BIT OF ADRENALINE, DASH OF OUTRAGE – Our Thoughts on “Arachnids in the UK”

Janine Rivers (@janinemrivers on Twitter) is a writer, script editor, and musician.  She spends her days working in a library, and was the head-writer and editor behind her passion project, The Twelfth Doctor Adventures.  Her favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi.

Anouk Van Rossum (@vranouk on Twitter) is a bookseller with a vested interest in queer representation in media. When not reading, she can be found writing, or talking about Doctor Who to anyone who will listen. Her favourite Doctor is either Paul McGann or Peter Capaldi.  Don’t make her choose, it’s too difficult.

Emma Jones (@milkwithginseng on Twitter) is an aspiring artist and writer. She first gained attention for her article on transgender themes in Doctor Who for the Time Ladies blog. Since then she has written various thinkpieces and reviews of the show and appeared on the Galactic Yo-Yo podcast. Her favourite Doctor is Jodie Whittaker.

Header picture by Esterath (@finlay_hs)


Janine: It’s the fourth episode of the series, completing the traditional set of stories for a new Doctor/companion team: the introductory contemporary Earth story, the first trip into the future, the first trip into the past, and the return to contemporary Earth.

Without delving into Campbell (because there are always more interesting people to talk about), the Return Home is often an important step in the companions’ journey — a chance to process the new world they’ve entered into, and a reminder of the one they left behind (and all its responsibilities).  But by and large, it’s really a Davies era phenomenon — certainly not one written into the show’s DNA (after all, for Ian and Barbara, the Return Home and the Exit Story were one of the same thing).  The first clear instance was Aliens of London/World War Three in 2005, and this was used as the pattern throughout the rest of the Davies era in “The Lazarus Experiment” and “The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky”.  Of the aforementioned triptych of stories, two were two-parters, all three were high-energy monster runarounds, and all three focused primarily on the mother of the companion getting generally irate at the Doctor.

Moving into the Moffat era, Amy and Rory were given contemporary Earth stories, but these were muted: Amy doesn’t actually return home until the end of the series; her reunion with Rory takes place in sixteenth-century Venice, the Leadworth of “Amy’s Choice” is an illusion, and “The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood” has all the makings of a Davies-era runaround but takes place several years in their personal future.  Since “The Lodger” never actually allows Amy to leave the TARDIS, that means her own Return Home is more or less “The Big Bang”, which is a stark contrast to the Davies era’s tendency to get that out of the way early in the season.  In much the same way, Clara’s constant returns to Earth (and her reluctance to live on the TARDIS) mean that we never really get that event story as we were used to it before.

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Pictured: Janine at the pastry counter.

So what’s “Arachnids in the UK”?  On the surface, it’s a story in the mould of a Davies era runaround: heavy presence of the female companion’s family (especially her mother), an alien invasion across a major city (well, Sheffield), and a monster which is itself the episode’s main USP (in fact, ‘Scary Spiders’ are probably a better USP than Sontarans, let’s be honest).

But the episode is missing the scale of a diplomatic crisis or worldwide ATMOS invasion; so aside from “The Lazarus Experiment, this feels like a healthy continuation from last series’ Knock Knock: an alien mystery in an abandoned building in which the Return Home is a softer, lower-key feature of the story (for a start, there’s no slap).  So how do we feel, generally, about Chibnall’s approach to this slot of the series?  Has he nailed the formula, or is it too regressive?

Emma: I think after rewatching the episode that it feels superficially like a Davies-era story. There’s a council estate and an alien threat descending upon the city. But there’s a distinct lack of scale. Whereas Davies in his Earthbound stories had it affecting people on a global scale, here it’s just our main ‘Team TARDIS’, Najia, Robertson and Jade. Which I think is an approach that I really like. There’s a real threat but it’s concentrated around the hotel so the stakes are more realistic, and have a more intimate interaction between the characters and how they deal with the problem.

