Series Eleven, Episode Nine
The episode takes place in Norway in the present day (well, 2018). The TARDIS team find a cottage which looks abandoned, and the windows are all boarded up. But they spot someone moving in there. They decide to get in the house.
Inside the house, they find a teeange girl, Hanne (Ellie Wallwork). She is blind. She says her mother died some time ago and she has been living here with her dad. But they were defending the house from “a monster”, which took her dad away. She says it comes at the same time every day. Everyone hears its roaring outside!
Graham and Ryan find a mirror, but their reflections don’t appear in it! “We’d know if we were vampires, right?” asks Ryan. The Doctor sees the mirror too, and decides to go through it. It’s a portal to some weird dimension!
The Doctor immediately comes back to discuss what action should be taken. It’s decided that the Doctor, Graham and Yasmin will go into the portal, while Ryan and Hanne stay behind.
The dimension is a rocky, misty area with some red lights, and there are flesh-eating moths and six-legged rats! The group encounter a creature named Ribbons of the
Seven Stomachs (Kevin Eldon). The Doctor wants information, and Ribbons says he’ll give it in exchange for the sonic screwdriver, but he never seems trustworthy, and indeed he leads them somewhere they’ll get lost and tries to steal the screwdriver. He ends up being killed by the flesh-eating moths trying to get the screwdriver, but what we do learn from him is that this area is an Antizone, somewhere between universes.
The Doctor, Graham and Yasmin run through another portal which leads to a house very like the one they came from, but is slightly different. They go further into the house and find Hanne’s father Erik (Christian Rubeck)!
Meanwhile, in our universe, Ryan has found that the “monster” is nothing but speakers playing a roaring sound, and it seems Erik set it up. Hanne decides to go into the portal on her own, and later Ryan follows her.
Erik admits that he boarded the house up and set up the speakers to keep Hanne in the house. He ended up in this universe through the mirror portal, and he found Trine
(Lisa Stokke), who is his late wife and Hanne’s mother! They tried to take her back, but she wasn’t able to pass through the mirror portal here, so Erik went back home and set up the “monster” to keep Hanne in the house (and hopefully safe) then he returned to this universe.
There’s someone else here as well – Grace!
Both Grace and Trine remember dying, and don’t know what is happening either. Graham doesn’t believe it, as it isn’t possible. He asks Grace about a frog necklace he has, and she gives the correct answer. One Christmas both Graham and Ryan bought her the same present as they knew she liked frogs!
The Doctor does some thinking, and she knows what’s going on! This is the work of the Solitract, a universe with a conscious which has existed before time itself. It’s trying to join with our universe, but doing that will destroy the fabric of space and time.
Hanne runs through the mirror portal into this universe and is reunited with her parents… but she doesn’t trust Trine and is sure she isn’t really her mum. She’s right. The Solitract constructed a world and used forms it knew people from our universe would want to be with – loved ones who have died.
Yasmin tells “Grace” that she isn’t really her, as the real Grace was selfless and wouldn’t have expected Graham to abandon his universe just to be with her. “Grace” expels Yasmin into the Antizone, and “Trine” expels Hanne into the Antizone.
Graham asks “Grace” what about Ryan, if Graham stays here then Ryan will be left on his own. “Grace” says Ryan will be fine as he’s a strong boy. “You were so close” sighs Graham. The real Grace certainly wouldn’t have put herself before her grandson’s wellbeing. “Grace” expels Graham into the Antizone, then she dissolves, as her form is no longer of use to the Solitract.
“Trine” is still there, and Erik doesn’t want to leave her. But this reality is about to collapse, the Solitract will have to choose to keep either Erik or the Doctor. The Doctor says she will be a better choice, as she knows so many secrets of space, time and the universe, Erik is just an ordinary human. “Trine” seems to agree, which convinces Erik that she isn’t the real Trine, so he is expelled into the Antizone.
With only the Doctor left, the house disappears and all that is left is white nothingness. The Solitract then assumes the form of… a frog with Grace’s voice. O….K.
The Doctor says even she can’t stay. She actually wants to stay as she is amazed by the Solitract and its abilities, but the two universes simply can’t be together without literally everything being destroyed. The Solitract reluctantly agrees, and expels the Doctor into the Antizone. Everyone from our universe gets back through the portal, and the mirror is cracked, so the portal is closed forever.
Obviously this has all been distressing for Graham, so he takes some time to gather himself. Ryan is supportive, and even calls him “granddad”, and says they at least
have each other.
Ryan was very lucky really, he was spared from having to be reunited with Grace, learn that it was a trick and then having to let her go all over again.
Everyone will have loved ones they have lost, and would want more than anything for them to be brought back to life and to be reunited with them. So to think you have
that, for it to turn out not to be true must be gut wrenching. While the Solitract isn’t evil as such, what it does is a dirty, manipulative trick.
The frog-with-Grace’s-voice was a bit daft. Perhaps they wanted to lighten the tone a little at that point?
Hanne has an Arctic Monkeys t-shirt which used to belong to Trine. Erik has a Slayer t-shirt.
The scenery in Norway looked very pretty.
There were a lot of fairytale elements here, with cottages in the woods, frogs and magic mirrors, and fairytales can often lead into the horror genre.
The Doctor mentions a “wooly rebellion”, an uprising of the sheep in just under 200 years time. “A renegotiation of the sheep/human relationship. Utter bloodbath!”
The episode reminded me of the Futurama serial ‘The Beast With A Billion Backs’. The plot of that is there is a tear in reality, and a lonely, needy conscious universe wants to date the whole of planet Earth.
To be honest, I’m not sure what say about ‘It Takes You Away’ overall. It was… a bit odd, really.