In The Forest of the Night begins with a young girl telling the Doctor that she needs his help. He’s more concerned about the fact he and the TARDIS should be in London, rather than in a forest.
However, not only does she know, or possibly *think* she was sent by Clara to find him, but… they ARE in London.
Yes, overnight, the entire world has become covered in a forest. “It’s a brand new forest. Like the New Forest, but even newer.” No-one knows where it’s come from, but overnight it’s just appeared. Then again, there will be night workers out there who must’ve spotted something, but then this is a TV show with 45 minutes to tell its tale.
But how did the trees grow overnight? The Doctor says that the Earth had the Ice Age, so now this is the Tree Age. It’s a natural event, and that Earth’s periods of Ages are a result of a series of catatrosphes.
The year is 2016, so just slightly in the future, and the goverment’s plan to cut paths through the forest for the emergency services, by burning the trees, has been thwarted by the fact that these trees don’t burn down. And as Maebh goes missing, the Doctor shows Clara the girl’s homework which has been left in the TARDIS. It’s about the fact that a solar flare is about to wipe out the planet, and that date is today. And her homework is dated today. Uh-oh!
Anyway, given that we have a dark-haired little girl knows all about the forthcoming end of the world, and that whoever’s causing this ends up communicating only to children – and through them in this case – this is such a rip-off of the 2008 Nicolas Cage sci-fi movie Knowing!
And what sort of name is Maebh, anyway?
However, while they think this is the end of all humanity, and since the Doctor and Clara apparently haven’t been hanging out for a few months, he thinks the answer is to save them all. Clara replies: “What, and stick all the kids on an asteroid?”
It seems like this is the end of everything, and so the Doctor is sent away for good, out into the galaxy to watch the Earth burn from afar… except that as eventually figures out, the trees are covering everything because when the solar flare hits us, they will protect us rather than dominate it, as The Doctor explains in a quick science lecture about oxygen, fire and trees, and how the trees have risen up so they’ll produce a shedload of oxygen which rises into the atmosphere, like a massive highly-inflamable airbag, so that the impact burns off the excess oxygen, so apart from some hectic weather for a few days and some fairly trippy sunsets, humanity will be saved, as the the trees will effectively harvest the solar fire.
And then, as if by magic, the forest disappeared!
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on this episode.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.