Doctor Who Recap: Season 13, Episode 5, “Chapter Five: Survivors Of The Flux”

Image titled The Doctor Meets His Creator As Doctor Who Heads To Endgame

Photo: Ben Blackall / BBC Studios / BBC America

The big question I’ve had all season is whether the showrunner Chris Chibnall would be able to weave together all the convincing pieces of this Flux mini series in a larger whole. And the exciting and gripping penultimate episode “Chapter Five: Survivors of the Stream” keeps that question unanswered as it makes some satisfying changes to the status quo. but also focuses primarily on more implement. In fact, “Survivors Of The Flux” reminded me “The Halloween Apocalypse” in how much information does he launches there as the episode jumps between all kinds of different storylines before leaving things on a big cliffhanger. Yet with an elegant tone and exciting character connections, this made for a pretty fun placeholder.

Before getting into everything this, However, let’s have a moment of silence for poor forgotten Peggy, the time-lagged little girl not mentioned here. Although I had assumed there would be a reward for that sweet hug she shared with Professor Jericho Last week, instead, the Yaz / Dan / Jericho end line jumps forward three years to 1904, where the trio are a well-established team of adventurers from around the world, a la Indiana Jones, looking for clues as to when and where the world might end. It was a task given to them by the Doctor, who recorded a secret holographic message for Yaz in case they separated in the chaos of the Flux.. And with little else to found them, Yaz clung to the mission (and the Doctor’s message) as his only lifeline.

This leads to a leading actor moment of Mandip Gill as Yaz looks sadly but lovingly at the Doctor’s message for what is clearly the umpteenth time. If there is a great weakness of “Survivors of the flow,” his that that doesn’t leave time for more character-centric moments like this. While Yaz, Dan, and Jericho have a great working relationship and an impressive array of adventure skills, their dynamics don’t seem all that different from last week. A three-year time jump could be a huge opportunity for the show to take its characters forward or deepen their relationship in unexpected ways. Instead the jump feels arbitrary and underutilized – it might as well have been six months like three years.

Fortunately, the Yaz / Dan / Jericho line is so fun and stylish (hats! pulley comedy! steamboats! corpses!) that he gets away with most of the time. But where the lack of character work becomes a bigger issue is with the Doctor’s storyline. It turns out (somewhat disappointing) that turning the Doctor into a weeping angel was just a fun and easy method of transporting her to her new prison: a divisional control center that sits between universes and is run by the mysterious wife of “Once upon a time” who turns out to be none other than Tecteun, the space explorer who found the Doctor in her “timeless child” shaped and raised it as a half-scientific, half-child experiment.

The doctor finally come face-To-face with her Evil Mommy is a huge moment. And “Survivors Of The Flux” somehow knows it. Jodie Whittaker and Barbara Flynn get a really fantastic scene where they wonder if Tecteun saved the Doctor or stole her. Who could the Doctor have become if she had been left under the wormhole where Tecteun found her? Yet, on the other hand, what Tecteun did is really different from what the Doctor does. with His companions ? Is the Doctor also just a mad scientist who rules his loved ones through various physical and psychological experiences?

There’s tons of meaty stuff to dig into there, but much of the emotional weight of Tecteun reveal succumbs to the amount of exposure that throughline must also provide. Instead of centering fprimarily on the mother / daughter relationship, Chibnall to Tecteun expose the massive scope of the Division, the nature of its mission to control the universe, and the idea that the Doctor is a virus that infected their experience, as well as some details about how the Flux works and the ways in which the Doctor still has a chance to save her universe. It’s a lot to take, and the moment where the doctor switches from dealing with his mother’s anxiety to discussing the logistics with an Ood less like an organic emotional reaction from the character and more like the script awkwardly pushing the plot forward.

Indeed, much of “Survivors Of The Flux” is clearly biding its time because Chibnall wants to save the big, explosive stuff for next week – with the ultimate time filler being Yaz, Dan, and Jericho ‘it’s useless journey to write a message to the Great Wall of China. Yet what “Survivors Of The Flux” lacks in clear emotional arcs, it makes up for with fun, intersecting storylines.

It is an absolute joy to watch the Joseph Williamson subplot finally introduced in the main story substantially. It suffices for the “Mad Mole” to walk aboard the companion’s liner and mention his name for Dan to immediately recognize the famous Liverpudlian. (Did you know Dan is from Liverpool ??) And thalthough the eccentric tunnel builder of the early 19th century is believed to be ancient history by 1904, Yaz, Dan and Jericho are able to find it in its base of operations: an underground room with 12 doors that lead to 12 different places in time and space, all of which have changed since the beginning of the Flux. (Gate nine now leads to endless death, for example.)

Equally satisfying is how Karvanista and Bel intersect when he remembers his ship Lupari to fill a gap in the shield around Earth. Their initial animosity vanishes when they find a common enemy among the Sontaran invaders. This is another element of early in the season which is making a welcome return here, thanks, quite unexpectedly, to the Great Serpent by Craig Parkinson, aka Prentis. Even though I had assumed that Great Serpent was a unique world-building piece for Vinder’s story, it turns out he’s also responsible for for a temporal master plan to invade 63 years of UNIT history to lower the metaphorical doors of the Estarian Army. This leads to the much-loved return of Kate Stewart from Jemma Redgrave, who was forced off the grid in 2017, but who will hopefully make it. glorious return to the final.

Speaking of this finale, my biggest question is how the Ravagers are going to pay. Although they are easily the best of the various skull-like aliens, Chibnall has crammed into his era of who, they have not yet completely click up for me. And ending with a cliffhanger that sees them dusting off Tecteun then threaten to do the same to the doctor’s falls flat, especially since the death of Tacteun so soon after presenting her just feels like a waste. (Although she might not be gone for good?) This is a fairly easy flaw to ignore in a penultimate episode it’s widely worn by its zipped and elegant tone. NOTfollowing week, However, the show will finally be to have to try glue landing.


Stray observations

  • I didn’t edit this on a first viewing, but the server who attacks Yaz, Dan, and Jericho has a snake tattoo on his arm, which not only implies that he works for the Great Serpent but also that the Great Serpent began to weave itself into human history long before meeting General Farquhar of Robert Bathurst in 1958.
  • Plus, whenever Robert Bathurst appears in something, I think of him as the guy who dumped Lady Edith at the altar on Downton abbey,
  • Did I miss how Vinder located the spot where Swarm and Azure were dusting people for fuel? Either way, his meeting with Diane inside a passenger prison was another fun ‘collision of worlds’ moment.
  • I loved the cry to Osgood and the nod to future Brigadier Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart, who was still only a corporal in 1967.
  • Maybe it will pay off next week, but it looks like the last piece of Chibnall finishedexhibition for Tacteun to explain that the doctor’s old memories were Quantum Locked in a Weeping Angel before Tecteun transferred them to a fob watch. Why couldn’t they have been right on the clock to begin with?
  • I’m very curious to see what’s going on with this strange black and white floating house that the Doctor keeps imagining.
  • ohF Classes, tThe Hat Mystery’s “December 5” date coincides with the broadcast date of next week’s finale. See you all here then!
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