TV Review – ‘Flux – Chapter Six: The Vanquishers’ (Doctor Who)

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

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

And here we are on the final episode of ‘Flux’/Series 13 of ‘Doctor Who’! These past six weeks have gone by pretty quickly, haven’t they? I’ve enjoyed Series 13 of ‘Doctor Who’ lately. I’ve enjoyed each instalment of the six-part story called ‘Flux’ with Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor, Yaz and Dan. 🙂

Does that mean ‘The Vanquishers’ is a satisfying finale to ‘Flux’? I’d like to think so. It’s certainly a complex episode and I’m glad I was able to check out the first five episodes of ‘Flux’ on BBC iPlayer in order to remind myself what had gone on before. ‘The Vanquishers’ does require a lot of viewings here.

With that said, I admire Chris Chibnall and his production team for putting together an enjoyable and intriguing six-part adventure featuring a lot of complexities as the whole of Series 13. This is especially when the season was made under its Covid-19 pandemic restrictions – please keep safe. 🙂

In the final episode of ‘Flux’, there are three storylines going on. The Ravagers – Sam Spruell as Swarm and Rochenda Sandall as Azure – have taken control of the Division’s base in the Void and they hold the Doctor as their prisoner as well as the fob watch containing her forgotten memories. 😐

The Sontarans have also taken control of Earth, with the Grand Serpent’s help, as they plan to lure the Daleks and the Cybermen into a false alliance and exploit the Flux upon them. There’s also Yaz and Dan accompanied by Professor Jericho and Joseph Williamson in the tunnels throughout time. 😐

It seems that all hope is lost. Thankfully, there is one chance for the universe to be saved and not be destroyed by the Flux. It turns out in some mental contact with Swarm; the Doctor has split herself into three people. So, there are three Thirteenth Doctors played by Jodie Whittaker in the episode! 🙂

I…um….err… Captain Jack, if you will?

CAPTAIN JACK: (from ‘Journey’s End’) “I can’t tell you what I’m thinking right now.”

Thank you very much! 😀

Yeah, the idea of there being three Jodie Whittakers in the episode is mindboggling yet pretty hilarious. And I must say; it works well in the episode’s favour. I wonder whether Jodie Whittaker was confused as to which Doctor she was playing and how it all ties together when making the season’s epic conclusion.

Regarding Swarm and Azure, they’re hoping to achieve their ultimate revenge on the Doctor. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I understand Swarm and Azure’s motives as villains. I mean, I get that they’re pretty evil beings and they have no morals. It’s also clear the Doctor did something terrible to them.

But aside from that, I don’t really understand them as characters and why they’re so evil. Maybe there’s something about the Ravagers we don’t about that’s locked in the Doctor’s experiences of them in her fob watch containing her forgotten memories. It’s something we don’t know about yet.

The Ravagers also torture the Doctor when they open up the fob watch for her to see the illogical house that contains her past memories. I think the Ravagers were unlocking the memories, as the Doctor saw the illogical house in her mind, but I’m not entirely sure when viewing the episode here.

Whilst one of her selves is aboard the Division’s base in the Void with Swarm, Azure and the Ood (played by Simon Carew and voiced by Silas Carson), Jodie’s Doctor’s other two selves are in different places. The second Jodie Doctor is with Karvanista and Bel when they tackle the Sontarans.

The third Jodie Doctor is with Yaz, Dan, Professor Jericho and Joseph Williamson, who are joined by Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart of U.N.I.T. It can be a challenge to get your head around the complexities of three Doctors in three different places, but it was very enjoyable to watch in the story.

It was nice to see Kate Stewart meeting the Thirteenth Doctor for the first time in this episode, although they don’t really get to spend enough time sharing scenes with each other. Kate seems to like the Thirteenth Doctor. Hopefully this won’t be the last time the two will meet each other here. 🙂

It was good to see Kevin McNally again as Professor Jericho. The third Jodie Doctor and her team of Yaz, Dan and Jericho get to rescue Annabel Scholey as Claire from 1967, which I was pleased about. Professor Jericho and Claire also help the Doctor in distracting the Sontarans from their evil scheme.

It was sad when Professor Jericho self-sacrificed himself in the episode. But at least he did go out on a heroic note and he had more screen-time in ‘Flux’ compared to Robert Bathhurst in the previous episode. 😀 Professor Jericho was also brave in being defiant towards a Sontaran in his self-sacrifice.

