Fugitive of the Judoon

This review contains spoilers for Fugitive of the Judoon. If you have not seen it yet, please return once you have watched it!

Fugitive of the Judoon

Synopsis

The Doctor and her companions are drawn back to Earth when the Judoon start to attack Gloucester looking for a fugitive.  Can the Doctor protect the city?

Review

We’ve reached the mid-way point of Series 12, and goodness gracious, this episode certainly teases of big reveals to come.  We had the surprise return of a fan favourite character, which would in any other circumstances be the headline here, however, other revelations come to light which means that it pales into insignificance.  This review will be getting into some serious spoiler territory, so please look away now if you haven’t seen it yet!

Going into this story, we knew that we were getting one returning alien in the shape of the Judoon.  The rhino-headed ‘trigger happy’ police mark their first major appearance since their debut, and they really form a sort of narrative shorthand here which allows the story to progress.  Despite being the titular antagonist, they do seem to disappear from the narrative for quite a large period of time and their defeat in this story seems largely rushed – at some point I thought that I’d missed the announcement that this was a two-part story.  Still, it’s nice to see them return and we get some insight into how their society works when Ruth breaks the horn off the lead Judoon.  I suppose, unlike the Daleks or the Cybermen, they don’t have so many avenues to go down and it is difficult to find something different for them to do – but I do quite like the fact that they immediately think that they will get paid twice for accidentally delivering two Doctors!

FotJ Doctor

Something that took me quite by surprise was the return of Captain Jack Harkness!  Part of me had written off ever seeing Barrowman return to Doctor Who so it is great to see him back.  It took me by surprise so much that I did not recognise his voice when Graham appeared on the stolen ship.  It’s a shame that we did not get to see him interact with the Doctor, but I do get the feeling that he’ll be back and his conversations with the companions is great fun – more like his initial appearance in The Empty Child than some later era Torchwood.  With his dire warning delivered to the companions of the threat posed by ‘the Last Cyberman’, this could be seen to be a bit derivative of the ‘You Are Not Alone’ message delivered to the Tenth Doctor by the Face of Boe, however, it is probably a wise move to tease another returning monster.  The door is certainly left open for Jack’s return and given Barrowman’s fondness for both the show and the character, I can’t see it being long until we see the immortal former Time Agent returning.  The one thing I would say is that his little subplot did not contribute too much to the story, but it’s nice to be reminded that this character is out there in the universe getting into trouble!

 Just tell her this.  I’ll see her again.  Maybe not soon.  When she needs me, I’ll be there.  In the meantime…tell her…beware the Lone Cyberman.  You don’t know what a Cyberman is yet, do you?

No.  What are they?

An empire of evil…in ruins right now…brought down to nothing…finally.  But that could all change if she doesn’t listen to this message.

Captain Jack Harkness and Ryan Sinclair

Then we come to the reveal of something potentially huge.  The mild-mannered Ruth is revealed to be an earlier incarnation of the Doctor, and going from her TARDIS interior, it is possible that she is an incarnation predating William Hartnell’s incarnation.  That being said, this all might be some level of subterfuge and this particular individual might just be an imposter.  I personally saw the twist of the Doctor using the Chameleon Arch coming a couple of miles off, but I was unsure about which other Time Lord either Lee or Ruth may be. There was some misdirection, especially when the Doctor discovers her TARDIS buried underground and Ruth opening a box containing a laser rifle, which was really well directed.  Nida Manzoor deserves plaudits  We also encounter another Time Lord in the form of Gat, and it is nice to see a minor Gallifreyan appear as an agent of a mysterious higher power, also from the past.

