‘The Ghost Monument’ – what a great name for an episode, and a brilliant way of describing the TARDIS. Which is telling, because it felt like this second story in Chris Chibnall’s tenure was all about getting to the beautiful climactic moment when the Doctor finally gets her beloved spaceship back. Those scenes, showcasing Jodie Whittaker’s multi-layered emotional reactions to the return of that famous Police Box and her pride at showing it off to her new friends, had us beaming with joy, as did the new abstract opening titles – the perfect visual match to Segun Akinola’s throbbing reboot of the theme tune.
The narrative that led up to the TARDIS reveal was intriguing enough, involving the slowest intergalactic race in the history of the universe (which felt very Douglas Adams, and could have been played for more laughs) between Shaun Dooley’s Epso and Susan Lynch’s Angstrom, overseen by Art Malik’s haughty but oddly malleable tent-based dude. The mystery of what happened to this hostile planet’s inhabitants felt a tad perfunctory, but the squiggly aliens talking portentously about “the Timeless Child”, seemed to be setting up a series arc, despite denials of such a thing existing from the producers. It all gave the episode a hectic, scattergun quality.
The arrival of the TARDIS gave us an indelible Doctor Who moment.
But more importantly it was visually lavish, and an opportunity to get to know new companions Ryan, Graham and Yas better, watching it dawn on them just how exciting – and dangerous – these adventures in time and space can be. Tosin Cole’s Ryan, in particular, is already making a huge impression, a deeply likeable young man with masculinity issues – he really enjoyed his mid-episode shooting spree – who is maturing in front of our eyes.
In the end, though, it was the arrival of the TARDIS that gave us an indelible Who moment – and if its renovated murky brown interiors might not be to all tastes, the addition of a custard cream dispenser could not have been a lovelier treat for the Doctor. She deserves it.
Read the review of Episode 1, The Woman Who Fell To Earth
Read the review of Episode 3, Rosa
Read the review of Episode 4, Arachnids In The UK
Read the review of Episode 5, The Tsurunga Conundrum