Doctor Who Review: The Master Of The Fall

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Spyfall, Part Two concludes the opening adventure of series 12 of Doctor Who.  In the first episode, the Doctor and her companions are asked to look into a series of attacks on various spies around the world.  The Doctor learns of a social media mogul named Daniel Barton and encounters large shiny luminescent aliens in Australia. An ally known as O turns out to be a familiar foe known as the Master.  He has the Doctor exiled to some strange environment in another dimension as Yasmin, Graham, and Ryan are plunging to fiery deaths in a plane that has lost its cockpit.

Jodie Whittaker is wielding the sonic screwdriver as the Doctor with Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, and Tosin Cole sharing the billing.  They have been separated with the Master chasing the Doctor through various time zones who is accompanies by Ada Lovelace and Noor Inayat Khan, code name Madeleine.  The Master has returned in the shape of Sacha Dhawan.

Executive producer and showrunner Chris Chibnall wrote this one with Lee Haven Jones as director.

The Master’s sudden appearance does smack of desperation from the writers in an effort to bring up a familiar presence after the previous series featuring no familiar adversary to the fans.  Dhawan does well enough, but he seems to just copy the same mania of John Simm’s performance.  I miss the suave villainy of the late Roger Delgado.  There also was strangely no mention of the Doctor and the Master developing their rather strange alliance during the Missy incarnation.

The plot is a bit of a mess, but it was a little better than what the fans got during Whittaker’s freshman season.  Her version of the Doctor still seems to be an echo of the energy displayed by David Tennant or Matt Smith when they had the role.  There is some effort to have a more serious threat looming over the Doctor.  There is another disturbing revelation about the Doctor’s home that I found to be a little unnecessary.

Some of this worked well enough, however I found this to be somewhat average in spite of the big reveals and surprises.  I may just find it too soon to have the Master back.  At this point, I am relieved that I at least found this to be tolerable.  Unfortunately, I am not sure that much of the audience is going to be as forgiving, and I also am not in total disagreement with that group either.  I hope the series gets better from here.



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