26th Oct2014

‘Doctor Who: 8×10 – In the Forest of the Night’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


Writing this I know that I have to point out that I love Doctor Who, I doubt anything would make me stop watching it…but I have to be honest.  In the Forest of the Night is placed before the final two episodes that make up the finale, and we all know what that means, this is where the weak episode normally sits before all the excitement begins.  All I thought as the episode ended was “Fluff”.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) arrives in London to find it covered in a forest of trees and a little girl knocking on the TARDIS door.  Finding that she is part of a school group on a museum sleep over with Clara (Jenna Coleman) and Danny Pink he soon meets up with his companion and her boyfriend to try to work out not just why the forest has covered London, but the entire world.

I used the word fluff because although there is a good story lurking in there, not a lot actually happens here but for the bickering between Clara and Danny.  Ten episodes in and really this annoying story arc should have been sorted, thankfully it seems to be over now (maybe).  Another weakness? Kids, this episode has kids in it! Surprisingly though these aren’t too annoying as they can often be and actually hold the episode together, especially Maebh (Abigail Eames) whom the episode centres around.  I think it should be written into Doctor Who law that you always take notice of the little girl in the red coat, they always have an important part to play.

I think when it comes to Peter Capaldi we can put the question as to whether he is a good Doctor Who to rest now, he plays the part well and has made this version of the character his own.  I particularly liked in this episode that he came across as a Willy Wonka style character to the children, like something out of a fairy tale who may have seemed strange but he kept them entertained and calm when the other adults were losing the plot.

As we reach the end finale it’s easy to reflect on what we’ve seen so far and hope that things improve, and honestly it’s not Capaldi’s fault and not Coleman’s or Samuel Anderson’s.  The problem is the story for the season as a whole has been created as somewhat of a love triangle, which is strange because we do have to question if The Doctor even thinks of Clara in that way? We have to put up with the recurring annoyance of Danny being jealous of The Doctor and it is starting to get tedious, so enough…hopefully this episode is the end of it and we can get onto the important stuff.

I am a Doctor Who fan, and I do like Peter Capaldi in the role but I can’t be blind to the weaknesses that are so easy to see.  This episode was a filler that used a story that deserved better, in many ways the revelation at the end of the episode epitomises what is wrong with this episode, so think about it when you see it.  I’m sure we’ll forget In the Forest of the Night very easily, and maybe it doesn’t deserve it, but as we are nearing the finale there was an expectation for more…and we didn’t get it.

***½  3.5/5

In the Forest of the Night is a filler episode that is interesting but feels too much like fluff. Caught by the Doctor Who curse of episodes that come before the big finale very little feels to happen and the trailer for next week eclipses what we’ve seen. Not the worst Doctor Who episode, but the story could have been used better.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

4 Responses to “‘Doctor Who: 8×10 – In the Forest of the Night’ Review”

  • Mrs Biggles

    I’m not sure that you’re reviewing the same episode that I watched. The show I watched was nuanced, clever, intriguing, funny and positive in many ways. I’m wondering if it feels that way simply because I’m 60+ and see the world in a different way, or if experience of life, the universe and everything just makes me aware of other viewpoints. What ever it is I enjoyed it, my slightly younger husband enjoyed it and our 40-something guest did too.

    So there you go, a completely take on the whole thing; but what would the world be if we all liked the same things. :o)

  • Geoffrey

    Sorry, but this isn’t even good enough to be fluff. The concept of the forest was good, but the whole trees saving us from a solar flare? If they had pumped out all this oxygen (which was meant to shield us according to the Doctor) the whole world would have caught fire. Everything would have burnt to ash. It was almost as bad as the excreble kill the moon, and that was scrape it off the bottom of your shoe, saved only by Hermione Norris *how do we kill it” and Clara tearing a strip off the Doctor. This makes the Merka look cutting edge and believable. Any more crap like this and this is one fan who will pretend the series ended with Matt Smith. Shame, because I like the Capaldi Hartnellesque Docotr.

  • KC

    Series does need a healthy boot up the bottom…every other episode has been rather poor by previous episodes/series etc. Time ( and we all know she will ) for Clara to move on…the Doctor needs a taller, more dominant woman to keep him in check…I frankly love Clara but she doesn’t come across as credible in this series :-(
    This particular episode was a 5/10 for me…the moon episode was a 3/10 ( bordering on an absurd ending ).
    Maybe a new head script writer is needed ?

  • Ian Grant

    Unfortunately, you are right about this episode. Whilst it looked lovely, it seems clear that the episode had no script editor. Anyone worth their salt would have realised the lack of real jeapardy and the very dodgy resolution. Also (among other blatantly obvious problems), where were the other millions of London residents? They would not have all stayed in their homes. It seemed like it was a first draft with, as you say, a good story trying to get out. Surely a script editor could have guided the writer.