Doctor Who season 11, episode 9 recap: It Takes You Away

A familiar face, two universes, and a mirror portal make up this week’s emotionally gripping episode of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who tackles the idea of two universes in this week’s episode “It Takes You Away”. However, these two universes can’t exist simultaneously, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance as a result. Team TARDIS ends up in 2018 Norway, which is a shocking surprise because it’s the least unusual destination–perhaps ever.

Upon arriving there, they meet a young blind girl living on her own since her father’s disappearance. Ryan isn’t convinced when the girl states that her father was taken away by a monster. In fact, he’s pretty sure the girl’s father has abandoned her. Let’s just say he has daddy issues, but he’s not entirely wrong either.

The episode is hauntingly beautiful yet hits some roadblocks along the way. For instance, the Doctor and the companions realize there is something amiss going on. They soon discover a portal leading into another universe, which has a buffer between it known as the Anti-Zone.

Following so far? Once you get past the Anti-Zone, you enter what is known as the Solitract. It is this precise thing that makes it impossible for the two universes on either side to co-exist. Once inside the Solitract, things got a bit weird. There was a bit about something called Ribbons of the Seven Stomachs and Flesh Moths (which is exactly what it sounds like).

Credit: BBC America
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In the Solitract, the Doctor and companions found the girl’s father, who had indeed intentionally left his daughter behind. The reason for this is because he’s found his dead wife in this universe, where she’s still alive. Unfortunately, he can’t bring her back into the other universe, so he’s just going to stay here with her. And the daughter can just figure life out. Father of the Year Award is so not going to him.

Doctor Who loves to bring in a philosophical conundrum from time to time and this episode is a testament to that. The wife isn’t the only person alive on this side–so is Grace. But of course, the Doctor soon realizes that these people are not actually the wife or Grace. It’s crushing to see Graham have to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t Grace.

But bravo to him for facing the facts, and opting to save Ryan’s life instead. He knew this woman or thing couldn’t be the love of his life, and that in itself was difficult to watch. The focus on how one handles traumatic events is a big focus of this Doctor Who episode, and one that I truly appreciate it.

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It’s not the best episode of the season, but there is a deeper layer to it. This is apparent in the moments the Doctor is trying to negotiate with the Solitract. Eventually, the Doctor is sent back, but the banter back and forth is invigorating, to say the least. It once again alludes to the idea of living without loved ones, and what that means in our daily lives.

Any thoughts on the father, though? I’m still feeling a very strong meh.

The Doctor Who season 11 finales airs Sunday on BBC America at 8 PM EST!

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