Let's Try and Talk Through That Surreal Episode of Doctor Who

I think I might have been pulling this same face a lot during tonight’s Doctor Who.
Photo: BBC

Tonight Doctor Who ventured to Norway and... well, a hell of a lot of other places, both literally and on an ideas level. Let’s try and parse it all out, shall we?


I am going to be perfectly honest with you all. By the time this blog post goes up, it will have been a good six or seven hours since I actually watched “It Takes You Away” here in the UK. It’s weird (timezones, how do they work?), but appropriately timey-wimey for Doctor Who, I guess. But my point is that I will either be doing one of two things: sleeping, or wide awake trying to parse what the hell happened in “It Takes You Away”. And I’m not entirely sure if that’s necessarily a bad thing—there was an emotional core to the episode, anchored by Graham and Ryan’s ongoing character arc, that was truly beautiful, and that arc was framed in a wider story about loneliness and grief on a scale that only Doctor Who could do.

But then there was also a frog with Sharon D. Clarke’s voice that was also an entire sentient universe. And a gap between universes filled with flesh-eating moths. And an incredibly grim father-daughter relationship that felt like it fell through a portal from a Scandinavian police procedural. Did I already mention the frog? Because I’m still not over the frog.

It was weird. And lovely? And messed up. And weird. It might be the most out-there episode of Doctor Who ever made, one that extrapolates some of the show’s key ideals (especially the one of finding beauty in the surreal and weird vastness of the universe we live in) to their farthest—almost definitely its most absurdist—extrapolation. And that’s saying something for a series with as bonkers a history, in ways good and bad, as Doctor Who has.

I’ll leave it for you guys to hash it out with your thoughts in the comments below, ahead of our full recap tomorrow. For now... I guess I’ll get to either sleeping or thinking about this episode.


For more, make sure you’re following us on our new Instagram @io9dotcom. 


Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

James Whitbrook

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!