They’ve made it back to Sheffield, half an hour after they left, but as the horrendous pun in the title suggests, there’s a bit of a spider problem going on… arachnophobes beware.
Arachnids in the UK
Directed by Sallie Aprahamian
Written by Chris Chibnall
Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor
Bradley Walsh as Graham O’Brien
Tosin Cole as Ryan Sinclair
Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan
Chris Noth as Robertson
Sharon D Clarke as Grace O’Brien
Shobna Gulati as Najia Khan
Tanya Fear as Dr Jade McIntyre
Ravin J Ganatra as Hakim Khan
Bhavisha Parmar as Sonya Khan
Jaleh Alp as Frankie Ellish
William Meredith as Kevin
Returning the gang to Sheffield half an hour after they left, the Doctor prepares to move on by herself, but is soon distracted by the offer of a cup of tea, followed quickly by a missing neighbour and an invasion of giant spiders.
The Doctor’s compassion is more on display than it’s ever been, and it’s fantastic. Robertson says guns are what the world needs right now – no, he’s wrong. It’s compassion, and the Doctor embodies it at the highest level.
Robertson is all the lazy stereotypes about entitled white rich Americans in the age of Trump combined into one cookie-cutter character.
Originality: A monster of the week episode with some character development thrown in. We have kind of seen this before, although it doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. 3/6.
Effects: Lots of giant spiders. The animation and texturing is good, but the integration in the real environments they’re part of isn’t so convincing. 4/6.
Acting: Gill is superb showing Yaz’s frustration with her constantly-bickering, teasing, interfering family. Walsh gives us a number of poignant moments as Graham has to continue to deal with the grief of Grace’s death, and Whittaker continues to prove her worth as the Doctor’s relentless respect for all living things is forefront in the storytelling, which she shows us with conviction and sincerity throughout. Noth is the only real downer, but to be fair he didn’t exactly have much of a character to portray. 5/6.
Production: They definitely filmed some of the exterior scenes in Sheffield – that’s a proper Sheffield tram and that’s properly Sheffield’s most famous high-rise housing development – but I’m not completely convinced by the mine tunnels. The music made itself very welcome again this week with a different kind of mood for a bit less synth and a lot more solo cello. The music seems to be changing style to suit each episode, a touch I really appreciate. 4/6.
Story: It starts out like a fairly standard monster of the week story, but there are a number of false leads about who’s responsible and how it’s going to finish so we get something rather more interesting than I was initially expecting. I’m disappointed that the fate of a certain character isn’t covered, and I’m kind of hoping the series will return to Earth again to interfere with them some more. 5/6.
Emotional Response: During the episode my social media timelines erupted with people talking about hiding behind the sofa. That is a lot of spiders. I don’t have a problem with spiders, so I found the episode more heartwarming than scary. Getting that much heartwarming in around all the spiders is really quite an achievement. 4/6.
Overall: An enjoyable episode, which develops our new characters while giving us an entertaining story and some great incentives to hide behind the sofa. 5/6.
In total, “Arachnids in the UK” receives 30/42.