TV Review – ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ (Doctor Who)

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Well, I’ve seen the season finale of Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ and have really enjoyed it! ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ (seriously, that’s quite a hard name to remember a planet by) by Chris Chibnall has been a satisfying episode to conclude a season of ‘Doctor Who’ that I’ve enjoyed so thoroughly.

‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ is unlike any other ‘Doctor Who’ season finale that has come before in the new TV series. Whilst it may not have plenty of elements that were in Series 11 to make it an epic finale, it does somehow round off a certain arc that has been going on throughout this TV season.

The story feels straight-forward and low-key. Yet somehow it feels rewarding at the same time. The journeys that our main heroes have been going on somehow fulfil themselves. This is especially with Graham and Ryan as well as Yaz and the Doctor. There’s also the return of an old enemy in this episode.

The episode takes place on the planet Ranskoor Av Kolos where our TARDIS foursome respond to a series of distress calls. The TARDIS lands inside one of the ships that sent out a distress call. The Doctor and her friends meet up with Mark Addy as Paltraki, who seems to be the ship’s commander.

Apparently the atmosphere of Ranskoor Av Kolos can affect a person’s mind, specifically causing memory loss and altering a person’s mood. This is why the Doctor gives neuro-balancers to her three friends as well as to herself to keep their minds stable and immune from the planetary atmosphere.

So when the TARDIS travellers meet Paltraki, he has trouble keeping his mind together and loses his memory, especially when he points a gun at our main heroes. The Doctor gives Paltraki a neuro-balancer too in order to keep him as an ally and to find out what’s been going on Ranskoor Av Kolos.

It becomes clear that Paltraki lost his crew as they’re being held captive by someone called ‘the creator’. This creator is a supposed deity worshipped by the Ux, who usually come in pairs. One pair of Ux is Phyllis Logan as Andinio and Percelle Ascott as Delph. They can glow fire out from their eyes! 😀

Andinio and Delph have been waiting for the creator all their lives, especially in the first scene when they’re on Ranskoor Av Kolos. Someone appears to them out of nowhere on the planet. But as the episode progresses, Andino and Delph’s fiery powers get misused and it is the Doctor who has to help them.

As the episode progresses, it transpires that the Ux’s creator happens to be…Samuel Oatley as Tzim-Sha (or ‘Tim Shaw’ as the Doctor called him). Tzim-Sha was an enemy that the Doctor and her friends faced before in ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’, the very first TV episode of the Jodie Whittaker era.

It was good to have an old enemy back for the season finale of Series 11 in ‘Doctor Who’. I wondered what became of Tzim-Sha/Tim Shaw, as he wasn’t killed off in that first episode. We get to see what happened to him when he was zapped out using a teleportation unit from the first Series 11 episode.

Apparently Tzim-Sha has been abusing the Ux’s religious beliefs in their creator by making them do work for him. It becomes clear that Tzim-Sha has been developing a terrible weapon in the form of a shrine built for the Ux’s creator and he plans to use it to destroy the planet Earth with total revenge.

And all of this revenge that Tzim-Sha has is laid against…the Doctor of course! Tzim Sha blames the Doctor for what happened to him following the last time they met in ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’. It was interesting to see how the consequences of the Doctor’s actions end up being resolved in this story.

Involved in Tzim-Sha’s plan is the usage of a number of planets regressed to small sizes to create a powerful engine. These happen to be planets that Tzim-Sha stole! Wait! Before Tzim-Sha came to Earth and faced the Doctor, did he have a run in with the Pirate Captain from ‘The Pirate Planet’ here?! 😀

Jodie Whittaker’s been brilliant as the Doctor in this episode. What I’ve noticed about Jodie’s Doctor in this episode is how she shifts from being funny and flippant to being serious and edgy when confronting her enemies. I like how Jodie strikes a balance of that in her performance as the Doctor.

She also notices things, especially when confronting Andinio who points a gun at her during their first meeting. Jodie’s Doctor warns Andino about using a gun on her before she soon tries to help her and Delph, especially when she knows ‘the creator’. She also takes a few precautions in the story.

I really like how Jodie’s Doctor confronts Tzim-Sha in the final episode, telling him off; saying that what he’s doing is wrong and that everything he’s doing can change the nature of the universe. The Doctor works hard in this episode to find a way to stop the Earth from being destroyed with the Ux’s help.

Bradley Walsh is equally brilliant as Graham and goes on a pretty significant character journey in this episode. When the TARDIS team realises that it is Tzim-Sha of the Stenza who has returned, Graham becomes pretty determined to exact his revenge on Tzim-Sha over what happened when Grace died.

I liked that scene between Graham and the Doctor, as he has a private word with her about his plans for revenge. The Doctor warns Graham about his plans of revenge, almost threatening him to not let him travel in the TARDIS ever again. Graham needs to be very strong and not succumb to any revenge.

