Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Master with the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz
It’s amazing how things have changed since the beginning of 2020.
When the year began, I was geared up for what I hoped would be an exciting, bold new decade. With Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’ being transmitted on TV in early 2020, I was positive things would turn out reasonably well for many people. Little did I know how 2020 would turn out! It’s saddening.
Still, I’m very pleased I watched Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’ when I did via TV and via BBC iPlayer during the first two and a bit reasonably happy months where things seemed to be safe where I lived. I can’t say that for everyone since these thoughts about Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’ are my own. 🙂
And yes, this is the second season of ‘Doctor Who’ on TV featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor with Bradley Walsh as Graham, Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gill as Yaz. I was excited about seeing Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’ after enjoying Series 11 a lot in the last few months of 2018.
The Thirteenth Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ is something I look forward to nowadays, compared to when I was watching the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor eras under Steven Moffat’s reign. The Chris Chibnall/Jodie Whittaker era has a positive effect on me as I do enjoy the stories and the characters.
With that said, still not everyone is happy with how Chris Chibnall’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ has turned out. Before, during and probably after Chris Chibnall’s era, people are still criticising the quality of his writing and there are still lots who are against the idea of a female Doctor played by Jodie Whittaker.
This is something that really saddens me as I can’t understand why people would be so against Chris Chibnall’s style of storytelling whereas I find it more enjoyable and compelling compared to Steven Moffat’s efforts. Also I approve of Jodie Whittaker and she’s become one of my favourite Doctors. 🙂
But then, people are entitled to their opinions. The division is clearly evident about who’s in favour of a female Doctor or not. I’d like to think I’m open-minded about this and after seeing Jodie playing the Doctor in two seasons so far, I feel confident and reassured about her performances throughout.
I’m currently looking forward to when Series 13 of ‘Doctor Who’ gets made and hope Jodie’s third season of the TV show will be as enjoyable as her first two. It’s amazing how my initial doubts about Jodie Whittaker becoming the Doctor have changed significantly since she was announced in 2017. 🙂
I also don’t like going into what people have implied to be political correctness issues in the episodes being made in the Jodie Whittaker era of ‘Doctor Who’. I’m not trying to be ignorant. I’m trying to be story and characters first rather than making critical points that seem related to political correctness.
It’s something I don’t go for. Whether you think that’s naive of me, it’s up to you. But I’d like to think Chris Chibnall and his team have good intentions in making the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes they want to make whilst trying to be brave in doing something in a different direction, like with a female Doctor.
I have noticed that certain sci-fi properties like ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ have divided fan opinion over the years. It’s a shame that’s happened as I like to enjoy something rather than have other people’s opinions getting in the way when they don’t like the things I tend to like. 😦
Again, I try to be open-minded and people are entitled to their opinions about whether they like the Jodie Whittaker/Chris Chibnall era of ‘Doctor Who’ or not. Throughout my Series 12 reviews, I’ll do my best to justify why I like something about certain stories as well as pointing out what I don’t like.
I also don’t read up on a lot of comments made about ‘Doctor Who’ on Facebook or YouTube. I try my best to ignore them and enjoy the show for what it is rather than it isn’t. It’s the same thing with ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’. If I’m enjoying it, there must be a valid reason despite some of the issues.
As far as I’m concerned, the Jodie Whittaker/Chris Chibnall era of ‘Doctor Who’ works well for me. If you don’t agree with my opinion, then that’s fine. But I can’t help enjoy Jodie’s take on the Doctor and how Chris Chibnall presents his era of the TV show. It’s so intriguing and fascinating to discover.
I didn’t know what to expect with Jodie Whittaker’s second season of ‘Doctor Who’ on TV. I heard rumours of course about what new things there were to expect. Looking back on Series 11, its advantages were that there was character development between the Doctor and her companions. 🙂
The drawback however was that there was a lack of classic elements featured in the episodes such as classic ‘Doctor Who’ monsters and the like, e.g. Daleks and Cybermen. Yes, there was a Dalek in the 2019 New Year’s Day Special called ‘Resolution’, but that was like after Series 11 concluded then.
