Frank Cottrell Boyce wrote the eco-friendly In the Forest of the Night, the latest Twelfth Doctor adventure. Various described as mythic, wonderful or irritating on the forums and other places I felt both pleased and disappointed by this story…
The TARDIS lands but the Doctor doesn’t recognise central London, and why would he? The whole world is covered in a forest that appeared overnight. A young girl called Maebh appears looking for her school group. She is unimpressed by the TARDIS but is from Coal Hill School and convinces the Doctor he is in London.
Of course, the school kids are on a sleepover in a museum under the supervision of Clara and Danny Pink. Clara finds the Doctor who is unsure how to proceed. As the story unfold we learn that a fatal solar flare is appearing, wolves and tigers have escaped from zoos and some token soldiers are unable to burn the trees. All the school kids enter the TARDIS, all are unimpressed and Danny finds that Clara has still been hanging around with the Doctor.
[pullquote]Hey presto! The world is saved[/pullquote]
More important we find that Maebh has a psychic connection to a spiritual race who are responsible for the trees and don’t want any help. The Doctor has no solution, offers to save the school party who all want their parents. Danny is a solder no more and wants to stay with his charges, Clara wants to stay with Danny and not be the last survivor of her species. Things appear doomed then the Doctor realises the trees have the solution, sends out a message not to harm the trees and, hey presto!, the world is saved.
As an extra reward Maebh is reunited with her mother and her missing sister.
All very beautiful to look at and great character moments. I can forgive the science / mythology ideas of the special forests saving the world through history as the plot device and anyone is allowed one cheat.
I didn’t like the setting – central London and nobody there but some kids and a couple of token soldiers? Where were UNIT (who appear next time)? Why is the party of children from Coal Hill and supervised by Danny and Clara? Really? Why does Maebh have the psychic link to creatures who don’t need any help? The threat of ‘soldiers might harm the trees before they can save the world’ was very poorly realised and never convinced. Then the Doctor – just gives up? Why not extend the TARDIS shields into space? Why not intercept the flare in flight? What has happened to the continuity of time? This series is very happy to wipe out humanity at the drop of a hat.
To look at this was as superb as ever but for me somewhat Emperor’s New Clothes.
The series arc
The Danny / Clara relationship remains interesting and the clips for next week imply a lot more is to come at least as far as Clara is concerned. Apart from that this story was a nice moment as long as you were prepared to park your critical faculties before watching.