After last week’s witch hunt, the TARDIS team land in Norway and investigate a strange house in It Takes You Away. But what did our team think of the episode? Let’s find out…
It Takes You Away is one of those episodes that’s a great story as long as you don’t analyse it too hard. For example…
Why did the Doctor assume that the first house they see needed investigating just because it had no smoke? They could’ve just been out. Okay, her instincts are usually right, but it’s far too convenient.
What was the point of Ribbons? Other than a bit of exposition and danger in the antizone, the team could have easily just gone through the portal into the Solitract world.
Why did the Doctor and Yaz not have any temptations in the Solitract world? Hanne’s dad and Graham both had things tempting them there, so why didn’t the Doctor or Yaz?
Why did the Doctor leave Hanne with her terrible dad? He took advantage of her blindness to terrify her and keep her locked up, then abandoned her. Even when they reunite, he doesn’t seem that bothered.
Anyway, moving on. The episode does look stunning in both the scenic Norway and creepy antizone. The whole concept of the Solitract was an interesting idea that was cleverly realised. I didn’t notice it on first viewing, but everything in the mirror universe was reversed – Hanne’s dad’s shirt, hair partings, the Doctor holding the sonic with her left hand. It’s these neat little touches that make an episode.
Ellie Wallwork is great as Hanne, a character that stands out as one of the stronger supporting actors this series. Casting a blind person to play a blind character seems obvious, but it’s not often the case. Here though, it makes the character so much more believable. She’s also pretty down to Earth, calling Ryan out on his stupid (an uncharacteristically pessimistic) view on her dad abandoning her and taking on the adventure herself.
Speaking of Ryan, we finally get the sweet moment where he calls Graham ‘grandad’. The story arc of them getting closer has been really well done over the course of the series, with the connection finally paying off in the series’ penultimate episode.
It was also nice to see Sharon D Clarke back as Grace, with an emotional performance alongside Bradley Walsh. We’ve had companions and characters being seduced by temptation before, but with Graham, it really felt like he could go either way. The fact that it was Grace’s uncaring comments about Ryan that sold him was a great touch, and that we got to spend a few minutes with Graham just reflecting on the aftermath of it all was really nice.
And then we get to the frog. If I’d have been drinking tea, I would’ve spurted it out in surprise. After a pretty decent episode, it ends with one of the most embarrassing moments in the show’s history. It’s not the fact that it was a frog that lets it down (that was a fun idea) it’s the poor way in which it was realised. A very basic looking CGI frog with a puppet mouth that looks totally unrealistic. While it was probably meant as a bit of a joke – a surreal moment to show just how silly the universe is – it comes at a time when the show is being judged more than ever. And this kind of thing is what non-fans think the show is like and why it’s often (wrongly) criticised. So adding something that looks like it’s from a 60s episode really spoils the episode.
Overall I’d say this episode probably sounded better on paper than it came across on screen. With a few changes and a little more effort put into making it make more sense, it could’ve been a classic. As it is, it’s still an enjoyable episode.
What an episode! I’ve seen way too many negative reviews on this episode but personally this was Doctor Who at its most Doctor Who. If you strip it down to its core, about a different universe being sentient and alone, it would work as a classic Doctor Who episode pretty well.
The team dynamic was great and a good improvement for Ryan, who hasn’t done much all series, to improve his character arc. For Yaz on the other hand, still nothing. She’s really not done anything for me again and I feel no connection to her whatsoever. Graham is still on point, with his arc and the surprise of having “Grace” back again really helping to develop his story and personality even more than any of the other companions.
The scenery of the story was beautiful and very simplistic, yet spooky. Hanne, the girl in the house, was played extremely well and really did give her all in throughout the episode, helping Ryan’s character improve way more since the first episode.
The Doctor hasn’t changed much for me personally. Jodie is great, but still not quite hitting it as the Doctor yet. Maybe it’s because I’m stubborn, but still I’m excited for the finale.
The setting of the Antizone gave me serious The Three Doctors vibes, where they enter the Antimatter Universe and find all the creatures. The subtleties where everyone was mirrored – so the t-shirt and the hairlines were all mirrored – was great continuity throughout the episode.
Now the finale scene, where we all thought the Doctor was blow kissing to one of her companions, was a universe in the shape of a frog all along. Personally, I loved it, because that’s just the show in a nutshell – expect the unexpected (most of the time). It was a gorgeous ending and we finally got there… with Ryan finally calling Graham granddad! It took a while, but it really gave the episode a very sweet ending. Now it’s the time for the finale this weekend I don’t know what to expect so time to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
This is the kind of episode I love: beautiful views, great atmosphere, strong characters, immersive music, good story.
It Takes You Away literally in Norway, in a scary yet touching story. I even forgave the Doctor to wave her sonic around in that annoying way of hers.
As usual, the award goes to Graham who was – once again – the (involuntary) lead character, and who made the episode worth watching.
Because, like any good soufflé, this episode falls flat in the most unexpected way, and I was really close to start crying in frustration. While I sincerely believe that the whole frog scene was some sort of lesson to tell the audience that appearances don’t count, and that we should accept everyone for who they really are despite our differences, the frog completely broke down the script’s balance, and ruined the intended effect. It didn’t help either that Jodie Whittaker was clearly over acting this scene, turning it into a surrealistic joke.
Luckily, the disappointment I felt was somewhat softened by that emotional last scene with Ryan and Graham.
One episode to go and I’m already wondering what my final opinion of S11 will be.
As a matter of fact, I’m currently working on an opinion article about S11, and I’d like to get Whovians opinions & feelings about S11. I wish to cover both positive & negative aspects of S11, and I’ll quote the most reasoned opinions in my article. So if you wish to be part of this article, feel free to share your opinion on S11 as a whole in the comment section!