The Doctor and her companions spend a lot of this episode separated here, which I feel might be preparing us for an impending departure of one, some or maybe even all of them.  As with the majority of this series, I feel that there is enough to warrant having three companions and the story uses this well, to allow us to spend enough time with the Doctor and Ruth before the episode’s big reveal and equally we don’t feel shortchanged with the amount of time we spend with Jack.  It is important for the story for Ruth to feel like a real person, so the delving into her ‘fake’ past is necessary for the audience to buy into her as a character, and the misdirection that Lee is the fugitive is given enough weight to feel potentially viable. When the Doctor and her companions are reunited, we get one of the most affirming moments for this TARDIS team.  I really like the fact that we are starting to see a different side to this Doctor, evidenced when we see her snap at her companions at the beginning and the end and her malaise seems to be showing no signs of ending.  I’m not the biggest fan of Ryan, but his speech to the Doctor at the end of the episode is really well delivered by Tosin Cole and it’s possible that I’m warming to him – maybe just in time before he potentially leaves?

FotJ Gat

Verdict: A really enjoyable return for the Judoon which sees the return of another familiar face and a mindblowing twist.  9/10

Cast: Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness). Jo Martin (Ruth Clayton/The Doctor), Rita Ayru (Gat), Neil Stuke (Lee Clayton), Paul Kasey (Judoon Captain Pol-Kon-Don), Michael Begley (All Ears Allan), Judith Street (Tourist), Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Judoon) & Simon Carew, Richard Highgate, Richard Price and Matthew Rohman (Judoon).

Writer: Vinay Patel & Chris Chibnall

Director: Nida Manzoor

Behind the Scenes

  • John Barrowman returns to Doctor Who for the first time since his cameo in The End of Time Part Two in 2010.
  • The Judoon made their debut in Smith and Jones, and would have brief cameos in The Stolen EarthThe End of Time, The Pandorica Opens, The Magician’s Apprentice and Face the Raven.
  • The Judoon Captain is named as Pol-Kon-Don in honour of Paul Condon, BBC online producer and convention organiser who sadly passed away in 2019.

Best Moment

The moment that Graham arrives on the ship that Jack has stolen – and we hear that voice.

Best Quote

Time is swirling around me.  The Master, Captain Jack Harkness, Ruth.  Something’s coming for me.  I can feel it.

Let it come.  You’ve got us.

Ryan…I’ve livevd for thousands of years, so long I’ve lost count.  How long have you been here?  You don’t know me.  Not even a little bit.

Don’t talk to him like that!  

Yeah, I’m not having that.  We do know who you are.  You’re the woman that brought us together, the woman that saved us and loads of other people.  You’re the Doctor.  Whoever you were in the past or are in the future, we know who you are right now.  Right?

Right!

The best person we know.

And whatever is coming for you, we’ll be here.  Cos we’re your mates.

Well, not just mates.  Family.

The Doctor, Ryan SinclairYasmin Khan and Graham O’Brien

 

Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror

This review contains spoilers for Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror. If you have not seen this story, please come back after you have seen the episode!

Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror

If I’d known we were getting a royal visit, I’d have put the kettle on.

Thirteenth Doctor

Synopsis

In 1903, the Doctor and her companions are drawn to strange alien signals surrounding Nikola Tesla. What do the Skithra want with him and has he really discovered a message from Mars?
Review

Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror shines the light on one of history’s forgotten figures and plunges it into the current war and throws an extra-terrestrial threat in the form of the Skithra. In that way, it feels like a standard “celebrity historical” episode, like The Shakespeare Code or The Unquiet Dead before it, however, the fact that the story is less convoluted than some of others in this series so far does not mean that it is not enjoyable.

One of the highlights of this episode is the performance by Goran Visnjic as Nikola Tesla and part of this is down to the fact that we spend the opening minutes of the episode with the inventor and his secretary, Dorothy, before the Doctor and the alien elements are introduced. This helps us to care about the character in what is quite a sympathetic portrayal of Tesla, similar to that of Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent and the Doctor. However, unlike Vincent, Tesla is a character who could be argued to be history’s forgotten man, with his greatest invention erroneously credited to others. The underlying message of the story relates to realising your full potential, and Tesla is possibly a perfect candidate to be front and centre here. The moment that he realises that the Doctor created her sonic screwdriver and that she is an inventor too is really nicely played and for once, it is nice to see someone as excited to meet this Doctor as she is to meet them. He is a man who is infinitely curious, seen by his responding to the message from Skithra and is seen to be fully ahead of his time.

Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror Edison

Edison, on the other hand, is portrayed in a different light. He is a character who is broadly played as a bit of a fool, with a hint of jealousy that the Skithra have chosen Tesla over him to aid them. It is a nice performance from Robert Glenister, who is seen to soften in some good scenes with Yaz, especially on the streets of New York that hint at something more under the surface but he is quite an antagonistic character. Tesla is deservedly the focus of this story, with Doctor Who using its educational remit to shine a light on his inventions.

The aliens of the piece are the Skithra, whose Queen at least looks and acts like a relation of the Empress of the Racnoss. Whilst the Queen’s performance may be seen by some to be quite overplayed, it didn’t really bother me too much, whilst the scorpion-like Skithra were quite effective. The scenes where the aliens chase Yaz and Edison through the streets of New York seem very realistic and the prosthetics used for the Queen were quite effectively done. There is a parallel drawn between the aliens and Tesla as the Doctor states that the Skithra will be forgotten as they have not made a contribution, while arguably, Tesla is largely forgotten for his contributions to some of the most important discoveries of the 20th Century and beyond, perhaps bringing home the tragedy of Tesla’s death in poverty. I’m not a fan of the whole ‘hive mind’ solution to the plot though, as I feel that this contradicts what we see earlier on in the episode where the Queen kills one of her kind for interrupting her, and that whole ‘destroying the Queen will destroy all the Skithra’ feels like a quick fix for a story that’s really well-paced on the whole. I have seen some criticisms of the Doctor for blowing up the Skithra’s ship in the closing minutes, however, unlike previous occasions, the Doctor has sufficient evidence to suggest that they aren’t going to be dissuaded from taking Tesla or destroying the Earth in order to make the solution sit slightly better with her character.

The Doctor and her companions work quite well here. Jodie Whittaker continues her positive development of the Thirteenth Doctor, with a particular highlight being her response to the Queen Skithra regarding planets burning. Her enthusiasm for meeting historical figures is great, and although I did rather enjoy the fact that this got subverted when she was excited about seeing Tesla’s lab, only for the reality to be quite disappointing! Graham is great as usual, and I like the fact that, although he’s now been travelling with the Doctor for some time, he still finds the experience so utterly bewildering. His dynamic with Edison was interesting, with Graham not trusting Edison one jot. Yaz is good in her scenes with Tesla and, once they’ve been kidnapped by the Skithra, calm in a crisis, whilst Ryan does feel like he doesn’t do anything here, but his chat with Dorothy in the TARDIS is really nicely written and performed.

Verdict: Nina Metivier’s debut story is quite a fun and straight forward romp around the ‘Current War’. Elevated by decent guest performances by Visnjic and Glenister, Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror is a pretty strong celebrity historical. 8/10
Cast: Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Goran Visnjic (Nikola Tesla), Robert Glenister (Thomas Edison), Anjli Mohindra (Queen Skithra), Hayley McGee (Dorothy Skerritt), Eric Hayden (Mr Sorenson), Shaun Mason (Foreman), Robin Guiver (Bill Tatlow), Brian Casper (Mr Martin), Russell Bentley (Mr Brady) and Paul Kasey (Harold Green)
Writer: Nina Metivier
Director: Nida Manzoor
Behind the Scenes

  • Robert Glenister previously appeared in The Caves of Androzani opposite Peter Davison’s Doctor, meanwhile, Anjli Mohindra previously played Rani Chandra in The Sarah Jane Adventures, appearing opposite David Tennant in The Wedding of Sarah Jane and Matt Smith in The Death of the Doctor.

