DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “In The Forest Of The Night” (Co-written With Mawa Mahima @ All Things Wordy)

Good evening! Today I’m reviewing the latest Doctor Who episode, “In the Forest of the Night,” with Mawa Mahima from All Things Wordy. I discovered her blog quite recently, but I wish I’d found it earlier because it’s AWESOME. And nerdy. (Which is basically the same thing, right?)

Oh, and she happens to live where this episode was set. How cool is that?!

P.S. You can find previous collaborative reviews of Doctor Who‘s eighth series here.

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Mawa Mahima is a 16-year-old East Londoner with a ready-made cockney accent. She’s also a book blogger and when not spouting out wordy book reviews, she’s usually managing the five other blogs that she has or else killing time on tumblr. She doesn’t allow herself to fangirl as much as she want to, so when you see her flailing over Matt Smith’s hair or Jenna Coleman’s nose you know things are getting serious. She blogs at All Things Wordy.

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Warning: Spoilers ahead, sweetie!

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Hey, Engie here. We compiled a list of ten observations about “In the Forest of the Night,” with each of us contributing five thoughts. Oh, and Mawa’s thoughts are in italics.

And I let her kick off the list, because I’m nice that way.

1. Seeing London (especially Trafalgar Square) covered in trees was awesome!

Especially the bit with the lion and Nelson’s column. The lion – there are four of them in the Square – was absolutely huge and they even managed to get all the little details like the traffic cones and the red bus done as well. That was pretty cool.

2. The kids in this episode acted REALLY young for their age.

If I remember correctly, they were in year nine, which is eighth grade in the US. But they didn’t look that age. They looked more like… well, like fifth-graders, maybe. I know that’s a weird observation, but that thought kept bugging me throughout the episode, because they looked and acted so much younger than the age they supposedly were.

3. Yay to kids saving the world – that was freaking awesome! Twelve is hilarious with children.

Maebh was a wonderful character, OK? I mean, the point made with the Doctor telling everyone to stop shutting up the children was so wonderfully done. The Doctor’s sympathy for children runs through him even if he is evil Mr. Twelve right now… and that’s heartwarming. Plus, having kids in Doctor Who episodes is great. When I saw the preview for this episode I knew I was going to love it. The kids enjoyed Danny being all Mr. Soldier with them, and I especially loved the character of Ruby, who lacks an imagination.

4. Danny is adorable with children!

OMG. He loves those kids so much, and he’s really good at interacting with them. He’s a very sweet, cool guy, and I like him so so so so much better on his own, when he’s not hanging out with Clara or being flirty with her or whatever. Because I’m not really a fan of their relationship.

(Also, Twelve with children? YES. Yes yes yes. Twelve holding hands with Maebh and explaining the TARDIS to her in terms that she could understand was also ADORABLE.)

5. Clara’s still a control freak, like usual. She thinks she knows the Doctor… but she really doesn’t.

I’ve always thought that her reasons for not accepting Twelve as the Doctor was because Twelve does not act like she thinks he’s going to act. I mean, he even makes her have the responsibility of choosing one life over the whole of mankind (in “Kill the Moon”)! So reassuring Danny that the Doctor knows what he’s doing and is going to save everyone when there wasn’t anything too scary going on was a bit silly, I guess, and I saw it as her way of marking her control over the Doctor… that he is a good person who isn’t at all mean, or sometimes mean but with good intentions on the inside. 

6. Many of my favorite Doctor Who episodes feature children, and I’m happy that this series had quite a few stories with kids in them.

I mean, some of my favorites are “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances,” “Human Nature / Family of Blood,” “The Eleventh Hour,” and “The Rings of Akhaten.” I love those episodes for a lot of reasons, and one of them is that THEY FEATURE KIDS. I don’t want kids in every episode of Doctor Who, necessarily, but they’re so much fun once in a while and THEY WERE FUN IN THIS EPISODE.

7. It’s an episode filled with fairy tales, isn’t it?

Little Red Riding Hood, the wolves, and that famous William Blake poem about the Tyger and the Lamb (where “In the Forest of the Night” takes its title from) really just added to the surrealism of this episode. It was an episode made out of dreams, and that sleepy-hazy state of being where you can at once imagine a whole city covered in humongous trees.

8. I love how Twelve broke his own rule about making people shut up.

Since the beginning of this series, I’ve been trying to figure out what this new Doctor’s catchphrase is. He is rather fond of calling humans “pudding brains,” but what does he say even more often than that? “Shut up! Will everyone just please shut up?!”

(Note: I know, right? I expected his catchphrase to be a little more… impressive. Oh, well.)

Anyway, this time he ignored his first instinct. He usually wants everyone to be quiet so he can think properly (oh, how I relate to this), but this time he realizes that approach isn’t going to work. He knows that the kids, particularly Maebh, have some good ideas/insight about this whole tree problem, and he tells the adults to stop ignoring them and let them talk. That was a neat contrast. He didn’t do all the work; he let someone help him.

9. I just wish it was a bit scarier. 

From previous seasons it’s easy to see that the episode before the finale is always soft and gentle, not at all scary or plot-filled. More like a filler episode. And although “In the Forest of the Night” doesn’t do much for plot (except for the Doctor-Clara-Danny relationship, but even then it’s subtle), it is a perfect filler episode, complete with goodness and saving-the-world euphoria.

10. I loved the Doctor’s speech about how the Earth is important to him too, even though it’s not his home planet.

“This is my world, too. I walk your earth; I breathe your air,” he says towards the end of episode. This serves to underscore the point I made in my review of the previous episode, “Flatline” – namely, that the Doctor is fiercely protective of the Earth and its inhabitants, even though he’s not human.

