Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 11: World Enough and Time…
Directed by: Rachel Talalay
Written by: Steven Moffat
Alien – Are you human?
Missy – Now don’t be a bitch.
The curtain is finally being called for Twelfth Doctor’s run. Here in this penultimate episode of the tenth series, we begin with Part One of the closing story entitled “World Enough and Time” – written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay (Death in Heaven, Heaven Sent) – and the Cloister Bell has begun to chime, though it’s so silent at this moment you’ll swear it isn’t ringing.
With the Doctor cajoling the current travellers of the TARDIS to help him prove that Missy’s intentions are no longer centred around herself and are somewhat malevolent, he places her in his position during a call for distress as he observes from within the Police Box. Missy along with her two assistants Bill and Nardole, or as she calls them Exposition and Comic Relief, leave the TARDIS and enter the control deck of a 400-mile-long colony ship, slowly manoeuvring away from a black hole. With the only member of crew appearing to be extremely agitated when he confronts the travellers, brandishing a gun and demanding to know which of them is human, the Doctor himself attempts to intervene before it goes horribly wrong.
We rapidly discover, due to a series of brutal cascading events, that time on this vessel is running at different speeds and the original twenty human crew, who descended towards the engine room when the ship approached the black hole, have multiplied into hundreds. In amongst this new human civilisation is a small brick hospital, currently attempting to strengthen its population – by not so pleasant means – so it can once again rise back up to the bridge and not be affected by the effects of time upon their bodies. In charge of this hospital is the Surgeon and the Nurse, along with the very scruffy Mr. Razor who is their general dogsbody.
With Bill at one end of the ship and the Doctor and company. at the other, years pass for Bill before any sort of rescue arrives, though for the travellers on the control deck it’s little under ten minutes before they put their plan into action.
You know when you’re watching a fantastic episode of Doctor Who when the credits roll up at the end and you’re convinced that forty-five minutes can’t have passed that quickly. World Enough and Time plays with your emotions from start to finish, from the opening moments where your jaw falls and is left-hanging, and to Missy owning the show ,and again we’re back to silence as we’re left in a state of true shock. We see the horrors of forced human-experimentation and Bill is left in amongst it all. What’s worse is the fact she soon falls into the normality of this wicked world, as her routine becomes drinking tea and watching the world’s slowest television programme with those in charge, whilst waiting for rescue. This isn’t a standard episode of Doctor Who with Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong, as we see when Bill deals with a victim in pain; though quite shocking it is very human.
Of course, it would be wrong not to highlight that the Master returns in this episode, but to say where and how would be unfair to those yet to watch it, though it is good to see John Simm’s smile as the Master and he does raise an interesting question as to why Missy can’t recall this moment in time.
World Enough and Time is a something special. This is an excellent piece of Doctor Who and not only are we getting two slightly unhinged Time Lords with flexible morals together, but we’re seeing a Companion who is very much human. If the closing chapter – next week – continues along this path, this will be an excellent goodbye from Steven Moffat and something that will be remembered in Doctor Who lore for a long time.
Also, one last thing: as the camera sweeps over the colony ship – in the beginning – I couldn’t help but hear Journey of the Sorcerer by The Eagles playing somewhere in the galaxy.