No Time Or Reason
Doctor Who Flux
Chapter Three -
Once, Upon Time
Airdate: 14th November 2021
Chapter 3 of Doctor Who - Flux, subtitled Once, Upon Time was... well it was better than last week’s episode in that it was a little more keeping with the first part of this series. As in... The Doctor (Jodie Whitaker) saves her companions Yaz (Mandip Gill), Dan (John Bishop) and Vinder (Jacob Anderson) by unleashing a time storm or some such, which throws them all into a kind of central time network where each of her friends are hidden in fluctuating parts of their own time streams... past present and future. As in... yeah, I really didn’t have a clue what was going on most of the time and so the puzzle box element of the story comes back into the foreground where the audience is giving too much information too quickly for it to stick or make sense but... I suspect that was the idea (and that’s what passes for writing these days).
But, I liked that element about it and because of this, well... at least it never got dull.
There are some nice appearances in this one too, as each of the companions get to re-enact different parts of their lives and sometimes this includes one or other of them somehow standing in for someone they knew... or are yet to know. This includes Jodie’s Doctor trying to frequently jump in on them at different points of their lives to try and explain what’s going on (as much to the audience as them, of course) and constantly getting pulled out again.
And The Doctor also has the same problem where she keeps seeing a future... or possibly a past... where she is in command of some kind of military attack on the room where the time guardians are located... but she’s also seeing a future (or past) of herself. As in, her reflection in one of her possible timelines involves the re-appearance of Jo Martin, who was revealed last season as a mystery incarnation of The Doctor herself. Now, Jodie is still convinced that this other Doctor is somehow an earlier incarnation... which would involve some kind of severe memory wipe it has to be said. I’m not so confident of that conclusion and still think it could be a far future incarnation of The Doctor. But, of course, we’ll have to see... assuming they are going to bother to tie up these long standing loose threads in the remaining three episodes.
Okay, so, it’s true I liked it a lot better than War Of The Sontarans (reviewed here) but, honestly, it was still weaker than the first episode, The Halloween Apocalypse (reviewed here), it has to be said. There were some nice monster sightings though... we had a brief appearance from the Daleks, (fully hover converted at this point), a gun battle with the Cybermen and a couple of quick sightings of the Weeping Angels (the next episode is apparently entitled Village Of The Angels and looks like a more traditional episode, from the quick preview trailer on the end of this episode at least).
There was some nice character work with a character called Bel, too... played by Thaddea Graham. Her navigation through a post-Flux universe and relationship to one of the four main cast in this series was nicely revealed by the end of the episode, although her story too, as yet, is left unresolved.
It was kinda confusing a lot of the time but that’s okay, I’d rather be confused than bored any day and, as usual, Jodie and the other actors all knock it out of the park in terms of how they bring their characters to life. All that being said though... I guess I am getting a little bored with constantly being battered with questions and then being teased a possible solution. That’s nothing new for this series, however... I’ve been thinking this for a few years now. I’m hoping the writers (mostly show runner Chris Chibnall this series) can give us an ending to this one worth working towards because, truth be told, not a lot of the end games from the last six or seven years (where story arcs have been hidden in regular episodes) have been much good, it seems to me. So, yeah, Doctor Who Flux - Once, Upon Time is a nice enough and engaging episode but it really does leave you wanting some kind of more positive, coherent narrative to the admittedly brilliant set up. Again, a short review but I’ve not really got a heck of a lot to say about new Doctor Who these days. Let’s see how it goes.