And I find that quite sweet.

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Engie here, again. Time for the conclusion, and for our thoughts on this episode overall!

Overall, “In the Forest of the Night” was on point! It’s so cute, and there were kids! Twelve’s reactions to children is so blimmin’ wonderful – plus the whole idea about the trees saving us from a solar flare is just amazing. (Anyone joining Greenpeace any time soon?) I wanted more clues on the Promised Land, but next week’s episode looks promising. 

I agree with you, Mawa! “In the Forest of the Night” is definitely one of my favorite episodes of series eight; it’s probably in the top three. I LOVED the kids in this episode. The story was sweet, funny, and a little dark all at once. Oh, and that dreamlike, fairy-tale-ish feeling of the episode was FREAKING PERFECT. I was very impressed!

Oh, and one more thing before we wrap up this review: Mawa, who do you think Missy is?

Missy is doing my head in. Scratch that – Moffat is doing my head in, but he’s always annoying me so that’s nothing new. Missy called the Doctor her boyfriend, and she’s also Scottish, like Peter Capaldi, and although I can’t make heads or tails of that, that’s still a clue that’ll lead us to who Missy is. That she’s in charge of the Promised Land, and that she orchestrated Clara and Twelve meeting again makes me think that she’s some sort of omnipresent being. It’s intriguing and a small part of me thinks that it links with Twelve’s “who frowned me this face?” in “Deep Breath.” (Maybe she chooses the faces? I mean, she did say that she wanted to keep the Doctor’s Scottish accent – although that may be for herself.)

Hmmm. Well, we’ll find out who she is – or begin to, at the very least – in the next episode! I’m so excited for that.

Thanks for reviewing with me, Mawa Mahima! It was a lot of fun.

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What is YOUR opinion on “In the Forest of the Night?” I’d love to know!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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13 Responses to DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “In The Forest Of The Night” (Co-written With Mawa Mahima @ All Things Wordy)

  1. matttblack42 says:

    I’m going to be honest, I kind of hated this episode. It just seemed to drag on and on for me. I liked Maeve, but the whole resolution to her lost sister and everything was just terrible. (She just magically appears from out of a bush with no real explanation whatsoever?)

    I did like Danny in this episode, though.

  2. Levi says:

    actually, though i get your point about the year 9 kids, my brother is the same age as them and i felt it was accurate. year 9’s are annoying as hell. they make everyone’s secondary school experience a nightmare. ughhh.

    though maybe it’s also helpful to remember that they are the problem kids.

    apart from that i hella love this post and it’s definitely my favourite doctor who one so far ^.^

  3. Bridget says:

    In the Forest of Night definitely wasn’t my favorite episode so far (it seemed like just a filler episode), but it definitely has some good points. I loved seeing Danny with the kids, and the point about not just “shutting people up” was great too. And Maebh was amazing 😀

  4. moosha23 says:

    Wow, loved reading your thoughts on the episode too Engie! I especially agree with the one about the kids acting younger than their age…(some of them even looked like six-year-olds!) ! guess the fact that they were in Year Nine slipped from my mind! It was SO FUN doing this with you…and I look forward to reading next week’s DW review (part one of the finales…oh my days) 😀

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thanks!

      I know, right? Maebh looked SO YOUNG.

      No, thank YOU! 😛
      I know, right? Where has the time gone?! I can’t believe the start of the finale is tomorrow night! O_o

      (Also, that comment about Jenna Coleman’s nose? Yes. She does have a very cute nose. xD She’s adorable.)

  5. Hm, I didn’t watch the episode… I’ve kind of given up on the ones featuring Danny or kids. :\ Although seeing the Doctor become… well, THE DOCTOR again sounds very nice. I hate to repeat myself so many times, but I SO miss it when he still took everyone’s opinion into account (or, at least, when his catch phrase wasn’t “shut up”… he always was a bit full of it 😛 ). I don’t think Whovians should have to lower their standards for the new series to compensate for Moffat’s awful writing. I still do expect the episodes to be RTD quality (I still have Nine/Ten feels and it’s been almost a year), and I really do miss the awesome characters that made it feel like the show was worth watching. I’m expecting more than we’ve seen all season this week (aka tonight). Moffat can write really well as “The Doctor Dances” and “Forest of the Dead” have proven. Though Moffat’s finales do tend to be quite good at wrapping up plot threads… I want to find out who the woman in the shop was (maybe Amy or River, judging from Moffat’s disability to include RTD characters in, say, ANYTHING). Although I couldn’t care less for Missy. 😦

    (Oh, and I am doing tonight’s episode’s review with you, right? Or am I terribly confused? Because that would be embarrassing. Oh, and my email is booksandbark[at]gmail[dot]com 😛 )

    • nevillegirl says:

      You totally should, though. 😛

      Yeah, me too. Like, I’m glad that he let everyone help in this episode, but I wish he did that all the time, like he used to… like we were talking about earlier (at least, I think it was with you – I talk to a lot of Whovians 😛 ) he would have everyone doing /something/, even if it wasn’t much. What’s the point in companions if they just stand around uselessly while the Doctor does everything?!

      I think Missy probably /is/ the woman from the shop! But Idk…

      Yep! I sent an email to you but I used the account linked to your WP comments… something with “willow”, at gmail? But yeah, I already sent an email with details and stuff. And I’ve never reviewed, like, as the episode airs or anything like that, so we won’t be doing anything tonight. 🙂

  6. Pingback: “Doctor Who” Series Eight Recap: Reviews + Thank You + Lists + Analyses | Musings From Neville's Navel

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