Doctor Who: WILD BLUE YONDER Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: WILD BLUE YONDER Review

In "Wild Blue Yonder," the second installment of David Tennant’s return as the Doctor, the episode emerges as an intriguing blend of Davies' storytelling styles, reminiscent of his earlier works like "Midnight" and "The Rebel Flesh." Directed by Tom Kingsley, the episode sets itself apart with a shift towards a darker, more surreal tone, veering into what could be dubbed as “Weird Who.” This tradition of oddity, a hallmark of the series since Davies's first season in 2005, is embraced wholeheartedly here, with the episode unfolding aboard a haunted starship, drawing influences from Ridley Scott’s "Alien" and the "Dead Space" video games.

The narrative, though simple in its premise, pivots towards a character-driven exploration, focusing on the Doctor and Donna as they confront their malevolent doppelgangers on a ship. This premise allows Tennant and Catherine Tate to showcase their acting prowess, playing both their original characters and the evil versions with an intensity that elevates the episode. The tension escalates when it's revealed that they have been unknowingly interacting with their counterparts, a spine-tingling moment that stands out as one of the episode’s highlights.

Despite its simpler setting and fewer locations, the episode thrives on creating a sense of paranoia, keeping the audience and the protagonists constantly questioning reality. The body horror imagery, though limited by the show’s family-friendly nature, adds a darker layer to the episode. However, some CGI elements, like the corridor scenes and Tennant’s face on a contorted body, are less convincing and detract from the overall quality.

The episode also addresses the controversial “Timeless Child” retcon, with Davies using it to delve deeper into the Doctor's character, particularly in the aftermath of the Flux event. Tennant delivers a stellar performance here, grappling with the weight of these revelations. The script offers clarity on the fate of the universe post-Flux, adding depth to the Doctor’s character in a way that his predecessor, Chibnall, hadn’t explored.

"Wild Blue Yonder" also revisits the classic Who trope of doppelgangers, with the Doctor and Donna outsmarting the shape-shifting aliens who feed on their anger and fear. This narrative choice serves as a subtle commentary on how social media capitalizes on our darkest emotions. Davies maintains a straightforward approach, avoiding the narrative complexity that sometimes bogged down the Chibnall era.

One striking aspect of Tennant's return is the determination to keep the storytelling grounded. Davies, Tennant, and Tate's love for the Doctor is evident throughout the episode, which, despite its significance in being produced to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the show, doesn’t get bogged down by self-importance. Instead, it presents itself as another excellent episode in the Doctor Who canon.

“Wild Blue Yonder,” while diverging from the speculative theories and expectations fueled by the show's secretive marketing, ultimately delivers a compelling and enjoyably bizarre chapter in the Doctor Who saga, blending nostalgia with fresh narrative elements, and concluding with a wonderfully poignant cameo by Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott, setting up the next adventure in a manner that (hopefully) honors his legacy...

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