Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 6: Extremis…
Directed by: Daniel Nettheim
Written by: Steven Moffat
Doctor – “Truth at the heart of heresy”
Cardinal Angelo – “…and death at the heart of truth.”
Nardole – “You’d be wizard at writing Christmas crackers you two.”
Answers are given in Extremis. Why Nardole is shadowing the Doctor, who or what is contained within the Vault and where Bill is living since her shared student digs crumbled into dust. Also, midway through this episode I was reminded slightly of a certain Rick and Morty episode though sharing the title would reveal too much.
Unfortunately sharing nearly anything about Extremis could in fact reveal far too much to spoil this week’s rather excellent, if not rather morbidly macabre, episode. In Extremis we find the Doctor – who is still blind – being called upon the services of the Vatican, with the Pope himself arriving to request help. Calling in on Bill – via the TARDIS – and having the Pope interrupt her current date with new found love interest Penny, they are taken into the Haereticum – the Vatican’s secret library of blasphemy – to read one of its most ancient books the Veritas. However, this comes at a price for everyone that’s ever read this book has died shortly afterwards.
With Nardole being the Doctor’s eyes when his enhanced Sonic Shades don’t reveal all the details, the hidden Library rapidly becomes part of something much bigger than all three travellers first knew.
Extremis is unbelievably dark, from the opening scenes of “A long time ago” to the closing moments in the Oval Office, this episode – written by Steven Moffat – doesn’t at any point stop delivering the lack of utter despair to the Doctor and his companions. You feel like this is it -with talk of regeneration, the strange new enemy and an audiobook version of the Veritas, you actually do feel like this is it.
This episode wouldn’t have worked so well if it wasn’t of course for those both in front and behind of the camera: Capaldi, Mackie and Lucas drive this episode forward; here Lucas also gets to show that he’s not just a bumbling batman to the Doctor. Also the director of Extremis, Daniel Nettheim (Broadchurch, Line of Duty), really knows how to get the best out of those on screen and that is needed here with such a dark tale.
Extremis is not one to be missed.
Doctor Who – “Extremis” is on BBC 1 on the 20th May at 7:25pm.