doesn’t-work-on-wood-thing yet?) or Clara’s running around to find Maebh Arden.
It was a fun episode, but ultimately a pointless one. The only thing really important was achieved was that Danny is okay with Clara traveling around with the Doctor as long as she doesn’t lie about it. But really, that begs the question, why would anyone want to date a person who isn’t that jazzed about time travel?
Still, it was a fun episode, so I’ll give it a