Saturday, May 17, 2008

Review: Doctor Who, Episode 4.7, "The Unicorn and the Wasp"

Gareth Roberts, writer of last season's "The Shakespeare Code", pens the latest New Who story about the Doctor meeting an historical figure. It was Charles Dickens in the first season, Queen Victoria in the second, Shakespeare in the third, and now it's another famous writer. Without revealing the identity of the writer, I'll just say that this episode is very much a fun little homage to their stories while also trying to explain a mysterious event in their life. It's also the first Who story to be explicitly written as a comedy since the 1966 First Doctor serial, "The Gunfighters".

It's crisply directed by Graeme Harper, who began his Who career as a floor assistant for the 1966 Second Doctor serial, "The Power of the Daleks" and began directing for the show with the 1984 Fifth Doctor serial, "The Caves of Androzani" (although he unofficially worked on the 1981 Fourth Doctor serial, "Warriors' Gate" as co-director). He balances the drawing room comedy and the action to provide a satisfying episode.

While in some ways it's an unsubstantial episode that doesn't advance the show's mythology or this season's story arc, it's pleasantly entertaining and a nice change of pace. If you're a fan of the writer in question, as I am, you'll appreciate the nods to their works.

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