Doctor Who season 11 episode 1 review

Doctor Who Tackles the Vulnerability of Grief

Bring your tissues to this week's episode of Doctor Who.

Recommended Videos

**Spoilers for the Doctor Who episode “It Takes You Away.”** 

Every week of this new season, we see a level of Doctor Who that we’ve never seen before. When the Doctor has experienced grief in the past, he has typically brushed it off, had his breakdown in the form of a speech, and would be fine in the next episode.

With this season, that grief doesn’t sit on the shoulders of the Doctor, though.

The loss of Grace has never really left Ryan or Graham, their relationship growing throughout the season with the lack of the matriarch of their family. Grace was the glue that held the two together, the one mutual bond they have. Ryan refused to call Graham his granddad because, in his eyes, Graham was just his grandma’s husband.

In this week’s episode, we meet Erik, who left his daughter to be with his “dead wife.” He is a man who lost himself when he lost his wife and, in an ill-advised effort to protect his daughter, pretended that a beast was in the woods and would hurt her if she ventured there. What he discovered, instead, was a portal between his world and one where a being, the Solitract, was trying to capture him to be its friend.

Maybe this episode hit with me, especially, because I also lost my grandmother this year. Watching as Ryan and Graham coped with the loss of Grace hit home and has continued to be my favorite part of the season, because their grief is very real and shows how moving on is necessary, but is easier said than done.

In the reverse of Ryan’s situation, my grandmother was my step-grandma, not my blood but my grandmother all the same. She was who I had and who I looked up to, so when Ryan finally called Graham his granddad and understood that all they had was each other? It was easily the most heartwarming moment of the season for me.

Grief is something we all process differently. Ryan lost his grandmother, but Graham lost the love of his life. That doesn’t discount Ryan’s grief, but Ryan’s is a grief I understand. Watching your grandparents die is, unfortunately, a part of life. We learn to adapt and grow from the loss and remember the lessons they provided for us.

For Graham, he had a life with Grace ahead of him. He was the one who had been sick, the one who thought he was going to die, and Grace was there for him, nursed him back to health, and they fell in love. His grief is only made worse by his relationship with Ryan.

The two had never seen eye to eye, never really connected as Grace wanted, but through the Doctor and Yaz, the two have been able to find a bond and so, when Ryan calls Graham his granddad, it hits in a way that will leave you on the verge of tears for at least the next hour. (Maybe I texted my brother in all caps that I cried, and continue to cry, over this development in their relationship.)

This season of Doctor Who is maybe the best yet, and it is all thanks to beautifully poignant moments like this.

(image: BBC)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article ‘X-Men ’97’ Directors Answer Some Important Questions…Like Do the X-Men Wear Wigs
The X-Men stand together in 'X-Men '97'.
Read Article I Need Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 To Give Us More of One Thing Teased in Part 1
Kate and Anthony as married Viscount and Viscountess in the third season of Bridgerton
Read Article Is Violet’s Garden Finally About To Bloom on Bridgerton?
Lady Violet Bridgerton as portrayed by Ruth Gemmell in Netflix's show
Read Article I Hope Season 3 Is Just the Start of This Untapped ‘Bridgerton’ Musical Pairing
Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury and Brimsely looking over the couples dancing at the ball in episode 2 of Bridgerton season 3
Read Article Fans Want to Know About the Fate of ‘Fire Country’
Bode Donovan looking to the mountains
Related Content
Read Article ‘X-Men ’97’ Directors Answer Some Important Questions…Like Do the X-Men Wear Wigs
The X-Men stand together in 'X-Men '97'.
Read Article I Need Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 To Give Us More of One Thing Teased in Part 1
Kate and Anthony as married Viscount and Viscountess in the third season of Bridgerton
Read Article Is Violet’s Garden Finally About To Bloom on Bridgerton?
Lady Violet Bridgerton as portrayed by Ruth Gemmell in Netflix's show
Read Article I Hope Season 3 Is Just the Start of This Untapped ‘Bridgerton’ Musical Pairing
Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury and Brimsely looking over the couples dancing at the ball in episode 2 of Bridgerton season 3
Read Article Fans Want to Know About the Fate of ‘Fire Country’
Bode Donovan looking to the mountains
Author
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.