The latest episode of Doctor Who, "It Takes You Away," was a poignant examination of the human experience of grief and loss. It saw the Doctor and her friends stumble upon a Norwegian cabin that had been boarded up, and attempt to help the stranded child who had been abandoned inside the cottage. They soon found themselves plunged into what may be the most confusing Doctor Who adventures in years, exploring a Mirror Dimension inhabited by a cosmic force that ultimately elected to manifest itself as a talking frog.
This was easily the strangest episode of Doctor Who season 11 to date, and many have criticized the plot for not entirely working. But, for all that's the case, though, it proved effective by virtue of the quality performances from the main cast. Bradley Walsh in particular shone through in "It Takes You Away," becoming quite possibly the most three-dimensional, carefully-crafted companion Doctor Who has ever had.
Over on social media, the reaction to "It Takes You Away" was hilarious. For many, this was a powerful and effective episode that tugged at the heart-strings. At the same time, though, it was also the wackiest Doctor Who story since Douglas Adams wrote The Pirate Planet back in 1978. So let's explore all the key questions raised by this unusual episode.
- This Page: Doctor Who Questions About Norway & The Anti-Zone
- Page 2: Doctor Who Questions About Ribbons & The Solitract
- Page 3: Doctor Who Questions About The Episode's Ending
14. What Happened In The Woolly Rebellion?
Let's start with probably the most obscure question of all. When the Doctor sees a sheep, she has a brief surge of terror because she fears the TARDIS has materialized in the midst of the "Woolly Rebellion." According to the Doctor, in 2211 there's "a total renegotiation of the sheep-human relationship" - an event that she describes as an "utter bloodbath." Amusingly, the Doctor's friends are unfazed, with Graham more interested in the fact he's in Norway. It looks as though they've all gotten used to the Doctor's chatter.
13. How Did The Portal Get In The Cabin, And How Did Erik Discover It?
"It Takes You Away" leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The most obvious of all is just why a portal to another plane of reality happened to turn up in a random Norwegian cabin, and how Erik discovered it. Perhaps the answer lies in folklore; there are any number of legends suggesting people can get trapped within mirrors. This may not actually be the first time the Solitract has attempted to reach out through mirrors. Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the Doctor suggests the mirror portal is designed to tempt people into it - "It's already tried to lure in Graham," she observed, a first hint that she was sensing a consciousness at work behind all this. Presumably, Erik realized he didn't have a reflection, reached out his hand, and was unwittingly drawn into the mirror.
12) How Were The Cabin's "Protections" Supposed To Work?
Young blind actress Ellie Wallwork plays Hanne in the latest Doctor Who, the grieving daughter who's been left behind, terrorized, in her father's cabin. Her dad Erik launched an insane plan to keep her in the cabin, setting up loudspeakers to give out the roaring sound of a beast. What's more, he boarded her in, ostensibly for her own protection - but really to keep her trapped inside. It's an astonishingly harsh measure, and frankly it's surprising the Doctor never calls Erik out on his treatment of Hanne. This is also, however, the biggest plot hole in the entire episode. When Erik tells his story to the Doctor, it's a simple one; he entered the Mirror Dimension, found his wife miraculously resurrected, and never dared leave for fear she would vanish again. He couldn't bear to lose her twice. But according to Erik's telling, then, he never had the chance to return home and set up these faux "protections."
11. What Actually Is An Anti-Zone?
According to the Doctor, an Anti-Zone is a sort of buffer zone between two realities, existing to keep them apart for the safety of the universe. Everything in the Anti-Zone is designed to make it treacherous and difficult to traverse, with horrific Flesh Moths that essentially act as guards. When the Doctor and her friends first enter the Anti-Zone, it's presented as a maze, with the Doctor attempting to use a piece of string to ensure they can return home. Unfortunately, she doesn't notice when the string is cut.
10. Why Have We Never Seen An Anti Zone In Doctor Who Before?
The Anti-Zone feels evocative of the Upside-Down in Stranger Things, a beautifully sinister and atmospheric place. What's unclear, though, is just why Doctor Who has never introduced the concept before - after all, this is hardly the first time the Doctor has hopped from one dimension or plane of reality to another. According to the Doctor, "Anti-Zones only exist when the fabric of the universe is under huge, terrible threat." Presumably, no previous alternate-dimension story has involved the precise conditions where an Anti-Zone would be generated.