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Category: doctor who recaps

Doctor Who: Tremendous Imagination Redefines Direction In Show

Well, here we are: at the end of another season of Doctor Who. And this time, instead of letting forth an earth-shattering groan of relief into the void, I’m actually pretty sad to be saying goodbye to the best part of my Sunday evening.

 

While season eleven did have some wobbles in finding its feet, I really have enjoyed this ten-week run of Chibnall’s Doctor Who debut (debwho? I’m working on it), much more than I expected I would.

For the back half of the season especially, the show has been hitting it out of the park with original stories, interesting characters, cinematic settings, and bold ideas, feeling so joyous in its newness that it’s been impossible for me not to get swept along. Graham, Yas, and Ryan (in that order) have provided a great counterargument to the idea that the assistant, singular, should be a hot young lady in love with the Doctor, with Bradley Walsh and his heartfelt quietness in particular a highlight across the whole season. I’ve loved how this Who has grounded its assistants in their realities – from Yas knowing how to handle children in distress due to her police training, to Graham knowing who James Blake is because of his own history as a bus driver, they’ve felt more connected to the real world than any assistants have since way back in the glorious days of Donna (my OTP, with myself).

And, as I’ve been saying week after week, what has really sold me on this season is Jodie Whittaker – yes, I know I said I was hardly going to be unbiased about her, but she’s genuinely impressed me – both the performance and the writing have imbued Whittaker’s Doctor with a warmth and fierce compassion that are so fundamental to the reasons I fell in love with this show in the first place. I can already imagine coming back to episodes from this season with a cup of tea and some free-floating nostalgia, and that’s the first time I’ve been able to say that in while.

But my soppy love for this season aside, let’s get into the final episode, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (and yes, I did have to copy/paste that title from the Radio Times website, thanks for asking). The Doctor and company receive nine separate distress calls that lead them to an abandoned intergalactic battlefield, where an old foe is waiting to wreak some nasty revenge.

The thing I want to get into first and foremost is how different this feels from so many other finales we’ve had in recent years – namely, that it’s not focused on unravelling some enormous season-long mega-arc in the vein of The Pandorica Opens or Heaven Sent or A Good Man Goes to War. Yes, this episode ties into the opener somewhat, but really, it’s a story in its own right first – it’s not a “gotcha!”, it’s not an excuse to haul some much-overused villains out of the closet, it’s not the only way we’ll bloody get answers to anything that’s happened in this season so far. The closest thing we get to that is the well-earned sharing of affection between Graham and Ryan, which is a touching ending to the quiet little arc that this season has given to them, but is pleasingly far from the Daleks kicking in the door to my living room for the fiftieth time this season.

And beyond that, this is just a damn good story. Despite it’s aversion to standard finale tropes, it does feel a lot bigger than most of the other tales we’ve had this season – the stakes are higher, the world bigger, the villain more imposing than ever before. While a lot of this season – to its great credit – has shied away from hard sci-fi in place of more human stories, this one really leaned in to the interplanetary, mind-bending enormousness, tossing in a few offhand bits of astute commentary about the weaponisation of faith, a cracking guest turn from the always-welcome Mark Addy, and the nobility in choosing the less violent route of resolution (Graham O’Brien destroying toxic masculinity 2K18).

I think what I’ve loved most about this season is how much it feels new, and, even ten episodes in, that’s the case. And it’s due to more than just a female Doctor, or new assistants, or a new showrunner – it’s because the entire Who universe feels like untrodden territory once again.

Almost everywhere and everything we’ve seen this season has been new for the rebooted version of the show, and I really didn’t think I would ever feel this way about Doctor Who again. Every time I sit down to an episode now, I’m looking forward to seeing where it might take me or who I might meet along the way, because now I’m not dreading sitting through another Dalek two-parter or yet another return of the Cybermen because that’s what Who feels it has to do. With this season of DW, Chris Chibnall has struck out into confidently new territory – from new villains and new planets to a clear-headed take on heavy issues like racism, sexism, and xenophobia, Doctor Who’s world has never felt bigger, the universe never more exciting and unknown. And I know I can’t wait to see where we’re off to next.

And with that, we’re done for another season. How did you like it? Was this finale up to scratch, or did it let you down? Let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr! If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to check out the rest of my Doctor Who recaps right here, and also check in with my other recapping projects – I’m currently covering the first Harry Potter book as well as the current season of Riverdale. If you want to read some of my fiction, please check out the ALPHA FEMALE erotica series (eighteen-plus, obviously), available on Amazon now. As ever, if you want to see more stuff like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon!

