The penultimate story of season 11 of Doctor Who – It Takes You Away – is set in rural Norway – an atmospheric noir thriller science fiction combo.
The Doctor and her companions come across a barricaded house with a blind girl inside who claims she has lost her father and a nasty creature is out there in the woods.
We’ve been missing a classic base under siege story so far this season but this story, despite initial first looks, is something else.
The blind girl, Hanne, is played very well by Ellie Wallwork (who isn’t Norwegian) and the Doctor and her friends must help when they hear the creature outside but also come across a mysterious mirror that doesn’t reflect
An intriguing set-up for sure and it’s high science fiction if you can overlook some unsavoury plot holes once you reflect.
We have reached the point where quirkiness called back from earlier incarnations of the Doctor, off screen adventures are mentioned, and absurd backstory seem increasingly like throwaway comments rather than plot building or characterisation.
Kevin Eldon makes a guest appearance for the middle section of this episode and he’s very good even if his section is slightly nonsensical and only there to present some jeopardy into proceedings even if suspension of disbelief goes out of the window.
The third act, however, is a taste of a science fiction classic and it’s here that Bradley Walsh as Graham delivers another heartfelt performance as part of an emotional finale.
There’s a payoff we’ve been waiting for since the start of the series – in which Tosin Cole’s Ryan finally accepts Graham as his granddad – and it’s a satisfying closure even if his character has seemed wooden for much of the series.
Yaz (Mandip Gill) is given some characterisation but we’re back in the realm of too many characters in a small drama and she feels sadly underserved again.
And yes, the final conclusion is a little bit abstract – classic hard science fiction combined with low budget – but it might confuse regular Doctor Who watchers more than chucking in another character in to please hard core fans.