‘Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder’: An Eerie Adventure for the Doctor and Donna
The second episode of David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s return to Doctor Who hit Disney+ today with “Wild Blue Yonder.” When Donna spills coffee on the TARDIS console, she and the Doctor are thrust into a battle of wills against versions of themselves as they try to return to Donna’s family.
Tennant’s return to the series, helmed by returning creator Russell T. Davies, has been unsurprisingly welcome. Doctor Who falls back easily into a familiar pattern, with a return to the heart that made us love the show. After Chris Chibnall’s turn as showrunner, Davies is bringing back the nostalgia and warmth with these 60th anniversary specials. What makes “Wild Blue Yonder” work is how psychologically delves into the relationship between Donna and the Doctor.
Where “The Star Beast” was all about bringing the Doctor and Donna back together, “Wild Blue Yonder” is more about the intellectual elements that make Doctor Who such a compelling series. The Doctor and Donna have to face off with alien doppelgangers trying to imitate their every move. They are not perfect mimics and the episode quickly turns into a comedy of errors, with their large limbs and the alien Doctor missing a tie.
But where the episode shines is in the Doctor’s trust in Donna and how well these two still know and love each other. The moments when they do need to discern their true selves are easily figured out because they trust that the other knows them so well.
It helps to have Tennant and Tate carrying this
The episode is essentially just Tennant and Tate going back and forth with themselves. There is setup at the end of the episode to get us into the third and final special, but the focus is on these two (or is it four?) performances. Without their talent and chemistry, we wouldn’t have had much of an episode at all. It is completely dependent on what Catherine Tate and David Tennant can do as performers and it is brilliant to watch the two of them work together and bounce off of each other.
There are moments in the episode where you do fear that mistakes are made and the Doctor or Donna chooses the wrong version of the other. But in the end, they always make the right choice. Knowing that, no matter what, they will always come back to their friend in the end? That’s why we love Donna Noble and the Doctor so much.
“Wild Blue Yonder” is a call back to all those episodes of Doctor Who where the Doctor and his companion are trapped in some strange ship with an unknown enemy. But this time, they knew their enemy too well.
(featured image: Disney+)
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