***The following review and recap contains heavy spoilers for 13.05, so please watching before reading.***
This week on Doctor Who
, while the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) finds herself outside of the universe at Division, Yaz (Mandip Gill), Dan (John Bishop), and Jericho (Kevin McNally) are stuck in 1901. The trio spends the next three years searching for clues about how and when the universe will be coming to an end. Meanwhile, the Doctor finally gets some answers, as the woman she met previously in her memories, who turns out to be Tecteun, reveals that the Division, originally created on Gallifrey, created the Flux to hide their existence and get rid of the Doctor in one fell swoop to move on to the next universe, destroying hers in their wake.
Overall, there were some positives and some negatives about the episode this week, in my opinion. The episode was fairly linear again and easy enough to understand, but I’m not sure the story that was told was as revealing or exciting as it was meant to be.
First of all, although the last episode’s final scenes were so crazy, it was resolved right off the bat with a rather unsatisfactory conclusion that apparently the Doctor was turned into a Weeping Angel all for the sake of transporting her to Tecteun. It didn’t really explain why that was necessary.
I was pleased that the storyline of the Sontarans converged with that of the Grand Serpent (Craig Parkinson), so pieces finally did start to come together (and I did think it was cool how he affected UNIT over the years), but it seemed to take a lot longer to get there than necessary. Also, finally at least the storyline with Joseph Williamson (Steve Oram) began to make a bit of sense. I also feel like although there were a lot of revelations, such as the woman being Tecteun, a lot of what she said was more confirmation than new information – she had already insinuated in the previous episode that Division created the Flux and that it was to get the Doctor out of the way. She also confirmed what the Master told the Doctor about her being the Timeless Child, but again, it wasn’t really new information. I feel like this was supposed to be big and dramatic, but I really didn’t find it either. And it was great to see an Ood, but really, it could have been anyone. It felt like the writers brought an Ood in simply for the sake of adding an Ood.
I did like Yaz, Dan, and Jericho’s storyline and the fact that they had to fend for themselves and that for once they weren’t saved by the Doctor. I thought that was an interesting twist, although it was a bit confusing how someone would apparently know the world was ending and leave clues. The reasoning behind that wasn’t completely clear to me. The other part that didn’t make any sense was why exactly Vinder (Jacob Anderson) thought that Bel was in Passenger. She did mention Passenger, but that wasn’t necessarily a sign pointing towards Vinder to try to get captured. Although, at least it brought Diane (Nadia Albina)’s story back around.
There were some fun moments. I enjoyed Karvanista (Craige Els) and Bel (Thaddea Graham) banding together in the end and the trio leaving him the message on the Great Wall of China was amusing. I also was very happy to see Kate (Jemma Redgrave) again.
The main negative I have about the episode, however, is probably the ending. Although I appreciated the cliffhanger of Swarm (Sam Spruell) being ready to disintegrate the Doctor, I still don’t feel that he and Azure (Rochenda Sandall)’s plan or motivations were made completely clear. I guess it was Division who originally imprisoned them, and they wanted revenge, although it seems a really complicated plan to get to them. I’m also confused why the Grand Serpent has it out for UNIT, for that matter.
Regardless, overall, I was entertained by the episode, even if it wasn’t one of the best. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this six-episode story arc. I just really hope that the destination will have been worth the journey. RECAP:
The Doctor is among many Weeping Angels when the stone from her falls away. At first they won’t answer her, but they eventually tell her in her voice that they are conversion. She realizes she was encased in an Angel in order to transport her somewhere.
Meanwhile, Yaz, Dan, and Jericho have been left to fend for themselves. The Doctor left Yaz a hologram, explaining that although the Earth is shielded from the Flux, it will become a target for the creatures who have been displaced by the Flux and are in need of a home. There will be a a battle for the ownership of the planet. It will create ripples in time and smart people will have foreseen what is happening and will have left clues. The three have spend the last three years looking for these clues of where and when it will take place.