Anouk: I think what this episode does best, what some of the ones you mentioned missed out on, is incorporating the theme of family into it all. You’ve got Yaz’s family, Graham and Ryan sorting things out between them; hell, even the spiders are mother and children. Family seems to be a running motif throughout the series, and especially in this episode: at the end of it all, everyone just wants to come home. The thing is that for our Team TARDIS, “home” has been shaken up. The Doctor is very much looking for a home in her new “fam”; Graham is literally and metaphorically dealing with an empty home, and Ryan has his dad calling him “proper family”, but also wanting to live with Graham. Yaz loves her family but they also drive her crazy. They’re all a little confused and shaken up, which was a rather nice parallel with the spiders. The episode feels like a good mix between a low-stakes adventure (I always like to bring up “Time Heist” for comparison because I think that one is a perfect example), and a Big Bad. It’s comforting and allows us and the characters to breathe and reflect a little on what came before, and what is going to come after, but also is an incredibly satisfying story in and of itself.

Janine: Family definitely seems to be a running theme within the Chibnall era — which isn’t surprising, really, if you know his previous work well enough. “Broadchurch” was essentially a whole show about a single family, how it fell apart and eventually came back together. His Torchwood is built heavily on family dynamics; Gwen and Rhys’ relationship, Jack and Grey’s, and Toshiko and Owen’s isolation from their own families. Even in Law & Order UK, Ronnie (Bradley Walsh)’s fractured relationship with his own family was a major focus as the series developed.

Anouk: Yeah, exactly! And I can definitely see why. “Going home” is often this conflicting mix of going somewhere where you can just be, where you know everything and everyone, but then there may be people you don’t get on with who you can’t just shrug off. Similarly there’s a complexity with family, where it can be a matter of blood relation or something more sentimental, and there are various expectations and pressures resulting from both. Doctor Who is often a show about belonging, and frequently explores those issues.

The TARDIS is both an escape from home and a coming home in one, which I think is why it has such instant appeal. And it makes the scene at the end where all three individually choose to stay all the more powerful.  And all the more poignant, when you realise the Doctor will outlive this new family, and that such families will most likely always be a temporary feature.

Emma: I think this episode is about going home, but as the Doctor says at the end, that the journey inherently changes you. So can you ever really return home? I love that the Doctor is cognisant of those pressures and the danger that travelling with her has on her friends.

Janine: That last one is a really powerful scene — and it’s a clear mission statement in the way that Twelve and Bill’s conversation at the end of “The Pilot” was. Not only have the team made a definitive choice to stay together, but they’re open about their individual reasons for making that choice, and aware of the caveats it entails. I think I’ve said before that the Doctor feels very “honest” this series, and I’d say the same about the show itself. It’s a nice contrast to the last few seasons, which were, in many ways, about the ways in which we lie to each other and ourselves. There are no lies here, no deception, just a group of individuals trying to help each other and better themselves.

Anouk: The Doctor’s frankness and honesty is the thing that I like most about this new series. She just wants to see the universe and help people, and she’s so upfront about how her life changes other people.  And Emma, I love your point about the possibility of returning home, because really, when you travel with the Doctor, you can’t. You come back different, and that’s not good or bad — but it is something to take into account.

Janine: And it’s such a lovely acknowledgement of the last few seasons, too. Clara, who came back more Doctor than companion. Bill, a working-class canteen girl who came back a lesbian water goddess. Even Rose and Martha, whose ambitions were radically altered when they went back to their old lives.

Emma: Yeah, and I think that’s what’s so intriguing about the rest of the series, now that the friends have graduated (to what I guess we’d call companions), and made the conscious decision to travel with the Doctor. How does that journey change them? Are we going see Yaz take more risks in order to prove herself? I think that it’ll be interesting to see how their characters develop.

Anouk: But yes, Emma, what you said about how it changes them… I’m so excited about that because I think it also works perfectly in reverse: who does the Doctor become now that she has three stable friends?  Because all this time she was operating on the assumption they didn’t necessarily want to travel with her, they just all ended up in the TARDIS by accident.

Emma: Yeah, I think that’s a great point that the Doctor’s friends are hugely influential. But I think the relationships in this episode are still quite fully-formed. Yaz obviously invites her over for tea and the rapport between Ryan and the Doctor is very strong in a way that it feels like they’re not simply begrudging acquaintances who had to stick together. I think Grace’s death is what’s driving Thirteen a lot with how she’s being very considerate on the dangers that she brings and I think that fuels her kindness.

Anouk: I’m still not sure how I feel about Grace’s death.  It just feels like a bit of a lazy motivator to me, and i’m also not sure that I like the implications that a black woman’s death was necessary for a white woman’s development?