(header image via Digital Spy)

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Doctor Who: Thoroughly Ambitious, Radical Story Investigates Sadness

You know what’s nice? Actually looking forward to Doctor Who on a Sunday night.

For so long, Doctor Who was something I approached with…trepidation? I know that’s a ridiculous thing to say about a TV show, but this is a show that meant so damn much to me and it just continued to disappoint me. Week after week, Steven Moffat would walk directly into my living room and poke me in the eye for forty minutes, and I guess at some point I stopped enjoying it, somehow. Even a few wobbles  early in this season had me nervous, but after a few great weeks, I’m finally back at a place where I look forward to curling up with my cat and my man in his Tardis dressing gown and watching this show that I have loved for almost my entire life.

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Doctor Who: Tremendous Alan Reigns; Direction Invokes Sentimentality

Another historical episode, another one out of the park for these season of Doctor Who.

The Witchfinders has proved that this season is firmly on a roll – following the Doctor and company as they’re dropped into the middle of a Lancashire village deep in the midst of a murderous with hunt, things take a turn for the science-fictional as King James turns up to figure out exactly why these witch hunts have taken on such a fervent turn.

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Doctor Who: Taut Adventure Reverses Decline In Scifi

So, after a really solid historical jaunt last week, we’re zooming off into science-fiction once more, with this week’s outing, the satisfyingly-named Kerblam!

And now, it’s worth saying that I’ve not been the hugest fan of the sci-fi so far this season: The Ghost Monument was oddly-placed and overstuffed, while The Tsuranga Conundrum was seriously rough around the edges (despite both episodes looking truly gorgeous). As I said last week, this season of Doctor Who feels the most forward when it’s looking backwards, and they’ve yet to prove themselves with an excellent space-age outing.

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Doctor Who: Terrific Although Rocky – Delivers Inherent Sincerity

I think one of the biggest problems of this season of Doctor Who has been the fact that Chris Chibnall has been behind every episode of Jodie Whittaker’s run so far. It’s not that I hate the direction in which he’s been taking the show – as I’ve been saying the last few weeks, I really enjoy the warmer, more joyful edge that he’s brought to Doctor Who, and the effort he’s putting in to giving us some silly, fun little stories around a Doctor who feels genuinely new.

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Doctor Who: Tumultuous and Random, Direction is Suspect

Well, I mean, uh…

This season of Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall’s first as showrunner, has often felt much like a panicked attempt to fit in every single little idea that Chibnall has ever had for his tenure on the show. And this episode, The Tsuranga Conundrum, is perhaps the primest example of that to date, in an outing that doesn’t offer the cohesive direction for the show that I’ve been craving.

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Doctor Who: Tosh Actually Rollicking Despite Inherent Silliness

Look, right, okay, I get it. I know that this is an episode a lot of people are going to dislike, and I totally accept that – Arachnids in the UK, this week’s outing of Doctor Who, was about as far removed from the artful, powerful Rosa we saw last week as it could possibly be. It was silly. It plucked a plot straight from a B-movie. It featured some truly terrible exposition. The CGI was duff, the music was dumb, the moralising was stuffy.

And yet.

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Doctor Who: Tremendous – Ardent Rosa Defines Illustrious Story

Well, it’s that time – by which I mean, back in it.

Yes, it’s the coveted History Episode, ie, the part of Doctor Who that I have a punishing soft spot for. Even aside from superb episodes like The Empty Child/Doctor Dances and The Unquiet Dead, I’ll go to mat for nonsense like Robot of Sherwood, just because I’m a sucker for anything set in the past (well, I draw the line at Thin Ice, but you catch my drift). I’m a history graduate (by accident, but that’s another story) and Doctor Who has always stuck to a formula for newbies: present day (the premiere), future (last week), and then the past. So, fair warning, I’m so up for this episode, Rosa, because it’s a delve into the world behind us, and I love that shit.

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Doctor Who: Tenuous Assistants Render Dynamic Intergalactics Standard

Well, after last week’s tentative but pleasing opening to the series, we’re back for this second episode. Traditionally, from The End of the World onwards, these episodes revolve around an adventure into space, and this week’s outing, The Ghost Monument, is no different.

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Doctor Who: Tender Adventure Restores Dependence in Series

Well, here we are: back for another season of Doctor Who. But this isn’t like the last time, or the time before that, or the one before that, when stepping into a season premier was the beginning of slowly feeding myself into a ten-week long meat shredder cranked by Steven Moffat himself. No, things are different now. And I’m excited.

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