Doctor Who: The Legend of the Sea Devils – Spoiler-free Review
Doctor Who fans around the world rejoiced as the three month long wait between episodes came to an end with the penultimate episode of Whitaker’s run: “The Legend of the Sea Devils”. But, did that exclaim and excitement continue on after the hour long episode finished airing, or did it end up sinking to the ocean floor?
Following the events of this year’s New Year special episode: “Eve of the Daleks”, our present crew of Yaz, Dan, and the Doctor, arrive circa 1809, and are flung into a fast paced dilemma. The episode features a classic villain species – The Sea Devils, that haven’t been seen since 1984. Don’t expect much lore or world building in this episode pertaining to the creatures.
The entire episode feels hacked to pieces by the editing team, who may have used the very same swords seen in the episode. Whether time allotting issues, or undershot sequences, the end product feels a little off throughout. The graphical work falls short as well. Many shots feel like preliminary passes, or unfinished work they cut away from quickly in order to save face.
The sequence where our crew find themselves underwater is done well and makes this writer think either the majority of the budget or time had gone to this one moment over others within the duration. But as grand as that scene unfolds, other areas, like when the Sea Devils talk, they do so with the most awkward bulging and manipulation of the physical masks in editing, that made me remember the fond days of playing around in Adobe After Effects myself.
Our guest characters (or caricatures) aren’t much to write about either, unfortunately. From the basic building blocks these characters try to emerge from, the script, and direction ultimately hold the actors back, and offer nothing memorable with their characters, locale, or history. Even sacrifices, and enemies becoming familial hold no weight, and the final moments of the episode read like a first draft of a fan-fiction, rather than a highly produced series that has continuously stood the test of time (although, yes, some episodes do not still hold to the test of time).
So what do we really get out of this episode that is worthwhile? The Doctor and Yaz. There is so much to unpack with their interactions, foreshadowing, and ultimately pushing forward the two of them together, however impossible it’s truly going to be. There’s also Dan, who never fails to impress and steals fits of chuckles with every minute of screen time.
Many viewers are already calling “Legend of the Sea Devils” one of, if not, the worst episode of Doctor Who to be produced in the long line of serials from its revival in 2005.
Do I agree with them?
I didn’t want to entertain the idea that the same people who have been upset with a female Doctor since her announcement were going to be right about anything said on the internet, but here I am. It’s both an hour since I’ve finished the special, and an hour sitting with these thoughts you are reading currently – and my god do I wish I would have done anything more fantastic with that time than this.
I would rate it a low 1.5 / 5