Back in the present, the Doctor arrives at some kind of station, where she is awakened by an Ood who, after quantum realignment stabilizes, gives her a conversion plate to wear. The Ood leads her to a woman who has been waiting for her – it’s the old woman she met previously, who tells her that she is at Division.
While the trio continue to look for clues in 1904, they are almost killed first by dynamite, and then by a waiter on a ship who bites a poison capsule before they can question him. He has a snake tattoo on his wrist.
In 1958 England, the Grand Serpent, going by Prentis, tells a man in the military that he specializes in threats that originate beyond Earth, which the man thinks is a great coincidence, because he has been tasked with setting up a special task force to deal with threats from beyond. Prentis says he would be honored to look over their plans and give his assistance.
In the present, the Doctor tries to get answers from the evasive woman in charge of Division. She tells the Doctor that Division began on Gallifrey as a group that would ensure the safety of the galaxy, but as their ability to travel grew, the number of operatives grew, who came from all dimensions and species, and who did anything they needed, guiding and shaping events. The Doctor questions that they interfered in contravention of all Time Lord directives, but the woman tells her that some civilizations needed help or directions and Division would assess and act accordingly. Their reach became unlimited, and from the shadows they achieved their aim behind their wildest dreams. The Doctor questions that if they were everywhere why she couldn’t find them, as she looked across the universe. The woman says that it’s because they are not in the universe.
Back in the present, Karvanista realizes that one of the ships has fallen out of formation and Earth is now breechable, so he gets permission to take remote control of a ship that never responded to the species recall and use it to fill the gap. The ship he recalls is the one being piloted by Bel, who is on her mission to save the people from Puzano. Karvanista hyper jacks the ship.
Meanwhile, Vinder has been trying to communicate with the Doctor. He hears something and investigates, finding the missing people in a trance where Swarm and Azure are. While he stays out of sight, Swarm tells the “objects” that they are their playthings and power source and then disintegrates them all. He says that the time force is growing and everything is working according to plan.
Back at Division, the woman explains that they are outside the universe on the cusp of another. They are part of a multiverse. The conversion plates allow them to exist outside the known universe. The place is shaking and unstable, however, because they are moving from one universe onto the next. The woman explains that they are at a seed vault where they will take genetic traces from the previous universe and import it into the next, preserving what will be gone. The Doctor, however, tells her that the universe isn’t going anywhere. The woman tells her that it’s already over and has been since they let a virus into the experiment – the Doctor. She explains that the Doctor got out of Division and couldn’t leave the universe alone. She blames herself partially, because she thought the Doctor was manageable, but she knew if she rediscovered what Division had done, she would never stop hunting them; morality is her flaw. The Doctor questions that the universe has to end to protect the existence of Division. The woman says that that is why they engineered the Flux to shut down the universe and with her in it, except she still interfered and disrupted the Flux as it was starting, throwing herself and the TARDIS in front of it. The Doctor questions that Division created the Flux because they are scared of her. How much power do they think she has? The old woman says that they aren’t scared of her so much as wary. She inspires people to rise up and gives them hope, which can be problematic.
The woman then reveals that she is Tecteun, the one who originally found the Doctor and brought her to Gallifrey and raised her.
In 1976 England, Prentis is still “helping” what has become UNIT, but when the general shows him a non-terrestrial detector, it goes off on Prentis, so he kills him – a snake erupting from the man and returning to Prentis.
The Doctor realizes that Tecteun has been generating the final waves of the Flux to move the structure to the next universe, destroying the one they are leaving behind. She brought the Doctor there to make sure she wasn’t in the universe to be able to save it.
Tecteun confirms that what the Master told her about herself is true, about rescuing her at the monument as a child. The Doctors says that Tecteun took something that didn’t belong to her and that someone could have been coming for her, she’ll never know; she denied her the life she would have had. Tecteun says that she gave her her life and that she judges her for giving her the journey of her lifetime, but she does the same. She picks up people to use for reassurance and company; they are her experiments just as the Doctor was hers. The Doctor denies they are the same. Tecteun says that she was right to have her memories erased and orders the Ood to guard her.
