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Doctor Who: Season 14: episode 8: Empire Of Death by Russell T Davies

No introduction? I’m not sure yet. This season has had its ups and downs. Davies has certainly been testing his ground with this year and we won’t know what he learnt until next year.

Don’t you find it weird that the commanding military officer doesn’t come equipped with anything more than a hand pistol? The entire episode is spoiler so make sure you watch before you read on as I’m going to give reaction even if I’m not telling you much about the plot. I won’t necessarily do this in order so won’t give too much plot away as I’m looking at things that settled in my memory, especially the questions that came up.

There is always a problem when the universe is destroyed mostly because you also have the likes of Ciara, who is supposed to be at all points in time, and you would have thought earlier Doctor regenerations would have been aware if not destroyed as earlier times are turned to dust. Then you have a variation of the grandfather paradox except it would apply to the current Doctor as he would have no past regeneration histories leading up to him. Certainly the split Tennant Doctor had to be in that reality.

The resurrection of all the planets that the Doctor has visited although not said obviously includes Skaro and Gallifrey, so does that mean the Time Lords are back?

Kudos to Bonnie Langford as Melanie Bush as she slowly gets changed over. Considering how bubbly she is normally, it was very unsettling. Having her touching her own Doctor’s multi-texture coat is a nice touch.

The budget was spent where the effects were needed and adds up if you count the minutes. If anything, the episode moved away from chase scenes to a lot of talky scenes. The real problem is the solution comes over more as a fantasy solution than Science Fiction, I know Russell T has said in the past he sees ‘Doctor Who’ as space fantasy but it still needs some internal logic. I mean, where did the second TARDIS come from and how did the holograms become physical? So many conventional science laws being violated if you really analyse it. I’m not even sure about Ruby Sunday’s origin just being from ‘average’ people? So what makes that significant to Sutekh as it could have been anyone really. Ruby is supposed to be popping up in the next season so maybe the needed answers will be there.

I do think Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor finally got really serious this episode which finally makes the right connection to his earlier regenerations and not out for some fun.

What is worrying is this is the second god-like being that this Doctor regeneration has taken on and won. If there needs to be a weakness in the future then he needs to demonstrate some fallibilities or he’s never going to have any difficulty.

As I’ve previously commented, this season has had its ups and downs. In many respects, the last episode is more a forerunner for what is going to happen next season and whether Mrs. Flood is going to appear anywhere than London now that Ruby Sunday has jumped TARDIS.

Unleashed: I have half an eye on it while writing my review and a double episode. The last one looking more over the season. If you’re a Whovian looking to visit all the locations, you’re going to be busy, more so as some are only going to look superficially like them.

Geoff Willmetts

22 June 2024


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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