From the trailers promoting Series 12 on YouTube, I could see there was promise of the Judoon and the Cybermen making an appearance in the season. This I was excited about and I was pleased that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor was going to meet them in Series 12 compared to not meeting in Series 11.
I hoped though that certain elements and arcs introduced in Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ would be resolved in Series 12. I wanted more exploration of the Thirteenth Doctor and the friends she travelled with. I wanted to discover whether some new dark secrets would get unveiled in Series 12.
Would that be the case here? Would my expectations be met? Would I be able to enjoy Series 12 in the same way that I enjoyed Series 11? Would the stories in Series 12 be better compared to the stories I’ve seen in Series 11? I certainly hoped so. It’s what I endeavoured to find out in this season.
Anyway, let’s get started, shall we? The season begins with the two-part story called ‘Spyfall’. And yes, this is clearly a rip-off of James Bond, right? I actually like that as I find those types of stories rather compelling. There’s even an exciting car chase sequence featured in the story’s first episode!
Speaking of which, ‘Part One’ of ‘Spyfall’ was shown on New Year’s Day (a Wednesday) on the 1st of January 2020 whilst ‘Part Two’ was shown on Sunday the 5th of January. And yes, the episodes were still being shown on Sundays, not Saturdays. Hence why I had to watch the episodes on BBC iPlayer!
This was due to church commitments at the time. Incidentally, I really like the James Bond-styled music featured in the first episode of ‘Spyfall’ by composer by Segun Akinola. I’ve later purchased the Series 12 music soundtrack on CD and I could hear familiar James Bond-like music in the episode.
The story begins with intelligence agents around the world being attacked by some alien forces. Somehow, secret agents are targeted by white glowing ghost-like creatures. They could’ve been the Cybermen from ‘Army of Ghosts’ or something! 😀 The agents’ DNA also seems to be rewritten here.
Eventually, the Doctor and her friends Graham, Ryan and Yaz get called in by MI6 to help out with the strange mystery. It was amusing to see each of our four TARDIS characters getting collected by MI6 agents via car. I wonder how they managed to find the Thirteenth Doctor and her latest friends.
It’s also amazing how MI6 gets involved in a ‘Doctor Who’ story like this and how they know the Doctor at all. Mind you, the Doctor has been around a bit, so she/he may have had dealings with MI6 before. Whether it’s in comics or book stories I don’t know. It’s something that isn’t explored much.
Like I said, the episode features an exciting car chase. This is when the driver of the car gets killed off and the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz find themselves propelled forwards and backwards on the motorway. From watching the behind-the-scenes video, I recognised the motorways being in Cardiff!
In fact, from re-watching the episodes again, the slip roads lead up to where Techniquest is in Cardiff Bay. They used that same tunnel featured in the 2009 Easter Special called ‘Planet of the Dead’. It’s lucky our main heroes didn’t end up in Dubai or on the titular ‘planet of the dead’ called San Helios.
The Doctor and her friends eventually meet Jeeves, I mean Stephen Fry as…C. No, that wasn’t a joke. That’s what he’s called here. It was great to see Stephen Fry in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. Having seen him in ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ and such, it was amusing to see Stephen Fry in a ‘Doctor Who’ story.
Back in December 2019, there was a ‘first look’ video clip on ‘Part One’ of ‘Spyfall’ via the ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel. Stephen Fry as C appeared in that video clip alongside Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and her gang. It got me so excited as I looked forward to seeing Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’ on TV.
Maybe Stephen Fry’s appearance in this ‘Doctor Who’ story was to make up for not delivering the script he was meant to write for Series 2 of the show. 😀 Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing more of Stephen Fry in ‘Spyfall’…Oh wait! He gets bumped off rather quickly! I’m not even kidding. 😐
Huh! That’s rather unfair. He was there for a few scenes and he gets killed off! Couldn’t he have lasted a bit more to appear in ‘Part Two’?! Mind you, having seen the film ‘Love & Friendship’ lately, Stephen Fry’s appearance in ‘Part One’ of ‘Spyfall’ seems well-justified compared to that film he did.
