- What with kicking off in a bunch of different locations, and it not being at all clear what’s going on, this episode’s opening feels reminiscent of some Steven Moffat episodes where he would try to be too clever and just make a complete mess. Thankfully, it’s much better than those, partly because a basic connection between the events is established relatively early.
- According to the TV in the bar where Jake has a drink, Liverpool are “increasing pressure” on Manchester City. Either this story takes place during the 2018/19 football season or this is definitely an alternate universe, because when you’re 22 points ahead in the league table, you’ve rather passed the point of increasing pressure on your nearest rivals.
- Jake reminds me a bit of Detective Duggan from City of Death, as an officer of the law who likes solving problems by getting physical.
- There’s creatures in gas masks and the Doctor doesn’t make an “are you my mummy?” reference? What a waste.
- Good to see Yaz taking the initiative and going off to do some useful work, given that of the three members of the Fam, she’s usually the one who gets the least to do. I also like how the Doctor is more impressed than annoyed to hear about Yaz using the teleport, unlike how previous incarnations would react – “Well, you don’t do things by halves” – and even expresses pride once they meet up again.
- The main flaw of this episode is that there are too many side characters – Gabriela practically disappears in the third act.
- You’d think that Jake might be more worried about the dangers of Adam’s profession than feeling unable to live up to him, but to the writers’ credit, that could be seen as avoiding the “astronaut spouse” stereotype, just as they avoid gay stereotypes with Jake and Adam in general.
- Just like Orphan 55, the episode is built around an environmental message – this time, the problem of plastic – but it’s handled much better here. The issue is properly integrated into the story, with relevant facts being provided rather than blatant preaching; it’s foreshadowed early on where Gabriela and her friend find the river with trash scattered everywhere; and the main conflict still ultimately has an extraterrestrial origin which is merely exacerbated by what humans are doing wrong on Earth.
This is my favourite episode of Series 12 so far. It’s fast-paced, exciting, well-constructed, handles its message properly, and while there are a few too many side characters, they’re still not a bad bunch. Rating: 4.5/5.