Wild Blue Yonder
Wild Blue Yonder
This Story: 60th Anniversary Special 2. Production code 60a.2
Overall: Story 302, Episode 879
Airdate: 2 Dec 2023
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Tom Kingsley
This second special was altogether different than the first one in feel. The first one was a family adventure, this one is more creepy and dramatic. Not un family friendly, just a different vibe. Not scary like Blink was, but was a definite character piece, as we spend nearly 100% of the episode with 14 & Donna.
I saw a lot of reactions online for this one saying “Why was this so special?” and things like “If we’re getting just three, why THIS?” I think the people who are saying that are missing the point of this episode. There are only three with Tennant & Tate here, so they did this one to maximize their two stars. Nearly 100% of this episode has them in every scene. Off the top of my head, I can think of just three other actors in the episode besides them, and two of them are finished before the opening titles. There is a scene at the end where there’s a bunch of extras in the background, but I’m not counting that. The vast majority of this episode (like 95% or more) is JUST Tennant & Tate. This is a big focus on the two primary leads.
So, OK – if it’s just your two main actors, what are they doing? The Tardis lands on a spaceship, and needs time to repair itself after Donna’s coffee incident, so it uses a feature which we saw a handful of times in the old show – the “Hostile Action Displacement” – basically if something is too dangerous, the Tardis will leave and come back when it’s safe. Nevermind the occupants are in danger. You’d think it just wouldn’t land there if it detected that level of danger? But OK. 14 & Donna are exploring the ship, and run across a robot that reminds me Marvin the Paranoid Android (from the movie version of HHG) a bit. I really loved the early part of this because it speaks to one of my favorite tropes. The Tardis crew exploring a new area, not knowing what’s going on and not running into anyone else. I’ve mentioned that several times in my marathon, I love that. Love the exploring part.
The creepy part just kind of finds its way in. As they explore, we find out that the ship is not empty, there’s two beings here who are trying to manifest themselves into this universe so they can take everything over. The ship they landed on had a captain who set something in motion to deal with these aliens (hence the robot), and then killed themselves to stop the aliens. You see the aliens do this by cloning people there to manifest themselves in this world. When the captain was gone, they were disembodied. However, when 14 & Donna landed, the aliens started cloning them. Initially there was some doubt as to who was who, which gave us some funny interactions between the Tardis crew and the duplicates.
In the end, they were defeated, but not before a moment when you thought they JUST might kill Donna. The duplicates were near final, and there was a scene when 14 had to pick one of the Donnas, and initially picked the wrong one (which showed us what some of the ramps in the inside of the new Tardis can do). That was a fun exchange to watch.
There was some dodgy CGI in this – especially in the scene when 14 & Donna are being chased down the long corridor by their duplicates who hadn’t quite gotten the hang of things yet. The worst was probably the bit when they got super large and just got stuck in the hallway in a blob. That looked weird.
But story wise, I enjoyed this a lot, was a relatively small plot – although one could make the case that everything that was supposed to happen in this story would have happened without the Doctor – the robot would have walked to where he was going, blow up the ship, and taking out the aliens. The Doctor just made it almost NOT happen. They also made direct references to the events of Flux, saying that half the universe was wiped out – something you weren’t quite sure if it stuck at the end of the actual Flux series. In addition it doubled down on the Timeless Child reference by having clone Donna say that “you’re not really from Gallifrey are you” – I loved that they’re mixing in some of the unpopular Chibnall era things into current stories. Thought that worked well.
At the end of the episode, the Doctor goes back to where he was at the end of the first special, and they come out and Wilf is there – Bernard Cribbins returns to Doctor Who in the final role of his life. Inbetween filming this in 2022 and it airing now, Cribbins died. He was 93, and this was his final acting role. It’s a short scene at the end of the episode, it was confirmed by RTD that this was the only scene he was able to film with his health. They had written more, but that’s all they got, and it was a lovely scene too. Cribbins did well, even confined to his (real life) wheelchair.
This of course sets up the third and final special with Neil Patrick Harris as the (Celestial) Toymaker.
The amusing scene at the start with Sir Isaac Newton had him get the word gravity wrong, calling it “Mavity”. That was referenced a few times in the episode after that when they needed the word gravity. It would be especially amusing if they do that beyond this episode. :)
Links[ Wikipedia | Tardis Data Core | SPS Historium | UK DVD | UK Blu-Ray | UK Steelbook ]
#DoctorWhoMarathon Ep 879 - Wild Blue Yonder (Story 302, Serial 60a.2) - 2 Dec 2023 #DoctorWho— jᎾᎬ sᎥᎬᎶᏞᎬᏒ (@JoeSiegler) December 9, 2023
An episode nearly 100% focused on Tennant & Tate. Bit creepy in places. I'm writing about new eps on my blog where you can go read my spoiler-y comments: https://t.co/7ImmgNWid5 pic.twitter.com/SEjrIV7e4B