The story also features Lenny Henry as Daniel Barton, who turns out to be one of the villains. 😮 Lenny Henry was also once ‘the Seventh Doctor’. No, not that Seventh Doctor! I mean the Seventh Doctor in his own comedy show ‘The Lenny Henry Show’, which I’ve seen on the ‘Mindwarp’ DVD. 😀
I point this out to you because he could’ve been the very first black male Doctor of the TV series. 🙂 I’m surprised he didn’t go around with lines like “I wanted to say that!” or “I wanted to do that!” from playing the Doctor in his own comedy show to playing Daniel Barton in the ‘Spyfall’ TV story. 😀
Daniel Barton is the CEO of a search engine company called VOR. That’s the first time I’ve heard of it. 😀 He also happens to be a former MI6 informant. I enjoyed his scenes where Ryan and Yaz interview him at his HQ and his confrontation with the Doctor at his party. He’s 93% human apparently. Hmm!
Like with the ‘first look’ scene featuring Stephen Fry for ‘Part One’ of ‘Spyfall’, there was a ‘preview’ scene featuring Lenny Henry as Daniel Barton with Ryan and Yaz about to interview him. It wasn’t as exciting as the ‘first look’ scene with Stephen Fry, but it was nice to see what Daniel Barton was like.
The story also features Sacha Dhawan as O, an old friend of the Doctor’s and a former MI6 member. Sacha Dhawan is no stranger to ‘Doctor Who’. He played Waris Hussein in ‘An Adventure In Space and Time’ and has been in Big Finish audios such as ‘Ghost Walk’, ‘Fallen Angels’ and ‘Dark Eyes 3’. 🙂
I was very surprised Sacha Dhawan didn’t get credited in the ‘Radio Times’ listings for ‘Part One’ of the story. Perhaps it was an oversight. It must’ve been. I mean, it’s not like Sacha Dhawan ended up playing somebody really important for the story’s first episode’s cliff-hanger, right? (Pause) Right? 😀
It was lovely to see Jodie Whittaker back as the Doctor. She still has the edge, the fun and the adventurous spirit about her. I like how forthright she is in getting answers, especially with facing a strange ghost-like figure in a cage and meeting Daniel Barton at a party at his San Francisco house. 🙂
I like it when Jodie’s Doctor is straight to the point and she doesn’t waste time with interrogating bad guys like Daniel Barton. She means business when she says “I’m going to stop you!” I wish the confrontation between Jodie’s Doctor and Daniel Barton was longer than what it ended it becoming.
It was also fun to see Jodie Whittaker in a tuxedo-styled suit like James Bond. Clearly they’re trying to mimic what David Tennant wore in his James Bond-outfit. 😀 There’s also a combination of Matt Smith with David Tennant in the bow tie she wears. She’s still got a grey coat and the boots to wear.
It was amusing how the story began with the Doctor working underneath her TARDIS in Sheffield. I wonder what she was doing and how she managed to get the TARDIS tidied up again before the MI6 came along. The Doctor becomes concerned with people’s DNA seemingly being rewritten by aliens.
I enjoyed Bradley Walsh as Graham in this adventure. I found myself laughing at some of his funny moments, including when he’s afraid to jump onto a plane that’s about to take off from a runway. Oh, did I mention a motorcycle and car chase between the Doctor and friends with Daniel Barton? 🙂
And before you ask, I wasn’t surprised that Bradley Walsh’s Graham didn’t get to say “The chase is on!” during that motorcycle chase – even though that would have been awesome for him to say. I’m still so disappointed Catherine Tate as Donna didn’t say “Am I bothered?” from her comedy show. 😀
I found it peculiar Graham, Ryan, Yaz and even the Doctor were doing gambling at Daniel Barton’s party – well, to be fair, the Doctor was playing ‘snap’. I found that funny, and it echoed ‘The Railway of Time’ for me. 😀 Producer Graham Williams wouldn’t approve of the gambling in ‘Doctor Who’. 😀
There’s one point in the first episode where Bradley Walsh as Graham gets told by O that the Doctor used to be a man and that he has books on her/him on one of his shelves at his house in the Grand Victoria Desert in Australia. Oh now that should be interesting. I would’ve liked to have seen that. 😀
But the Doctor comes in and interrupts things. Aww drat! I really hoped for Graham to find out more about the Doctor and to have it explained how O came to know who the Doctor was. Maybe they might save a surprise at the end of the first episode. I’ve noticed there’s a lot of travelling in the tale!
