Doctor Who – The Rings Of Akhaten

vigil

Series 7, Episode 8

CONTAINS SPOILERS

What is it with the Doctor and taking his companions to see post-apocalyptic worlds on his second ‘official’ adventure with them? He took Rose to see the world ending in, well The End of the World in series one, he took Amy to see people who had abandoned the Earth in The Beast Below and now he takes Clara to visit a former planet which is now broken up into little parts orbiting a sun.

They visit a marketplace very like the catina in Star Wars, full of lots of different alien species. This episode has a few interesting creations. Dor’een, an aggressive looking alien who communicates in dog-like barks when she actually only wants to barter and sell goods. The Big Bad in the episode is the God Of Akahaten. The Doctor figures out that it isn’t a god after all, it’s just a parasite that feeds on souls and rules on fear. But he makes an error that the god is the creepy alien mummy in a pyramid. It isn’t, the god is huge burning sun with a skull-like face. Best of all are the Vigil, with hissing, whispering speech and skull helmets who’s job is essentially to enable the ‘god’ to take a sacrificial lamb.

Unfortunately the whole isn’t greater than the sum of its parts. I lost interest in the story towards the end, and I really didn’t like all the choir singing. It’s just one of those things that doesn’t work for me. Some of the speeches were a bit overblown, which admittedly isn’t a new thing for this show, The End of Time part 2 for example having many to dredge through.

I do like the ongoing storyline with Clara though. Clara said in the previous episode that the leaf was “chapter one”. We see in this episode what she meant. The leaf blowing in her father’s face causing him to stumble into the road and be saved from getting run over by her mother was how they met. Her father kept hold of the leaf saying that if it hadn’t have fallen at that specific time and place then they never would have met and got together. We also find out that Clara’s mother died, and the nature of the death isn’t explained as of yet. We did have what I thought was a very moving flashback of Clara’s mother telling her she would always be there for her. Clara also mentions that she thinks the TARDIS dislikes her. Given the nature of Clara as the “Impossible Girl” I wonder if some or all of this is going to come up later.

Other highlights of this episode for me:

* The Doctor reading the Beano summer special.

* Another brilliant Clara/the Doctor exchange.

Clara : “So what’s it made of?  Time? I mean, if you can just rotor through it it’s got to be made of stuff, like jam is made of strawberries, so what is it?”

The Doctor :” Well not strawberries. No, no, no, no. That would be unacceptable.”

* Clara mentioning moments like “when someone asks you your favourite book and you instantly forget every book you ever read”. Yeah, that has happened to me a few times I’m embarrassed to say.

* The exotic blue glowing orb fruit the Doctor and Clara have in the marketplace.

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