I suppose I must declare interests here – my mate Rachel directed this but if it was shite I would say so.
I think possibly my favourite Doctor Who story (alongside Androzani, Genesis, Talons, Daemons etc) is Deadly Assassin, a rare companionless outing for Tom Baker’s Doctor including one episode set inside The Matrix (no not that one) a mysterious thought generated surreal landscape with danger and conflict at it’s heart. I happen to know that Rachel watched that particular episode in preparation for shooting this, her second set of finale episodes in as many years.
After Clara’s death last week, the Doctor has been teleported to a strange shifting castle prison with a mysterious wraith tracking his every move. This is effectively shown in low quality video footage immediately giving things an eerie and unreal air. Capaldi manages to keep us riveted with his monologues, trips to his “mind palace” (Hello Sherlock!) and a bit of old fashioned bafflegab. What starts out as a battle against grief, despair, fear and truth becomes a battle against time and endurance of the spirit. He is The Doctor, he will never give up.
Yes this may be one for the fanboys\girls, a trippy psychedelic wet dream, baffling for the casuals and “up it’s own arse” – how I hate that patronising smug phrase – but why can’t drama be brave, subverting what is expected and playing to it’s strongest suit – invention, imagination and taking the audience on a wild and weird adventure. Despite budget and time constraints, this episode of Who managed to create world class creepy, atmospheric and intriguing piece of television
I think this is up there with the best of Nu-Who with it’s bold concept, execution and acting chops – I’m thinking Blink, Midnight, Silence In The Library level. In fact I’ll go further I think it ranks as one of the best episodes in it’s 51 year history.
If you have any views and\ or questions that might come in handy with our podcast with Rachel then please let’s have em. “Meh”, “Moffat Out” and “too pleased with itself” will be treated with contempt.
It’s on the iplayer – have a watch