Doctor Who Returns – Special 2: Wild Blue Yonder

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It’s back! This is the second ‘Special’ of three. I gave last week’s – The Star Beastfour stars (in keeping with most of the critics), so let’s see how this one: ‘Wild Blue Yonder’, turns out. The final Special is next week.

Before I get into Wild Blue Yonder, a short aside to set the scene. Even if you’re not a Who-fan, you can’t fail to have noticed there’s been a lot of media activity leading up to these Specials that coincide with the 60th Anniversary of this iconic TV show. Why such a fuss? Well, for a background to all this heightened hype, take a look at my detailed Post HERE (first penned in January)… See you back here shortly…

Welcome back…

Hope that positioned things nicely! First off: there’s no need to watch last week’s – The Star Beast – before this one as tonight’s works pretty-well as a standalone episode. There are a few references to last Saturday’s but nothing that will stop you making sense of it all! Eventually! 😀

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The BBC released a short trailer for this, the second Special, shortly after The Star Beast aired, but it doesn’t give much away. And that’s pretty much how things stayed in the week in between. Unlike past Whos, there was no extra hype at all – it was almost as if the powers that be didn’t want to build up to tonight at all!! In fact, the lack of anything had sent the web and social media into a spin over the past seven days including some wild speculations and theories about what this one was going to be about and who was going to be in it. In the end, no-one got it right! Read on….

All we know about this ‘Special 2’ is the very short synopsis:

“The TARDIS takes the Doctor and Donna farther than ever before…”

Mild Spoilers (only) ahead!

So, it’s 6.30pm on Saturday night and I’m watching this one live at home. It began on a humorous note, but 10 minutes in, something VERY significant happened – something that would drive the story throughout (note that this one is NOT an hour long as per some TV listings – just 55 minutes).

After the opening title sequence, this one immediately felt significantly different to a typical Who episode. No ‘monsters’, no ‘mass peril’ – just ‘something’ or ‘someone’ lurking. Any viewers new to Who might have switched over/stuck with it out of curiosity to see if it made sense. At that point, it certainly didn’t make much sense to me! But maybe that was the point… to make the viewer uneasy? Additionally, the music wasn’t familiar at all, there was no frantic action (at least initially) – just the two leads talking. It was worth concentrating on the dialogue though, as this was already starting to feel like a ‘talky’ episode. In fact, dare I say it, it all began to feel a tad ponderous to me. Who is always at its best when there is plenty of action and the ‘bad guys’ are obvious. Not tonight! As viewers, we were all in unfamiliar territory! In fact, I really did begin to wonder where the story was heading. In short, it’s an episode that relies on the performance and chemistry of the two leads – and I’m pleased to say they pulled it off.

Yes, it was a bit of a head-scratcher in the opening act, and I’m sure others will feel the same. As this week’s yarn unfolded, the absence of characters, the hopelessness of their situation, the uncertainty of the WHAT, the WHERE and the WHY of it all, together with the characters also sharing our confusion, this turned into one of the creepiest Who episode I think I’ve ever seen. Spooky! The special effects are top-notch, and as a lifelong fan who’s gotten used to wobbly sets and sometimes very dubious interpretations of ‘aliens’, this has been the best part of new (new) Who. 😁. The other good thing about tonight was the complete absence of any ‘preachy’ messages – Orphan 55 (Doctor Who, January 2020) anyone?

And then the story got creepier! 😱. The lack of characters was resolved. Sort of! If you’re expecting a multiple-Doctor appearance, you’ll be pleased. Sort of! Pass the paracetamol, my head hurts (and it’s not because I had a tooth out earlier this week!).

By the final act, pretty much everything became clear, but just when we knew how it was going to pan out – it didn’t! A neat twist that ratcheted up the tension for one last time! The Doctor saves the day (again). IN the closing scenes, it may be helpful to prepare the Kleenex as the final scene will have ‘Who diehards’ feeling they’ve got ‘something their eye’ as a well-loved character returns.

The final scene set up things nicely for the third Special next week.

Overall, in my view, not as Who-like as last week’s (or most other episodes) and not quite as ‘special’ (given that it’s a Special!). It’s not going to be one of my favourites, but I did enjoy it overall, by the time the credits rolled – if only out of curiosity as to where the story was heading. Few acting partnerships could have pulled tonight’s tale off, but I guess that’s the difference between ‘actors’, ‘good actors’ and ‘great actors’ – ACTING! 🤔😁👍

Next Week

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When the final Special airs next Saturday, we’ll be out enjoying our first Christmas meal of 2023, so I plan to watch it on catchup ASAP. See you next week for ‘The Giggle’ – where we’re promised the ending of all endings… and a new Doctor too! 🤔

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