Doctor Who: What the Fjord is this?

Doctor Who | Season 11  | Episode 9 : It Takes You Away
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KBear Recap
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“The Wooly Rebellion. In 193 years, there’s a total renegotiation of the sheep-human relationship. Utter bloodbath.” The Doctor

Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) looks over the scenic Norwegian countryside and says, “Ah, nice fjord!” The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) is munching on the soil to get their bearings. Graham: “Got your bearings yet, Doc?” The Doctor: “Norway. Definitely Norway. One of the frilly bits on the top.” The Doctor sees a sheep and scans it, she is relieved it is 2018 because of the Wooly Rebellion in 2211. Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) spots a cottage in the distance. They decide to walk over to it. When they get there, the cottage looks abandoned, but it looks like someone has barricaded it. They see someone moving in the house. They go to investigate. The Doctor observes it’s strange that for a house in the middle of nowhere, it has three locks. She uses her sonic to get in. They notice children shoes on the floor. Graham wonders if they should be in here. Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) thinks there is a child here. Graham: “Or some maniac who collects kids’ shoes.” The Doctor divides the companions, sending Graham and Ryan upstairs to look. The two men find a girl wearing shades hiding. They call for the Doctor. The girl named Hanne (Ellie Wallwork) asks who they are. The Doctor tells her they thought someone might need help, so they came in. The Doctor asks her why she is so scared. Hanne tells them the Thing took her father.

“We’d know if we were vampires, right?” Ryan Sinclair 

Back downstairs The Doctor notices that Hanne is blind, she asks Hanne and she confirms it. Hanne asks them to find her dad. Hanne’s mom is dead, and her father moved them from Oslo afterwards. They ask Hanne if her father could have gone somewhere for a reason. Ryan angers Hanne when he implies her father has abandoned her. The Doctor sends Ryan and Yaz to the shed to investigate. Ryan tells Yaz he is rubbish with kids. Yaz says she has had training on how to deal with them. They hear roaring coming from the woods. Hanne runs under the table and keeps repeating, “It takes you away!”  Graham finds a mirror in Hanne father’s room. There is no reflection in the mirror. Ryan startles him when he comes up. Both men are confused by it. The Doctor joins them. After a high pitch ringing, they can see their reflections. The Doctor looks through the mirror. It is a portal. The Doctor: “Both of you. Stay clear of the mirror. It’s already tried to lure in Graham.” Ryan: “Yeah.” Graham: “Hey. All of us, it lured. It’s not like I gave it credit card details.” The Doctor decides to go through the portal to find Hanne’s dad, Eric (Christian Rubeck). She is taking Graham and Yaz with her. She tells Ryan to stay with Hanne. She says out loud for Hanne to hear that she’s drawing a map for Ryan. Instead she writes down these instructions for Ryan. Assume her dad is dead. Keep her safe. Find out who else can take care of her. The Doctor, Yaz, and Graham walk through the portal.

The portal didn’t automatically take them to another world. Instead they are in a dark, dank, dangerous cave. They run into an ugly alien named Ribbons (Kevin Eldon). The Doctor asks him if he’s seen Eric. He says he might have. The Doctor: “What did he look like? This man.”
Ribbons: “No horns. One mouth. So ugly. Like you. But such nice big boots.” He looks over the companions. Ribbons: “Bird is lunch. Maybe codger is tea.” Graham: “Who are you calling a codger? It’s you who stinks of his own wee.” Ribbons: “That’s not my wee.” The Doctor: “Let him go cause you do not want those words to be your last ones.” He wants to trade info for the Doctor’s sonic. She will if he guides them to Eric, but he’ll have to leave his knife. He leaves it behind. He gives them a balloon like lantern to carry to keep the flesh-moths away. One lands on the lantern. Ribbons tosses a six-legged rat for it too eat to distract it. It cleans the meat off the bone of the rat.

Hanne wanted to go with them, but the Doctor said it was too dangerous. She is still mad with Ryan. She knows whatever the Doctor wrote wasn’t a map, but Ryan won’t tell her what it was. They hear roaring from outside again. Ryan goes to investigate and finds that the monster sounds were a recording. He goes back inside to tell Hanne, but she uses the door to knock him out so that she can go through the portal. Ryan wakes up and goes after her.

