nerd radio

Tune in live Thursday from 9pm est

TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 4: Arachnids In The UK

October 29th, 2018 by Todd Black Comments

Full disclosure…I hate spiders. And the idea of massively mutated spiders walking around and being the size of a van, or more? Yeah, that’s my worst nightmare, and once again, I got to see my worst nightmare come to life. But this time, it wasn’t from Jumanji, it was from Doctor Who.

After the incredibly powerful “Rosa” episode (seriously, if you didn’t see my review, check it out, I loved the episode), you knew that Doctor Who would have to take a step back, and “Arachnids in the UK” was definitely that. And it had all the makings of a classic Doctor Who “monster” episode. Terrifying jump scares, phobias come to life, and obnoxious characters who somehow made it through the whole event.

The premise of the whole episode was actually rather compelling. After returning her new best friends to Earth, and properly doing so with only a half hour being gone since they “left”, everyone tried to get back to their normal lives. But, upon seeing the Doctor distressed, Yaz invited her over for tea, and that led one thing to another…and then spiders were seen…and you get the jist.

While I personally hated spiders, I’m actually really glad with the somewhat scientific explanation for all of this. Mainly, that it wasn’t an alien invasion, or alien meddling, it was actually a case of nature and science coming together in a way that technically wasn’t improbable given the right circumstances. And knowing that the spiders weren’t evil, just confused, did make it more palatable.

But, what really sold everything this episode was once again…the characters. Seeing Jodie’s Doctor heartbroken over losing her friends after returning them home was great. As was her eagerness to please everyone and do “Small Talk”. Ryan and the Doctor and Yaz interacting with Yaz’s family was also great. The sister and the mother were big standouts, and I do hope we get to see them again.

Getting Eli Noth to play a character in Doctor Who was really good. He’s a big actor in the US via shows like Law & Order and the Good Wife. But here? Seeing him in more a comedic and over the top role? It was funny. Although, it did come at a cost. It was clear that he was meant to be an analog for Trump, and they even referenced him in conversation.  And they could’ve ended it with, “Don’t say that name…” But did they? No. They instead used him as an allegory for gun violence and “shoot first” mentality, which actually is kind of a bad thing given everything that’s gone on in America this past week. And in the end, he got off literally scot free. He seriously just walked out the door after killing the mother spider…no repercussions. That felt odd.

However, in a good recovery move, I loved the focus on Graham and how he went back to his house for the first time since Nan’s funeral. Seeing him “see” her, and dealing with the grief was very powerful. As was his words about wanting to keep going so that the grief doesn’t consumes him as he “waits” for it to move on. And for Ryan and Yaz to have their own reasons to go onto the Tardis was fun as well. I really did love them pulling the switch for the Tardis together.

On a side note, can we get a “Team Tardis” shirt? Please?

In the end, “Arachnids In The UK” was a solid episode, but definitely the weakest of the season so far. But that’s not a slight, it just shows how good the rest of the episodes have been so far.

4 out of 5 nerds

Let us know your thoughts below, @NerdFollowing on Twitter or on Facebook

Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!