Monday, 6 December 2021

Doctor Who Flux - The Vanquishers




Split Infinity

Doctor Who Flux
Chapter Six - The Vanquishers

Airdate: 5th December 2021
BBC 1


Warning: More spoilers.

Wow... saved the universe again then.

The final part of Doctor Who Flux, The Vanquishers was, well, it was a bit anti-climactic really. Once again Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, companioned with her regular ‘besties’ Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) defend the Universe from the evil swarm. Teamed up with Professor Jericho, Bel, Vinder, The Dog Man, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and Diane from previous episodes. And absolutely nothing is revealed about what the heck any of it is really about by the conclusion of the show.

The novelty aspect this week is The Doctor somehow fragmented and split into three splinters of herself to work with her companions in various time zones simultaneously to defeat the big bad guys The Swarm... and all the other monsters such as Sontarans, Cybermen and Daleks. As usual, the scriptwriters attempt to blind the audience with scientific jargon rather than explain the dynamics of both this transformation and the ultimate defeat of the Flux... and The Swarm. Well, okay, I kind of understood the clich├ęd old matter VS anti-matter tactic but, yeah, it seemed such a basic idea that one wonders why pretty much anyone in the rest of the universe hadn’t thought of it first.

So... acting was all very good and the old “contact” exclamation to establish a mental link, this time with two Doctors of the same incarnation, was a nice little Easter egg for long term fans who remember stories like The Three Doctors I guess (review coming to this blog in 2022, fingers crossed). They even threw in a character death to try to keep up the audience interest but, nah, it was an okayish episode I guess but that tactic didn’t really do much for me and it was telegraphed so early... and with a character who’s only been in the two previous episodes... that it felt a bit flat, to be honest.

The real kicker on this is the fact that, asides from The Doctor being aggressively warned by the essence of time manifesting as herself towards the end... we get no clue as to what this has all been about in terms of her past and her links to division. Indeed, the dog man even, it turns out, was once her loyal friend in the days she has no memory of... but if he ever talks about it, an implant put in his blood by The Division will let out a poison and he’d be dead within three seconds, so he can’t tell her anything. Vinder and Bel’s baby was an equal wash out... it’s possibly nobody special at all, unless they decide to bring these two characters back in one of the three specials next year.

So all we have left is a tearful Doctor, who is once again travelling the universe, this time with Yaz and Dan as her constant companions... and the Timelord pocket watch which holds all the memories which she’s lost. But, rather than open it and get full disclosure of her past lives, she instead buries it in the heart of the TARDIS with instructions for her to never be allowed to get a hold of it.

It’s interesting because the special effects were all fine (as much as they could be in a show which has a long standing history of having special effects which aren’t always that fine) and the episode was really going for a kind of epic look to it. However, for all the whiz bang glitz and light shows, it felt perhaps the least epic of any of the installments which made up this six part mini series and, certainly, not really something worthy of what some of the more interesting episodes this year have been teasingly building too. At least, that’s what I thought.

And so once again I am left with nothing much more to say about this one. Sorry it’s such a short review, again... but Doctor Who Flux - The Vanquishers really didn’t do much for me and, since the whole serial was so wedded to the underlying story arc, it kinda takes the other episodes down in flames with it too. I mean, it’s kinda okay but, yeah, maybe I’m expecting more from Doctor Who these days. I think we could really do with a return to form, to be honest. Not exactly my favourite episode or season and, well, I still think the writing needs to be less lazy on the science and, just a bit better than this. I love Jodie as The Doctor but, once again, I wouldn’t recommend this year’s series as being in any way special. But, you know, it’s just in a slump. That can change... I’ll be watching on New Year’s Day, for sure.

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