The Doctor realizes that they are in an anti-zone. It is created between two universes when the two universes are incompatible and can’t touch each other. This anti-zone is like a maze. The Doctor had laid out a string, so they could find their way back. Ribbons had cut the string while they weren’t looking. He grabs Graham and holds him hostage with his other knife for the sonic. Graham turns the tables on Ribbons and gets away from him. The lights dim, and a swarm of flesh-moths descend on Ribbons. The Doctor, Yaz, and Graham make it through another portal, but it looks like they are on the other side of the mirror. They are back in Hanne’s house, but things are reverse. They walk downstairs and find Eric in the kitchen. They find out from him that he had set up the recording of a wild beast so that Hanne wouldn’t wonder off while he was gone. He left plenty of food for her to eat. The Doctor: “You turned your house into a fortress just to keep your daughter scared.” Graham and Yaz are ready to hit him but the Doctor tells them not to. The Doctor asks who else is here. Eric’s dead wife Trine (Lisa Stokke) walks out. She tells the Doctor she remembers dying and doesn’t know why she is here. Eric couldn’t stand losing her the first time and plans to stay now. Graham tells him to get his priorities straight, he has a child at home. Trine tells them they have a friend who arrived just before they did. They go outside, and Graham recognizes from her voice who it is. It is Grace (Sharon D. Clarke). She says hello to Graham and he replies, “Don’t do this to me.”

Hanne is in the anti-zone, using the string the Doctor left to guide her. Ryan catches up with her. He tells her about the recording he found. She asks how the cave looks but Ryan won’t tell her about the skeleton on the ground near them, he says it isn’t that bad. She knows he’s lying. Ryan finds one of the balloon lanterns and tells her to stay close.

“What if you do something it hasn’t dealt with before, like reverse the polarity or something?” Yasmin Khan

Grace doesn’t understand how she got here. Graham doesn’t see how it is possible. The Doctor is panicking because everything about this world is wrong. The anti-zone only appears when there is a huge threat and it keeps worlds apart. The Doctor remembers the Solitract. The Doctor: “Solitract! It’s a theory, a myth, a bedtime story my Gran used to tell me.”  Yaz: “You had a grandmother?” The Doctor: “I had seven but Granny Five, my favorite, used to tell me about the Solitract.” It is a consciousness that had been banished in order for our universe to even exist. This is a tiny pocket universe that mirrors our own. She wonders has the Solitract created a trap?

“Yasmin Khan, you speak my language!” The Doctor

Graham tells Grace about the TARDIS and their adventures. She tells him he’s gone on without her. He tells her he missed her. The Doctor walks up and tells Graham they have to go, this world is a con. Ryan and Hanne are running and hiding from the flesh-moths. The Doctor is trying to get the portal open again but it is blocking the Doctor’s efforts. Yaz mentions she should do something it isn’t expecting. The Doctor finally gets it open and orders Graham and Eric to leave, both men don’t want to. The portal being open allows Hanne to dive in. Ryan is still in the anti-zone. Eric tells Hanne her mom is alive. When Trine hugs her, Hanne knows she isn’t her mother. She tells them that Ryan is still out there. Graham wants to go and get him, Grace doesn’t. The Doctor reminds everyone that they have to get out of there, this universe is falling apart, and it can’t take the five of them in it. They are incompatible for this world. She realizes what’s going on. The Doctor: “You’ve built a world you knew we’d like and taken forms we wouldn’t reject.” The Solitract wants to be with us.

Yaz calls Grace a fake, she knows the real Grace would do anything to save Ryan. Trine ejects Yaz out of the universe. She pretends she’s shocked by what happened, the Doctor knows better. Eric asks Hanne to stay here. Hanne refuses, she knows this Trine isn’t her mother and she tells her she hates her. Trine ejects her out with Yaz into the anti-zone. Graham tries not to see the truth. Grace asks him not to leave her, and tells him that Ryan can take care of himself. Graham finally admits the truth, his Grace would never leave Ryan in danger. Grace ejects him and disappears. It’s only the Doctor and Eric left with Trine. The idiot still wants to stay. The Doctor: “This woman is clearly an alien force, collapsing two realities and impersonating your dead wife. Time to move on, mate!” The Doctor changes her tactic, she convinces Trine that she is a better option to stay. She has seen the universe and can tell her about it while Eric is an idiot with a daughter that needs him. When he sees that Trine has chosen the Doctor, he finally sees the truth. Trine ejects him out. The universe is still falling apart but Trine stops it.