Swarm and Azure find Vinder, but he knew they would detect him, wanting to be taken by Passenger, apparently thinking Bel is inside. While there, he finds Di and tells her that he is looking for someone but will help her get out.
In 1904, the trio has gone to a seer seeking guidance, who’s message is to “fetch your dog.” Yaz gets the idea to paint a message for Karvanista on the Great Wall of China saying Dan is there and for him to “fetch his human.” He sees it (in the present), but says Dan is an idiot, because he doesn’t have time travel.
The Doctor tries to get the Ood to help, telling him that the universe is full of other Ood that will die. He doesn’t think he can help but eventually shows her the map of what remains of the universe after the Flux. She sees that the compression of the universe is all moving in from the outside to Earth. She says that what has been compressed and be decompressed. They can use the transport pads and a power source and reverse the polarity of the conversion plates to stop Tecteun.
Before she can do anything, however, she hears whispering – coming from a Gallifreyan pocket watch.
In 1987 England, Prentis kills the current head of UNIT operations to take over.
Joseph Williamson shows up on the ship the trio are on, and they follow him to the tunnels, realizing that he has been popping up at different places in time so they need to find him. After hours they finally run into him, and he is happy to finally have someone believe him.
Tecteun admits that the Doctor’s memories have been quantum stored in the pocket watch. She also did not allow the Weeping Angel that tracked and betrayed the Doctor to escape.
The Doctor asks how many people she has been? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? She asks the Doctor what she would give to know and says she will offer her a choice. She can return to the dying universe to defend it from inevitable destruction, or she can rejoin her and Division and come to the next universe to help her build with her memories restored and be complete again. The next universe holds the other end of the wormhole she found her, and it could be where she is from. There are discoveries awaiting them both, a new start. The Doctor tells her that if she really knew her, she’d know that she would never agree, no matter how strong the incentive. Tecteun questions if she would agree if she left Earth and let her friends live.
In 2017 the Grand Serpent threatens Kate at UNIT, saying that operations will be wound down and she must concede defeat. However, she has already seen him hiding in plain sight. She dug into all the altered incidents and accidental deaths at UNIT and came to the conclusion that he is non-terrestrial and hostile and possibly has the ability to move in time. He tries to kill her, but she is wearing a psychic manifest shield, so what ever he used to suffocate the others from the inside won’t work on her. She says she won’t let UNIT be sabotaged from within. She will expose him and will call in a favor from someone he really doesn’t want to argue with.
Kate arrives at her house and when her key turns in the lock it sets off an explosion. She turns away in time, however. She calls Osgood, saying she has to go dark and then snaps her phone.
In 2021, Karvanista comes onboard the ship and he and Bel fight, but during their shootout, the ship comes under attack.
In 1904, the trio talks to Williamson, who has been trying to make sense of everything. He’s been trying to build defenses against the destruction come. In the tunnels there are a dozen doorways to a dozen worlds, but since All Hallows’ Eve, since the Flux, some of the gateways have changed and led to places he has not seen. He hoped he could save everyone now he fears he can’t save anyone.
Suddenly there is pounding, which has never happened before.
In the present, the Grand Serpent tells someone on the phone to lower all defense and aim the weapons at the planet’s surface. They have a list of the target cities. The woman at the other end with a snake tattoo on her wrist says that everything is in place. Prentis hangs up and asks if they have an agreement. The Sontaran general comes over the video feed and says that his proposal is acceptable. The forces of Sontar have revenge to exact.
The Sontarans show up on the ship, where Karvanista and Bel have joined forces.
More Sontarans show up in the tunnels.
The Doctor says that she is going to save her friends and the universe and destroy Division; she’s made it personnel. But before she can do that, Swarm and Azure show up having used a psychic temporal bridge he had been building, powered by the energy harnessed from life forms. All it took was a little bit of time to get there beyond the universe, to find Division and get revenge from those that imprisoned them so long ago. To take them all. Tecteun says they don’t belong there. Swarms says she released him, now he releases her, and then he disintegrates Tecteun. He says now it is the Doctor’s turn and goes to touch her...