Best Moment

Edison trying to find common ground with Tesla, talking about the impossibility of the TARDIS, only for Tesla to reveal that he completely understands how the dimensions work.
Best Quote

Just because you’re a genius doesn’t mean you have to figure everything out on your own.

Yasmin Khan

Nikola Tesla - protest

Orphan 55

This review contains spoilers for Orphan 55 and series 12 so far.  If you are not up to date, please come back after you’ve seen it.

Orphan 55 Transport

Synopsis

The Doctor, Yaz, Ryan and Graham find themselves at Tranquility Spa – but the relaxing atmosphere is soon disrupted by an attack by the Dregs.

Review

I had high hopes for Ed Hime’s second episode of Doctor Who, especially after really enjoying It Takes You Away in Jodie Whittaker’s first series as the titular Time Lord.  Orphan 55 is a different beast in several ways and, whereas It Takes You Away was a small story concerning grief after the loss of a loved one, this episode has a strong environmental message that feels incredibly relevant after the fires in Australia.  I wish I could say that I feel that this story was as strong as his previous work, however, sadly I did feel this episode dragging and, contrary to what the production team probably wanted, quite forgettable and predictable.

One of the story’s biggest problems is that it does boast a large guest cast for a one-part story and this makes it quite difficult to get attached and care too much about them.  I am aware that I probably sound heartless, but I found both Julia Foster and Col Farrell utterly tedious as Vilma and Benni respectably and a perfect case in point as to why this episode felt predictable.  As soon as Yaz interrupts Benni’s attempted proposal, the audience instinctively knows that one of them or both are ultimately doomed.  And that’s before Vilma screeching Benni’s name at every opportunity.  I’m not sure if this is down to poor acting or poor writing.  James Buckley, probably best known for his role in The Inbetweeners, felt at best let down by the script or at worst, woefully miscast in his part as Nevi, with the only memorable element being his green wig.   I feel that, with a smaller guest cast, this story could have really landed a hit – maybe with a larger cull of characters in the beginning attack by the Dregs, which would really bring home the threat that they pose.  Sadly, too many members of the cast feel like they are utterly disposable to the core of the story which is ultimately driving a message home about the threat of climate change and the ultimate bond of family.  Ultimately, this story would have worked a lot better as a multi-part story, with the relationships between them all being allowed to breathe a bit more, feel a bit more natural and give the audience someone to care about.

The story does really rely on its two plot twists, one of which is good and unexpected, the other one felt utterly predictable.  I will first come to the one that I felt worked better – the reveal around Bella’s relationship with her mother, Tranquility Spa’s boss, Kane.  Bella’s motives around destroying the Spa seem sketchy at best and a strange way of getting back at an absent mother, however, this largely worked much better, although a potential repetition of a ‘good’ character turning out to be a villain does feel a bit tedious.  The second is that the planet playing host to the Spa is actually the Earth and this leads to possibly the clunkiest ending possible – the Doctor delivering a message about taking responsibility for the planet directly to camera.  At best, this twist has best intentions at heart and I want to emphasize that I have absolutely no issues with the message that it is conveying, however, it feels as though you are constantly being walloped over the head with a mallet with it.  The idea behind the story is fundamentally sound, but the execution is flawed.  It may have potentially worked better to have the planet be any other planet than Earth because it really does not land the desired emotional punch.  If I’m being charitable, it feels as though the production team are trying to almost level the playing field between the Doctor and her companions – as both have now witnessed the desolation of their home planets – but I feel that it almost would have worked better using another planet than Earth.  It doesn’t help that this feels really poorly paced, with the middle really dragging.

Orphan 55 Graham

The above being said, it must be said that in his defence, Ed Hime can write a fairly standard Doctor Who story quite well – he seems to understand the dynamic between this Doctor and her companions.  I really like the moment where Yaz quizzes Ryan about what he is discussing with Bella but I would love to see this continue as having a brother-sister dynamic than the romantic one the show seems to be considering.  Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor puts in another good performance commanding scenes and I did enjoy the moment that when the companions first arrive at the Spa and the Doctor finds herself alone and Graham is also good.  The four manage to work well, despite the story not being a classic.

