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By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 13 January 2017
Rating:   6

Start with a vision, a viking tomb in the middle of the Arizona desert, and ask, "How did it get there?" A good start, you might say. "Shield of the Jotunn" has many interesting elements and some surprising plot developments. There are many clever bits. However, these are interspersed in a story that is otherwise rather run-of-the-mill Doctor Who. The Doctor and his new companion, the intrepid Mrs. Clark, arrive in Arizona, 2029, following a time trouble that bothered the TARDIS. There, a high-tech terraforming operation is in place ostensibly to save the planet from the ravages of global warming. The establishment is run by what appears to be a dodgy American billionaire entrepreneur and his almost as dodgy science advisor. The operation accidentally triggers an alien device buried with a bunch of thousand-year-old Viking skeletons. This device creates an instant deep freeze and releases a giant monster in the storm that eats flesh so that it can form a body for itself. At this point, the regular listener can predict where the main story is going to go. There are a couple of surprises, such as that the entrepreneur and scientist really are not baddies, and are not really even misguided fools led to do bad things. They really want to save the planet. The Doctor here is Old Sixie at his best, straight to business, right to the point, doesn't suffer fools, overcompensating for his mistakes. Mrs. Clark is an excellent foil for this Doctor because in many ways she is just like him. It's entertaining enough, but not tense enough because it's too formulaic.

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