Review: Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten


The Rings of Akhaten was written by Neil Cross, directed by Farren Blackburn, and stars Matt Smith as the Doctor, Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald, and Emilia Jones as Merry.

From the BBC Website:

The Doctor takes Clara to the Festival of Offerings, but the Old God is waking and demands sacrifice!

So at the beginning of the episode we are introduced to Stalker Doctor, I mean seriously; when the Doctor is watching Clara’s parents hook up and then through Clara’s life who didn’t get that same creeped out feeling you had when seeing Brandon Routh’s Superman hovering outside Lois Lane’s window watching her prepare dinner for her family?  Sure the Doctor is just trying to figure out what is up with Clara, temporally speaking, not trying to see what wine Lois Lane was having with dinner, but it’s still kind of creepy.

The bizarre and all of the aliens looked great, it reminded me of “The End of the World” Rose’s second story where the Doctor decides to show his new traveling companion something truly mind blowing.  Only this was done on a much bigger scale.  They must have spent an enormous chunk of the budget on all the alien costumes it looked fantastic.



What‘s with the intergalactic Jet Ski?  Sure it’s a cool vehicle concept, and we got to see the Doctor ride an anti-grav motorcycle last week, so it’s nothing like that.  Does it generate an oxygen field and have wind blower around it, or is there air in between the planetoids in the Akhaten system?  They were clearly in free space for a while there, but no one needed space suits or pressurized cabins.  It’s things like this that bug me in any show or movie that is supposed to be Science Fiction, and it could have been so easily dismissed if the Doctor had mentioned in a one off line that the inhabitants of the system had generated an oxygen bubble that encompassed everything inside the Rings of Akhaten to simplify travel between the planetoids.  Sure it’s not very feasible, but it makes way more sense than just showing the Doctor riding a jet ski in open space with no protection from the void and wind blowing his hair around.  Besides sometimes those little on off throw away lines can be fun and become a part of cannon for decades to come.  One prime example is the line about Time Lords only being able to regenerate 12 times.  That was a little one off line in the Tom Baker story “The Deadly Assassin” they had never put a limit on regenerations up until that point and it stuck and still does for some fans until a decent explanation is given refuting or changing that fact.


All in all there are some nice concepts in here as far as the importance of little details, on how that exact leaf had to be blown off by that exact wind to hit Clara’s dad in the face at that exact moment for her mother to meet him so Clara could be born.  There is also the nice twist that what we think is the slumbering god is in reality the god’s alarm clock.  The idea of using things of personal importance as currency is also an interesting concept.


I won’t even get into the inappropriate use of the Sonic Screwdriver as a repulsor beam on the Vigil.

Then the day is saved by the Leaf of Infinite Possibilities!  Really?  In the old days the doctor would have used a supercomputer or possibly the TARDIS’ computer and telepathic circuits to generate a program using a copy of his own mind for the prediction algorithms and had it feed an infinite number of stories/memories into the Old God to either sedate or over feed him.  Does that sound totally feasible or plausible?  No, of course not, but it sounds a lot better than, “here have this leaf”.  On another note, how many leaves does Clara carry around in her book, because that is not the same leaf the Doctor finds in the book in The Bells of Saint John, they aren’t even from the same type of tree.



Final Thoughts:

This episode suffers from the same problem so many of the recent ones do.  It looks great, sounds great, has great acting, has some nice ideas, but for some reason most of them lately have this wibbly wobbly, wishy washy emotions and good feeling can solve anything and let’s throw science and reason out the TARDIS window.  It’s not a bad episode, but it has a terrible ending.

For those of you like me missing Doctor Who Confidential, here is a short behind the scenes clip from the BBC.

Check out our “The Rings of Akhaten” photo Album.

Next week’s episode is “Cold War”.  I’m really looking forward to this one.  It’s written by Mark Gatiss and features Ice Warriors.  I have always enjoyed Mr. Gatiss’ Doctor Who Episodes, books, and Big Finish audio plays.  I have also always liked the Ice Warriors, and hey a nuclear sub, what could go wrong?