Anticipating Moon, Mummy, Flatline, Forest, Water & Heaven
Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull looks ahead to the second half of Series 8. Plus poll results with your most anticipated.
Note: do bear in mind that all the information contained within this article has been lifted from various news sources around the Internet – crucially, filming photos. Hence, a lot of information might be true and more spoilerific so read this article at your discretion.
Time flies past when you’re having fun, goes the saying. And aren’t we just? Peter Capaldi is, perhaps, one of the most prestigious actors to grace the TARDIS and it really does show. The way he has tackled the character of the Doctor and put his own interpretation on an age-old character is incredible. Capaldi has also brought out the best in Jenna Coleman and they make for a dynamic pair with the wit and charm of the Tenth Doctor and Donna’s strictly platonic relationship.
We’ve at the halfway mark now, alas, with only a few more episodes to go before we bid farewell to the Doctor until Christmas. But what treats lie in store? A crash-landing on the Moon? A trip on an interstellar Orient Express? Mini TARDIS? Trees taking back the Earth? Ghostly goings-on in the Nethersphere? All of it screams Doctor Who. We might be halfway through series 8 but it sounds like we’ve got one hell of a rollercoaster ride ahead of us.
The Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi
What delights me about Peter Capaldi as the Doctor is that he alters his performance each week. The Twelfth Doctor has no straight characterisation because Capaldi adds something new to the Time Lord all the time. We’ve seen a cynical, flinty Doctor, a sarcastic Doctor, a gentle Doctor, an undercover Doctor, sometimes all in the one episode.
Capaldi has spent the first six episodes establishing the character but now we have a (relative) understanding of him, the Doctor can go any direction. Synopses tell us that his relationship with Clara will become increasingly strained so we should expect drama in the TARDIS. Also he’s still to work out the significance of the Promised Land, so hinted at in Deep Breath and Robot of Sherwood.
Excitingly, it’s hard to predict where the Twelfth Doctor will go from now on but, if Peter Capaldi’s performance is anything to go on, it’s sure to be thrilling.
Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman
Jenna Coleman has almost threatened to steal the show from Capaldi on a number of occasions. The Twelfth Doctor really has brought out the best in Clara and the same applies to Coleman. Each week she puts in a solid turn, truly proving herself after being given short shrift in the previous series.
Now that Danny Pink is in the know and the walls between Clara’s compartmentalised lives have broken down, things won’t quite be the same. She has to ensure Danny and the Doctor are not at each other’s throats and that Danny does not get much of a look into her exciting outer-spatial lifestyle. With Courtney Woods tagging along in Kill the Moon, it appears Clara will have yet another ward aboard the TARDIS, another responsibility. Hopefully she’ll be able to return Disruptive Influence without a scratch.
Another crucial moment in Kill the Moon (apparently) is the breakdown of the relationship between the Doctor and Clara. “This may be Capaldi’s own ‘Time Lord Victorious’ moment,” said Doctor Who TV in the recent advance review. The companion killed themselves in the last Doctor ‘Time Lord Victorious’ moment so things aren’t looking good for Clara.
Note: the following characters are not formally credited as companions but still feature throughout the forthcoming episodes, and work as the role of a companion.
Courtney Woods, played by Ellis George
George debuted in last week’s The Caretaker and her repartee with the Doctor was one of the highlights. While I still don’t quite buy into the Doctor taken such a shine to her so quickly (presumably because he was annoyed with Clara), Courtney will set foot on the Moon this week when the Doctor satisfies her desire to be the first woman on the Moon.
According to all spoiler-free and advance reviews Courtney does not edge anywhere near Chloe Webber or Angie Maitland territory and I’m delighted. A likeable child companion? That’s a first.
The Villains and Monsters
When Peter Harness, writer of Kill the Moon, was asked – by CultBox in an interview – whether he was scared of spiders he said, “No, I’m not. But I know that many millions of people are. So when I was looking for something that would be guaranteed to bring a bit of a shiver to people, I thought of spiders straight away.” I imagine he said this whilst stroking a white, fluffy cat and sucking at a fat cigar. Sounds about right.
… on the Orient Express. Jamie Mathieson, in his first contribution to the show, has picked a tantalizing concept. The idea of a Mummy stalking the passengers of an interstellar Orient Express is a giddying prospect. According to the synopsis, “once you see the horrifying Mummy you only have 66 seconds to live”, which, already, ramps up the tension.
Revealed in the BBC’s press release for Mummy on the Orient Express is the character of the Foretold, played by Jamie Hill. While I have not a clue whether the Foretold is a villain or not, it’s an interesting name and certainly has me scratching my chin about who he, she or it is.
Mummy on the Orient Express is one of my most anticipated episodes of the second half of this series and I simply can’t wait for a look at its villain. Or villains. Although, hopefully, I won’t die a minute later.
Spiders on the Moon! Mummies on Orient Expresses! Evil being from another dimension in a… that’s right, a wall! Following on from his debut, Jamie Mathieson follows up with Flatline featuring a diabolical wall. What secrets lurk within its cracks? Does the blob of chewing gum stuck to it have any significance? What happens when the wall ends?!
