TL;DR – While we get more of those character moments that have been the highlights of the season so far, it just does not quite come together in the end.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
As we reach the end of the 11th season of the new Doctor Who we have had the highs of Rosa (see review) and Demons of the Punjab (see review) but also the feeling that at times the show just was not quite coming together. It is with this duality that we hit the end of the shorter season than normal and you have to wonder will they stick the landing, and I’m not sure that they did.
So to set the scene, we open as two monks Andinio (Phyllis Logan) and Delph (Percelle Ascott) walk across a planet discussing wisdom, or the lack of it and what it means for their personal faith when they stop because here is the place they start building their shrine. It should be a time of rejoicing but when they start building it in the sky a portal opens up behind them and a familiar voice cries out. Cut to 3,407 years later and the TARDIS gang The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole),and Yas (Mandip Gill) discover there are multiple distress calls all coming from the same spot on Ranskoor Av Kolos and well someone has to do something about it and it just might as well be them.However, something evil is waiting there, something that has hurt people,something that has hurt the people on the TARDIS and now it wants revenge. Now as we will be looking at the episode as a whole, where will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
The first thing I want to say about the episode is, did you see just how beautifully lit it was. No seriously go back and watch, especially once they enter the shrine, it is just gorgeous. Indeed, from a technical perspective, there is a lot really cool little features with the way they framed shots and incorporated the action. This means that even if everything is not quite working there is still something interesting to see.
As well as this, I think this episode really shows just how good the show can be when it is focused on the characters that it has created. Jodie Whittaker has been perfectly cast here as The Doctor and I am really glad she is back for the next season. There is something reall joyful in her performance and she can twist the silliest line into a delight but also go from 0 to serious real quick when someone’s life is threatened and it all works. I think my favourite line tonight was her explaining her rules and why she always breaks them. Also oh Graham, I was not sure about your inclusion at the start of the season, but goodness is there nothing Bradley Walsh can’t make charming. Indeed, he was so likable that I thought they would have to kill him off at some point, but if you were going to do it now would be the time when you were facing off against Tzim-Sha (Samuel Oatley), protecting Ryan, but nope. While I would have liked to see Ryan and Yas get a bit more to do in the episode, they both did get their moments, and I am glad the arc of will Ryan be nice to Graham is almost finished (still waiting on the fist bump).
However,as the episode ended I had but one thought “was that it really” as it just felt like the episode was just a little half-baked. At no point, even when they were trying to crystalize Earth, did I feel like there were any stakes in the episode. Indeed it felt less like a season finale and more like an episode that you would find during the season run. Now to be fair, there is a good chance that with the end of year special on New Year’s Day being only a couple of weeks away, it was designed to be more of the final that this episode, but we’ll see. Also,it didn’t help that you name dropped The Stolen Earth & Journey’s End the much better season finale than here.
In the end, there has been quite a lot from this season I really liked, but now that they have had a season I hope there are some things they can improve on for next time. If you are going to have four companions you need to work more in making them all feel like they need to be there. As well as this, now that you know that you are writing for Jodie Whittaker and you know what kind of doctor she is, I hope they incorporate it better next season. As I said this has been a season of highs, and a season of it not quite coming together, and we see that with the finale. However, it is still well worth the watch if only because everything Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh does is gold.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations,or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Doctor Who
Directed by – Jamie Childs
Written by – Chris Chibnall
Showrunner – Chris Chibnall
Starring – Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole & Mandip Gill with Mark Addy, Phyllis Logan, Percelle Ascott, Samuel Oatley & Jan Le