Doctor Who // The Rings of Akhaten Review


“You like to think you’re a God. You’re not a God, you’re a parasite, full of jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of others.”

The Rings of Akhaten was ‘one of those episodes’ if you get my drift. An episode that shone light on the darkness that the series has potential to be and so a lot less serious as it shows a lot of heart, as always, in introducing The Doctor’s latest companion to the life of the Tardis. Rose saw the end of earth, Martha met Shakespeare, Donna pitied the people of Pompeii and Amy dangled out the Tardis while The Doctor held her by the leg. These episodes are all very similar in the way they are made for the audience to warm to the new companion, sadly, I still don’t feel anything where Clara is concerned.

Another episode that is big on production but very simple on narrative. As you’d expect, we get another fantastic performance from Matt Smith but the steeley unemotional face of Jenna Louise Coleman hangs heavy in an episode that should be about her coming to terms with what she is seeing. There seems to be no wonder, no disbelief in her eyes when she steps out the Tardis, not like Rose, Donna, Amy or even that one we like to forget for multiple reasons Martha. Perhaps this is done on purpose and we just don’t know it, maybe Clara has seen this before, the way this episode was set out however, it doesn’t seem likely.

The best moments came in the episode’s mysteries that most likely add to the story arc of the series. The most obvious of these was the Tardis not allowing Clara inside. Is this because she didn’t have a key? I don’t think so or I’m sure she’d have known, the fact she says it doesn’t like her is disconcerting, the most obvious reason behind the Tardis not letting her in is to do with her being some sort of Paradox as there are two other incarnations the Doctor has already met. Or maybe, the Tardis knows something that no one else does and Clara, is in fact, something very bad indeed. All I’m saying is that she seems to know a lot more that what she lets on. She knows how a lot of things work and asks The Doctor questions that she seems to know the answer to, in this episode about his screwdriver.

The story was a cheesey fairytale romance at heart bookended by the meeting and courtship undertaken between Clara’s mother and father. Where this solves the mystery of the leaf in her book of things to see there still seemed something a bit weird about it, and I can’t put my finger on it. I’m not sure it was meant to be this way or if it was a bit shoddy in production but something didn’t feel good about that whole segment.

Near the start of the episode The Doctor does that thing where he disappears for a few minutes leaving the companion to explore and roam. Again, this seemed strained and strange in this episode and maybe I’m reading too much into it but seemed like there was something more there. Otherwise, this episode was really quite bog-standard-who. I mean the production values and the big effects are making the series more marketable but bringing down its effectiveness and story-telling is usually of the highest standard.

Next week’s The Cold War seems like it could go either way with the return of the Ice Warriors but with a smaller feel about it all being set on a submarine there is potential for sure for it to be quite interesting, even if Mark Gatiss’ episodes of late have been a little strained and poor I still have faith in Moffat’s right-hand-man to do this classic enemy some justice.


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