The rings of Akhaten is the eighth episode of the seventh series of Doctor who and tells of another adventure of Clara and the Doctor. What happens in this episode is basically the Doctor and Clara travel to a far away planet to visit a religous ceremony where they are worshipping a soul/memory eating God of sorts. The God is threatening the planet and a very scared little girl (Emilia Jones) who essentially must sing her way out of the mess that is this episode.
The biggest down point of this episode resides in the plot and some minor issues of realism such as things like how exactly does the doctor ride a hover bike through space? I never really got how they did it and thought the whole episode relied on the unbelievable from that point. Last week the Doctor was riding a bike as well, but in comparison it seemed like reality to what was happening in this episode.
As for the villain, it seems it feeds on memories, things valued, or potential memories of objects. In fact the whole planet uses this as a currency. It just seemed like a strange thing to do really, here was this monster feared by all for what it does. Yet all the people in the planet were doing the same thing. Even the Doctor told Clara it was better than money at one point (although likely joking).
The character dynamics and good acting remained a highlight of the episode. Clara and the Doctor both have fantastic chemistry with each other and I love the exploration of Clara’s character and how the Doctor explores her past (although stalking her a bit) it makes the episode worth watching. The Doctor it seems also tries really hard with Clara I think to impress her and takes her to the Rings of Akhaten as a treat and a visual experience, just for Clara. It’s fun to watch.
However I found an issue in watching linking back to the currency/memory idea the episode had. There was a section where Clara was made to give up her mothers ring in order to get the bike, while the Doctor refused to give anything up. I thought to myself that it seemed strange or maybe selfish. He could of maybe gave his bow tie in and also doesn’t the Doctor always have something in his pockets? Clara by the end of the episode was made to give up the two things she cherished the most in the world and the Doctor knew it. While the doctor did give up his memories and experiences he had for all his years. But do I really believe the Doctor has forgotten everything he knew? Not for a second. I don’t think he lost a single thing during this episode at all. Matt Smith as the Doctor did do some great acting and had some good speech moments at times making it forgivable at least.
Apart from the character dynamics the episode does have another thing going for it in the visuals. The special effects are fantastic, the way the planet looks, the way the space looks as the Doctor rides through it on a bike. The way the characters are all designed as we watch hundreds of Aliens in the city they explore. All this together makes the episode a visual enjoyment; it was just to bad it was all let down by a random plot.
All is made well in the end of course as the Alien is defeated by what it seeks and is overwhelmed by the Doctor’s memories and the infinity of possibilities that was Clara’s leaf. But based upon the set up of the last episode The bells of Saint John along with the leaf reference and the start of this episode with all the meaning such an object had for Clara, I thought it was a slight waste. Sure it meant something, sure it helped saved the universe but it just seemed strange that such a large being was killed by a leaf in end.
Overall this episode is majorly unbelievable in every way possible. It is fun, it’s entertaining and visually stunning but don’t watch it for a great Doctor who plot or mystery because in that, this episode does not have it. Watch it for the great dynamics and the very entertaining Clara and the Doctor, have fun while you’re there but don’t expect to be blown away.