During this episode I made two very unfortunate observations. First and more unfortunate but less damaging… Euros Lyn has really not been keeping up with the latest “Who” narrative devices. It just feels different. When it shouldn’t. It’s weird. But not too damaging to the episode overall. It’s a lot, it’s not a surprise Lyn couldn’t crack it.
The damaging thing is Alex Kingston, who’s the de facto companion this episode because Catherine Tate’s off doing the more important and potentially better subplot where writer Steven Moffat clearly has more ideas but instead we stick with guest star Kingston and her mysterious future history with David Tennant. Because she’s bad. At some point during her talking to someone, I flashed back to “ER” and Kingston’s forehead doing the same things and remembered realizing she’s not good and wasn’t good on “ER” and she’s not good on “Who.”
Doesn’t help Tennant’s being weird too. Given how much chemistry Tennant’s had with pretty much every female character since his first episode—like, he sexed up the Billie Piper stuff palpably, hell, even the Camille Coduri—but he’s got nothing for Kingston. It’s part of the serious Doctor thing he’s doing around her.
At some point they have to go to the core of a planet, sadly not to see the Devil, and then there are some other reveals and then there’s a big twist or whatever and a call back to the previous episode and finish. And blah.
Meanwhile Tate gets this poorly executed good idea for a short movie and at least gets to do some acting.
My indifference to Tennant these days is concerning. The romantic Doctor stuff is not successful. Not here, not last season, not for ages. They push too hard, like with the constant jokes about he and Tate not dating (nearly every episode).
For a big deal two-parter, Forest of the Dead is probably better than the previous episode—even with Kingston—just on the strengths of the Tate material. Though I don’t know, the end is pretty bad. It’s at best a shrug and definitely not on par with creepy stone angels.