Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument – Review

There was a moment at the end of the Jodie Whittaker’s first episode of Doctor Who when I realised that I had made it to the end of the “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” without having seen the opening credits.

There was the merest hint of the titles during the end credits and when they were shown in full at the start of the second episode I recalled the end of Quantum of Solace (2008) when the iconic gun barrel sequence was shown.

The gun barrel sequence is part of James Bond folklore, and this was the first time the concept was played with as part of the story – that Craig’s Bond had finally earned his double-O stripes at the conclusion of that story arc.

Enough of gun barrels though. The new credits are suitably otherworldly and kaleidoscopic – harking back to earlier incarnations of Doctor Who – and we were back to the stylised new look of the show with the Doctor in full flow.

Art Malik was the big name guest star this week as the Doctor, her friends, and two competing pilots raced for a prize – which turned out to be where the Doctor’s lost transport – the TARDIS – was.

This week’s plot is once again a secondary concern as our characters retake centre stage but Yasmin was once again left underserved by the plot as the relationship between Graham and Ryan was further explored along with more on Ryan’s dyspraxia which was mentioned in the first episode.

With three regular companions – the old name for the Doctor’s friends – it’s almost inevitable that one or two will get a bit less screen time despite the slightly longer episodes this time.

This time they are on a generic alien world that’s been devastated by advanced weapons which pose a distinct threat to life for our competitors who find a way to save themselves while winning the prize.

So far so simple, but the dialogue was still a bit clunky in places with the plot suffering from the non-cinematic run-time and a couple of slightly pointless scenes amid the “science-fiction-lite” plot.

Jodie Whittaker is definitely showing signs of growing into her role as the Doctor, and it was a pleasure to see her reaction to getting back into her TARDIS (which had spent time regenerating the interior), even if it was a subversion of a familiar trope of new Who. 

Rather predictably, some threads left unresolved from the first episode are brought back into focus and a potential series arc was highlighted.

That’s just enough to keep me interested to see the next episode, though.