TV Review: Doctor Who Series 11, Episode 9. “It Takes You Away.”

Apologies for the delay on the last two Doctor Who reviews, but I will be making sure the entirety of Series 11 has been reviewed ready for the New Years Day special! (Still bitter that we won’t be getting a Christmas special, but hey ho!)

It Takes You Away had me hooked at the start, a lonely, derelict house in the middle of Norway, being stalked by a mysterious creature? Perfect! Good, old-fashioned Doctor Who which I am welcoming with open arms. Sadly, what began as an interesting premise quickly plunged into a confusing, dull mess of a story which reaffirmed why it’s taken me so long to get around to watching the rest of the series, because as soon as I start to become optimistic, I’m brought back down to Earth and reminded of how poor the overall quality of Series 11 has been.

Once the plot diverged and we are taken through this strange portal, the episode just went downhill for me. We are welcomed to another villain that looks like he was ripped straight out of Power Rangers who ends up serving zero purpose to the episode, he’s merely there to fill some time and add a “threat” to the TARDIS team. Once he’s then swiftly removed from the proceedings, we’re plunged into an “alternate universe”, which is where this episode completely lost me. Series 11 has been a culprit of giving us way too much exposition in episodes, but this one was beyond ridiculous. When The Doctor is explaining to Yaz what exactly is going on, it was like static in my brain. I wasn’t entertained, I wasn’t interested, and I was left thinking how much I would have preferred it if we had instead just had a monster stalking the house.

Writer Ed Hime does his best to juggle the TARDIS team around, but in what has been a recurring theme this series, Yaz just feels like a spare part and she becomes more irrelevant as a companion as time goes on, which is a shame because Mandip Gill is a good actress doing the best with what little she is given.

The theme of grief and loss continues in this episode, and Bradley Walsh continues to stand out with his excellent performances and he has, by far, been the best companion in Series 11. I appreciate that the ending was meant to be quite poignant as the characters are removed from the alternate universe and Ryan finally acknowledges him as his Grandad, but sadly I had lost interest at this point, but Walsh does a great job regardless to create empathy for Graham, and in what has been an up and down series, he’s been the constant strength.

The Doctor was solid as well, and I’m glad we even got to see a slight hint of The Doctor’s manipulative side, showing her inner Seventh Doctor.

The rest of the guest stars were pretty dire however, with the exception of Sharon D Clarke as a returning Grace. I believe they tried their best, but some of the poor acting was really taking me out of the story.

In conclusion, this episode had potential at the start, but I think Ed Hime got a bit carried away in trying to deliver a twists and turns story and perhaps got a bit over-excited by the prospect of writing for Doctor Who. The result is a jumbled mess that was actually, when you look at it in hindsight, incredibly dull and boring. Oh, and what was that space frog thing about? I’m getting the vibe Hime might have been smoking something a bit exotic when he came up with that scene!

I give It Takes You Away a 5.5/10.

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