Doctor Who Recap: Beware The Solitract, It Takes You Away

The thing about rural Norway is that it looks peaceful, but there are bears in the woods and also the occasional portal to a dangerously unstable universe. Or at least that’s what the Doctor and her friends find when the TARDIS lands them just outside a seemingly abandoned storybook cottage perched on a Norwegian fjord. Inside, however, they meet teenage Hanne who tells the team that her dad’s gone missing. She’s afraid he’s been taken by whatever is making the horrible growling sound emanating from the forest. That turns out to be a simple pair of speakers rigged by Hanne’s father to keep her in the house… but that’s only the beginning of the story of his disappearance.

Once the monster in the woods theory is kiboshed by Ryan (who in return gets kiboshed in the head by a swinging door—but that comes later), the Doctor and Graham hone in on what the real danger is. Upstairs in the bedroom, there’s a mirror that isn’t one. Instead, it’s a door to a sort of buffer zone separating a mirror universe from the one we all inhabit. But there’s something compelling about this new world: it contains the people we’ve lost, like Hanne’s mother and Grace, Graham’s wife. We knew we’d see her again (sort of, at least).


Right away there’s something suspect about Grace, who we know as a woman who puts her loved ones ahead of everything. Why would she ask Graham to stay with her in this new world and leave Ryan behind? Hanne’s dad Erik is more easily convinced. He took the death of his wife very hard and is willing to believe anything if it means having her back—even if it comes at the expense of his daughter’s wellbeing. As for Hanne, she knows immediately that the woman Erik left her behind for is not her mother.

At last, the Doctor figures it out. The place they’re in was one described to her by one of her seven grandmothers. It’s a type of conscious universe that just doesn’t vibe with ours and wherever the two meet, massive instability—like nuclear chickenpox—soon follows. As the mirror universe begins to crumble around them, both Erik and Graham have to make a choice: stay with these imitations of the people they once loved or return to the real world. For Graham, it’s easy: the real Grace would never ask him to stay. For Erik it’s harder, but the Doctor helps him along, trading her own freedom for his. Yet, as only the Doctor can, she talks the universe/frog (yes, you read that right) into letting her go and everyone makes it back through the portal… and then Graham and Ryan have that moment. Sniff.


5 questions we have about this week’s episode of Doctor Who:

1. Who else picked up on Yaz’s use of “reverse the polarity”? It’s become a real Who catchphrase. How’d she know?

2. Can we talk about the Doctor eating dirt? Is that a Time Lord thing or a Norwegian thing?

3. Ryan finally called Graham “grandad.” Who else teared up?

4. Was this an episode without a name drop? Did we miss it?!

5. What’s this about a bloody sheep rebellion? Can we avoid it if we all go vegan right now?