And it's taken me this long just to get my thoughts together about it...
"Donna?"And that is as far as I dare go with the usual choice quotes from a new Doctor Who episode.
"You said 'river', and suddenly we're feeding ducks."
"The only story you'll ever tell... if you survive here."
"Yo... WHO ARE YOU?!?"
"I'm going to prove it to you, and I'm sorry. I'm really, very sorry."
"LOOK AT THAT! I'm VERY GOOD!!!"
A few weeks ago I finally figured out what the "Media Extender" capability of our Xbox 360 is. So now it's configured into our home network and now I can watch those wonderful Doctor Who episodes (uploaded onto BitTorrent courtesy of our Brittish brethren) on a 42-inch high-definition television set, instead of an LCD computer monitor. Not fully high-def, but it looks amazing.
And that is how I watched "Forest of the Dead": far and away the best episode yet of the revived run of Doctor Who, and I think it could even be said that this would be in the running for the best episode of the entire 45-year history of the show.
"Wait, Chris... it's even better than "The Girl in the Fireplace"?!"
Oh yeah. Which Steven Moffat also wrote, incidentally.
This will be the episode by which all others will be judged. I feel as if after watching "Forest of the Dead" that in the words of Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor "I have dipped into the future." If this is a taste of what is to come when Moffat begins helming Doctor Who in 2010, then we are potentially headed for the richest and most epic storytelling ever done with an already grand mythology.
"Forest of the Dead" begins where "Silence in the Library" left off, with the Doctor and Professor River Song's expedition trapped by the Vashta Nerada. We find out what happened to Donna, and the Doctor is determined to discover how does River Song know so much about him. The moment that he does is going to be the source of endless speculation between now and at least 2010. If you thought Lost was maddening, "Forest of the Dead" might be worth at least an entire season of that series' questions.
And that ending: if you choked back tears watching "The Girl in the Fireplace", keep the Kleenex handy for the last several minutes of "Forest of the Dead". Please folks: that's not a mild suggestion. It's beautiful and hopeful and uplifting... and after some of the nonsense I've gone through during the past week, it sure cheered me up! Murray Gold's score alone is enough to have your spirit soaring. I'll buy the DVD of this season's soundtrack just for the music when the Doctor is running back to the data core.
If you are an American fan who has only been watching this season on the Sci-Fi Channel, I cannot begin to tell you what is in store for you with "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead". Clear some space on your DVR if you need to: this one's a keeper. And I'll give it the full 5 Sonic Screwdrivers out of 5!