Yeah, the Doctor and Graham meet up with O in Australia whilst Ryan and Yaz meet up with Daniel Barton at his VOR HQ in San Francisco. There’s a lot of jumping about from Sheffield to London to San Francisco to Australia in this. Mind you, it isn’t distracting and complicated to follow throughout.
It was good to see Tosin Cole back as Ryan in this story. Ryan’s still got the dyspraxia problem as established in the first basketball scene he had. But he still gets to go on an adventure with his TARDIS friends, even when reluctant to go undercover with Yaz to San Francisco, which was intriguing.
I enjoyed the interaction he had with Yaz in the story’s first episode and when he gets worried about her being snatched by one of the ‘ghost’-like creatures in Daniel Barton’s office. That scene between Ryan and Yaz where he tells her he’ll look out for her was very touching to watch in the first episode.
By the way, the ghost-like creatures happen to be called the Kasaavin, voiced by Struan Rodger. They’re a mystery in the first episode. I did wonder how they were going to be resolved in the story’s second episode. It turns out Daniel Barton isn’t in control of them. Somebody else is. Who’s that?!
Mandip Gill is great as Yaz in the story. I like how she comes to the forefront, playing out as an investigative journalist who interviews Daniel Barton whilst Ryan plays out being the photographer, taking pictures. Yaz and Ryan bounce off each other well as they snoop about Daniel Barton’s office.
It got tense when Yaz was kidnapped by a Kasaavin and she ended up in a strange, odd world that could’ve easily been the Wood between Worlds from ‘The Magician’s Nephew’. Yaz described the place to Ryan as being ‘nothingness’ and ‘nowhere’ and that she thought she was dead, being upset.
At the time, I did wonder if that was going to be a foreshadowing of Yaz’s character in Series 12 and whether something terrible was going to happen to her. It didn’t exactly happen that like, but it’s intriguing how Yaz ended up being in that strange, odd world which was really the Kasaavin’s home.
The story also features Yaz’s family including Shobna Gulati as her mum Najia; Ravin J. Ganatra as her dad Hakim and Bhavnisha Parmar as her sister Sonya. They don’t appear much in the story, apart from a few scenes. Sonya seems to want Ryan’s phone number. Will Yaz give Ryan’s number to her?
I seriously didn’t know what to expect when we got to the cliff-hanger. The Doctor, Graham, Ryan, Yaz and O catch up with Daniel Barton on a plane. But once on the plane, the Doctor questions O about how he struggled to catch up. She points out to him that he’s known as an incredible sprinter.
And the truth gets revealed! O isn’t who he appears to be! He’s in actual fact…the Master! (super-surprised) W-what?! W-W-W-W-W-WHAT?!!! Where the heck did this come from?! I was literally on the edge of my seat after seeing that incredibly, out-of-nowhere yet wonderfully surprising reveal!!!
Even when Sacha Dhawan let out that insane evil laugh that I knew the Master could do, I was totally excited by this! It’s actually a pretty interesting role-reversal with the Master now played by a man and the Doctor played by a woman, whereas it was the other way around in the Peter Capaldi era! 😐
In fact, this is a more satisfying reveal of the Master in ‘Doctor Who’ compared to how ‘Dark Water’ did it in Series 8. I wasn’t disappointed by it. It allowed us as the audience to appreciate Sacha Dhawan’s reveal as the Master when he showed what he did to the original O in his matchbox. 😀
This shocks even the Doctor when she discovers who O truly is and she tries to get to Daniel Barton before she sees a bomb in the cockpit ready for detonation. It does seem strange the Doctor didn’t recognise O as the Master earlier, but he is pretty cunning when it comes as the ‘master of disguise’.
