The most notable event of this episode sees Graham and Ryan being brought closer together over their shared grief of Grace's death, to the point that Ryan happily refers to Graham as his "grandad" for the first time.
In an isolated house in the Norwegian fjords, a scared girl hides alone, waiting for her father to return. In the distance, a monster comes to take people away. And for some reason, one mirror is not working as it should. The Thirteenth Doctor and her friends must battle their own desires to work out what is going on.
The TARDIS lands in a forest, with Graham, Ryan and Yaz enjoying the view. Behind them, the Thirteenth Doctor is crouched to the ground; Graham asks the Doctor if she's got her bearings. She calls back that she almost has it, tasting some grass; she tells them that they are in Norway. Spotting a sheep, the Doctor yelps in shock and takes out her sonic screwdriver to scan it. Her friends turn around to find out why she's so shocked. The Doctor calms after the scan reveals its a sheep from 2018, meaning that the great Woolly Rebellion doesn't happen for another 193 years. She explains that sheep got tired of how humans treated them, and the rebellion forced them to renegotiate the human-sheep relationship.
The Doctor takes some soil and tastes it, noting that there is an Alpaca farm 25 miles away, along with some other information. She offers the soil to her friends, but Graham politely declines. Graham spots a cabin in the distance, which the Doctor becomes suspicious of as it's the middle of winter in Norway but the cabin's chimney isn't giving off smoke. Graham suggests it could just be a holiday and no-one is there. Noticing something to be off, the Doctor decides it's time to investigate.
Team TARDIS arrive at the cabin, which has been boarded up like the owner was expecting to ride out a storm. Ryan catches movement in the bit of window available. The Doctor scans the door, finding it locked by three locks; she unlocks them. The group enters the house, with Ryan noting that there is a child in there due to the shoes. However, Graham counters that a psycho who collects shoes could be here too. Despite the mess inside the house, there are signs someone had just had a meal recently. The Doctor tells Ryan and Graham to investigate the upstairs. Graham finds sweet wrappers near a wardrobe and Ryan opens it. The Doctor and Yaz hear Ryan yelp in surprise, heading upstairs. Instead of a threat, they find a scared girl sitting in the wardrobe. The Doctor kindly asks her to exit, but the girl refuses to move. Graham asks if the girl is hungry, offering a sandwich he keeps on him. The Doctor, Ryan and Yaz give Graham confused looks.
In the kitchen, the girl eats the sandwich. Ryan asks Graham if he always keeps a sandwich on him when they leave the TARDIS. Graham explains that he tends to get crabby with low blood sugar so he made sure to always keep something to eat on him since the Doctor isn't always fond of taking breaks during their adventures. The girl finishes the sandwich, asking who they are. The Doctor introduces them, explaining they were walking nearby and noticed something was off. The girl reveals her name to be Hanne, getting up to put her plate away; seeing her feel around for the sink, the Doctor asks if she's blind. Hanne removes her sunglasses, revealing that she is. Yaz questions Hanne about who else lives there, prompting Hanne to explain her father, Erik, lives with her, but he was taken by a monster four days ago.
They go outside, with Hanne explaining that she checked for their boat; it's still there, meaning that her father didn't leave her by choice. She further explains that her father moved them out here following the death of her mother. However, Ryan suggests her father could have simply left her behind, which angers her. Yaz calms her by complimenting her shirt, which has the name of the band Arctic Monkeys on it; she explains her mother went to see their first gig. Hanne smiles, stating that her mother went to see their first gig in Norway, with the shirt having belonged to her. Suddenly Hanne's watch beeps; she explains that the monster hunts at the same time every day. The Doctor sends Yaz and Ryan to investigate the shed, while she and Graham stay with Hanne.
In the shed, Ryan thanks Yaz for calming Hanne as he's rubbish with kids. Yaz credits her police training, telling him the trick is to reinforce something that a worried person believes in. They turn the lights on and Ryan yelps as he comes face-to-face with a row of dead birds. Yaz points out that catching birds is normal in Norway before her and Ryan's collective attention is drawn to a work bench with partially constructed bear traps. Suddenly a roaring fills the air.
Yaz and Ryan run back to the Doctor with one of the traps, which indicate that Erik was VERY aware something was wrong. The Doctor sends Yaz and Ryan to block the back door and Graham to watch out the upstairs window. When the roaring stops, Graham looks behind himself to see a mirror that isn't reflecting him. Ryan arrives and startles him by accident. Both are equally confused by their lack of reflections. Ryan double-checks that they aren't vampires. He reaches towards the mirror, causing some kind of energy to appear on the surface and his hand to distort into another space beyond it. The Doctor arrives and uses the sonic screwdriver on the mirror, pausing it in the middle of what it was doing. She sticks her head through the mirror, experiencing major perception distortion. She pulls back, noting that aside from the slight disorientation, she's perfectly fine. Yaz brings Hanne upstairs, wondering what was shaking the house. The Doctor explains that there is a portal in the mirror and that it's probably where Erik ended up. She instructs Ryan to look after Hanne, as Graham has been tempted by the mirror already. The Doctor takes some chalk out of her bumbag and writes "Assume her dad is dead. Keep her safe. Find out who else can take care of her." on a wall, but claims it's a map of the house to allow Ryan to know where the weakest points in the security are.
