Thursday, November 14, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead

Doctor Who: 
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead 
By Steven Moffat

“Donna Noble has left the library. Donna Noble has been saved.”

Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead is the story that launched River Song mania.  In fact, and this is quite wibbly wobbly, it is her first and last appearance.  River has in fact already met the Doctor several times but The Doctor, in this case Doctor 10, has never met her before.   So this is all new to him having this woman who knows all about him and he has no clue who she is while trying to save everyone from the Vashta Nerada. 

Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead is one of the more ambitious stories undertaken during the relaunch.  Here you have a complex story with the Vashta Nerada, Donna in a dream like world, and the computer and Dr. Moon.  In fact you have two stories going on.  You have the computer CAL living the life of a little girl.  But she is having visions of the library and those who are in it. She is being helped by Dr. Moon who tells her that the library is real and those inside of it need to be saved. 

Then we have the story of the Doctor and River Song.  Running away from the Vashta Nerada and trying to get out alive.  Then The Doctor realizes what has happened to the occupants of the Library and thus tries to figure all that out.  This all comes to light with the brilliant cliffhanger of Donna being saved.  How chilling was it to see Donna’s face in that egg shaped device with her face on it saying. “Donna Noble has been saved.”

Steven Moffat has penned a story that gives more questions than it answers.  This story has big ramifications to the shows future.  In fact the introduction of River Song becomes a pivotal character in the Eleventh Doctor’s era.  She has a future with him and we have seen her end and now the questions are formed of who is she really. 

While that is all answered later on Silence in the Library and The Forest of the Dead was a very scary and spooky story.  In fact this story brought back the behind the sofa syndrome as the Vashta Nerada was a different type of enemy hiding in the shadows and killing you by attaching itself to your shadow and taking you over without you knowing it.  That in itself is pretty scary. 

The story is well done and I like the two different aspects of it.  I liked trying to figure out what the little girl and Dr. Moon had to do with the overall story.  I liked how she was watching everything from a TV or Radio.  Once you find out that she was the library’s computer it all made sense and was a brilliant way to portray it.  This story had a real paranoia feel to it.  You had the feeling that the Vashta Nerada would be around every corner. 

Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead is also a sad story.  Donna while in CAL had the storybook life.  A loving husband, kids and a nice home she had the life she always wanted.  Everything was perfect for her and it was sad when she was looking Lee after all the saved ones were returned to normal and Lee sees her but his stuttering problem prevents him from calling out to her before he was beamed off world. It also has one of the dumbest escapes as The Doctor use a trap door in the floor to escape the Vashta Nerada.  Come on that was a cop out if I had ever seen one and not what you’d expect in a Steven Moffat story.  Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead is indeed a story that is really well done, with a great story behind it and with lots of emotion and questions that will be answered in the seasons to come.

Grade B-

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