Doctor Who: Forest of the Dead
And now, part two.
Gallery: Doctor Who: Forest of the Dead
Steven Moffat delivers in his Herculean task of writing a second part of a fantastic episode that is every bit as good as the first part. We learn that the little girl is actually the planetary database called CAL (patterned after a little girl named Charlotte Abigail Lux), who managed to save the 4,022 survivors of the Vashta Nerada invasion as data in an enormous hard drive. The same fate had befallen Donna at the end of the last episode.
There were a few very interesting aspects of this episode that really struck me. The first was River Song's relationship-to-be with the Doctor. Since they "initially" meet in her past, the actress will have to appear younger to pull it off properly. Or perhaps the whole "time is always in flux" concept in Doctor Who will reign supreme and timelines will change to prevent the whole thing from happening. Or, they'll just forget about it (just like it's been forgotten that some day the Doctor will have to become Merlin).
Second, we got to see Donna live her dream. It seems that for all her wishes for travel and excitement, her true heart's desire is to settle down with a nice man and have a family (wearing the exact same wedding dress from her first appearance, apparently). It's a lifestyle choice that seems to be downplayed in the Who-niverse as a valid alternative. I hope she achieves it at the end of her character arc.
Third, why do the Vashta Narada have to eat? They survived a hundred years without anything to feast on, yet they consume like zombies on the rampage once fresh flesh shows up. My guess is that they don't consume for nutrition but rather to learn. Essentially, rather than reading or writing or listening or watching to learn, they consume and absorb the knowledge. It would certainly fit into the library theme of the episode. It would have also made it extra-important that they did not eat the Doctor.
Wasn't that a great bluff at the end? The Vashta Narada had the Doctor dead to rights, and his reputation saved him. Apparently, from eating all those people, the Vashta Narada learned to browse the Internet without even requiring a computer.
I loved how Charlotte reacted with her head in a pillow when the deformed face of Miss Evangelista was shown. It's exactly the sort of reaction that Doctor Who monsters always got out of children. In effect, we're watching a child watch an episode of the show. That's utter brilliance.
The theme of the Doctor's true name is once again revisited. I hope the current and future producers of the show don't do anything as stupid as reveal the Doctor's real name. That would be the final nail in the coffin regarding the character's mystique.
Exactly how is it saving a life (or group of lives) when you turn them into electronic impulses in a virtual reality machine? Beats the alternative, I suppose.
In CAL's home there was a picture of a blond girl with a wolf next to it. A little more foreshadowing.
River Song could still return, and not just as a prequel. She just needs a new body.
Here's what we have. A frightening enemy. A sinister mystery. A possible flame for the Doctor. An excellent episode.