Welcome to what, I presume, is your first spoiler-laden open thread for the latest episode of Doctor Who. Don’t touch anything, except for the comments!
“The Ghost Monument” is old school Who as hell: a slow burning trek across an alien world that leans heavily on atmosphere rather having a particularly gripping story to tell. But that is part of its charm. It’s nice, every once in a while, to have a scenario where the Doctor isn’t tasked with saving the day, the planet, or all of time and space from imminent destruction, but instead given a cryptic mystery to uncover. Yes, there was still some running and explosions and all that Doctor Who-y goodness, but it’s nice to have a story that really emphasizes the air of mystery into a show whose title is literally a question.
And, intriguingly, the mystery is just as much about our new Doctor as it was the arid planet of Desolation (or the two tragic racers accompanying our friends along for the ride, Angstrom and Epzo)—and they’re mysteries that feel like they’re going to be simmering away in the background. Just what were the Stenza, the villains from last week’s premiere, up to on Desolation? Why are they razing some planets like Angstrom’s, and using others for sport? Why is the TARDIS leading the Doctor towards them? And what is the Timeless Child those creepy sentient rags were needling her over?
They’re all new mysteries we’ll be thinking over for a long while, but there’s two other new things in this episode to talk about beyond the mystery: that glorious new theme and titles, for one.
I stand by previous assessment: it’s stew for your ears, all chunky bass and old-school Who nostalgia. Love the almost kaleidoscopic, purple hues of the titles to match, too! And then, of course, there’s the new TARDIS console room to go with all the other lovely new things.
It could do with a bit more lights—it’s rather dark, although that does add to the atmosphere. But it feels like a throwback to the mix of organic and analogue tech of the Ninth and Tenth Doctor’s TARDISes, except with crystal instead of coral, but equally striking a familiar balance of organic beauty and ramshackle tech. It does have a Custard Cream dispenser, though—they’re small sandwich biscuits that are, well, custard-y and delightful, for all you very suddenly perplexed Americans out there. I think that guarantees it a very high ranking on any “best spaceship” lists going forward.
We’ll have more to say in our recap tomorrow, but for now, share your thoughts on the new TARDIS, the new theme tune, and the episode in the comments below!