Doctor Who - Episode 10.06 - Extremis - Review
This week's episode marks part one of a three parter and the first episode written by Steven Moffat since the premiere. Click the jump to read my review of "Extremis" and how it held up to the other stellar episodes that have aired this season. (Spoilers ahead).
This episode started with one of the strangest pre-titles sequences I've seen. It was out of nowhere and while the pure Moffat dialogue felt familiar, it didn't feel like we were supposed to understand it yet, which was exactly what happened. It also is one of the only episodes with flashbacks throughout. For a show with a lax linear timeline, you would think it wouldn't be off-putting. But the episodes are generally pretty straightforward, this one jumped to two different adventures that seemingly had no relation. It was a cool way to tell a story, and after 10 (37) seasons, its nice that something can stand out and break formula occasionally.
As I was watching, I was wondering why something this inventive felt familiar. Then I realized as the story progressed and the plot revealed itself that it was a very similar story to the an arc that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tackled this year. I am not insinuating that one stole from the other - similar plot threads happen in TV quite often. But I was not expecting a Matrix-esque plot from Steven Moffat, so it came as a surprise when it happened.
"Extremis" had a lot going on. It had to set up the Monks that are the villains of the next two episodes (that are written by Peter Harness and Toby Whithouse respectively), it also dealt heavily with The Vault which, if I am honest, was a bit anti-climactic. However, I think Moffat knew that, and has a few more surprises up his sleeve than what we know already. Plus I am sure it planted many seeds that we don't even know about and will come into play later. Mid-season Moffat episodes always do.
Team TARDIS is as good as it has ever been. Ask me a year ago if I was excited about Nardole (The Badass) - I'd have told you no. I didn't hate him, but I was indifferent. Now, I am dreading him leaving at the end of the season if Chris Chibnall wants a clean slate for the beginning of his run. The chemistry between the three of them is off the charts and with the new thread of The Doctor being blind, it seems like Capaldi is having more fun than usual portraying the ancient Time Lord.
Moffat was always known more for plot than characters, where Russell T. Davies was the opposite. However, Moffat seems to have found the perfect balance this season because not only are we getting really incredible fun sci-fi stories, but all of the characters (even the one-off guest stars) seem to be very strong; the culmination of which is making season 10 of the best seasons in the show history.
This was episode six. We are at the halfway point. If the tail end can be as wonderful as the beginning Moffat "will rise higher than ever before" and Chibnall will have a high bar to pass. Usually there is a lull in the middle of the season before it ramps up for the finale, so we'll see. Even when Doctor Who is mediocre it is still better than 99% of what is on television. It is an honor and a privilege to be a fan of this show, and I can't wait to see where the journey takes me next.
The title of the episode might give me a hint with that. "The Pyramid at the End of the World" is next week and continues the story from this week. Peter Harness's two part Zygon story was pretty well received so let's see if he can top that next Saturday.