Doctor Who: The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

“Roughly translated means ‘Disintegrator of the soul’.”

This felt like a proper finale, and finally Jodie feels like a proper Doctor.

All season there has been this question of whether this new take on Doctor Who would work – not just the change in the Doctor’s gender, but with all the changes to the series. There have been ups and downs, but mostly the series has been kind of middle of the road. The exception throughout has been Jodie's Doctor, yet even though she has stood out, she hasn't fully felt like the Doctor, at least for me, until now. This wasn't the greatest episode, but it served a very specific purpose cementing this Doctor as more than just a stunt (it helps that they just announced she'll be back for Series 12). I would even go so far as to say she is perhaps my second favorite Doctor (of the modern era).

The rest of the fam, group, team, companions have been nearly as good, with the focus falling on Ryan and Graham for the most part. Their arc from disrespectful and forced, to loving family has been evolving over the course of the season. Here Graham finished out his arc both with his need for revenge and his relationship with Ryan. The entire episode he was almost resigned to his choice to kill Tim Shaw, and until the moment when he realized he couldn't do it, he was grim and almost ready to accept the potentially dire consequences. Yet with the narrative coming full circle, Ryan expressed his feelings for his adoptive grandfather, giving Graham some clarity and in the end he chose the path of the Doctor and his family over his vengeance. It was a lovely moment.



I'm not sure we needed Mark Addy, but I liked his performance as Paltraki. He added a human face to the conflict, but unfortunately there wasn't a ton of emotional weight behind his mission or rescuing his people. At the very least he added a friendly character for the group to interact with, even though I half expected him to turn bad at some point. I also didn't really understand why Tim Shaw was imprisoning people, I thought he just liked to kill. Perhaps there was a purpose to his imprisoning them, but it wasn't fully explained.

The Ux were kind of interesting, in that they were like the Doctor in a way; a pair of powerful aliens wandering the cosmos in search of an elusive answer to a unanswerable question. That mission was unfortunately taken hostage by Tim Shaw, and for thousands of years they were used as tools of destruction. It's a miserable thought, that they were used in such a way, but it's also a message about blind faith and how it can be corrupted.

As a resolution, locking Tim Shaw away for all eternity was a nice end to that plot arc started in the premiere. I also loved the way The Doctor saved the day in the final moments, delivering one hell of an amazing answer to the riddle of the planets trapped in amber. I loved her energy as she went from one idea to the next, feeling around the wibbly whimmy to cobble together a solution. It was really when I realized she had become The Doctor, proper like.

Bits:

Loved the Doctor mentioning the finale of season four where the TARDIS towed Earth back to its orbit.

The TARDIS interior looked better somehow in this episode, I wonder if they finally figured out how to film it.

Yaz is committed to the Doctor completely, and was willing to sacrifice herself to help.  Ryan and Graham are also the same way in that they risk their loves on the regular to save others.

After a whole season of debates, they are going with 'Fam'.

Quotes:

The Doctor: “Grenades, code breakers for the doors, and also a bomb.”
Ryan: “What happened to never doing weapons?”
The Doctor: “It’s a flexible creed; doors, locks, walls, buildings, fair game. If it can be rebuilt I’ll allow it.”
Ryan: “No, no, you tried to stop me from shooting the sniper bots before.”
The Doctor: “You were new. I have to lay down the rules if someone is new. Also, don’t quote that back to me. My rules change all the time.”

The Doctor: “I like precautions, always take precautions. Especially when you don’t know what you're doing.”

Ryan: “What happened to doors, don’t aliens bother with doors?”

Andinio: “I don’t have to answer all these questions.”
The Doctor: “That’s what my teachers used to say, usually as they just quit teaching me.”

The Doctor: “Tim Shaw, how long has it been?”
Tim Shaw: “Three thousand, four hundred and seven years.”
The Doctor: “I bet the seven really dragged.”

Graham: “Yippie Ki Yay robots.”

Graham: “As you’re contemplating eternity, keep one name on your mind... Grace.”

The Doctor: “None of us know what’s out there, that’s why we keep looking. Keep your faith. The universe will surprise you, constantly.”

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

1 comment:

migmit said...

I agree. This is not a perfect episode, but a nice conclusion for this season. And yes, Jodie is now my second favorite Doctor too — sadly, she didn't yet surpass Smith. Bradley Walsh is the second biggest star here — he is so cool, so likeable, so damn important. Ryan and Yaz sometimes feel like glorified extras, but Graham never does.