Doctor Who Flux: Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse by Chris Chibnall (TV episode review).


I have been avoiding most things about the latest 38th season of ‘Doctor Who’, other than those 30-second promos and, knowing this is a continuing 6-part story, considering that there are three specials next year, this isn’t actress Jodie Whittaker’s swansong. I suspect there will be thoughts of who she will regenerate into next year. In some respects, I hope they keep a couple more regenerations female, rather than treating this one as a fluke. No doubt someone will run a book on the odds and, although I favour a couple of actresses, you have to wonder if announcing them would reduce the odds of them being considered.

So, the Doctor is down to one companion, Yasmin Khan (actress Mandip Gill), until she also adds Dan Lewis (actor John Bishop) to her friends, but that takes some time.

Nice opening with the Doctor and Yaz caught in a trap on an alien planet, although we don’t really see by who. During the 50 minutes, we see a lot of dissociated threads that you have to work to see how they connect – and I still have to be careful about spoilers, because when there is a reveal, it’s a spoiler. The credits in IMDb don’t identify every actor or specify which role they occupy.

We get a quick resume of Dan Lewis’ life in Liverpool, although you have to wonder if he’s on his uppers. How can he afford a house with his disruptive lifestyle? Is there more going on behind the scenes with him?

A lot of other places are up-and-down in the timeline, not to mention the distance. Who’s going to measure 13 trillion miles away? The brief introduction of Claire, who met the Doctor and Yaz in the past, but not yet, is also confusing.

Granted, the Doctor wouldn’t want to interfere with time too much, but you would have thought she’d have got a free invite, rather than who ended up replacing her in the end.

Another loose end is the Observation Outpost Rose with its one occupant. Should we be wondering who they named the space station after?

Some of it is distraction rather than building up the picture. I think I can declare that the end of the universe, aka the Flux, is insight, and although we get some reaction from a few deadly species, you would have to wonder why two deadly time-traveling species haven’t reacted. There’s still time. If only to know the TARDIS’ cloister bell is alerting the danger. Oh, and Halloween barely gets a mention in the end.

Remember, this is the opening episode of a six-parter, so we’re not likely to get all the answers here. If anything, there are far too many questions and only a hint of what is going on. Is the alien menace who can get into the Doctor’s dreams a danger? I mean, when the Lupari’s reason for doing what he was doing is a rescue mission, then everything is upside down.

There is a singular problem with this storyline. The Doctor has been to be far future many times and the universe is still there; so obviously she must have saved it, or we are talking parallel futures?

If the Lupari are supposed to be collecting everyone on Earth, why wasn’t one assigned to Yas? Likewise, if they are working individually, it means a lot of families are going to be broken up and who’s going to look after all the babies? Should I mention that there are a lot of the Doctor’s ex-companions/friends are still on Earth at this time as well?

Oh, I should say that the effects are stunning and a lot of the budget is spent there. Hopefully, none of the above is too spoiler-like. Absorb with care and I’ll bet most of you will watch it as a complete binge evening, after the series draws to an end.

GF Willmetts

31 October 2021

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