Well… that certainly was something.
Today’s the day. Today is the Doctor Who Series 12 finale. And whilst I did get overexcited and publish my Cyberman retrospective way too early, thankfully another major Doctor Who villain is going to be in The Timeless Children to discuss. Sacha Dhawan’s chaotic and brilliant incarnation of the Master is set to battle Jodie Whittaker and her companions once again, with the Cybermen, a ruined Gallifrey and so many other plot threads to resolve (for anyone curious, I don’t review multi-part stories until the story is finished, so I didn’t review Ascension of the Cybermen and will review the story as a whole tomorrow). On top of all that, it’s Roger Delgado’s birthday today, so to celebrate this wonderful character I’m going to do something a bit different and discuss Big Finish and what I believe to be the Best. Big. Finish. Story. Ever.
Mary Shelley needs no introduction. She’s essentially the mother of modern science fiction, and without Frankenstein science fiction may as well never exist. So a Doctor Who episode exploring her and the creation of Frankenstein is of course one Chibnall would love to tackle and… wait a minute, I know this premise! Big Finish did it first!
I’m kidding. The television show has contradicted expanded media before and I don’t expect it to now. Besides “Mary Shelley meeting the Cybermen” is such a good premise I don’t blame Chibnall for wanting to explore this plotline even if it’s technically blowing a massive hole in canon (and yes, Big Finish IS canon). Although in this episode the Doctor states time is in flux, so in one timeline the Eighth Doctor was in Villa Diodati but the Cybermen’s interference caused a split in the timeline. Oh whatever.
So… this was an… interesting episode. Yeah. We’re gonna need to talk about this one.
Why do I love Doctor Who? A lot of reasons, but I love it because it can do anything. Go anywhere, explore any ideas and tell any story. And some of the best of Doctor Who over the past 56 years has been when the show goes beyond the monster of the week, world at stake plot line that so many past episodes have used. Can You Hear Me (?) is one of those episodes. Yes, Nikola Tesla fighting scorpions and space rhinos in Gloucester are all fun and all, but Can You Hear Me (no I will not use the punctuation every time) is perhaps the most daring and interesting episode since the masterful It Takes You Away last series. Whilst I have some more mixed thoughts on this one compared to that one, I appreciate it so much. This is what I was saying last week- I can enjoy a sci fi romp like Praxeus or Kerblam, but the episodes that go above and beyond are the ones that stick in the memory.
How do you follow on from last week? It’s a question that other episodes in the past have tried to answer by following heavy, arc focused and mind shattering episodes with standalone, “breather” episodes that aim to break the ice. This hasn’t always worked as Curse of the Black Spot and Orphan 55 proved but for Praxeus, it worked slightly better. Serving as a direct follow on Fugitive of the Judoon’s cliffhanger ending helped but it was still odd literally having no discussions of the events of the last episode. But ignoring the fact that this was a follow-on from the dramatic and franchise shifting last episode, is Praxeus actually good?
Um, I think so?
Rewatching the episodes before writing these reviews have really helped with my thoughts. On first watch, I found Praxeus to be a bit light weight without much happening at all and a lack of forward momentum for the arc but on a rewatch there’s a lot to like, starting off with the premise.
OK, heads up. Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 8:00 last night, you’ll know that some MAJOR stuff happens in Fugitive of the Judoon. It’s impossible to discuss the episode without discussing the two major twists and as a result I will be spoiling EVERYTHING. So watch the episode then come back. Seriously.
So… the past seven days have been a bit of a mess when this fandom is concerned as Orphan 55 pretty much became the most toxic thing the show has done since… well, since at least Hell Bent. It got so ridiculous people were actually using The Twin Dilemma as an example as to why Chibnall’s Who is the worst thing ever but have those people actually seen The Twin Dilemma? Because I have, and let me tell you Orphan 55 is not as bad as that. So to say that Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror had some big shoes to fill with regards to uniting the fandom and making discussing the show a joy rather than a chore is a bit of an understatement. You can, in a way, compare this to Mummy on the Orient Express, which similarly followed a divisive episode. Well, I’m safe to say that Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror, which for the sake of sanity I’ll refer to as “the episode” from now on, is a fun, exciting and great episode that HAS united the fandom again. It seems Orphan 55 is a fluke, because Series 12 is on the up.
Last series of Doctor Who, Ed Hime delivered what is now my second favourite Doctor Who story of all time. For all of Series 11’s faults, It Takes You Away was a mindblowing, innovative masterpiece that redefined what Chibnall’s era was capable of. So to say I was anticipating Orphan 55 is a bit of an understatement. Despite this, I promised to be open minded and take this as a separate episode, not as a follow up to one of my favourite stories in the Whoniverse. Orphan 55 was, in my opinion, an enjoyable episode with one fatal flaw. A fatal flaw. And it’s impossible to discuss that flaw without discussing how it harms the episode entirely. So let’s dive straight into it.
I may be in the minority when it came to last season in that I really enjoyed it despite its flaws, but wow.
If Spyfall is any indication, Series 12 will blow Series 11 out of the water. Sure, I don’t think anything will top It Takes You Away as my favourite Thirteen story but this two hour epic wasted no time in establishing a return to the show we know and love. Not since Matt Smith left have I been this excited and invested in where the series is heading. I LOVED this story, even with the silly title. Where do we even begin?
As you probably all know, last night Doctor Who returned. Whilst I absolutely do have thoughts on Spyfall (still, even after broadcast, a stupid name) as it’s a two parter I’ll be reviewing the story as a whole sometime next week. But for now, a really, really, insane theory/speculation for the series arc. Why am I doing this after only one episode? Because I need to vent my theory somewhere, I’ve spent the past week working on university essays and I need a brief moment to just go crazy with this random idea. But in order to do this I’m going to need to completely spoil Spyfall Part 1 so SPOILER ALERT AND DO NOT CLICK OR SCROLL DOWN PAST THE IMAGE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE YET…