Doctor Who

Doctor Who – 2013 Season: The Rings Of Akhata by Neil Cross.

As with the SFCrowsnest Forum in recent years and this time there and here on the SFCrowsnest.org.uk, my comments on the latest season of ‘Doctor Who’. These will mostly be impressions – here’s my Doctor one, still ‘Geronimo!’ – rather than intentional plot spoilers. If you’re living in a country that hasn’t seen these episodes yet, read with caution but I’m not going to give too much away. If you can watch it first, that’s even better.

Anyone else thinking it’s getting a bit pervy with the Doctor doing a personal history check on companions he’s going to take time travelling? This isn’t the first time. Look at Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Amy Pond. Yes, there’s an argument that he doesn’t want to take anyone who could have repercussions if missed from history but he only looks in the past, not to their future.

Ep 7: The Rings Of Akhate
Ep 7: The Rings Of Akhate

Did anyone else spot Peter Davison appearing briefly in the opening credits?

It’s interesting that the Doctor mentions his grand-daughter to Clara on Akhata. I suspect we’re going to get a lot more hints that will lead up to the 50th anniversary show of the earlier shows.

The rescue of Merry, Queen of Years, could have been done more efficiently had he used the TARDIS than a hired flying craft but the story would have ended at half time, although the time could have been used more effectively. What is a puzzle is that the Doctor and Clara are essentially going to attack or defy a god and yet all those watching don’t even go on the offensive. Granted that it would have doubled the length of the story but it shows the difference to what would have happened in the early years.

Instead, we have a soul vampire and its ‘grand-father’ energy being, who are again opponents who can’t speak or at least not in English being translated by the TARDIS’ internal mechanism. I’m beginning to think that either ‘Doctor Who’ is getting metaphysical (odd for a family show, do you think either the kids or parents have to explain it to each other) or they’re afraid to give definable foes that we can all understand?

In many respects, the resolution of the story is also done in a passive way. The delightful Merry (actress Emilia Jones) sings a song and the Doctor and Clara share their memories. End of story. Literally. Hardly a means to stop a monster capable of destroying seven worlds and then desiring to go on and work on the rest of the galaxy.

It makes the story too easy rather than something that should be intriguing and indeed menacing. Hands up any of you who contemplated hiding behind the sofa? If you want something to think about, just what did the Doctor do when he left Clara’s side?

Part of me thinks, especially looking at the small cast list, that this story was done to conserve the budget so one can only hope there’s some improvement in the later stories.

GF Willmetts


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – 2013 Season: The Rings Of Akhata by Neil Cross.

  • Very disappointing episode in my opinion. The only part I enjoyed was the singing which isn’t a good sign.

    Good point about the Stalker, I mean the Doctor. The scenes with him in various bushes just came off wrong and a bit grubby.

    Perhaps it’s because we’ve seen it all before with other companions. A bit of variety would have been nice, especially when it comes to companions. An older female or male would have been better but I suppose that’s not “sexy” enough.

    I didn’t see a mention of the Great Intelligence but I think you’re right that there will be a lot more references to past Doctors in the lead-up to November.

  • Hello Aidan
    A good point about the singing.
    Technically, the Doctor has had older companions with the likes of Donna Noble, Jack Harkness and River Song.
    What is worrying is Jenna-Louise Coleman saying this was her favourite episode, although I suspect this was probably her first recorded episode and all actors/actresses have a sigh of relief if they nail their own part.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.