Whether it’s on Earth or in orbit, this series has yet to leave the vicinity of our little blue sphere. There’s even a shot of the planet’s surface through an observation window that is very reminiscent of the one from four episodes prior. And we’re aboard another orbiting satellite, only this time the human race is very much alive and well, but something isn’t quite right.
This is the first episode to fail to leave any sort of impression on me. I vaguely recall seeing it before but only because I remember Simon Pegg being in it and the weirdness with the head hatches opening up. It is a fairly forgettable story and it didn’t win me over this time around either.
I think the problem is that the drama of the situation relies too much on fairly abstract concepts. We’re told that the human race is being controlled, that information is being manipulated, but we don’t see the evidence of it. We only get the story from the point of view of a couple of workers aboard the satellite and have to take the Doctor’s word for it that this weird new world is the wrong sort of weird. It’s very difficult to care.
Technology and concepts are introduced so quickly that the importance of them doesn’t have time to take hold. I get that the implants are a way to absorb everybody’s thoughts, but the way Cathica reverses it at the end seems to happen all too easily. The sub-plot with Adam trying to transmit future secrets could have been interesting, but he’s such a bland character that I didn’t care that he messed up, and I’m glad to see the back of him.
Pegg is pretty good on screen as the villain, the Jagrafess creature is disturbing, and some of the episode’s themes do sort of work okay in a broad sense, but, on the whole, this is the weakest episode of the revived series so far.