Doctor Who airs Sunday nights on BBC One in the UK and BBC America in North America. Time slots may vary.
The series stars Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan, Tosin Cole as Ryan Sinclair and Bradley Walsh as Graham O’Brien.
The Doctor, Yaz, Graham and Ryan find their way back to Yorkshire only to find something is stirring amidst the eight-legged arachnid population of Sheffield.
This episode of Doctor Who did exactly what I expected and left me hiding behind the sofa. “Arachnids in the UK” is the series at its peak scary. Exploiting a common phobia to create a seriously disturbing monster-of-the-week episode. But to surprising results.
Another cold opening leads us in to a new mystery. With The Doctor and her gang back in Sheffield there’s little time to enjoy being home. There is time to expand the characters of Yas, Ryan and Graham though. Graham’s visit home provides some much needed emotional weight to the episode. Whilst Yas’s family is typically complicated to carry a number of scenes.
Guest star Shobna Gulati plays Yas’s mum, Najia Khan this week. The two have some nice chemistry on screen however that’s so much more going on in the episode we don’t get to linger too long on the relationship. Hopefully she will have further appearances to help build on what we see here.
I spent the bulk of the episode watching from behind a cushion. I hate spiders. I really hate spiders. That being said I can appreciate the episode for what it was trying to say. Moving away from the highly politicised racial issues of “Rosa” to tackle heartless corporations, gun violence and even Donald Trump.
The episode very cleverly subverts the usual Doctor Who horror episode to put across the genuine message. If it weren’t for Chris Noth’s Robertson and his company the spiders wouldn’t have existed in the first place. His ego and his greed birthed the spiders and that greed also killed one of them.
Seeing this incarnation of the Doctor tearing him down for using guns to solve his problems is just another example of the show being exactly what we need in the current world climate. Doctor Who should always be current and always have a message. Though not quite as successful as with “Rosa” it’s still overall a successful episode.
The CGI spiders were on the whole convincing. Enough that I screamed on a number of occasions. That to me, especially by Doctor Who standards is excellent.
Similarly this week the score was excellent. Perfects enhancing the visuals without ever swamping the soundscape of the episode. I’m really looking forward to the score release at the end of the season. This is easily the best score for a season since Capaldi first took over.
Whilst a little too scary for me this was still a solid episode of Doctor Who. The pacing issues of the first two episodes make a brief return but on the whole this episode continues to solidify the strength of this latest series.
Coming up next week…