“My own form is endless but this frog is a form that delights me as it once delighted Grace.” Solitract Frog

The Doctor is in a white room with a frog sitting in a chair. The Solitract has taken the form of a frog and sounds like Grace. The Doctor: “There’s me thinking the day had no more surprises left.” The frog asks the Doctor to describe our universe. The Doctor tells it how beautiful it is. The universe is still unstable. The Doctor: “You are the maddest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced and I haven’t even scratched the surface. I wish I could stay. But if either of us are going to survive, you’re going to have to let me go and keep on being brilliant by yourself.” The Doctor promises the Solitract they will be friends forever. The Solitract lets the Doctor go.  The anti-zone is collapsing too. They all make it through the portal into our world. The Doctor is sad because she made a new friend but has to say goodbye to it forever. Eric sees what the Doctor wrote on the wall and is ashamed of what he’s done to Hanne.

The Doctor and her friends are preparing to leave. Eric informs them that he and Hanne are moving back to Oslo. Hanne is happy to be back with her old friends. She gives Ryan a hug. Graham is still disturbed by seeing Grace. Ryan tells him he misses her too, but they have each other. Ryan finally calls Graham granddad. Graham can’t believe it, Ryan playfully asks is he losing his hearing now.

Case file on the Anti-Zone

KBear Review
[Read time: 1-3 minutes]

The Doctor and her companions find themselves in Norway. They find a blind girl in a cottage by herself. She thinks that some creature has taken her dad. Ryan thinks he’s skipped out on her. They hear roaring noises from the woods. It turns out they are recordings her dad plays to keep her from wondering around while he’s gone. He is gone to another universe. There is a mirror in his room that is a portal to it. The Doctor, Graham, and Yaz go through it to find Hanne’s father Eric. The Doctor leaves Ryan to take care of the girl. She is able to knock him out with a door and go through the portal also. The Doctor and her companions find themselves in an anti-zone, created to keep two worlds from touching each other if they are incompatible. While in the anti-zone the meet an alien named Ribbons who is unfriendly and untrustworthy. He meets his end by being eaten by flesh-moths. They make it to the other portal into a house just like the one in our universe. Eric is there being a deadbeat dad and shacking up with his deceased wife Trine. He doesn’t appear that concerned about Hanne. Another deceased wife shows up, Grace. Grace is trying to get Graham to stay. The Doctor figures out they are in the Solitract universe. They have to get out of there because they being from our universe are incompatible with it. As each person tells the Solitract it’s a fake, they get ejected. Eric is the last holdout but the Doctor convinces the Solitract to keep her and get rid of him. The Solitract bounces him out on his ass. The Solitract takes the form of a frog and speaks in Grace’s voice. The Doctor can’t stay either, but the Solitract lets her go, but they’ll be pals forever.

This wasn’t your ordinary episode, it felt like there were three different episodes in it. The first one was being in a secluded cabin fighting off monsters. We quickly learned that wasn’t the case. The second one was being stuck in a hostile environment with flesh eating moths and an untrustworthy alien. The alien gets eaten and they are out of there pretty quickly. The third story was about a mirror universe that was taking the shapes of deceased loved ones to keep Graham and Eric from leaving. That turned out to be the major story, one about grief. The first time I watched the episode, they nearly lost me with the frog, but the second time, I was okay with it. I could see this episode being someone’s favorite of the season, or their worst. I’m in the middle, I found it interesting but disjointed. I didn’t care for Eric or Hanne that much [though to be fair she was acting like a teenager, still annoying though]. I would have liked to have seen more of Ribbons. Graham and Grace were great, they were the emotional heart of the story. Ryan finally called Graham granddad. That felt earned. I liked it better the second time I watched it, so I think I’ll like it more every time I watch it. That is something good to say about it.

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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