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!