Doctor Who: In the Forests of the Night / Fear Her

*spoilers

Fear Her 2.11

Something mysterious is afoot in London. On the eve of the Olympic torch handoff, the neighborhood is ruffled by the mysterious disappearance of local children and regular automobile malfunctions. What’s going on? Enter the Doctor (#10, Tennant) and Rose Tyler in the TARDIS. Everything seems to center around a family-scarred little girl named Chloe, whose father used to abuse her. But this child can’t possibly be responsible for making the kids disappear. Aliens must be involved. In this episode, which was a low-budget drop-in widely regarded by fans and critics to be the dud of season 2, we discover that a family-scarred alien called Isolus came to Earth because of a solar flare and possessed the body of lonely little Chloe, giving her the ability to suck children into her life via her crayon drawings. Her desire for friends gets worse and worse, and soon she is sucking massive amounts of people into her drawings–the Olympic audience and potentially the rest of the world, not to mention the Doctor. Rose uses a shaky “love will save the day” plot-knot that results in the Olympic torch saving the world and Chloe getting over her fear of her long-gone abusive father, who, in a ridiculous turn of events, has reappeared as a nightmarish monster. In the end, Rose promises the Doctor that nothing will keep them apart, but this is only an episode or so away from their tragic, dimension-wide separation.

 

In the Forests of the Night 8.10

Something mysterious is afoot in London. Clara, Danny, and their class exit the Museum of Natural History to find the entire city covered in a forest. What’s going on? Enter the Doctor (#12, Capaldi) in the TARDIS. Everything seems to center around a family-scarred little girl named Maebh, whose sister died tragically. But this child can’t possibly be responsible for making the kids disappear. Aliens must be involved. In this episode, which finally uses some semblance of science, we discover that faerie-like creatures have been speaking to Maebh, but were shut out when she started taking anti-depressants after her sister died. They briefly possess the body of little Maebh to explain the trees sprang up in order to prevent an oncoming solar flare from roasting the Earth. In what is a slightly less contrived but no less sappy solution than Fear Her, the children write an address to the world, which Maebh reads and broadcasts to everyone via the TARDIS: Do not destroy the trees. The message is taken seriously and the solar flare burns itself out in the excess oxygen produced by the trees. And in a ridiculous turn of events, Maebh’s dead sister re-appears. In the end, after a brief space-sabbatical, Clara decides to rejoin the Doctor on his adventures.

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JAIME POND IS THE EDITOR OF ANGLONERD.COM. SHE LIVES AND WORKS IN NYC. FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER.
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