DW: It Takes You Away Review

DW It Takes You Away

It Takes You Away is right up there with the best this series. It was cleverly written, used the companions well and had a really interesting, unique sci-fi plot at its centre. It’s getting rather worrying that the only stories I’m particularly thrilled with come from writers who aren’t showrunner Chris Chibnall, but hey-ho! Let’s take a look at “It Takes You Away”.

Synopsis:

In an isolated house in the Norwegian fjords, a scared girl hides alone, waiting for her father to return. In the distance, a monster comes to take people away. And for some reason, one mirror is not working as it should. The Thirteenth Doctor and her friends must battle their own desires to work out what is going on.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

DW It Takes You Away 1

Ryan and Yaz are oblivious to the fact that Graham is fading away in the background…

The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) – The Doctor has arrived in modern day Norway, which is a more unique place for her, especially recently. Now time to explore a solitary house in the middle of nowhere…

Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) – Ryan is still enjoying his trips in the TARDIS, though he’d probably want to visit locations a bit further away than somewhere he could have visited himself by plane… be careful what you wish for, and all that…

Yasmin Kahn (Mandip Gill) – Yaz is travelling across time and space, but still finds it hard to turn off that police woman button, especially when a little blind girl is trapped in a house all by herself…

Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) – Graham is surprised to be in modern Norway, it sadly gave him more memories of his lost love, as the two once planned to visit here…

Hanne (Eleanor Wallwork) – Hanne is a blind Norwegian girl who has been left alone in a house when her father disappeared…

Erik (Christian Rubeck) – Erik is Hanne’s father who disappeared… though not for horrific reasons as she fears…

The Solitract (Various) – A former part of our universe that was incompatible and ended up forming its own plain of existence, as lonely as it is…

Ribbons (Kevin Eldon) – Ribbons is a strange creature that lives in a dimensional crack in between universes. How he came to be is forever a mystery…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW It Takes You Away 2

Awww, poor old Graham. Let’s all give him a hug… somehow.

The story has a really unique idea at its core. First off The Doctor and co. find a mirror with a portal to some weird, twisted dimension, then after a bit of an explore they go through another portal to a world just like where they were, but some dead loved ones have come back to life. It takes a while, but The Doctor soon, somehow, puts everything together and realises that they’re in a universe made up of a sentient energy known as the Solitract, an energy that existed at the dawn of the universe, but was exiled when it wasn’t compatible with the regular universe. It seems this sentient energy became its own universe and eventually moulded it around the memories of a human who happened to find his way there, the Solitract hoping to finally have a friend, someone to talk to. A very, very odd and abstract idea, but it was legitimately interesting.

Erik, the afforementioned first human who was spending time with his previously-dead wife, and poor old Graham, who ended up seeing Grace again, are drawn to stay in the Solitract Universe, but eventually they see the fakes as fakes and are rejected back to the dimension between universes (more on that in a bit), eventually leading to The Doctor and the Solitract to talk, one-to-one (with the latter taking the form of a frog with Grace’s voice, for reasons only known to it, I guess…) It soon becomes apparent that because The Doctor is made up of stuff from the incompatible universe, she can’t stay and is eventually thrown out as well, but not before she remarks that she had just befriended a sentient universe… It’s all very strange, very surreal, but very enjoyable.

A lot of the first half of the episode was either in an old house where The Doctor and co. meet blind child Hanne, who, as it turns out, had been tricked into thinking there was a monster outside and that she had to stay indoors by her father Erik, who wanted to be with his dead wife in the other universe. Soon The Doctor, Yaz and Graham explore a dimension that was connected to the attic of the house, and meet crazy demon-looking person called “Ribbons”, who tricks them into an endless maze and tries to bribe them to get them out again, only to be eaten alive by killer moths in a rather grizzly scene. As mentioned above, this dimension is a naturally occurring stop-gap to try and stop the two universes of “our” universe and the Solitract universe from colliding, and soon vanishes when the Solitract severs all connections.

I’d like to mention how well Ryan and Graham were used. Ryan was quick to assume Hanne’s father had abandoned her, clearly based on his own experiences, but eventually the two bond, and as mentioned above, Graham sees Grace again and has an extremely hard time letting her go. In seeing (and hearing about) this pain, Ryan finally called Graham “Grandad” rather than Graham, showing that Ryan finally understands how deeply he cared for his Grandmother. It was a really nice payoff. Yaz was good in the support role, though didn’t get quite as much to do as everyone else…

The Bad:

DW It Takes You Away 3

“Hang on, all I did was abandon my blind, child daughter in a house in the middle of nowhere and make her afraid of a fiction monster outside the house… why are you all looking at me like that?”

Not much, really. Hanne wasn’t the best actress in the world, but for a child actor, and one who has legitimate sight issues, she was fine.

I think maybe Erik got away with too much as well. He literally left his blind child alone in a house for days because he wanted to visit his wife who is suddenly alive again… admittedly it’s an odd situation, but the fact that by the end he and Hanne are going to move back to their old flat and live happily ever after with no reprisals is a bit… off. He should have at least got a slap across the chops.

The Continuity:

DW It Takes You Away 4

“There are arachnids in Norway as well? Jesus, they get around…”  “*sigh*…”

Once again any and all continuity nods are based on events that happened this series, with the exception of one mention of a “Zygon” by the Doctor, though not in relation to any one story…

A void-like space in between universes is a similar concept to Fourth Doctor TV story “Warrior’s Gate”, which saw a white void-like plain exist in between our universe, and E-Space.

Overall Thoughts:

It Takes You Away was a great slice of science fiction, pretty much all characters were served well, and it had a lot of unique, surreal elements that I haven’t really seen since some of the more out-there Fourth Doctor stuff from the end of his run. Top marks for me, might be the story of the series…

5 Star Watch

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