22nd May2017

‘Doctor Who 10×06: Extremis’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Doctor-Who-Extremis

If there is one problem with Doctor Who it is that things tend to stay the same, and we see nothing really that new. What we’ve needed is something to shake up the status quo. Extremis was promised to be a big episode, but the result was something of a refreshing surprise that many won’t have seen coming.

When The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is called on to read the Veritas, Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) accompany him to the Vatican. With the legend that anybody who reads the book commits suicide, the news that a translation has spread online is causing much worry, but can The Doctor discover the truth of the book?

The little you read about what goes on in the episode, the better. This is why I won’t be discussing much about the plot, but what works in the episode. I promise that the plot won’t be involved (okay, maybe just things that are outside of the main plot.

What I can say is that is it good to see Missy (Michelle Gomez) back in Doctor Who. Her dry sense of humour and sarcastic nature was something the show was missing. She features in a flashback which reveals much about Missy (The Master) and The Doctor, but there is still a lot of mystery around just what this flashback is about. Other than Missy did something bad of course.

The main story (no spoilers) is designed to mess with the audience’s head and it does it well. When the truth behind it is revealed, and it all comes together then you’ll either be impressed at the hype machine around this episode, or you’ll be a little “meh” about it. The fact is this episode does things a little differently, and for me it got it right.

Another element is the fact that The Doctor is still blind, and this comes into play too. It is interesting how this disability for The Doctor is used effectively, and really does affect The Doctor and what he can do. This is a weakened Doctor doing all he can, and having to realise that he needs help, and of course has to accept that help.

Getting away from the spoilers for the main plot, this episode has one of the best jokes about Catholicism and sin. You’ll know it when you see it. Also, the episode will stand out for Matt Lucas’ performance as Nardole.

It shouldn’t be a surprise really that he steals some of the scenes in this episode, because it is revealing a lot about just why he is around. Lucas though has moments of seriousness and comedy that really make him stand out. At one point in the Christmas episode, I wondered why he was still around. This episode is one of those that answers exactly why Nardole is there, and just what his role is for The Doctor.

Extremis is an episode that I tend to think will divide fans. For some, I think they will really like it and others won’t really be that impressed. I’m in the camp of liking it though, because it is something different. The fact we get some answers about the Vault is also a plus, and is a good set up for the second half of the season.

Now to see where next week’s episode of Doctor Who takes us, and this will be an important one for what is to come as we head towards the end of the season. While Extremis felt like a major episode, where the one that is coming next week doesn’t have that same feel. Maybe, like this week, we’ll be in for a surprise and something major will happen to shake everything up.

****½  4.5/5

Doctor Who airs in the UK on BBC on Saturdays.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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