Janine: It’s a difficult one, because on the one hand, the representation we got with Grace is covered across the board — we’ve already got an older companion, a black companion, and a female companion (as well as a female Doctor). But equally, that would be ignoring intersectionality as a legitimate concern. Because whilst we have all those things, we don’t have an older black woman, whose experience and viewpoint is unique, sitting on the intersection between minorities.

Anouk: I like how they’re exploring Graham’s grief and how it’s a major motivator in his decision to travel with the Doctor, and also how Grace’s death is a factor in Graham and Ryan growing closer together; but I just wish it hadn’t happened.  Because on the one hand I like the result of it, but on the other, I don’t like that it happened in the first place.

Janine: I’ve heard it said a lot that Grace’s death is both the best and worst thing about the series, and I think there’s a lot to learn from that. We’ve got this beautiful, beautiful dynamic, but it’s been built on foundations that aren’t… necessarily that comfortable to think about.

Anouk: Exactly; well put.  I think it raises a lot of questions about storytelling in this series and I’m not sure where I stand on the answers to those yet.

Emma: Yeah, it’s definitely a well-worn trope and the fact that it’s a woman of colour is really disturbing. But just focusing on this episode, it’s something that’s so different for the show to explore, and I think how characters react and the grief from it is quite interesting.

Janine: As Zoe Lance (last week’s guest) pointed out to me yesterday, it manages to be a very women-led episode without making too much fuss about it.  Obviously, you’ve got Thirteen taking the lead, but it’s the first week where Yaz has been the focal companion; then with the exception of Robertson and the male companions, most of the action is led by women (Najia, Jade, Frankie…), women working in, if not positions of power, then at least ones of considerable skill.  How do we feel about this week’s one-off characters?

Emma: Yeah, I loved the portrayal of women in this story. Najia’s vulnerability just in the first few moments instantly endeared me to her.

Janine: And her later refusal to follow Robertson’s orders, too. Using her firing as a tool of empowerment. I hope we see more of her.

Anouk: Najia I absolutely loved. She was both incredibly vulnerable and really cool. I also liked that she and Yaz shared certain similarities: they’re both quick-witted and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Yaz perhaps a bit more so than her mother. Basically, there was a real bond there, and I liked that.

I also loved Jade; she was a great addition to the show. I’m really surprised they managed to pull off such a big ensemble cast!

Emma: Jade was also really wonderful, it felt like she was an equal to the Doctor in a lot of ways, I think perhaps she’s a little bit colder than the Doctor but certainly as clever in the episode, which I really enjoyed.

Anouk: I really wasn’t sure about Robertson when I first watched the episode, but I actually liked him the second time round. He was a fairly stereotypical bad guy, but it fit within the story, and provided a lot of comic relief.  I’m absolutely fascinated by power dynamics in this series. Have you noticed Thirteen almost always has to look up to the bad guys? I love how the camera plays with that. It’s such a subversion of dominance.

Janine: It’s interesting that Robertson is both defined by his similarity to Trump, and his opposition to him. He’s opposed to Trump in the election, but obviously as a fellow Republican candidate: his motive is just to make more and more and more, to build up his empire until it consumes the planet. Like the spiders themselves, which grow so large they can’t sustain themselves. The trap of overproduction.

Anouk: It was a really fantastic and subtle thing, and he is clearly the butt of many jokes without becoming a total caricature.  I was also fascinated by Ryan and Graham’s reactions to him. At first they seem to like him, or are at least intrigued to see him, but when they see how he treats the people (specifically women) around him, their attitude instantly changes. Graham even makes fun of him by feeding him that line about Russian spies, and Ryan goes along with it.

Emma: I think he is a caricature but in a way that works for this episode; if you’re going to have giant spiders, you need someone equally ridiculous teaming up against them. I find it interesting that the spiders are positioned as the big evil, but really they’re just confused and it’s Robertson who is this brutal, amoral businessman

Anouk: I saw a tweet suggesting that the villains of the series are really just entitled white men, and that made me laugh.  It’s also such a totally Doctor Who thing!  Of course there is a morally devoid businessman running for president who loves guns, and has a panic room, and also has no concept of responsibilities.  Oh — and giant spiders

Emma: That really what I’m liking about this series: that the villains aren’t really villains in the usual sense. For all their bluster they’re really are quite impotent.