This was pretty crazy at the time! How could the first episode end on even more bigger cliff-hanger? Well, how about a plane about to crash-land with Graham, Ryan, Yaz on board as they cling to their seats as well as the Master teleporting the Doctor away and telling her everything she knew ‘is a lie’?
Eventually, the Doctor finds herself in the Wood between the Worlds place (the Kasaavin’s world) and is trapped whilst her friends are in terrible danger. I didn’t know how the Doctor was going to get out of this one; how she’ll save her friends and how she’ll stop the Master. I was so excited here.
When it came to ‘Part Two’ of the story, I greatly enjoyed it! I found it a satisfying conclusion to an exciting ‘masterful’ adventure with the Thirteenth Doctor. It is one of those second episodes that must be seen more than once, but for the most part I was able to follow what was happening in it. 🙂
The second episode resolves the cliff-hanger by having the Doctor save Graham, Ryan and Yaz’s lives on the plane. Don’t worry! It gets explained later in the episode. It’s another timey-wimey thing, but it was easier to follow, especially as the Doctor sent a message to her friends on that crashing plane.
Meanwhile with the Doctor, she’s trapped in the Kasaavin’s dimension. I wondered how the Doctor would escape from this strange ‘wood between the worlds’ place she was in. She was beginning to talk to herself by that point! Much like other previous Doctor tend to talk to themselves at times! 😀
Very soon, the Doctor meets a 19th century woman – Sylvie Briggs as Ada. I was surprised to see Ada in this dimension with the Doctor. I wondered how she got there. She sort-of explains to the Doctor that she’d been brought to the dimension by one of the aliens. I wonder if there is a prequel to this!
Eventually, the Doctor and Ada return to the 19th century where they end up in an invention exhibition in 1834. I did wonder if it was the Great Exhibition of 1851, as I’ve heard it mentioned often enough in ‘Time-Flight’ and I’ve heard it being depicted in the Big Finish audio story ‘Other Lives’. 🙂
I was surprised Chris Chibnall didn’t go down that route of setting the 19th century scenes during the Great Exhibition. Anyway, as the Doctor familiarises herself with the 1834 invention exhibition she’s in, she gradually discovers that Ada is Ada Lovelace who’s actually a very important historical person.
She happens to be with Mark Dexter as Charles Babbage. I mention these names to you because I’ve noticed Chris Chibnall happens to have a habit of introducing historical figures for educational purposes in his ‘Doctor Who’ stories. This I approve of. It was nice to find out about these people here.
Soon, the Master appears at the invention exhibition once he’s discovered the Doctor’s escaped from her imprisonment in the Kasaasvin dimension. Just to be straight to the point, in my humble opinion, the Doctor and Master scenes are the story’s best part. I honestly love the Doctor/Master scenes. 😀
Seeing Sacha Dhawan’s Master and Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor together was thrilling. Sacha Dhawan goes full-on evil whilst Jodie Whittaker does her best being serious tackling the menace she thought she wouldn’t meet again. It’s a far more convincing relationship compared to the Doctor and Missy’s.
I know I’ve bragged about it in my Series 10 reviews, but I honestly never got the confrontation that was there between Missy and the Twelfth Doctor. Seeing the Thirteenth Doctor and the new Master battling wits against each other was far more enjoyable than how it was between Twelve and Missy.
I agree, it does seem strange Sacha Dhawan’s Master seems to have gone back to full evil if he came after Missy who was trying to redeem herself in Series 10, but honestly, this might have to do with what happened when she/he returned to Gallifrey afterwards. We’ll return to this point later on. 🙂
Anyway, after the Doctor, Ada and Charles Babbage escape from the Master, the Doctor summons a Kasaavin with her sonic screwdriver on a figurine in the hope of transporting to the 21st century. Ada accompanies her, very much against the Doctor’s intentions. 😀 They both end up in Paris 1943!
