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TV Review: Dr Who (Series 11, Episode 2)

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Killer linens, killer bots, and flesh eating bacteria – it’s business as usual in ‘Ghost Monument’, the second episode to Dr. Who.

After the first episode’s terrible cliffhanger, the Doctor and her companions get split up naturally, and after crash landing on a seemingly innocuous planet, set out with their saviours, Angstrom and Epzo, on a death race.

The entire episode is deeply reminiscent of old sci-fi shows, and pays homage to many tropes of the genre, from the desert planet with multiple planets (much like Tatooine) to the robot soldiers.

Though the plot is not particularly ground-breaking, but rather lovingly pays homage to science fiction of old, ‘The Ghost Monument’ provides just enough of signature Dr. Who wackiness, humour but also profound wisdom to keep us entertained. Furthermore, in doing so, it gives us a familiar frame through which we can get acquainted with the new characters.

Action seems slightly slowed down compared to previous seasons, and while that would not be up everyone’s alley, there are certain benefits. The plot slowing down means more time for characterisation – Graham and Ryan for example are still in the process of grieving and dealing with all the tension between them, which has only got worse after Grace’s death.

Angstrom and Epzo are also fleshed out, and act as good foils to each other, as anyone who would be participating in a death race for the chance to win lots of money would prove to be an interesting character. It was sad to see them go by the end of the episode.

An additional, ‘blink and you miss it’ moment gives us the most casual LGBT representation I have seen so far – in a response to Graham remembering his late wife, Angstrom mentions her own wife, and the two find companionship in shared trauma. The mention of her marriage to a woman is plain and simple and treated with the same weight as a heterosexual one.

Cameras make great use of the gorgeous filming location as panning shots fully transport us to the land of the terrifying alien planet. The golden palette of the world contrasts beautifully with the sky, and brings the appropriate atmosphere to Thirteen’s spunk.

Despite the multiple promises of an eleventh season with no overarching plot, hints keep being dropped about a bigger force at play – from the Stenza slowly being set up to be recurring villains to the linens mentioning “The Timeless Child”.

The next episode airs this Sunday at 6:55pm on BBC1. Episodes of the new Dr Who are also available on iPlayer.




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