I also really like the Dregs and I feel that the creature design is superbly done, even if I don’t like the ultimate reveal of their identity.  The scenes with them attacking the spa in the episode’s opening moments are great, packed with threat and menace, and the attack on the transport is superb, evoking moments of Midnight and I really liked the fact that they breathe carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen – I think this is quite a nice idea.  It’s just a shame that the high production value on these costumes isn’t replicated elsewhere in the episode, with the green wigs a particular issue here.

Verdict: A story that will be remembered for a clunky ending rather than anything else.  Despite an interesting idea and strong performances from the four leads, Orphan 55 feels like it rather labours the point.  4/10

Cast: Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair), Will Austin (Vorm), Laura Fraser (Kane), James Buckley (Nevi), Julia Foster (Vilma), Lewin Lloyd (Sylas), Gia Ré (Bella), Amy Booth-Steel (Hyph3n), Spencer Wilding (Lead Dreg) & Col Farrell (Benni).

Writer: Ed Hime

Director: Lee Haven Jones

Behind the Scenes

  • The reveal that Orphan 55 is actually a future Earth is discovered in an underground station, much like in The Mysterious Planet.

Best Moment

The scenes with the Dregs attacking the transport are probably one of the best parts of this episode.

Best Quote

In your time, people sat at home arguing about the washing up while the house burnt down.

Thirteenth Doctor

Orphan 55 Doctor

Longest Handshake

Written for Normal Happening’s Daily Inkling – Prompt: Longest Handshake

This blog post is a bit different, and I don’t normally do things like this – but since I read the prompt, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I was going to write.

There are moments when time stands still, where minutes feel like hours.  The longest handshake I have ever been forced to endure probably only lasted thirty seconds.  But when I think about it now, it feels like it lasted several minutes.

My time at secondary school was dogged by bullying.  I was, and still am, extremely quiet.  This happened on a careers day when I was around 14 or 15 and the school had got two female careers advisors in for a day and one of the workshops centred around interviews.  They inevitably asked for a volunteer to demonstrate a handshake.  My classmates all decided as one that it would be me.

I stood up, and did as my peers wished me to.  The lady whose hand I shook described my handshake as being like a wet fish and told the whole class.  The whole class jeered and laughed at me.  And to this day, whenever I go for an interview, my subconscious thoughtfully brings this memory to the forefront.

The Impossible Blog-logos

To tie this post into the overall theme of the blog, Doctor Who really helped me through secondary school.  Around the same time, I saw Blink for the first time and it blew me away.  Despite having dipped my toes in around the end of Series 2, it was the build-up to the finale of Series 3 that got me hooked and in this respect, I never looked back.  It was probably the way that the Doctor stood up to bullies and for the underdog that I found encouraging then and continue to now.

And now writing about Doctor Who, I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been.

Spyfall, Part Two

This review contains spoilers for Spyfall, Part Two (and by extension, Spyfall, Part One).  If you haven’t seen either episode yet, come back after watching.

Spyfall Part Two Doctor Gallifrey

These are the dark times.  But they don’t sustain.  Darkness never sustains…even though sometimes it feels like it might.

The Doctor

Synopsis

With the Doctor gone, Graham, Yaz and Ryan are trapped on Daniel Barton’s crashing plane, whilst the Doctor encounters a lady called Ada in the mysterious realm she has been transported to.  Meanwhile, Barton, the Master and the Kasavin are putting the finishing touches on their plot to destroy humanity.