Wait a minute! Paris 1943! Oh dear! The Doctor’s gone into ‘Allo, ‘Allo’ territory! Soon, she’ll meet up with René Artois and the French Resistance led by Michelle. Let’s hope she doesn’t run into Herr Flick of the Gestapo as well as the other Nazis. 😀 Just kidding! That doesn’t happen in the episode.
The Doctor and Ada do however meet up with a British spy in Paris in 1943. This happens to be Aurora Marion as Noor Inayat Khan. She happens to be an important figure in Earth’s history as well as Ada Lovelace. The Doctor utilises Ada and Khan’s assistance to find a way to defeat the Master. 🙂
I must also point out that Chris Chibnall’s ‘Doctor Who’ episodes with Jodie Whittaker involving history so far have featured important women in Earth’s history. I don’t object to that. So long as the women in history were real people back then, that’s fine. But it does seem a reoccurring pattern. 😀
Sacha Dhawan’s Master also follows the Doctor to Nazi-occupied France. He dresses up in a Nazi uniform. Seeing Sacha Dhawan as a Nazi was disturbing. I know it’s something the Master would wear as he’s a ‘master of disguise’ of course. But still, it is so disturbing to see Sacha dressed in that!
I enjoyed the confrontation scene between the Master and the Doctor when they’re on the top of the Eiffel Tower. A ‘City of Death’ reference could have been included instead of a ‘Logopolis’ one. 😀 The Master reveals something to the Doctor about Gallifrey whilst she uses her wits against him. More later!
It’s time now to talk about Bradley Walsh as Graham, Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gill as Yaz in the second episode. I enjoyed their journeys whilst separated from the Doctor. I admit the Doctor’s journey was more interesting than theirs, but it was still great how they coped as a unit without her.
The three companions tackle Lenny Henry as Daniel Barton’s side of the evil operation. Barton seems to be really against humanity in this story when he uses the VOR search engine system and the Kasaavin to steal people’s life-force and rewrite their DNA. I wish Stephen Fry’s C was still alive here!
I enjoyed it when Bradley Walsh’s Graham used his spy shoes to fire lasers at people when they try to capture him and his friends. It’s just so funny, especially when he doesn’t know how they work. Any scene featuring Bradley Walsh as Graham in ‘Doctor Who’ is brilliant. I looked forward to more in Series 12.
Tosin Cole is equally great as Ryan. I liked it when he discovered how to safely land the crashing plane according to the Doctor’s instructions. Ryan also stamps on his, Graham and Yaz’s phones when they’re hunted by Barton. He did let slip his, Graham and Yaz’s plans to the enemy though. (?!)
Mandip Gill is equally good as Yaz. She’s concerned for her family once she, Graham and Ryan are hunted. She does phone up her sister Sonya in order to provide a distraction for the ‘men in black’ chasing them. It was tense when Yaz’s life-force was being sucked out, but she was alright in the end! 🙂
It was also tense when Yaz’s family including Shobna Gulati’s Najia, Ravin J. Ganatra’s Hakim and Bhavnisha Parmar’s Sonya were about to have their life-force sucked out and their DNA rewritten as part of the Master’s plans. It was intriguing to see how Yaz’s family got affected by this ‘world disaster’. 🙂
There is a scene between Graham, Ryan and Yaz where they have a respite in a warehouse. They talk about who the Doctor is. I liked that scene! It establishes they don’t know much about the Doctor in spite of the travels they’ve had with her. They want to know who she is the next time they meet her.
The Doctor manages to strand the Master after stealing his TARDIS. The Master is forced to live through the 20th century before he gets to the present day in ‘Part Two’. How he didn’t tamper with history is unexplained, but then Big Finish can solve the answers to all those questions we have here.
Eventually, with Ava Lovelace and Noor Inayat Khan’s help, the Doctor manages to defeat the Master and sends him to be trapped in the Kasaavin’s dimension. Barton manages to escape too. I admit, it did seem strange for Barton to run away like that, especially since he was on the verge of winning. 😐
I do wonder where he’ll go next. Where did Barton run off to? Will we ever see him again? We didn’t get a proper pay-off to those spies that were attacked and had their DNA rewritten. What happened to them? Incidentally, that scene where Barton killed his mother was pretty chilling to watch indeed.