Janine: Faced with a horror like Trump, you’ve got two ways to respond. You laugh at and scorn him, treat him as absurd; or you treat him as an object of horror, an ever-growing blight on the political landscape. Chibnall wants to treat him as both: an idiot who thinks that civilised people shoot things and believes conspiracy theories about Russians, and a ruthless murderer and abuser who might just make it into the White House. And isn’t that what Trump is, in the end? We have to laugh at him, but every day people die as a direct and indirect result of his actions.

Anouk: A hundred per cent agreed  And that’s why the Doctor’s obvious disgust is so important when he shoots the spider in the end.  Robertson is never the hero of the scene, and absolutely shouldn’t be.  He is an idiot and played for comic relief, but his actions also have tangibly real consequences that are rightly condemned.  And the fact that it’s nearly all women consistently admonishing him: I really love that.

Janine: The closest point of comparison is Nixon in “The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon”, I’d say — a reluctant ally, a political menace, and consequently someone the Doctor refuses to take seriously.

Anouk: Yup, although I will say that with Nixon being a real person, they could’ve done more condemning him.

Janine: Oh, me too.  But I’m going to discipline myself and stick to the episode in question.

Anouk: How do we feel about Frankie dying?  Because I have to say, I’m getting a little tired of the dead lesbians.  Again, I’m holding out judgement because I’d like to see it in the context of the whole show, but so far every throwaway line about queer relationships has been either someone dead or someone who is going to die.

Emma: It’s weird because with Frankie and Angstrom the way that their sexuality is brought up in dialogue makes me do a double-take, but I’m glad of the representation. I’m even more thrilled of the possibility of Yaz being bisexual which I think was much better alluded to by Najia.

Anouk: If Yaz isn’t bi, I’m not gay.

Janine: It’s a difficult one, because on the one hand, we need to acknowledge that LGBT+ minorities are having an awful time of it right now. They are literally being hounded out of positions of authority by people like Robertson; their lives are being put on the line, their identities legislatively erased, and their rights to healthcare stripped away. But this is Doctor Who, and there needs to be a midpoint — because queer representation is about more than just reflecting the hardships that minorities face on a day-by-day basis. It’s about telling a better story. That’s why we have characters like Bill Potts, who suffer so that they can later rise above the battleground, hand in hand with their lover, to start their own adventures. And I really hope we start to see more of that from Chibnall’s era.  Yes, we’re all to some degree living under not just Trump’s America but Trump’s Earth, and we ought to acknowledge what that means for us.  But there needs to be a way out, too.

Anouk: As a queer person, I know that I’m being persecuted. I don’t necessarily want any and all media to tell me that because that’s my actual life. But I do want to see worlds and places where I can just be.  I absolutely loved Bill for that exact reason. Her life isn’t perfect (she’s not out to her stepmum for starters), but she’s really positive and just happy to be queer.

 

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Robertson (Chris Noth): Trump or anti-Trump?  We welcome your opinion…

Emma: I think a lot of people are going to be put off by the references to Trump. Because he is this omnipresent figure in the real world and in popular culture. And there’s the argument that Doctor Who shouldn’t concern itself with real politics, that for one thing there’s a weird suspension of disbelief where the Doctor Who universe isn’t actually our reality so it should be tied to what’s going on in the real world. And when you try to make it more real, it ends up taking you out of the universe. But what I think Chibnall really wants to do is ground this series in reality. And that extends to the locations of Yaz’s flat in Park Hill and Ryan and Graham’s house, which is literally a street away; there’s an almost perverse level of detail there. So I think having the references and a Trump-like figure can potentially put people off because they might look to the show as a way of getting away from the real world, but this episode shows that the Doctor is the answer to a bleak reality. That you have to stand up to people like Robertson, and you can do that with optimism and kindness.

 

Janine: There’s definitely a level of specificity in Park Hill that feels refreshing. For all those years the show spent in London, nobody ever mentioned that Rose Tyler lived in Kennington, that Martha Jones lived in Camberwell, or that Clara Oswald lived in the same block as Rose. (But now I’ve established these points, I hope TARDIS Wiki is listening.) The closest we ever came was with Donna and Chiswick: the Powell Estate, and Leadworth village, were fictitious spaces.

Anouk: Yes I love this feeling of reality! I also like that we’re not constantly in London anymore.