Review

Well, my brain is indeed ‘fizzing’.  It’s always a bit of a lottery with two-part stories to see whether or not they stick the landing, and by and large, Spyfall, Part Two really does this.  There are some elements that again are unsuccessful, however, this is probably my favourite Chris Chibnall story to date.  Series 12 so far feels like it is the same show as those from the Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat eras of the show, with Series 11 increasingly feeling like an outlier.  Where Part One was a Bond movie, Part Two continues the spy motif but feels as though it almost transforms towards Le Carré or the Bourne films with some moments including moments of a looming sense of dread.

Contact.

Contact.  Old-school.

You’re not the only one who can do classic.

The Doctor and the Master

It is safe to say that Chibnall has certainly achieved something with a strong and confident opener for Series 12, even if some of his ideas may seem borrowed from Doctor Who’s back catalogue – the signs for Ryan onboard Barton’s plane feel like they have been heavily lifted from Blink for instance, which enable Ryan, Yaz and Graham to avoid crashing, but I still enjoyed the execution.  Additionally, I don’t like the fact that the explanation for the resolution to the Part One cliffhanger is just a case of the Doctor going back and fixing it after the event, although I do prefer it to a theory that I saw floating around about the whole of the first part happening in a virtual reality, so it does bug me, but not massively.  I do like the fact that the story actually serves to further wider continuity, and I think Chibnall deserves some credit for making this series feel a lot more connected than Series 11.  As much as I enjoyed the last series, the moments of ‘fan service’, like the four knocks in Morse code, ‘contact’, the Doctor and the Master talking about, and the Doctor visiting Gallifrey is really lovely for people who have followed the show for a while, but it is dealt with without feeling overbearing.  The story is focused on humanity’s trust in technology, cleverly seeded right at the start of the first part of this story with Yaz’s dad struggling with setting up his Alexa device.  It is no mistake that Barton’s conference towards the end of this story feels like an Apple press launch, right down to what Lenny Henry’s villain is wearing.  Whilst I’m not happy with the way that this plot thread gets thrown away to explore what has happened to Gallifrey, the story element works really well.

When I kill them, Doctor, it gives me a little buzz.  Right here.  In the hearts.  It’s like…How would I describe it?  It’s like…It’s like knowing I’m in the right place, doing what I was made for.

The Master

After his dramatic unveiling in the closing moments of the preceding part, Sacha Dhawan’s Master feels completely unhinged, beyond perhaps what we saw with John Simm’s Master in The End of Time.  He feels unstoppable, going so far to set up a lot of leg work to allow him to go undercover with the Nazis during World War Two, rather than being the almost thoughtless killer he is in Industrial Revolution era Britain.  Nowhere is this better highlighted than his entrance into the Science Fair in 1834 where he indiscriminately fires his Tissue Compression Eliminator at innocent people and taking glee in this.  This is a drastically different Master to Michelle Gomez’s and Chibnall does start to sow the seeds of what has happened to make him this way at the end of this part and I think that he really does understand the character of the Master.  He is ultimately not interested in the Kasaavin or Barton, knowing that he will be able to ‘get rid of them’ once his plan has come to fruition – he is in it for his own gain and to get one over on the Doctor, which ultimately leads to his downfall.  I love how pleased he is in the immediate aftermath of his big reveal that he’s got one over the Thirteenth Doctor.  Despite the fact that the Master does try to kill the Doctor and on his pursuit of her through time, there are hints of the previous friendship that the two characters shared, compounded by the Master’s message to the Doctor telling her why he felt compelled to destroy Gallifrey and seemingly kill all of the Time Lords.  Dhawan completely sells this unhinged Master who feels like he’s never going to stop hunting the Doctor as she travels through time and I feel confident in asserting that, despite the conclusion of the story with the Doctor leaving him to the mercy of the Kasaavin, we haven’t seen the last of this incarnation.