Meanwhile, the Doctor goes to save her three friends’ lives on the plane from earlier. 🙂 I like how that gets resolved and that Chris Chibnall didn’t forget about it. During those scenes where Graham, Ryan and Yaz received the Doctor’s instructions, it was funny when she told them not to talk back. 😀
The Doctor also wipes the memories of Ava and Noor to prevent them knowing too much information about the future in the travels they’ve had with her. Ava doesn’t want to forget what she’s experienced with the Doctor, but she soon ends up being mind-wiped by the Doctor regardless. 😦
I like how Chris Chibnall doesn’t have the historical characters remembering what they’ve experienced from having adventures with the Doctor by her giving Ava and Noor mind-wipes. Sure, it felt like Donna being wiped of her memory from ‘Journey’s End’, but what else could the Doctor do?
Just before the Doctor makes to return to her friends, she remembers what the Master said and decides to visit Gallifrey. She has to find out whether what the Master told her about Gallifrey being decimated was true. This all builds up on the dramatic story arc featured throughout Series 12 itself.
And it turns out to be true. Gallifrey is decimated! Wow! The Doctor freezing Gallifrey in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ didn’t do much good in the end, did it? I wonder what happened since the events of ‘Hell Bent’. Actually; now I come to think of it, did Clara ever return to Gallifrey like she said she would? 😐
(clears throat) Anyway, the Doctor, upset that Gallifrey’s destroyed, receives a holographic message from the Master in her TARDIS. It turns out the Master was the one responsible for destroying Gallifrey. He reiterates to her that everything they’ve been told by the Time Lords was based on a lie.
It connects to the Timeless Child mentioned back in ‘The Ghost Monument’. I was wondering when we would coming back to that in the series again. The seed has been sown in connecting the Doctor’s past. It hints at a darker side to her ‘thirteenth’ persona. The Master refuses to share more.
I felt it when the Doctor let out her anger at one point following the Master’s message, throwing her sonic screwdriver about in the TARDIS. I didn’t know what this Timeless Child was about at the time and what was meant by the Master’s message! I was nervous and a little excited by it in the episode.
Later on, once the Doctor’s picked up her three friends, they ask her outright who she is and where she comes from. The Doctor soon reveals to them that she’s from Gallifrey and that she can regenerate. Yaz asks if they can visit Gallifrey. The Doctor refuses her request, saying ‘another time’.
It was tense to see the Doctor being sullen and somewhat moodier compared to the happy, go-lucky self she seems to be letting off so far in the series. I didn’t know what was going to happen in the rest of the series and it seemed the Timeless Child business was far more serious than any could imagine.
‘Spyfall’ is a great opening two-parter to Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’. I enjoyed it immensely. It was great to see the Thirteenth Doctor TARDIS team back and I got a thrill out of seeing Sacha Dhawan as the Master. I could imagine what was coming next in Series 12, hoping that it would all be very good.
I was immensely pleased to see ‘Part One’ on New Year’s Day as well as ‘Part Two’ the following Sunday. It got me geared up to enjoy more of Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’, especially as I expected Daleks, Cybermen and Judoon to appear. The Master’s appearance was a pretty unexpected surprise! 🙂
‘Part One’ of this two-part story is dedicated to the memory of the ‘Masterful’ Terrance Dicks – former writer/script editor of ‘Doctor Who’.
The DVD/Blu-ray special features for this two-part story are as follows. On Disc 2 of ‘The Complete Series 12’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there are ‘Closer Looks’ on ‘Parts One and Two’ of ‘Spyfall’ and a Series 12 preview. There’s an audio commentary on ‘Part One’ of ‘Spyfall’ with Jodie Whittaker, Tosin Cole and writer/executive producer Chris Chibnall as well as an audio commentary on ‘Part Two’ of ‘Spyfall’ with Jodie Whittaker, writer/executive producer Chris Chibnall and Sylvia Briggs.
‘Spyfall’ rating – 9/10
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