Review of Doctor Who ‘The Rings of Akhaten’

Neela Debnath

the rings of akhaten 300x168 Review of Doctor Who The Rings of AkhatenSPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen ‘Doctor Who’ episode 7 of series 7/33

For those fans still mourning the end of the Russell T. Davies era, despite the fact that it ended several years ago, should fear not for this week viewers got a heart-warming episode on a distant planet, with lots of aliens and a song to soften even the most cynical members of the audience. The ending was likely to leave you with a warm, fuzzy glow inside – much like episodes during Davies’ tenure.

The Rings of Akhaten was very much an escapist fantasy adventure compared to last week’s Bond-esque action thriller and it felt very much aimed at the kids rather than the grown ups, saying this I did find myself getting confused towards the end. Perhaps I was just over-thinking it or have fallen into the category of mindless idiot adult, either way the overall viewing experience was enjoyable.

I’m glad that the main character this week was a child, played nicely by Emilia Jones who recently starred in Utopia. By putting a child at the heart of the story adds something to Doctor Who, possibly it makes it more appealing to the children watching but I think it makes the show feel fresher. Recently, there have been more young characters in the show, such as young Amy Pond or the boy in Night Terrors and adds a certain something to the story.

In terms of production it was superb, with plenty to appreciate from the prosthetic aliens and the wonderful sets to the CGI. Yes, it may not have the mammoth budget of other shows but it looked fairly impressive. The scene in the intergalactic market place had a momentous sense of energy and looked like something out of Star Wars. I am also still astounded at the beauty of the new Tardis interior and fully approve of the return to a smaller console that harks back to old Who. Although the console pays homage to the classic series it still looks shiny and new.

More of Clara was revealed to us this week. The sequence at the beginning which showed how her parents met was initially quite cheesy like an Eighties advert for flu medicine or coffee but was actually quite marvellous to watch as it unfolded. Clara has suffered from loss in her life and there is a fundamental sadness inside her and a gap which is being filled by travelling with the Doctor. Although Clara has yet to develop her feist, what I really like about her character is her caring nature. She is a kind and caring young woman who takes others under her wing, she has this lovely maternal side to her that is great to watch. I was particularly impressed that a solitary leaf could be the key to so many stories.

This week was no by no means the visual stunner that viewers got in The Bells of Saint John but worked very well aesthetically. There was a lot of heart to this story that viewers may associate with the RTD tenure and that was lost in last week’s instalment. However, I’m still waiting to be blown away by that one grabbing, edge-of-the-seat episode but I’m sure it will come.

On a side note, last week eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted a book called Summer Falls by Amelia Williams, and remember Clara telling the Doctor that chapter 11 is the best and will make you cry in a good way – clearly this was a reference to the latest incarnation of our Time Lord. For those who may be interested it is available as an ebook and perhaps by reading it we can unravel the secret of Clara. It appears that Steven Moffat is scattering bread crumb-like clues throughout the series as to the mystery of Clara Oswald. 

Next time on ‘Doctor Who’… Clara and the Doctor embark on an underwater adventure on a submarine. There’s gun fire and nuclear warheads and guest appearances from Liam Cunningham and Tobias Menzies. The Doctor is telling someone or something that he willing to blow up the submarine rather than allowing the ubiquitous forbidden red button to be pressed. It’s all kicking off.

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  • Lindsey Dewar

    Perhaps it can’t understand the nature of an ‘impossible’ girl?

  • Nick Machnik-Foster

    Though I’m not going to say that it was the best episode ever neither was It the worst. People have to remembe sometimes they have to crow bar the series arc bits in

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