Spyfall Part Two

Speaking of villains, Lenny Henry’s Daniel Barton feels threatening here too, even if he understandably takes a bit more of back seat to Sacha Dhawan here.  His use of technology to make the companions fugitives and his treatment of his mother really sets him up as a nasty piece of work and Henry does really well here.  There are similarities between his character and the Master, as underneath it all, there does seem to be a pathological desire to be noticed – the Master certainly feels it towards the Doctor and Barton explicitly states it to his mother.  The Kasaavin also still feel quite mysterious although we do know that they are spies from another dimension, and they are in an uneasy alliance with both the Master and Barton to wipe out the human race.

The Doctor Ada and Inaya

This is not designed for use by a young lady!

Nothing is.  And yet, I find myself more than capable.

Inventor and Ada

One of the story’s best moves is to split up the Doctor from her companions.  Throughout Series 11, it felt like they were all on a lead and could not possibly stray too far from the Doctor which really inhibited all four’s development as characters.  Here, we get to see what this incarnation of the Doctor would get up to without her ‘fam’, as well as allowing the companions a moment to shine without being in the Doctor’s shadow.  Whittaker’s Doctor shows as much resourcefulness as her predecessors, recruiting people that she believes will be able to help her as she jumps from London in 1834 to Paris in 1943, recruiting Ada Gordon (later to be Ada Lovelace) and Noor Inayat Khan, Britain’s first Muslim war heroine, whilst trying to evade the Master.  Both of these characters are great one-off companions to the Doctor, although I can imagine the reactions from certain sections of the internet to the Doctor pairing off with two strong females from history.  In my opinion, the story handles these historical figures well and there are two solid performances here.   Whittaker is also in superb form here, especially in her scenes opposite Dhawan’s charismatic Master and especially in her reaction following on from her visit to Gallifrey and on hearing that the Master killed the Time Lords.

If you’re seeing this…you’ve been to Gallifrey.  When I said someone did that…obviously I meant…I did.

The Master

Graham, Ryan and Yaz really benefit from this separation too.  It is interesting to see their reactions when they realise that they have stay safe and prove that they too are resourceful.  Yaz looks to take charge from the beginning, but equally, I don’t feel that any of them are very shortchanged.  It is also nice for them to be able to interact with each other and speak about the bonkers world of being a friend of the Doctor.  Their discussion about the Doctor in the building site is great – these companions only have a vague idea of regeneration and no idea of where the Doctor comes from.  It is nice to have some elements of this addressed by the end of the episode, even if the Doctor avoids telling the truth about Gallifrey’s current state, almost reminiscent of the Doctor talking to Martha about his home planet in Gridlock.  There’s part of me that only wishes that this moment had come sooner.

Verdict: Spyfall, Part Two nails the setup and delivers on Part One’s promise.  Dhawan looks to be inspired casting as the Master and the callbacks and references allow this to feel much more connected than the previous series.  9/10

Cast: Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Sacha Dhawan (The Master), Lenny Henry (Daniel Barton), Struan Rodgers (Voice of the Kasaavin), Sylvie Briggs (Ada Lovelace), Aurora Marion (Noor Inayat Khan), Mark Dexter (Charles Babbage), Shobna Gulati (Najia Khan), Ravin J Ganatra (Hakim Khan), Bhavnisha Parmar (Sonya Khan), Andrew Pipe (Inventor), Tom Ashley (Airport Worker), Kenneth Jay (Perkins) & Blanche Williams (Barton’s Mother).

Writer: Chris Chibnall

Director: Lee Haven Jones

Behind the Scenes

  • The gap between Part One and Part Two of this story is the shortest since The Twin Dilemma Part 3 and Part 4.
  • Sacha Dhawan learnt of his casting as the Master whilst starring in a play opposite former Doctor Peter Capaldi in January 2019, but was sworn to secrecy.

Best Moment

This might be split this week between the Morse Code sequence, with the four heartbeats – the combination of the score picking it up and Dhawan’s reaction make this so great.

The second is the Doctor’s reaction to the Master’s video message about Gallifrey and the blue TARDIS interior!

Best Quote

Oh!

That’s your name.  Don’t wear it out.

The Master and the Doctor