Arachnids in the UK
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Shobna Gulati, Tanya Fear, and Chris Noth
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens, and Alex Mercer
Composer: Segun Akinola
Director: Sallie Aprahamian
Doctor Who was created by Sydney Newman, and follows the adventures of the time-traveling alien known as the Doctor, along with their companions, as they explore and help the universe.
The Doctor finally succeeds in bringing her friends back home to Sheffield, and before saying their goodbyes, she decides to come over to Yaz’s for tea. However, things soon go awry, as they discover that the city has a spider problem way beyond normal comprehension. Before the arachnids can cause any more harm, it’s a race against time for the Doctor and her friends try to locate the source of the problem. Can they stop the spiders dead in their tracks? And who, or what, is causing them to transform this way?
I will start off by saying that this episode is the weakest of Series 11 so far, but to me, that’s only in technicality. After last week’s emotionally-driven episode Rosa, it’s more than welcome for this week’s to be a fun, creepy, and thrilling adventure, just in time for Halloween.
Jodie, Bradley, Mandip, and Tosin all continue to be phenomenal in their respective roles, and never seem to miss a beat. One thing I loved seeing in this episode was the Doctor’s sensitivity towards her friends, knowing it’s better to leave them be, but having a yearning desire to be with them. It definitely felt like a continuation of the character’s arc from Twice Upon a Time, where they felt it would be best to be alone from there on out, as the losses they’ve faced have overwhelmed them. As someone who has a huge emotional connection to Peter Capaldi and the Twelfth Doctor, it meant a great deal to me for that arc to continue here to some degree, and makes me love the Thirteenth Doctor even more.
While Graham and Ryan definitely continue being great characters, it’s Yaz who was the stand-out of the three in this episode. While we don’t get too much time with her family, aside from her mother, she finally got the push she needed in this episode, and definitely comes into her own here. Aside from overarching elements, the story in this episode is definitely the weakest part, and I can’t tell if it was too complicated or too simple. There were a good amount of loose ends by the conclusion as well, and whether or not any of these aspects will be continued in the future is a mystery.
The episode has a good amount of political satire in it as well, with Chris Noth’s character essentially being a Trump parody. A good amount of people have taken offense to this, going as far as saying that “Doctor Who was never political!” You can say you don’t like the political message, but ever since its inception, the show has been political in some way, shape, or form. Need we forget the farting Slitheen from Series 1 and how they were a parody of the British Parliament and its MPs? With the climate we are in today, believing that the show wouldn’t parody Trump is absurd, and to be quite frank, it should’ve been seen coming a mile away.
Overall, Arachnids in the UK was an enjoyable, chilling, and exciting adventure, and although the story makes the episode a bit more confusing than it needed to be, I definitely liked it a lot. There were lots of great character moments, some fun and intense scenes, and all in all it’s a great episode to sit down on Halloween and watch with the family. Just make sure all of you don’t have arachnophobia (or satire-phobia, if that exists).