After a fair wait and an as-yet-unresolved global pandemic, we’re back with some regularity in our Dr Who, following the special, “Revolution of the Daleks.” To describe this six-part one-story adventure as ‘highly anticipated’ is akin to saying everyone was ‘looking forwards to’ the end of the COVID threat.
Just what has the hype for this current run actually consisted of? WELL: i mean, thats a massive blog all by itself, but heres a quick summary. We said goodbye to Bradley and Ryan the Plank at the end of the last episode, so in the new series we have the ‘fam’ reduced to just the Doc and Yaz, but we’re promised Dan the Plast-er-er-er-er, played by liverpudlian comic John Bishop. We know that old-old villains The Sontarans will be appearing, and that old-new villains the Weeping Angels will be breaking quantum locks and scarying the bejesus out of anyone that visits a cemetary from now until the end of time. But then, going by the trailers, is the end of time about to occur and the known universe about to be consumed by something known only as the Flux?
Although Dr Who has done the whole one season – one arc thing before, (Tom Baker’s “Key to Time” season, and Colin Baker’s “Trial of a Time Lord“) its not quite the same as the structure here. “Flux” is to be six chapters of the very same story, mirroring more to the likes of Star Trek: Discovery, or, i guess, Line of Duty, for those non-geeks that might be reading. This is new territory…
Oh and we still have The Timeless Child hanging in the air like an unwanted / highly desired smell, depending on which side of the force wall you’re standing. Will we have the answers, or at least more of the clues?
“The Halloween Apocalypse” begins with a scene reminiscent of Thor: Ragnarock, with the Doc and Yaz already trapped in some scenario that has zero threat because everyone is quipping this way and that, and with some decidedly ropey CGI / green screen shenanigans that then turns into a Harry Potter broomstick chase through a level from Panzer Dragoon, and (i swear) the Doctor shouting “willy!” at her handcuffs.
The episode then introduces us to its new narrative structure; following various characters, somewhat disjointed, and yet all coming together to form a coherent, maddening plot.
Here are the threads. John Bishop being wonderfully and romantically awkward with a girl at work, whom he clearly fancies, and said woman clearly fancying him, in a genuinely heartwarming series of awww moments (i loved this bit)), to two gents in a mine (eh? whats going on here? random), to Sontarans commenting on how disgusting the other looks (haha, those comedic sontarans!). Oh – i’m not finished. We also have a man-shaped dog thing (or a dog shaped man thing), two people talking to Pinhead Lektor in an Eldrad cosplay strapped inside a clearly about to be revealed as malfunctioning force-field prison – these things are NEVER RELIABLE – who can contact the Doc telepathically – a woman talking to Yaz and the Doc saying she’s already met them but not in their time line yet – and then a guy in an outpost in the middle of nowhere suddenly witness to a barrelling cloud of Galactus eating everything in existence. And take a breath.
OH AND THE TARDIS BLEEDING INTERNALLY. WHAT???? WHAT???
The various tendrils interweave through the course of the next fifty-odd minutes, with it turning out the dog man and his kind have each been assigned to protect a single individual of humanity (man’s best friend taken to the future extreme), that the psycho with the rocky face is somehow an arch-nemesis of the Doctor (but she doesn’t remember him), the Sontarans are about to invade Earth (no surprises) and the random woman encounters a weeping angel that then sends her into the past.
Knackered yet? I am. In a good way. Blown away by so many unanswered questions, my only fear right now is the massive, titanic behemoth of backlash and theorising that is about to swamp social media and create monsters of men. I guarantee there will be a Who-ha about Dan’s girlfriend, a will-they-won’t-they dance with Doc and Yaz, some speculation that the villain is the Master (has to be, its THAT stupid) and a supposition that the doc / villain met before she became the First Doctor. Or something equally silly.
Which is why i’m going to ignore everything until next Sunday, when we get to see the Sontarans on horse-back! Hi Ho, Sontar!