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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten



A man turns up with a time-travelling spaceship and asks you what you want to see. Cue a brilliantly blank face from Clara in what was a beautifully realistic response to an impossible question. She decides on ‘something awesome’ so we’re off to the Rings of Akhaten and the Festival of Offerings. It’s basically an Egyptian marketplace populated with aliens who are going to watch a ceremony where a little girl (the Queen of Years) sings a song to an ancient God that lives in a pyramid to keep him asleep. Having stated last week that I’m not overly fond of the modern day episodes, I was very excited that this week we were treated to a new world and new aliens/monsters. I always think the writers get to be more inventive with these storylines.

Marvellously, in our whistle-stop tour of the marketplace, we met a barking alien called Doreen, mentioned the Dr’s first companion and snuck in a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference by naming one of the alien breeds the ‘Hooloovoo’. And Matt Smith got treated to two big speeches, the first one referencing ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’. Even before we get to the Queen of Years being played by Emilia Jones from Utopia my geek bingo card was full.

After Clara and the Queen (called Merry) do a quick sprint away from The Vigil, creepy, slow-moving aliens in armour and very sexy jackets, it’s time for the ceremony. Cue Songs of Praise set in Ancient Rome, some very melodic singing and an alien God that looks like a dug up corpse. The Dr helpfully explains that the God is mummified. But what’s this, pretty little Merry is being, to coin a sci-fi phrase, being beamed up as a sacrifice to the God. Clara and the Dr follow, because we don’t run away. There’s a strangely comedic scene with a frightened child and the Dr trying to hold up ‘a really very heavy door’ with his screwdriver. Excellent miming from Matt Smith there but I sensed that once inside the God’s chamber the writers ran out of ideas. Anyway, turns out the mummy isn’t the God, he’s the alarm clock (nice line) and the actual God is the huge Sun. And the Sun God is hungry. So Clara is goes back to the amphitheatre with Merry who gets everyone singing a song to spur the Dr on. The Dr gives an epic speech on the things he’s seen, clearly practising for that 50th anniversary special, and gives God his memories. But it’s not enough, so Clara, who has really got the hang of the space moped she’s been riding back and forth on, goes over and gives the God the ‘most important leaf  in the history of the world’, which overwhelms and kills him, thus saving Merry and all her people.

What leaf? I hear you cry. Well, remember the leaf that was in Clara’s childhood travel book? Turns out it flew into Clara’s Dad’s face, causing him to nearly get run over, until Clara’s Mum saved him. This is how they met, and we know this because the Dr used his spare time to take a tour of Clara’s life and establish that she’s a perfectly normal human baby. Clara’s mum died so she only has her Dad, now Steven Moffatt has previously made a big thing about a father’s love for his child (most beautifully with James Corden) so this could be significant. Or not. This is Dr Who after all. All I really learnt from these scenes is that every episode should start with two tone music. Was Ghost Town a clue or just period detail? Here are some other questions I’ll be pondering this week:


  • After the controversy of Amy Pond’s miniskirts, is anyone else finding Clara’s wardrobe a bit boring?
  • I still don’t understand why the beginning is so pink...
  • Isn’t a bit obvious for the mystery lady in the shop to be Rose Tyler, as the papers have widely reported the return of Billie Piper and David Tennant?
  • What do we think about a doppelganger theory for Clara? Have I been watching too much Vampire Diaries? 
Contributed by Victoria Prior 

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