Well, that was better again. Like The Lazarus Experiment, 42 was slam-bang action fare with much running up and down corridors, but it scores more highly by dropping us right into the action from the off, by having a final ten minutes that didn't just feel tacked on, and by having some very nice visual effects. Yes, Doctor Who is a show that shouldn't rely on CGI, but the silent shot of Martha drifting away in an escape pod was very fine. And y'know, the more I look back on it the more I realise just how much of this episode was just running up and down corridors (my word, really quite a lot of it...), but the point is that this is the first episode in about a month that I've wanted to look back on after first viewing.
Even the science wasn't screamingly, disturbingly wrong. I mean, you have to accept that, unlike yer regular suns, living suns can actually reverse the effects of their enormous gravitational field and push away ships that are about to smash right into them, but I'm prepared to do that. The episode actually looked coherent. So really, my only question is: Who are you, and what have you done with the real Chris Chibnall?
(Actually, you could see just a hint of Torchwood Chibnall in the scene where, instead of suddenly exclaiming "You humans, you're amazingly brilliant!" as he normally does, the Doctor suddenly exclaims "You humans, you're rapacious bastards!" But I digress.)
7 out of 10. Points for the possessed crewman turning people into Hiroshima shadows with his mad glowing eyes.
Minus points for the tiresome "Burn with me" refrain ("Are you my Mummy?" it ain't).
For the first few minutes (and off the back of the trailer), I thought this had all the signs of being a sequel to last year's Impossible Planet/Satan Pit, and 42 almost got relief points just for not featuring the return of the most absurdly pretentious monster ever to appear in Who. (But then I sobered up a bit and thought better of it. If I rated stories on that basis, I'd be giving bonus points to every Who episode that doesn't feature yet more Daleks. Hey, wait a minute, I already do that...)
Points for the Doctor admitting he's scared. The Lovely Jo made a very perceptive remark about this: he's not scared that he'll die (he'll risk his life at the drop of a hat, after all), he's scared that if he dies he'll come back as a sun-zombie and kill Martha. Points also for the idea of the living sun and the sun-zombies (although if it mattered that much to me I'd list here previous films and TV shows that have featured sentient celestial bodies - including old episodes of Who).
Points for Martha's mum selling her out to Mr Saxon's phone-tappers. Overall it's another step upwards.