The Doctor, Graham and Yaz walk through the mirror and end up in a maze-like cave. They come across a strange being named Ribbons, who lives in the bizarre world. The Doctor asks for his lantern, but Ribbons offers it in exchange for the sonic, which he wants simply because it looks pretty. The Doctor promises "payment upon delivery"; he'll get the sonic if he shows them the way to Erik. As they walk, the Doctor uses string to leave a path.
Along the way, they discover a dead body while a moth lands on the lantern; Ribbons explains that it's a flesh moth, tossing a dead rat to lure it away. He lingers under a false pretense in order to cut the string. They arrive in a new cavern, where Ribbons takes Graham hostage to renegotiate. A new moth arrives, but doesn't take Ribbons' bait. At wit's end, the Doctor asks where they are; Ribbons reveals that its an Anti-zone. The Doctor explains that it's a buffer between realities. Ribbons attempts to run off with the sonic, but is tripped by Graham and eaten by the moths. With the moths giving chase to them, the Doctor, Graham and Yaz find the portal back home. However, the Doctor notices that everything is the mirror image of what its supposed to be; furthering this fact is that her hair is parted on the wrong side. They're on the other side of the portal now.
Back in N-Space, Hanne asks where the weakest point in the house is. Ryan guesses, but she can tell through his lies; she knew it sounded more like the Doctor was writing something than drawing. Ryan tells her that the Doctor told them to stay there; he pushes her out of the room and locks it behind them. She demands the key, but Ryan pockets it; he knows she'll do something foolish by attempting to go through the portal despite not being able to see. While Hanne sulks in the basement, Ryan follows a suspicious wire outside, where he finds a speaker giving off the roars that have been frightening Hanne. In frustration, he rips the cord out. He runs back inside to tell Hanne that there was never a monster. However, she slams the door in his face and knocks him out. She takes the key and walks through the mirror. She finds the Doctor's string and begins following it.
In the mirror world, the Doctor, Graham and Yaz hear someone in the kitchen and find Erik. They explain that Hanne is being menaced by a monster; he explains that there isn't one, just something he invented to keep her locked inside the house with a fully stocked fridge while he's away. The Doctor notices that Erik is trying to hide the fact that there is someone else here. A woman named Trine enters and the Doctor assumes that Erik married someone he met in this world; however, Erik explains Trina is Hanne's mother. Graham hears a humming coming from outside; they see laundry drying on the line and behind it is Grace. Graham tells the world not to mess with him by using the face of his dead wife, but "Grace" tells him that she has all the same memories and feelings as the other Grace. Graham tells "Grace" about his travels, even meeting Rosa Parks.
Upstairs, the Doctor tells Yaz that her fifth grandmother told her the story of the Solitract when she was a kid. It was there at the start of existence, along with all the others elements. However, the Solitract was like a kid with "nuclear" chicken pox; the rest of the universe couldn't be near it, so it banished the Solitract to another plane of existence so it could exist in its natural progression, to which the Doctor realises the Solitract has no malicious intent; it's just lonely. The Doctor runs outside to collect Graham, explaining that he has to choose to stay here with his fake Grace or go back home; anything from this mirror universe cannot go N-Space.
In the meantime, Ryan has woken up and chased Hanne through the portal. They arrive near Ribbons' corpse, with Ryan sending Hanne away to the next portal as he hides from the flesh moths. Hanne's entrance into the mirror world is seen by the Doctor, Erik, Yaz and Graham, along with the Solitract avatars. Trine attempts to convince Hanne she is her mother, but Hanne knows better and is knocked back through the portal. Yaz is then knocked through next. Knowing his Grace would want him to go help Ryan, Graham accepts "Grace" isn't real. He is knocked out the mirror universe next. The Doctor convinces the Solitract to keep her as she's seen the universe that it misses; it sends Eric out of the mirror universe and the Doctor tells the Solitract that it can stop pretending to be people it isn't.
