Doctor Who – Series 1, Episode 3: Boom

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I’m just about to watch Episode 3 of the new Doctor Who series. I really hope it’s better than last week’s openers, the very disappointing ‘Space Babies’ and the not-much-better-but-slightly improved, second episode: The Devil’s Chord.

This week’s instalment is called ‘Boom’.

Synopsis

Caught in the middle of a devastating war on Kastarion 3, the Doctor is trapped when he steps on a landmine.
Can he save himself and Ruby, plus the entire planet… without moving?

YouTube player

Actually, I’d planned to watch this in its teatime slot this week of 6.50. Instead, we were getting ready to go next door to enjoy a meal with Paul & Karen and David & Rosi, so I took advantage of iPlayer who now make the teatime episode available during the morning. I wasn’t expecting to be up there until midday, at least, but when I got up at 6.30am, there it was! 👍

6.30am: It was on iPlayer already!

I was going in with some trepidation based on my comments above about last week’s efforts. Things that stuck in my mind were – Episode 1: crap storyline, a far-too-camp Doctor, no sense of real threat and lip-syncing babies… Episode 2: A better story, great acting, but a bit ‘pantomimey’ and worst of all – a song and dance number (yes, really!). As one of my best friends put it: “This is Who, not Glee!”.

Exactly! 😡

So this week, I just want a credible plot, a sense of terror, a less camp Doctor (and ideally no babies!) 😁 – let’s see how it works out… On a positive note, Steven Moffat has written this one, and he’s well known for his complex plots and probably most famous for two of the best Who adventures ever – The Girl in the Fireplace and Blink – that both delivered genuine shocks and surprises. He also acted as showrunner from 2010-2017 (the 5th to 10th series) so he knows a thing (or three) about how to deliver Who to the fans. If that’s not a great pedigree, then I just read he’s penned the Christmas 2024 episode too! 👏. I’m feeling better already.

Steven Moffat

OK, it’s 10.45am, the lawns are mowed, I’ve dropped Ann off in Rothwell for her trip to Cambridge Botanical Gardens, and I’ve downloaded tonight’s episode from iPlayer. The next 44 minutes are all mine, with no interruptions and no need to explain to anyone what’s going on! 😁. Here we go..! I won’t post this until tonight’s episode has aired, in case it spoils it for anyone! 👍

Any good?

Well, the lack of tension in last Saturday’s two outings was more than made up for in this one! The pre-titles piece set the scene perfectly, giving a genuine feel of an ‘OMG what’s going on here?’ moment. In most respects, this progressed into a very simplistic storyline (in a good way) leaving the two leads to flex their acting muscles. They did it with ease, taking advantage of the chemistry between Millie Gibson (as Ruby Sunday) and Nkuti Gatwa (as the Doctor). I’d add that the character of Ruby Sunday (whose character is still surrounded in mystery) showed that she’s not a passive companion either, and can easily hold her own in times of complete peril! No screaming females for Doctor Who in 2024!

In short: The leads did a great job in conveying the atmosphere of this very dark episode with strong and convincing performances. So far, so very Who! Why they didn’t make this Episode 1, I’ve no idea! – this was Who doing what it does best! 👍👍 – scaring the pants off us in a very convincing way.

The support cast was minimal in numbers, but they too, gave powerful performances throughout. Stay away if you’re not a fan of the obligatory ‘cute kid’ though! 😮

I did initially think that the scene introducing the (almost) obligatory ‘cute kid’ was going to turn this one into an overly sentimental story, but I needn’t have worried. Yes, she was cute, yes, she was irritating (to me, anyway), but never to the point where it ruined the story. Looking at the bigger picture, with every incarnation of the Doctor, he/she gets an opportunity to ‘tell it like it is’ to the adversaries, and this one was no exception (if a little early in the episode count). It was delivered with conviction, and as a result, we are beginning to see the Doctor’s character coming through – he looks like he can be ruthless, but has a heart (well, two actually!). Away from all the actors’ considerable contributions, the music and the SFX were top-notch too all brought together with some very high production values.

The final act was a bit of a tear-jerker and certainly, the final few minutes may have you reaching for a tissue (or four)! But, it all felt in keeping with the general tone of the story and although there had been a lot of tears onscreen, it was a satisfying ending. Steven Moffat has, once again, shown he can still stir up a wide range of emotions from the audience in a short time – including genuine terror.

Will this become another ‘classic’ episode? I don’t think so, but to me, it was an exceptionally entertaining, thoughtful and well-executed piece of drama!

In short: This one was more like Who should be! Roll on next week’s episode entitled ’73 Yards’. The short preview below doesn’t give much away, but it looks just as intriguing! 👍

YouTube player

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