Doctor Who Episode Review: This Could Get Ugly

The Timeless Children concludes the twelfth series of the revived Doctor Who era with Jodie Whittaker in the lead role.  Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill are still the companions.  Chris Chibnall, the head writer and producer, wrote this one with Jamie Magnus Stone directing.  Sacha Dwahan returns as the current version of the Master.  This one concludes the story started in Ascension of the Cybermen.

The Master takes the Doctor on a tour of her own past within in the Matrix on a once again destroyed Gallifrey. The problem here is that there are large swaths of the Doctor’s history it suddenly turns out she cannot remember.  Meanwhile, the companions and their latest allies are having to contend with the Cybermen under the command of the one known as Ashad, played by Patrick O’Kane.  There’s a cool old guy played by Ian McElhinney with a neat craggy, bearded face that I can’t help but envy a little.  He’s also not a bad actor.

There are some pretty cool visual effects, and the how the companions contend with Cybermen bearing down on them isn’t too bad.’

I am also beginning to enjoy the mania of Dwahan’s version of the Master.  Roger Delgado, the first one to take on the role all the way back in the 1970’s, will remain my favorite, however Dwahan puts in a compelling performance.  Too bad some of his motivations and dialogue aren’t better written.

So there is a big reveal about the Doctor’s history that is supposed to challenge and break the canon and history known by the fans.  It’s a mess.  It makes no real sense, which is saying something even for Doctor Who.  Doctor Who stopped making sense sometimes ago, but it was still fairly enjoyable.  Some fans are going to say that this opens some new doors of exploring the Doctor’s mysterious past or whatever.  I am for the notion of the Doctor not having new mysteries to explore within his or her own past and just explore the mysteries in the universe…like the old days.  Just have her meet some new friends and some new foes.  Sure, the Daleks, Cybermen, or Sontarans can still show up occasionally, but do we need to rely on them so much.  I know the previous season attempted o not have them as a crutch, but I don’t think Chibnall is creative enough to manage it convincingly.  He seems much more interested in making diversity and social justice more of a priority than just solid storytelling.  I don’t necessarily mind diversity in entertainment as long as it can be presented without it feeling like some writer is checking off a box or something.

This doesn’t make me throw in the towel with this program just yet, so I will watch until the bitter end and hope that Doctor Who continues on in other media such Big Finish audios, novels, or something.  Hopefully, another head writer will have the courage and creativity to unravel this unnecessary nonsense that Chibnall has chosen to inflict upon the fans who appreciate the history and canon already created by better writers of the past.  Even if I make the choice to stay with this and watch the next series, the BBC heads do need to pay attention to the decreasing ratings if they have any interest in seeing this show survive.  It’s going to say something if Doctor Who gets cancelled just after Chibnall cast a woman in the lead role and then decided to add his own version of the Doctor’s past merely for the sake of diversity or his sense of equality.

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