Everything goes white. The Doctor sees archways leading up to a chair with a frog on it. The frog speaks to her in Grace's voice, explaining that a frog is its most favourite form, so this is its "true" shape. The Solitract asks the Doctor about what the universe was like since its banishment. The Doctor explains words can't do it justice, but what she will miss most is her friends; something the Solitract can understand as it only wanted companionship. The Doctor notices her hands blurring, meaning the Solitract's world is still rejecting her. The Solitract assumes she is attempting to lie so she can leave. However, the Doctor tells the Solitract that it's the maddest, most wonderful thing she's ever seen and that she's just barely scratched the surface. She promises to be best friends forever with the Solitract if it would just let her go. The Solitract acquiesces, promising to dream of its new friend.
As the anti-zone collapses, everyone runs back to the portal to N-Space. Ryan wonders where the Doctor is, immediately hearing her yell for them to run. She rushes towards them as they all head back through the mirror. Once they're all through, the Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to sever their world's connection with the anti-zone and explains that the Solitract can't come back to their universe, mourning that she only just made a new friend yet was immediately forced to let them go. She's not even sure whether or not the Solitract survived, but has hope. Having gotten closure from the Solitract over losing his wife, Erik decides to move with Hanne back to Oslo, to which his daughter is proud of him for coming to terms with Trine's passing.
On the hill, Ryan and Graham talk about how Grace would react to this whole adventure. Laughing, Ryan finally calls Graham "granddad", pleasantly surpising him. Graham asks Ryan to repeat himself, prompting Ryan to jokingly chide him about losing his hearing in his old age. He turns to go and beckons Graham towards the TARDIS. Graham takes one last look at the fjord before turning around to join the rest of the crew. The TARDIS dematerialises as it takes off.
- The Doctor - Jodie Whittaker
- Graham O'Brien - Bradley Walsh
- Ryan Sinclair - Tosin Cole
- Yasmin Khan - Mandip Gill
- Grace - Sharon D Clarke
- Hanne - Eleanor Wallwork
- Ribbons - Kevin Eldon
- Erik - Christian Rubeck
- Trine - Lisa Stokke
|Executive Producers Matt Strevens and Chris Chibnall|
|Co-executive producer(s) Sam Hoyle|
|Series Producer Nikki Wilson|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The Doctor claims to have had seven grandmothers, including Granny Five. Granny Five told her about the Solitract, and claimed that Granny Two was a secret agent for the Zygons.
- The Doctor determines facts by tasting things again.
- Graham likes pickle, butter and sardine sandwiches.
- Yaz mentions that her cousin likes the band Arctic Monkeys.
- This is a story where there is no real enemy. The Solitract proved to simply be lonely and missing the universe and never meant anyone any harm. It could however be argued that Ribbons serves as a secondary villain.
- All scenes within the Solitract plane were flipped around to depict the reversed image seen in a mirror. This not only applied to the set, but also to the actors: eagle-eyed viewers could make out such details as the Slayer logo on Erik's shirt being backwards, and the parting in the Doctor's hair being on the opposite side.
- A tall white, cloak-wearing monster with a mole-like head, tubular snout and long sharp fingers was originally going to appear in this episode but was cut for time. This monster was played by Paul Sturgess.
- This is the first Doctor Who story to feature a blind actor (Eleanor Wallwark).
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- The Doctor verifies their relative location and date by taste. (TV: The Christmas Invasion, et al.)
- The Doctor says that 25 miles away there's an alpaca farm and a gift shop. The Tenth Doctor previously stated a love for gift shops. (TV: New Earth, Smith and Jones, Silence in the Library)
- Graham carries sandwiches every time he leaves the TARDIS, after learning that they don't stop for food often. (TV: Rosa)
- Graham tells "Grace" that he visited an alien world (TV: The Ghost Monument) and met Rosa Parks. (TV: Rosa)
- "Grace" remembers being killed by a creature. (TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth)
- Yaz suggests reversing the polarity to the Doctor. (TV: The Daemons, The Sea Devils et al.)
- Ryan finally calls Graham "granddad". (TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth, The Ghost Monument)
- The Seventh Doctor previously encountered a conscious aspect of existence from the pre-universe who was banished as part of the creation of reality because they were incompatible with reality. (PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet)
- The Eighth Doctor previously came across a mirror that led to an alternate dimension (COMIC: The Silvering), whilst the Tenth Doctor encountered three different portals that were disguised as mirrors. (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace, COMIC: Mirror Image, PROSE: Martha in the Mirror)
- The Tenth Doctor also encountered creatures which ate away flesh in a matter of seconds. (TV: Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead)
- Graham finds sweet wrappers, taking them as a sign someone has been around, something the Doctor previously thought of as a sign. (TV: The Eaters of Light)
- In the Divergent Universe, the Eighth Doctor frequently transgressed an Interzone to arrive at different sections of the crucible planet on which he was trapped. (AUDIO: The Creed of the Kromon, Faith Stealer, The Last, Caerdroia)
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