In all seriousness the idea of something that can entrap you in a wall is silently terrifying. It appears Mathieson is taking a leaf out of Steven Moffat’s book by transforming something ordinary (and commonplace) into a villain. If you’re hiding behind the sofa then make sure it’s not near the wall…
Crikey, they’re certainly pulling out all the stops when it comes to monsters this series. The charming Frank Cottrell Boyce’s first (and, hopefully, not his last) script for Doctor Who, entitled In the Forest of the Night, is supposed to have the trees move back in. One morning the world wakes up and the trees have reclaimed the land we now use for bus stops and coffee shops. Whether the trees themselves are the villain or whether it’s another force remains to be seen but all the details of we’ve seen suggest Cottrell Boyce’s story will be a unique and interesting one.
Whatever your thoughts on The Caretaker it’s significant for one thing – it established that the Nethersphere is not just a solo operation. Previously we’ve seen Missy alone, sipping tea and greeting the deceased but The Caretaker widened the scope as we were introduced to Seb (played by Capaldi’s The Thick of It co-star Chris Addison). As Missy has been previously sold as the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere, it appears she’s the boss and that Seb is an underling. Fans are itching to find out what happens and discover what the Nethersphere truly is.
Kill the Moon, written by Peter Harness
The Doctor fulfills Courtney’s desire to be the first woman on the Moon but the TARDIS crew, naturally, discover spiders, cobwebs and Hermione Norris when it lands. Norris plays Lundvik, head of a doomed lunar crew, and she’s just another fine addition to series 8’s already stellar guest cast. Ellis George is expected to impress again as sparky, young Courtney while we can anticipate the best (as per usual) from Capaldi and Coleman.
Kill the Moon, from the promotional photos, evokes a real classic era vibe and as Doctor Who TV confirmed, Harness follows through his remit to “Hinchcliffe the s*** out of it”.
Mummy on the Orient Express, written by Jamie Mathieson
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was one of series 7’s more humorous episode titles despite having dark underlying themes. Some might roll their eyes at the title of Jamie Mathieson’s debut but we’ve been promised something, like Dinosaurs, that is spooky to the hilt. I’m looking forward to Mummy on the Orient Express most because it’s such a barmy title with an equally barmy cast. As well as a rogue Mummy we have comedian Frank Skinner and songstress Foxes – it’s a pretty crazy line-up but, then, this is Doctor Who after all.
Flatline, written by Jamie Mathieson
Billed as the Doctor-lite episode of this series, Flatline sees Clara take on a solo case. While one could quite eloquently argue that Clara has already been pretty prominent this series, it will interesting to see Jenna Coleman go through an episode without much from Peter Capaldi (also, given the grueling filming schedule, I’m sure Mr. Capaldi was more than pleased to put his feet up for a while). Another thing teased in filming photos was a mini TARDIS so, presumably, the TARDIS will be shrunk at some point in Flatline. With the Doctor trapped inside? Who knows but Flatline looks to be an episode to look out for.
In the Forest of the Night, written by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Frank Cottrell Boyce is a brilliant mind that deserved to be let loose on Doctor Who a long time ago; his episode, In the Forest of the Night, described as “boldly beautiful, lyrical and poetic” (sounds just like him) promises to be a truly amazing one. The core concept: the invasion of the trees is incredibly smart and intriguing, though in the wrong hands it seems something that could come off as silly. However, Cottrell Boyce is a writing virtuoso and In the Forest of the Night looks to be another classic from the writer.
Dark Water/Death in Heaven, written by Steven Moffat
Steven Moffat’s finales have divided on numerous occasions but something about series 8’s closing two-parter(!), Dark Water and Death in Heaven suggest they will be a simpler affair. In series 8 there’s been less timey-wimey and more straightforward storytelling (though when it has executed twisty stories it’s always been superb, and necessary, e.g. Into the Dalek’s opening and Time Heist) but Moffat is a clever man and treats his audience with intelligence. Dark Water/Death in Heaven look to be an excellent showstopper with the exciting return of UNIT and a Cyberman invasion of Earth. Throw in the enigmatic Missy and the Nethersphere (hopefully, we’ll become more enlightened on who she is and what the Nethersphere is) and we’ve got one hell of a finale to look forward to.
Your most anticipated
Earlier in the week you voted for your most anticipated story from the second half and here are the results. Perhaps unsurprisingly the two-part finale came out on top with 48.73% of the voters picking it. Coming in second place was Mummy on the Orient Express with 21.05%. Third went to tonight’s Kill the Moon (13.51%), fourth was In The Forest Of The Night (9.12%) and in last place Flatline with 7.58%.
Not long till Kill the Moon now, folks but with 10 out of 10 from plenty of media outlets (namely, Doctor Who TV right here) and rave reviews everywhere, it’s sure to be a good one. Kudos to Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat for providing such a terrific debut series for a terrific, new Doctor. The rest of series 8 is sure to be just as good!