I liked how Jodie’s Doctor interacted with Steve Oram as Joseph Williamson at last. Williamson becomes helpful when the Doctors and her friends are sorting out the Sontarans and the Grand Serpent as well as the Flux. Williamson’s place in history is preserved once he returned to his time. 🙂

Meanwhile, with the second Jodie Doctor tackling the Sontarans, she gets interrogated by Craig Parkinson as Prentis/the Grand Serpent. Like the Ravagers, I’m not entirely sure why the Grand Serpent was doing the evil things he did and why he worked with the Sontarans during the season. 😐

I mean, I get there was some backstory hinted during his interrogation of the Doctor, but it’s not explored enough in the way I would’ve liked. At least the Doctor was able to resist his attempts of killing her with a snake and at least he got his just desserts when Vinder exiled him for all the things he did.

Craige Els as Karvanista continues to be grumpy as ever. It’s interesting that Karvanista couldn’t or can’t exactly reveal what happened when he and the Doctor were travelling companions one time. Apparently there’s something inside Karvanista that would kill him should he reveal what he knows.

I did feel for Karvanista when it was revealed to him that the Grand Serpent and the Sontarans killed all his Lupari kind aboard their ships protecting the Earth. I had hoped the Grand Serpent and the Sontarans were lying to him to make him feel bad, but it seems they actually did kill all of the Lupari.

It’d be interesting how things will turn out for Karvanista now that he’s joined by Vinder and Bel at the end of the episode. Maybe there’s potential for a spin-off series featuring Karvanista, Vinder and Bel. Perhaps Big Finish will work on that someday. Hopefully Karvanista won’t be too grumpy then. 🙂

And yes, Jacob Anderson as Vinder gets to reunite with Thaddea Graham as Bel in the episode. It was nice to see them back together and they do seem to love each other. This leads onto a theory that has been suggested by fans! I’m surprised it wasn’t exploited in coming to the episode’s conclusion.

The theory is that the Vinder and Bel are actually the Doctor’s parents. Somehow, I quite like that theory and I’m surprised Chris Chibnall didn’t introduce that like he did when he revealed the Doctor was ‘the timeless child’ in Series 12’s finale. Perhaps that’s mystery yet to be resolved in the series. 🙂

It was good to see the Sontarans again in this episode, featuring Jonathan Watson as Commander Stenck and Dan Starkey as other Sontarans characters including Senstarg, Shallo and Kragar. In some respects, the Sontarans have been like the main baddies of Series 13 and they’re far more enjoyable.

Mind you, it was weird when one Sontaran character (played by Dan Starkey, I believe) seemed to have an addiction to chocolate. Seriously, what? Where did this come from? That Sontaran better be a good boy and not be on Santa’s naughty list or else he’ll not have any chocolate in his stockings! 😀

Like I said, the Daleks and the Cybermen (voiced by Nicholas Briggs) make an appearance in the episode when lured by the Sontarans’ false offer of an alliance against the Flux. I’m disappointed the Daleks and the Cybermen didn’t make a proper appearance and confront the Doctor in this episode.

Hopefully that disappointment will be made up for in ‘Eve of the Daleks’ on New Year’s Day in January 2022. I wonder if the Cybermen will make an appearance in one of the 2022 Specials. Also, it was cruel of the Sontarans to have the Daleks and the Cybermen wiped out by the Flux in the story. 😦

Mind you, I don’t think an alliance between the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Sontarans would have lasted long. After all, the Daleks and the Cybermen were depicted fighting each other in ‘Doomsday’ and the Daleks and the Sontarans didn’t last long in their alliance in ‘The Five Companions’, did they?

Nadia Albina also returns as Diane in the episode when she and Vinder manage to escape from one of the Passenger prisons. They’re rescued by the Doctor in her TARDIS and Dan and Di manage to reunite with each other, although it isn’t as happy as Vinder and Bel’s happy reunion in the episode.

