Doctor Who: Matt Smith knocks it out of the park in “The Rings of Akhaten”
Another Saturday has passed and we all know what that means: New Doctor Who! And this week’s episode, “The Rings of Akhaten” is even better than the last.
Please note: The following contains spoilers.
“The Rings of Akhaten” begins with the Doctor stalking Clara throughout her childhood. Although he claims that he was just making sure that she isn’t the same Clara that he met in Victorian England, I still think it’s a little creepy. His obsession with Clara is quite an interesting one, though – when he’s looking at photos of her (as well as her previous incarnations) in the TARDIS, he comes to the conclusion that she’s “impossible.” And as we all know, The Doctor loves a challenge.
So it’s the day after the events of last week’s episode, and as promised, The Doctor shows up at Clara’s doorstep. She’s waiting for him there, along with her “101 Places to See” book, which we have now learned once belonged to her mother (who died when Clara was younger). When asked where she would like to go, Clara thinks about it and simply says “somewhere awesome.” Best answer ever.
The two end up on a planet full of awesomeness – from all sorts of aliens who have come for a local festival to all sorts of weird foods and experiences. Clara meets and befriends a young girl who must sing a song to a god to appease it into staying asleep. As we know, that’s not going to happen in a Doctor Who adventure. Oh, no, the “god” wakes up and he is hungry – for people’s souls. Fortunately, both the Doctor and Clara save the day.
I’m going to start with the beauty of the setting of this particular episode. The alien planet was almost believable thanks to what was probably a huge budget for special effects. The view upon the temple where the “god” was sleeping was awe-inspiring, something that rivals anything that could ever be found on earth. The market full of aliens was also lively and thrilling. Equally as impressive were the songs sung to the god – I found myself wiping a tear from my eye during both the lullaby and the song sung at the end of the episode.
Guest starring as the very young Queen of Years, Emilia Jones was wonderfully child-like in her innocence, fear and wonder. Her chemistry with Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara was also visible and the scenes with the two of them are particular favorites of mine.
Now on to Coleman. Clara is quickly becoming my new favorite companion of the new Doctor Who series. She is the companion that The Doctor should have had when he first regenerated into Matt Smith. Forget the Ponds, Clara is the new Rose. Remember that moment when Rose first took The Doctor’s hand and we began to see his world through her eyes? So, too, is the experience with Clara. Suddenly, Doctor Who feels new again, although it’s been around for 50 years. And that is the magic of picking the right actress for the companion part.
However, it’s not just Coleman that made this episode so wonderful to watch. Matt Smith blew me away at the end of the episode as he gave a speech to the “god” about all of his personal lifetimes of experiences and memories. The tears that he shed as he screamed it all out not only gave me goosebumps, but had me both weeping and applauding. It was the most emotional we have ever seen Smith and he has proved that the role of The Doctor is 100% his. All I can say is “Bravo, Mr. Smith. Bravo.”
So now we get to sit and wait on pins and needles for next week’s episode of Doctor Who. I honestly am not sure how they can top these last two, but I cannot wait to see if they try. It has been some time before I’ve actually loved two episodes in a row (since the days of Tennant), so I am absolutely loving where the Pond-free series is now going.