Janine: North London, that is…

Emma: I love that Park Hill is specifically mentioned and that Sheffield is a character in itself, it gives me a lot of joy to recognise all of the places that I explored when I lived there. I think having Yaz live at Park Hill is really interesting as well, because it’s a really famous. It’s a grade II listed building that was this designed to be this great example of mass council housing; its New Brutalist 1960s architecture was intended to promote social cohesion, but eventually the building fell into disrepair and was going to be demolished before it got renovated by Urban Slash. And I feel like there’s a parallel to what Robertson is going with redeveloping the land. A lot of critics cite Park Hill as being gentrified because the majority flats there now are not council owned, and clearly Yaz’s flat is part of this trendy development.  Even though Yaz and her family aren’t really responsible for the social costs of their living space, they’re still reaping the benefits of it in the same way that Robertson is literally profiting off his redevelopment while blatantly ignoring the social and environment costs that it causes.

Janine: We spoke a bit last week about how the setting of Montgomery was almost a character itself, an antagonistic force within the narrative.  It’s tempting to say the same this week, not so much with Sheffield but with Robertson’s hotel, another echo of the haunted house from last year’s “Knock Knock.  Though there’s not quite the same sense of interior geography, is there?  If I’ve got one bugbear with the setting this week, it’s that we’re never quite oriented in it, which makes it hard to get a grip over the action.

Anouk: Oh, I completely agree, Janine.  I’m a little sad they didn’t do more with the hotel as a quasi-character because it’s intrinsically connected to the theme of home, isn’t it?

Janine: Of course, a hotel both is and isn’t a home. It’s a semi-liminal space, not quite as detached and haunting as an airside bookshop or a motorway pit-stop, but rarely somewhere with any sense of permanence.

Emma: It does feel like some of the tension is lost when it feels like there a spiders roaming every inch of the hotel and then it cuts to the women and Roberson calmly walking through to the kitchen or through underground corridors.

Anouk: Yeah, especially because this hotel is presumably quite big? So you could’ve really done something cool with the scale of the place. The only time you ever really get a sense you’re somewhere big is at the end with the spider in the ballroom.

Janine: All of which said, I love the symbolism of the hotel: it’s an imposing but empty building, constructed in a hurry at the command of a soulless, Trump-esque businessman.  But it’s built on a foundation of junk, junk which amplifies and mutates the horrors buried underneath.  Robertson finds himself trapped within the architecture he commissioned, fighting the monsters slipping through the cracks.  It reminds me a lot of “The Witch’s Familiar”, and how the Daleks, a bunch of intergalactic racists obsessed with genetic purity, ended up drowning in their own organic waste.

Anouk: Yes, I thought about the revolting sewers too!  And I like how it links back to the mining tunnels and the history of mining in North England; so you’ve got layer on top of layer of history.

Janine: Exactly — you can’t just build your empire on top of a working-class community’s legacy and expect the past to rest easy.

Anouk: Yes, exactly.  And I love that these people, who have lived here all their lives, tell Robertson as much.

Emma: I loved the eeriness of the hotel, and I think it’s something that Doctor Who excels in really well in turning very mundane locations into something very scary. I think credit should go to Sallie Aprahamian for her direction on this episode. It feels really atmospheric.

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She wears a bumbag now.  Bumbags are cool.

Anouk: I never thought I’d say this about an episode which featured giant spiders (I’m extremely arachnophobic), but I loved it. It was a perfect mix of silly, strange, and emotional. No world-ending high stakes, just a cracking good, engaging story to watch with a TARDIS team I’m becoming ever more invested in. The connection between Doctor Who and home and family is a personal one to me, and was explored well here. Our main heroes have plenty to wrestle with (physically and emotionally), but nothing feels forced or dragged out. I continue to be fascinated by just how grounded Thirteen is emotionally, and how she connects with those around her. She wears her hearts on her sleeve and that comes out so well in a smaller scale story where it’s really all about protecting the people she loves. Her friends too get plenty to do: after watching Ryan and Yaz being subjected to horrific racist abuse last week, it’s nice to see them be loved here. The series also continues to play with power dynamics and their subversions. Sometimes it is “says us!” in your face, sometimes it’s a subtle camera angle of the Doctor being a head shorter than her foes. I love it and cannot wait to see more of it. My only small gripe is more a personal reflection, in that I’m still not sure how I feel about the narrative choice of killing Grace. This episode has given me more to think about, but hasn’t cleared anything up for me. It still sits uneasy with me, and I suspect it will do for some time to come. Similarly, I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with how explicitly LGBT characters are being handled, but I will reserve judgement on that as I’d like to evaluate the series as a whole once it’s all over and I can watch it back to back. For now, this episode for me was a pretty standard but extremely enjoyable one. Aside from being extremely creeped out, I came away desperately wanting to see more of this Doctor and her fam. They’re all utterly brilliant and this episode really gave them some cool character development I was completely on board with.  Great stuff. Not my absolute favourite, but one I will rewatch many times once I find a spider-less edit.

