Movies & TVReview: Doctor Who Series 11 Episode 2 - The...

Review: Doctor Who Series 11 Episode 2 – The Ghost Monument

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After huge success of the first episode of Series 11 with both fans and ratings, now it is time to see the traditional “take the new companion(s) into space” which was quite literal considering how The Woman Who Fell to Earth ended. So far we have yet to see the new look TARDIS as well as actual title sequence for this series. The 13th Doctor has her new look and new friends to share her adventures with, now it is time to see how they get on and if the magic can continue with The Ghost Monument.

*Quick note that this is a spoiler free review so I will be refraining from going into too much detail about the story other then what has been shown in trailers and mild references to The Woman Who Fell to Earth.*

We catch up moments after Episode 1 ended with The Doctor having attempted to teleport to where the TARDIS was signalling from except it went wrong, and The Doctor and new friends ending up floating in space. But first I have to comment on just how fantastically awesome the new look title sequence and mix of the classic Doctor Who theme is with series 11, which felt a bit short but that could just be because we are still in just episode 2.

One of the most fun and quite nervous thing about the second episode of a new series with a new Doctor, is seeing how the new companion or in this case trio of companions, react and then adjust to what travelling with the Doctor can mean. What is making it far more interesting this time is that the companions of Yasmin, Ryan and Graham (Mandip Gill/Toslin Cole/Bradley Walsh) are only with the Doctor by accident after the teleport simply scooped them up by mistake. The writer was quite clever in opening this episode by splitting the team up into twos as Ryan and Graham wake to find themselves on a strange space ship whilst Yasmin wakes up to find the Doctor arguing with the pilot of their own ship which is getting read to crash land on a planet simply known as Desolation.

Yet again the pace of the story telling is quick but still manages to give each character a chance to have screen time to continue their own story arcs such as Graham and Ryan still dealing with the death of Nan from last week. The Doctor is very quick to being back on form with no signs of hesitation or the confusing from the regeneration, and Jodie is once again on absolutely brilliant form and I have to say I am really enjoying the personality of the 13th Doctor who is coming across confident and brave but also compassionate and forward thinking. There does seem to be some effort to keep all the timey whimey references and sci-fi speak to a minimum and a conscious effort to not have the Doctor do everything with the companions stepping in with either advice or ideas which the Doctor takes on board. In just two episodes this team has united strongly and not even Bradley Walsh a Graham became too annoying with his comedic nature definitely being toned down or even held back so its more of an acting performance then light relief.

The visuals and special effects are still a level above previous series and a real cinematic feel to everything from wide panning location shots to taking the camera high up to show the characters running about in the action scenes when they start to pick up towards the end. A lovely moment sees the Doctor get to explain her no guns policy to Ryan who is all too quick to pick up an alien gun and go all ‘Call of Duty’ as he puts after the Doctor insists they can outsmart the enemies only to come back with his tail between his legs before the Doctor takes action to prove why brains over brawn has always been the Doctors Way.

The story for me was sadly pretty forgettable and though it was fun, it really was simply a case of getting the humans to react to being on an alien world for the first time. So Ghost Monument is a pretty standard by the numbers affair which also sadly left one companion in Yasmin with very little to really do as like episode 1, Ryan is the companion with the most screen time as Yas pretty much says the right thing and does nothing of any consequence which I am hoping future episodes will give Mandip Gill something to sink her teeth into story and performance wise. The ending was exactly what I was hoping for in terms of how it delivers the moment all whovians look forward to following a Doctor regeneration but that is something worth watching for yourself and I have to agree with The Doctor, I really really like it too.

So now everyone has experienced a short adventure on an alien world the next story undoubtedly has to be an adventure in time, and the trailer for episode 3 shows that is exactly where the Doctor and team are heading to next. Jodie’s performance and Doctor is still captivating to see on screen and so far no little nods or references have been made to previous Doctor’s as yet but so far it is still ticking all the right boxes for me as a fan and threads are starting to be sown regarding who the big bad might be this series.

Early days but still enjoying everything so far but still have concerns about the number of companions after seeing how Yasmin played the third wheel in this episode but the audience and new cast are certainly being eased into this new series and once we get the travelling in time episode out the way I am hoping the training wheels can be removed and the new Doctor and companions really get to have exciting adventures.

Sean McCarthy
Sean McCarthy
Freelance writer but also a Gamer, Gooner, Jedi, Whovian, Spartan, Son of Batman, Assassin and Legend. Can be found playing on PS4 and Xbox One Twitter @CockneyCharmer

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