Di is helpful in suggesting to the Doctor that they use the Passenger prison to absorb the Flux and stop it destroying the universe. I did think it unfair of Di to blame Dan for being late on their date in the story’s first episode; since it wasn’t his fault he got captured and caught up in the adventure. 😦

By the episode’s end, the Ravagers’ plans are foiled and they’re erased from history when they confront Time, played by Sam Spruell in Swarm’s image, on the planet Atropos. Time is also played by Jodie Whittaker in the Doctor’s image, wearing the darker outfit from the story’s third episode. 🙂

Jodie’s Doctor seems to like the dark outfit that Time in her image is wearing. Maybe this means the Doctor will get to wear the dark outfit at some point in the series, either in one of the 2022 Specials or in a Big Finish audio. Jodie also plays Time in the Doctor’s image well when the Doctor meets her.

In re-watching the first five episodes of ‘Flux’, I noticed that Jodie voiced the Weeping Angels communicating with her Doctor when they journeyed to the Division’s base at the beginning of the story’s fifth episode. Jodie does seem to be getting to play more than one character in the ‘Flux’ adventure.

Time in the Doctor’s image reveals some interesting information to the Doctor concerning her future. There’s mention of a certain Master here. I hope that means Sacha Dhawan’s Master will return to make a final confrontation with the Doctor. I’d be so disappointed if that weren’t the case.

I like how the story ends with the Doctor and Yaz inviting Dan to join them on their TARDIS travels. The Doctor and Yaz also seem to forgive each other when the Doctor apologises for not letting Yaz in her secrets. And I guess Dan and Yaz managed to cheat death from the Weeping Angels in the story. 😐

Yeah about that! I thought the Weeping Angels sucked your life dry when they zapped you back in time and fed on your remaining temporal energy. Yaz, Dan, Jericho (Yeah I know, he died in this) and Claire seem able to escape this fate. Could Amy and Rory cheat their own deaths after all this time? 😐

Whilst Yaz shows Dan to his room aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor decides not to open the fob watch containing her forgotten memories and places it deep inside the TARDIS for safe-keeping. It’s pretty fascinating the Doctor decided not to open up the fob watch to experience her forgotten memories.

‘The Vanquishers’ has been an enjoyable and satisfying conclusion to end Series 13 of ‘Doctor Who’ on as well as a satisfying conclusion to the ‘Flux’ story. There are complexities concerning the plot of the episode as well as the overall story, but for the most part, I enjoyed what I saw of this epic story.

I’m also pleased Dan decided to stay on as a companion with the Thirteenth Doctor and Yaz. I’m looking forward to what happens next to them when they confront the Daleks on New Year’s Day!

Stay tuned for ‘Eve of the Daleks’ by Chris Chibnall on New Year’s Day 2022!

I’ll be sharing my ‘final thoughts’ on ‘Flux’/Series 13 of ‘Doctor Who’ soon. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘Flux – Chapter Six: The Vanquishers’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    What a finale! There was so much going on. It was nice to see Vinder and Bel reuniting as well as Dan with Di. It was sad that the Sontarans wiped out the Lupari apart from Karvinista and when Professor Jericho sacrificed himself. I didn’t expect that. The way the Ravagers were defeated was interesting. I liked that the Doctor hid the fob watch in the Tardis. I expect she just wanted to get on with her life as she was.

    The Sontarans were quite well-written and played in this episode. It was funny when that one Sontaran raided the corner shop for chocolate and when he was offered it by the Doctor. It was interesting to see them try to start a false alliance with the Daleks and the Cybermen. I’m sure we see much more of the Daleks in ‘Eve of the Daleks’. I’m pleased Vinder sent Prentis into exile.

    The Doctor, Yaz, Dan, Joseph Williamson and Kate Stewart were great as well. I also hope that Kate Stewart will meet the Thirteenth Doctor again. If not on tv, then at Big Finish. It was nice to have the Doctor accept Dan as her companion. I’m sure they’ll many more great adventures together.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Vanquuishers’. There’s certainly a lot going on in this season finale. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Vinder and Bel, Dan and Di, the Sontarans, Karvinista, Professor Jericho, etc. I’m curious about what will happen next should the Doctor ever need the fob watch again. Maybe that’s saved for Jodie’s final episode in ‘Doctor Who’ where she may come across the Master. Yes, I hope more stories with Kate Stewart and the Thirteenth Doctor will be made, maybe in the Big Finish audio world.

      Definitely looking forward to ‘Eve of the Daleks’ next.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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