Emma: After the heavy and important episode that came before it, Arachnids is a well- needed fun romp. But I think, like every episode this series, there’s so much depth in terms of the characters that it finds a great balance between that fun and more serious moments. I’m loving the amount of science and education that the episodes contain. Jodie Whittaker is really coming into her own in that respect, she’s able to be smart and funny and so much more. It’s great that we’re focusing again on family, Yaz’s in particular are great and I wish we could see more of Hakim and Sonya, but also ‘the fam’, our ‘Team TARDIS’, is such a brilliant dynamic.

Janine: I enjoyed this episode a lot.  It’s one of the weaker two so far for me, but it’s head and shoulders above “The Lazarus Experiment, borrowing what worked from that format and ditching what didn’t.  The cast continue to blow me away, and Bradley Walsh is still my favourite of the lot.  After four episodes, the pieces are finally in place: the Doctor and her companions are in the TARDIS together, and they’re ready to enjoy the universe.

Not all the guest characters work, but the actors give it their all, and, well, spiders dancing to grime?  That’s the level of absurd I’m looking for from my Doctor Who.

While we’re talking about the spiders, I feel like I ought to say this.  I get that a lot of people are arachnophobic, a great many of my friends included (and one of today’s guests), and God knows we need to pay our respects to those people.  Phobias are difficult, and confronting them isn’t fun.  But I did find a lot of comments surrounding spiders. before the story even aired, deeply uncomfortable.  Being anxious about the episode?  That’s a legitimate worry.  Advocating for the burning of arachnids?  Not so much.

I know it seems like a petty thing to fuss about, in the wake of racially-motivated gun crime, legislative attacks on transgender Americans, and other very, very pressing issues.  But the episode isn’t about those issues to the same degree that it’s about spiders, so I do want to comment on the meat of the story.  Arachnophobia is normalised, certainly in Britain (as you can see through Graham and Ryan), to the degree that it’s not treated the same way as other specific phobias.  Though many people don’t have access to the help they need, a good portion of others just don’t see arachnophobia — even when it’s utterly crippling and inhibits their ability to perform simple tasks — as something that needs intervention or therapy in the same way that, say, agoraphobia might.  Which largely suggests that the phobia is legitimised as rational; that is to say, spiders are basically demonised, and they’re frequently the source of horror or unease in our media.

Personally, I’m an advocate for protecting our ecosystems, and that includes smaller creatures.  Spiders aren’t just worthy of looking after to me; they’re also fascinating beings, agile, intelligent, and beautiful in their own way, as well as necessary to keep the insect population to a minimum (just as wasps are, actually, though that’s a somewhat more rational fear).  The attitude that spiders are terrible creatures, whose intrusion in the human private sphere warrants any action on our part (even burning!), is the sort of attitude that makes children think it’s okay to pull spiders’ legs off.  And it isn’t.  Most of the time, certainly in Britain, they’re completely harmless.

The spiders in this episode are actually dangerous, but the Doctor never treats them with anything less than the respect they deserve.  She immediately identifies them as thinking, feeling beings.  Even if they aren’t an advanced form of life, they’re still form of life, and entitled to a certain set of rights.  Even if the death of the largest and most deadly spider is necessary for the safety of Sheffield, the least it deserves is a merciful death.

So I hope that what started as an opportunity for creeping suspense has given children a deeper message to take home — that new life is beautiful, even if it looks ugly (or scary).  That there are other ways to deal with the things that scare us than stamping on them or burning them.  And that, I thought, was surprisingly poignant.

Team Verdict: 7/10


 

A big thank you to this week’s guests, Emma Jones and Anouk Van Rossum!

Fancy joining the gang to discuss the remaining episodes?  Places are quickly being filled, but there’s still room for more contributors.  Anybody is welcome to contribute, but I’m particularly interested in hearing from minority voices, or anyone with a fresh perspective on these stories.  If you think you might be interested, drop in and say hi at janinemaryrivers@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to tune in for Tibere’s feature on Saturday, and if you haven’t already, head this way to catch the most recent!

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