Spoilers might not be worth it.
It didn’t work. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be rushing to judgement in the first paragraph but I don’t think this one worked overall. It’s not that it didn’t have its moments, but as a whole thing I found the episode lacking. The episode was trying to fish for a moment, but it did look like it was trying too hard. So, anything salvageable in this episode? Any spider we can cast out to the garden instead of killing it on the spot? What gets to live?
Highs, lows and cobwebs:
- Definitely the best, it’s Graham going back home and feeling the presence of Grace. I’m glad she’s appeared back somehow and I hope in a way she appears still. It was honest, it was emotional and the character deserved it.
- Worth also saving, Yaz and her family dynamics. Najia her working mother that keeps hoping Yaz is in a relationship, her father is a fan of conspiracy theories, her sister is a spoiled brat… It was entertaining seeing Yaz handle all that and still love them to bits even when they drive her up the wall.
- Still great, the Doctor herself. Yeah she’s still awkward doing the small talk. The bits and traits are still there. And yet I feel the Doctor was underused.
- Not great, the storyline. Why are we having the Doctor first discover the spiders in a flat (just a few doors down from Yaz’ family?), then learn about the spiders at the lab, then run all the way to the hotel… It’s not uncommon for the show to do this runaround and it irks me the hell out because it’s exposition on top of exposition when your audience already got it. You’re going to run out of time to finish the plot (spoiler: they ran out of time to finish the plot).
- Chris Noth plays Jack Robertson, who is not Donald Trump. He is not. But otherwise saying that he’s not, he is and he’s planning to become president as well. And I’m so tired of seeing Trump in the news that I’d really prefer not to see him on Doctor Who of all places. This character just annoyed the heck out of me (yeah, just as the real one…) and I dreaded every moment he was on screen.
- Precisely because the show has Chris Noth playing a Trump-clone, is the reason why we spent so much time with him. Yes, I get we’re doing satire but we’re literally throwing so much screen time on this character than we’re forgetting to further the story. I don’t care for the original, much less the clone. I dread saying it, but I think the show gave him all the scene time because he was a big name actor.
- The spider plot is not very contrived, and more than likely you could figure it out with a lot less explanations but here’s the problem in the end. The show never quite ends it. Robertson pulls a gun (I said spoilers at the top, don’t blame me), kills the big spider and all suddenly stops. We had the TARDIS team wearing fumigation backpacks! I was expecting a couple of Ghostbuster-inspired zingers but we got zilch. All that goes nowhere. It’s not that the storyline ends, it’s more like it stops dead in the water (did the whole budget went out on Chris Noth’s salary?)
- A spider is not scary when you find it. A spider is scary when you turn around and it’s not there anymore. There was so much more scares that could have gone in an arachnid-centric episode like this one.
- I wanted to love the bit at the end where our travellers decide to keep on travelling and we get a BFF moment as everyone pulls the TARDIS lever. It didn’t feel like we’re quite there yet though. I like everyone on the show and Jodie is a terrific Doctor but we haven’t had a fun episode be as much fun or a scary episode be properly scary. I think that the main cast is ready for a good, great storyline and perhaps Rosa is as close as we’re gonna get. I’m really hoping for another one though.
That will do for now.