DOCTOR WHO “The Ghost Monument” review

Doctor Who

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.

Synopsis

Still reeling from their first encounter, can the Doctor and her new friends stay alive long enough, in a hostile alien environment, to solve the mystery of Desolation? And just who are Angstrom and Epzo?

Review

This week Doctor Who pulled out the stops with a storming followup to last weeks season premiere (reviewed here). “The Ghost Monument” starts out like the introduction to a VR experience, there’s some POV camera work as well as a lot of high octane dialogue and action.

I really appreciated that the picked up right after the end of last weeks episode. The cliffhanger of the gang floating in space was resolved rather than forgotten. This is another example of new showrunner Chris Chibnall bringing Doctor Who to a more adult level of storytelling.

Previous seasons have suffered from making ongoing plot threads too obvious. But whilst “The Ghost Monument” is a standalone story there’s a plot thread from last week which runs through this episode. I hope this is the beginning of an interesting slow burn for season 11.

Once again the visuals in this episode are stunning. Cinematographer Tico Poulakakis does an amazing job of taking in the desert surroundings of Desolation. There’s some interesting camera angle choices which really emphasise the alien landscape. In comparison scenes on the space ships are tighter and more uncomfortable. There understanding of what it takes to make Doctor Who a visual winner is palpable on screen throughout. The series has genuinely never looked better.

If I had to complain about something it would be the tendency to bewilder the audience with exposition in the second act. As with last with an exciting opening gives way to a LOT of talking. We learn a lot of info in short, sharp bursts before launching back in to the action. The pacing feels slightly at odds with the story this week because of it.

As for the titular monument? That’s a spoiler but I will say it’s the most exciting reunion we’ve seen on Who since David Tennant was reunited with Billie Piper’s Rose. It leads in to an interesting, familiar ending and a fun new set design…

Verdict

Tho Ghost Monument is a great follow-up. An action packed opening leads to another exposition intense second act but much like “The Girl Who Fell To Earth” it pulls it back in third act to end on an emotionally high note.

6.5/10

Coming up next week…


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About Neil Vagg 1836 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG