TV Review – ‘The Timeless Children’ (Part Two) (Doctor Who)

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

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

And now we’ve come to the end of Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’! I’m sad that Series 12 has come and gone so quickly this year. I’ve greatly enjoyed this season. Yeah, I know I had some issues with a few episodes. But the majority of Series 12 has kept me entertained and I’ve never found a boring moment.

Series 12 concludes in ‘The Timeless Children’, the second episode of the two-part finale. And I’m not going to lie; I really enjoyed the final episode. I found the story very engaging to follow accompanied by some very good acting from the actors who were playing their characters as well as the action in it.

This final episode is bound to upset some fans, especially in terms of how the Doctor’s past has now become unveiled in more ways than one. But quite honestly, this was a pretty good eye-opener. And at least it’s left on a note where there seems to be promise of more questions waiting to get answered.

Let’s talk about the story. The episode follows on directly from ‘Ascension of the Cybermen’ where the Doctor sees Gallifrey at the boundary and the Master makes an appearance. The Master takes the Doctor with him and they return to Gallifrey. The Doctor gets forced to enter the Matrix by her enemy.

Meanwhile, Graham and Yaz are escaping the Cyber Warriors aboard the Cyber carrier with Julie Graham as Ravio and Alex Austin as Yedlarmi. Yeah, sadly Rhiannon Clements as Bescot got killed earlier in the episode. Aww!!! They soon escape to the boundary planet and meet Ryan and the others.

Ryan is with Ian McElhinney as Ko Sharmus and Matt Carver as Ethan once the Doctor’s been taken by the Master to Gallifrey. Once they sort out some Cybermen and they meet up with Graham, Yaz, Ravio and Yedlarmi, the group of humans find a way to enter Gallifrey via portal so they can save the Doctor.

Just to say, I really enjoyed Sacha Dhawan back as the Master in this final episode of Series 12. He’s really into playing the character and he spars off with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor very well. She balances both the childish insanity of the character as well as the degree of menace required to play the Master.

The Master seems pretty determined to break the Doctor when he reveals to her what the past of the Time Lords was really about via the Matrix and that everything they knew was a lie. The Master deals with attending to the Doctor whilst also attending to the Lone Cyberman and forces with huge aplomb.

For me, the scenes with the Doctor being shown the Time Lords’ history by the Master within the Matrix were the most exciting part of the final episode. It was interesting to see how the Matrix was depicted in this particular ‘Doctor Who’ TV episode, considering that it has changed a lot in ‘Who’ lore.

Anyway, the Master reveals to the Doctor that long ago on Gallifrey, there was this native explorer – a Shobogan woman called Tecteun, played by Seylan Baxter – who discovered a small child at a portal on a distant world. She adopted this child before she discovered it had a unique ability to…regenerate!

Eventually, Tecteun experimented on the child for many years, forcing it to regenerate before discovering the secrets of the child’s gift. Tecteun acquired the ability to regenerate herself, allowing her society to flourish before they became arrogant and decided to rename themselves as Time Lords.

Just to point out, the idea of someone experimenting on a child to make her people become Time Lords. It put me in mind of something I did in my Fifth Doctor stories where one of my characters – Salvador – was a human boy before he was forced to become a Time Lord when ending up on Gallifrey.

Thought I mention it here. Anyway, once the Master reveals to the Doctor about that piece of history regarding how the Time Lords came to be, the biggest revelation gets unveiled here. When the Doctor asks what became of that child, the Master reveals to her that she…the Doctor…is ‘the timeless child’.

This comes as a big shock to the Doctor as I’m sure it came as a big shock to many ‘Doctor Who’ fans who saw this. It seems the Time Lords lied to the Doctor and that her/his history was a lie. The Doctor has lost her/his early memories, seeming to have had more lives before William Hartnell came around.

This revelation is definitely a shock to the system for certain. But somehow…and I know this is going to sound weird…I felt it actually made sense. This has been building up for a while throughout Series 12 regarding the Doctor’s past and didn’t come as a disappointment once the revelation came around.

After all, we’ve had Jo Martin as the Doctor in ‘Fugitive of the Judoon’ and she makes a brief appearance in this final episode too. There’s also an explanation given on who Brendan was from the previous episode. The more I thought on this, the more I accepted the new light shed upon the Doctor.

It’s now interesting that the Doctor’s not just limited to having thirteen lives as established by Robert Holmes in ‘The Deadly Assassin’. There’s more given on the mythos about Gallifrey and the Time Lords. There are areas needed to be addressed from this story, but it’s something to delve into for the future.

And here’s the thing. I’ve become accepting of the fact that there are more than just thirteen Doctors in ‘Doctor Who’ played by the TV actors. After all, we’ve had the Valeyard, the War Doctor and even the Unbound Doctors by Big Finish to give more layers of the Doctor’s past than we’ve ever considered.

And whilst I wasn’t happy with there being another Mary Shelly ‘Doctor Who’ story on TV since we had a pretty good version of that story via Big Finish audio, I am accepting that two versions of that story can co-exist with each other. Just as much as there are two versions of ‘Shada’ to co-exist in this.

Also, to be fair, at least it gives more food for thought about the Doctor’s past with having more incarnations before William Hartnell happened. How many lives has the Doctor had then? How old is she/he? There’s even a moment where the faces from ‘The Brain of Morbius’ get shown in the episode.

There’s also something that Timelord007 pointed out to me from the previous episode. It seems that the Thirteenth Doctor era is getting echoes of the Seventh Doctor era. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but now I can see it. Andrew Cartmel tried to add more mystery to the Doctor as the script editor.

Here, we do get to have more mystery provided on who the Doctor is and being ‘more than just a Time Lord’ from the planet Gallifrey. Not all the questions are answered regarding the Doctor’s extra past lives before William Hartnell. Jodie Whittaker herself said not all the questions will get answered.

I am disappointed that we didn’t get to have an appearance of David Bradley as the First Doctor, or even cameo appearances of other Doctors to establish the connections when Jodie’s Doctor’s within the Matrix. Maybe this is setting up for the 60th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ coming along. I hope so.

Jodie Whittaker once again is brilliant as the Doctor in this final episode. I love her scenes with the Master, and whilst she was quite passive with being kept in her containment field in being forced to enter the Matrix, at least she did return with superb energy in order to overthrow her enemies in this.

That moment where Jodie’s Doctor lashed out at the Master, demanding to know more about what’s going on with her history and the Time Lords was so incredible! I don’t think I’ve seen Jodie’s Doctor that angry before. I did like it when Jodie’s Doctor became stronger as the Master tried to weaken her.

Bradley Walsh is equally good as Graham in the episode. I loved that scene he has with Yaz as he tells her how much he finds her to be a brave person when thinking they might not survive this adventure to tell it. He’s put off by Yaz’s lack of response to his admiration of her, but it’s a very good scene here.

I liked it when Graham becomes resourceful and even suggests the idea of him, Yaz, Ravio and Yedlarmi dressing up as Cybermen to bluff their way off the Cyber carrier and especially when Ashad the Lone Cyberman inspects them. That moment when they surprise Ryan and the others was brilliant.

At least Yaz managed to take off her Cyber helmet. Graham had trouble taking his off. I couldn’t help laugh at that. Mandip Gill is equally good as Yaz in this adventure too, especially when she teams up with Graham, Ravio and Yedlarmi. She’s upset when the Doctor is about to self-sacrifice herself in this.

Tosin Cole is equally good as Ryan. He copes well when teaming up with Ko Sharmus and Ethan and they have to sort out Cybermen. Ryan is hesitant at first but goes too eager when he manages to blow up some Cybermen with a grenade. Thankfully he doesn’t get killed once Cybermen come behind him.

I did wonder if one of the Doctor’s companions was about to die in this episode like Adric did in ‘Earthshock’. I wondered if perhaps Yaz would run in and save the Doctor by self-sacrificing herself in her place. In the end, it was Ko Sharmus who did that but I wasn’t too disappointed by that plot thread.

Just to talk about the Cybermen, they were very impressive in this second episode of the two-parter. I’m pleased the Cyber Warriors had Cyber voices like the ones from ‘Rise of the Cybermen’. Ashad the Lone Cyberman is superb, but I’m surprised he didn’t see it coming once the Master miniaturised him.

The Master also unveils to the Doctor one of the coolest and scariest things he’s done to the corpses on Gallifrey. He’s turned them into Cyber Time Lords with the ability to regenerate. That is scary, creepy and cool! A shame it didn’t last long. We should’ve had Cyber Time Lords invading our universe!

The episode ends with Graham, Ryan and Yaz managing to escape back to Earth via a TARDIS from Gallifrey with Ravio, Yedlarmi and Ethan joining them. They’re unaware that the Doctor’s still alive and back in her TARDIS…until she’s arrested by Judoon (how did they get in?) who teleport her to a prison planet

WHAT?! What’s going on there?! Why the Judoon arrest the Doctor for? Is this something connected to the next episode? Which is called ‘REVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS’ teased after the end credits? YOU CAN’T END IT LIKE THAT? How come the Daleks are involved? Where’s Captain Jack in all of this here?!

We haven’t seen him at all in the final episode. I hoped he’d make an appearance and finally meet Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor. Maybe he will in the Christmas Special for 2020…or will it be a New Year’s Day Special for 2021. Either way, I’m geared up for more ‘Doctor Who’ as I’m excited by the finale!

‘Ascension of the Cybermen’/’The Timeless Child’ has been a satisfying and exciting two-part finale in Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’. Whilst not all the questions are answered, at least the promise of the Doctor coming back in the festive special episode and Series 13 is guaranteed. I’m so looking forward to it. 😀

It was fantastic to see the Master again and the Cybermen were well-handled compared to previous Cybermen season finales. I greatly enjoyed Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor throughout this two-part finale as well as Series 12 itself and her companions Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill were pretty good. 🙂

Stay tuned for ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ by Chris Chibnall coming soon!

I’ll be sharing my ‘final thoughts’ on Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’ as well as special blog post about ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Wars’ soon. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘The Timeless Children’ (Part Two) (Doctor Who)

  1. Isn’t the Dalek Special a two parter shown Christmas & New Year or did I miss read it?

    Fantastic review Tim my goodness I don’t envy you writing this finale as there’s a lot to discuss.

    I loved the twist, my take is there are 14 actual Doctor’s & the Doctor’s unknown incarnations are part of when he was used by the Division but he/she was not called the Doctor back then.

    Did the first Doctor get too close to discovering his past which is why he left Gallifrey? So many questions CHIBNALL WE NEED ANSWERS.

    The Timelords are shown as the true villain exploiting a childs gift for there own selfish gains that’s true corruption there.

    So the Doctor isn’t from Gallifrey so where is he/she from, will we ever find out? Or is this all a lie to manipulate the Doctor via a far greater threat we’ve yet to see.

    Jodie was fantastic giving a balanced emotional performance, Sasha was amazing as the Master how he manipulated Ashad was classic Master, I did think the Cybermen were a little sidelined but then again there was a lot to cram in.

    I thought the ending with the Judoon a bit strange as nobody supposed enter the Tardis, & how will Graham, Yaz & Ryan find the Doctor?

    Glad you see what I meant about echoes of the Seventh Doctor, I think next series the Doctor will start remembering her past & just what happened with the Division.

    And finally was it me or did it hint Ko Sharmus was a incarnation of The Doctor when he took the bomb from the Doctor?

    Whatever happens Tim, Chris Chibnall has restored my passion for the tv series & I’m as enthusistic about Doctor Who again as I was during the Tenth Doctor era.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      I’m not sure. I didn’t hear any news to say that ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ was going to be a two-parter. It’s unclear if it’ll be shown on Christmas or New Year’s Day I think. Either way, I look forward to ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ when it comes. If it is a two-parter, that’ll be great.

      I’m saddened to hear Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole are leaving ‘Doctor Who’ after appearing in the special. I enjoyed them as Graham and Ryan. I wonder how they’ll exit the series. Thankfully Mandip Gill is staying on with Jodie Whittaker. Perhaps it’s just the Doctor and Yaz for next season.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on the second episode of the two-part finale. I enjoyed writing this review. There was a lot to discuss yes, but it was very rewarding to do. 🙂

      Yeah I’m happy to stick to calling the Doctors from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker as ‘the Doctors’ whilst the previous incarnations before them weren’t called the Doctor. Although I’m curious about why Jo Martin called herself the Doctor in ‘Fugitive of the Judoon’. There’s still a lot of unanswered questions that hopefully will be answered for Series 13. Still want to know how Captain Jack fits into all this. When will he appear next time in ‘Doctor Who’? Will he be alone or will he be joined by other companions?

      Yes, the questions raised about why the Doctor forget his/her memories before William Hartnell; why the Time Lords/Gallifreyans exploited the child’s gift; and where did the Doctor originally come from are very intriguing. I wonder if all the Master told the Doctor was really true since he didn’t mention those certain details when he kept her in a containment field.

      I greatly enjoyed Jodie’s Doctor and Sacha’s Master in this final episode of the story. The emotions delivered by both the actors in their performance well done. The Doctor’s anger towards the Master was thrilling and gut-punching to watch. Yeah, it did seem the Cybermen were rather sidelined, but at least they looked menacing especially in their Cyber Warrior armour and those Cyber Time Lords were amazingly cool.

      Yeah, how the Judoon got into the TARDIS is a mystery. Hopefully that might be explained in the festive Dalek special. How Graham, Ryan and Yaz will reunite with the Doctor again, I’ve no idea.

      I don’t know about Ko Sharmus. Not much was revealed about him. Maybe he was an incarnation of the Doctor. It was never established. Perhaps that’s saved for another occassion.

      Very pleased you enjoyed this two-parter and that you approve of how Chris Chibnall is handling the series so far. I’m looking forward to when ‘Doctor Who’ comes back later in the year with the Christmas/New Year’s Day Special as well as Series 13 in 2021.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my review. Stay tuned for my final thoughts on Series 12 coming soon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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