I like how Graham seems to appear battle-hardened in the episode, especially when he’s blowing up the SniperBots in the episode. Oh yeah, the SniperBots from ‘The Ghost Monument’ are back in this episode! I also like how Graham confronts Tzim-Sha in the episode and makes his final decision about him.

Tosin Cole is equally good as Ryan in this episode. I love the scenes Ryan shares with Graham in this episode when they’re tackling SniperBots with laser rifles. I suppose the SniperBots are like the robot warriors for the Stenza. Ryan learns some lessons about using guns from the Doctor in the story too.

Ryan too tries to persuade Graham not to take on plans for revenge against Tzim-Sha, saying that it’s not what her nan Grace would’ve wanted. Graham tries not to listen to Ryan, but Ryan tells Graham that he loves him and that he’s never considered him less worthy in being his granddad in the series.

Mandip Gill is very good as Yaz in the episode. Yaz gets to spend a lot of time with Paltraki in the episode. I enjoyed it when they exchange the names of the planets they come from and when they discover the crystal boxes containing the regressed planets in miniature form inside Tzim-Sha’s base.

I liked it when Yaz was determined to keep the Doctor company as well as trying to find a way to use the Ux in order to save the planet Earth. Yaz and the Doctor risk it with taking off their neuro-balancers to give them to the Ux. I liked it when Yaz pulled out a cable from the TARDIS for the Doctor’s plan.

I did like it when the Doctor made mention of towing the Earth halfway across the universe from ‘Journey’s End’ to Yaz as well as the TARDIS regressing a Slitheen back into an egg in ‘Boom Town’. It’s those nice little continuity references from the past that remind me that this is still ‘Doctor Who’.

Thankfully all is well and Paltraki’s crew are saved. Tzim-Sha/Tim Shaw gets what he deserves by Graham and Ryan before the two reunite with the Doctor and Yaz. The four go off into the TARDIS and the Earth is safe. I like how the Earth gets into peril during the episode before the Doctor and friends save it.

‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ has been a compelling episode to finish off Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’. I enjoyed watching it and seeing how the character journeys of the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz come full circle in this episode. I also like how they get to face an old enemy in Tzim-Sha/Tim Shaw in this story.

But…it’s not over yet! Believe it or not, while ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ is techinally the finale for Series 11…it also isn’t. There’s one more ‘Doctor Who’ episode to look forward to with the Thirteenth Doctor TARDIS team and that’s in the New Year’s Day Special which will come out soon in January 2019.

In my review for that episode, I will share my final thoughts on what I make of Series 11 overall as well as on Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor and how she fared in her first season of ‘Doctor Who’. Though judging how I’ve rated the episodes of Series 11 so far, you probably know already. 😀

Come back in three weeks’ time for the 2019 New Year’s Day Special called ‘Resolution’ by Chris Chibnall.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

4 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Timelord 007

    You mean Resolution Of The Daleks lol.

    Great review Tim & you summed it up perfectly my friend, i read some fans found this a disappointing finale but i thought it was brilliant, loved the story, Jodie again awesomeness, Bradley Walsh fantastic as Graham, Tosin Cole great i loved Ryan’s connecting with Graham now doing the fist pump but sadly Mandip Gil as Yaz despite turning in good performances seems to be getting short changed, it kinda reminds me how Nyssa was the better companion but was always overshadowed by Tegan which is what Ryan & Graham are doing as there relationship arc has been a slow build during this series, Yaz had one episode that introduced her family but the focus was more on her Grandma so we never got to know her parents & sister to well, i got the impression Yaz was the favourite daughter & that her sister’s rebellious because in her eye’s she can’t complete with her parents for Yaz’s affections.

    My faiths been restored in tv series & looking forward to the New Years Day special, this is a strong return to form for the series & if that set to continue I’m happy to wait a little longer for series 12, bet you never thought I’d be saying that did you Tim? lol me neither.

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    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      I hope it is the Daleks coming back for the New Year’s Day Special. I’ve heard rumours and even somebody told me that it would be gold Daleks instead of the bronze ones. I’m holding back just in case I’m wrong, but if the story does end up being called ‘Resolution of the Daleks’ like ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ teased its title with ‘Invasion’ for the first episode, I’d be very happy. It is annoying that it’s all being tight-lipped in the trailers, even though the hints seem pretty clear. 😀

      Yeah I did read up that the reviews on this season finale have been mixed as many say it’s been a disappointing series finale. I agree, it’s not as epic as previous season finales, but somehow this was a welcome change. The Earth being in peril did seem underplayed, but at least it was there for this episode. I also found how compelled I was into the story and the characters, enjoying the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz as a TARDIS foursome.

      Yeah, it pains me to say this but I think that Yaz is the least developed of the TARDIS regulars in the group. Mandip Gill is brilliant as Yaz and all the TARDIS regulars have been likeable throughout. But like you said, it seems Yaz is overshadowed by Graham and Ryan in this season as much as Nyssa was by Tegan and Adric. It’s the same with Susan being overshadowed by Ian and Barbara and Jamie by Ben and Polly. This was always going to be a problem with a crowded TARDIS especially in 10 episodes lasting for about an hour’s length. But at the same time, I’ve enjoyed the interaction between the TARDIS foursome and like that the companions wanted to be there with the Doctor. This season could easily have had Graham, Ryan and Yaz being combatative like it was during the Peter Davison era. But thankfully that didn’t happen as I prefer it with the four being really good friends in the series. Some could say that makes their characters’ bland, but I didn’t find that as I found the characters and their journeys in Series 11 compelling.

      I am upset there are still people out there who haven’t taken a liking to Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’. I’ve come across people who seem to have made up their minds about Jodie Whittaker and not given her a fair chance like I have in judging the season from start to finish. I’ve done my best to be open-minded but some feel the need to ridicule the new season, saying it’s too political or too politically correct. That’s something I don’t get as I don’t bring politics into my reviews and quite frankly don’t see that as important. I have little interest in politics and consider it more important to talk about the stories and the characters first. I love Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ and Jodie Whittaker has been amazing as the Doctor so far. I know I had doubts before this season began, but that’s only natural and I wanted to find a way to like this season and hoped I would like it by the end. That seems to be the case for me and I’m very glad about it. But some friends I know have not been that accomodating and it upsets and angers me to see that happen.

      Anyway, I’m very pleased Series 11 and Jodie Whittaker have won you over and that you’re looking forward to the New Year’s Day Special and Series 12. I know it’ll be a while to wait before ‘Doctor Who’ comes back proper in 2020, but I can wait and still have other ‘Doctor Who’ stuff to enjoy. I also look forward to reviewing Series 11 proper either on DVD or Blu-ray on my blog. I’m thrilled to bits that I persuaded you to watch the first episode of Series 11 and that you had your faith in the show restored from then onwards. I will be sharing my final thoughts on Series 11 and Jodie Whittaker in my review for ‘Resolution’ and hope to give a final verdict.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

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  2. Timelord 007

    Me too Tim i had zero interest, hadn’t read up about the series & you said watch episode 1 & see how feel & bang a hour later I’m excited about Tv Doctor Who again i enjoyed most episodes especially Witchfinders & Kerblam, i don’t get this fan nonsense about epic finales classic Who never did that so what’s the difference i thought this a great end to a fabulous series.

    Do you know i had lot of snarky comments because my change of heart about Jodie Doctor, i was anti PC & against a female Doctor now i sold out to the PC & SJW brigade, you can’t win Tim your criticised either way.

    I think why i was originally against a female Doctor was as I’m bipolar & OCD i have a routine & ritual & not very good at change so when Chibnall cast Jodie & the Doctor’s gender it freaked me out because it wasn’t in my routine of Doctor Who being a male, thankfully seeing Jodie as the Doctor completely changed my attitude & i adore her in the role, i love the Columbo aspects where she notices small details nobody else picks up on.

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    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Yeah ‘Kerblam!’ is definitely my favourite episode out of Series 11 altogether and I definitely enjoyed stories like ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’, ‘Rosa’, ‘Arachnids In The UK’, ‘The Witchfinders’ and ‘It Takes You Away’. ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’ is the weakest of the season in my opinion, but I can forgive it for that and I did enjoy it again on a re-watch.

      I suppose it’s because ‘Doctor Who’ fans are used to getting explosive season finales from the RTD and Steven Moffat eras that they find the finale for this season disappointing since it doesn’t do that really and it feels low-key. I can’t say I found this episode disappointing because it does complete an arc for our main heroes which I’ve enjoyed. I know the excitement is due for the New Year Day’s Special which I’m looking forward to and hope it’ll be epic judging by the trailers.

      Yeah it is appalling that people who can’t agree with your opinion take a hostile reaction towards you and try to force their opinion on you without acknowledging yours. I can imagine that must be annoying for you to receive comments from people who criticise your change of heart. As far as I’m concerned, it’s okay to change your mind about something after you’ve watched something whether it’d be ‘Doctor Who’-related or not. I was amazed to see the variance of opinion from ‘Doctor Who’ fans who love the latest season with Jodie Whittaker as well as those who hate it. It’s surprising how divided the fandom is over the latest series, yet you and me have managed to enjoy it all the way through. I know it’s something I shouldn’t worry about too much, but I get so easily anxious about whether my opinion is right or not. I’m glad you agree with me on the same wavelengths about Jodie’s first season in ‘Doctor Who’.

      I’m very pleased you’ve identified the Columbo aspects in Jodie’s Doctor. That’s something I wouldn’t have come up with myself, but I’m glad you were able to spot that and I agree with you. I like how observant Jodie’s Doctor is, which is something I always like to see in certain incarnations of the Doctor. It was demonstrated in Doctors like Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, David Tennant and especially Jodie Whittaker today. I also like how quietly observant she is and that she doesn’t do things in an over-the-top manner like the Steven Moffat era Doctors tended to do and that’s no disrespect to Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s acting by the way.

      Many thanks for your comments and insight, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

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