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In the Forest of the Night (Doctor Who)

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In the Forest of the Night (Doctor Who)
InTheNightoftheForestDoctorWhoHorribleTVEpisodes.jpg
That time the Beeb put environmental anti-psychology in a Doctor Who episode and screwed everything up so hard, they couldn't even get the messages right.
Part of Season: 8
Episode Number: 10
Air Date: October 25, 2014
Writer: Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Director: Sheree Folkson
Previous episode: Flatline
Next episode: Dark Water


In the Forest of the Night is an episode from the eighth season of the revived Doctor Who series. It features Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, Jenna Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald, and Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink.

Plot

The Doctor tries to land the TARDIS in London, but is confused to find himself in the middle of a huge forest. It turns out that this forest mysteriously appeared overnight and encompasses not just London, but the entire planet.

Why It Sucks

  1. Very clunky and heavy-handed environmental message, which eventually results in the Doctor and some kids literally looking into the camera and saying that trees are our friends and we shouldn't hurt them.
  2. The episode also contains an apparently unintended anti-psychology message, when the Doctor tells a young girl she shouldn't take her anti-depressants, otherwise, she won't be able to hear the "tree spirits" that are trying to talk to her. To say the least, this is an extremely dangerous message for a family show.
  3. Peter Capaldi gives probably his worst performance as the Doctor in this episode. Even he can't do anything with the ridiculous dialogue and scenes he's given.
  4. Midway through the episode the Doctor and Clara are chased by some escaped animals, which are created with CG that looks like something from a PlayStation 2 game.
  5. After finding out that Earth is about to be destroyed by a solar flare, Clara points out the obvious problem with this plot - we've seen the Earth's future enough times to know it's not going to be destroyed in this episode - but the Doctor just says she's wrong without explaining why.
  6. In light of the above, the Doctor agrees to take Clara, Danny, and their students somewhere safe, so that at least a little of the human race will survive, but Clara refuses without even bothering to ask anyone else, thus dooming her own boyfriend and the children she's been entrusted with to being barbecued alive, and the human race to extinction.
    • Worse still, Clara is actually the one who first suggests using the TARDIS to save her students, but in the very next scene, she suddenly chews out the Doctor for wanting to do this and says that it proves he doesn't understand humans. This is one of the worst examples of Season 8's habit of treating Clara like a Mary Sue who's always right about everything.
  7. Completely nonsensical ending, where the trees render the planet-destroying solar flare completely harmless by pumping Earth's atmosphere full of more oxygen. In reality, this would make the flare even more destructive.
    1. This also contradicts past episodes of the show, especially the Fourth Doctor story The Ark in Space, which took place after a future Earth had been devastated by solar flares.
    2. The real kicker is that The Futurama Holiday Spectacular of all things actually depicted this more accurately, when extra oxygen added by a planet-spanning forest resulted in Bender accidentally destroying the Earth by lighting a cigar.
  8. The Doctor's involvement in the events ends up being completely pointless. At most, he stops the UK government from killing a very tiny fraction of the planet-wide forest, which likely wouldn't have changed the outcome of the episode.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Danny Pink, who is considered by many to be the worst recurring character from the revival series, gets probably his best outing here, and comes across as a capable and caring teacher.
  2. The visuals of the forest and atmosphere near the start of the episode are actually pretty effective.

Reception

This is the second-lowest-rated episode of Peter Capaldi's (and showrunner Steven Moffat's) era of Doctor Who according to IMDb's and TV.com's user ratings, placing it narrowly ahead of the following season's Sleep No More.