Initial Verdict of Series 8: Episode 10: Doctor Who – In the Forest of the Night

In the Forest of the Night

Frank Cottrell-Boyce

The Verdict

SPOILERS SWEETIE – Don’t read until you’ve watched.

In the Forest of the Night” is the bridge between what has been, and what is to come, with clues, red herrings, and added characterisation. There was no sign that the threat was deliberate, but it seemed probable because of its suddenness – Missy? Sun science, and in particular CMEs wasn’t entirely correct, because it usually takes days for big flares to hit (I mention it only for the fans that expected scientific accuracy for the Lunar Gravity field caused by the Moon gaining weight as the proverbial chicken grew) – though this was a fictionally huge threat, so I suppose anything is possible. And since the moon is now an egg, I’m already of the mind that this might be an alternate reality – though holding off on actual expectation – for all I know from now until the 100th, the Moon will continue to be an egg.

There were parallels/opposites between this episode and “Kill the Moon” – the children, fear of catastrophe, and our collective penchant to assume the worst. There were some lovely observations about the fortitude of Nature. William Blake wrote the poem The Tiger and nut-shellerised it’s about the light and dark side of magnificence conveyed through the awe and fear inspired by the Tiger. In this episode, the threats were the Forest, the Sun, wild animals, human beings, and our attempt (in the pursuit of perfect safety) to crack walnuts with sledgehammers.

Maebh Doctor Glow

Clara and Danny make a good team, he’s excellent at focusing on exactly what needs to happen – it was fun to witness him in action (which made it a little surprising that Maebh kept slipping away from everyone). Saving them all from the Tiger with Bradley’s insane flashlight could be a metaphor for his relationship with Clara – after all the danger and adrenaline she thrives on, he is where (and when) she comes home to rest her head – a strong, capable, practical human being.

Instead of kicking off a fuss, he gives her time to think about what she needs to tell him. He doesn’t snipe at her, throw insults despite being angry, he just asks her to think about it and tell him another time – when she’s ready.

Throughout Season 8, Clara and the Doctor have mirrored one another. What the one does, the other mirrors too at some point. Instead of the Doctor electing to leave them as he did on the Moon, in this episode Clara chooses to send him away, reluctantly admitting the painful truth that she  – electing to stay with humanity for better or for worse does so because she doesn’t want to become the last of her kind.

Clara owes Danny an explanation – and it’s going to be a long one if she’s to do it properly… and because the Doctor never told Clara about her previous incarnations (although explained by her leaping into his Timeline at Trenzalore) I don’t think anyone has the full story of how Clara came into being. It’s almost impossible to review this without taking into consideration the powerful preview of Next Week’s episode where Clara appears to have transformed into Scary-Clara.

In the Forest of the Night” was a picturesque story, illustrative writing, beautiful visuals, thoroughly enjoyable (especially the second time round) with a simple plot, neatly tied up and one of the few episodes this season the younger viewers would get more from than the more seasoned. I loved the children – they were funny and added playfulness to the potential Doom. The handheld cameras, and closeups, gave it all a sense of immediacy that worked with little effort at keeping us right in the fore-front of the entertainment.

I just think I’m hitting finale fatigue and growing tired of all the Missy hints. The Missy clue – where is this camera that Missy is using to spy on Clara? (The TARDIS?) What has Missy got to do with Clara? Why is she keeping her and the Doctor together, and what surprises will the season’s finale hold – Or are we just heading toward another maddening cliffhanger between now and Christmas?

I’m in the process of writing a more thorough analysis of this, but I am going to focus first on a wrap up of my previous articles – see if any questions I had were answered, other things, stuff, and of course the Finale – which is likely to be a doozy of late nights, detailed trawling, and excessive caffeine… so watch this space.



    1. Thanks for stopping by, reading and encouraging. I am in the process of rewriting the analyses into an ebook – with new insights gathered throughout the season interwoven, and made available in format of choice to anyone interested in a complete newbie look at this television legend.


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