Doctor Who: Series 12 (or 37 depending on how you count) : Episode 5: Fugitive Of The Judoon by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall

Before I start, this episode should be regarded as a part one and everything below is total SPOILER but with none of the answers. I would recommend if you haven’t seen this episode first come back and read later. Me, I’m going to make some sense of it all.

There are two mixing plots, a lot of unanswered questions and if you’re not careful, a recount of how many regenerations the Doctor has had. The latter is clearly absurd unless the Time Lords couldn’t count when they restored the Doctor’s regeneration cycle.

The initial focus is on the couple Ruth (actress Jo Martin) and Lee Clayton (actor Neil Stuke) on the day of her birthday in Gloucester, the town inside the county. What they don’t know is the Judoon have been ordered to Earth to capture a fugitive and locking everything down and killing anyone who breaks their laws. Translation: The Judoon make Judge Dredd look like a liberal. An odd fact is the Judoon are female. I said you had to pay attention.

The Doctor gets the TARDIS in before the barrier is raised and she stops the Judoon in their tracks by raising a jurisdiction issue and a five minute stay of execution (sic) to find out why they want to capture the Claytons.

During all of this, each of the friends are systematically ‘scooped’ up to an alien spaceship and meet a former head of Torchwood who wants to deliver a message to the Doctor. He quickly gets the vernacular of which pronoun to use after realising he hadn’t picked her up. The message is: Beware the lone cyberman. Do not let it have what it wants. So it looks like we have another story being lined up.

You’ll notice that I’m getting edgy about just what crime Ruth Clayton has committed and like our current Doctor, I’m not sure if I believe it neither.

Escaping the Judoon, Ruth takes the Doctor by car to a lighthouse and a grave where her parents are buried. Considering the time this must take, I did wonder why didn’t the Doctor just take her there in the TARDIS as it would have been a lot faster.

Now this is extra heavy SPOILER, if you decided to read as far as here and still haven’t seen the episode do so now cos I’m not going to hold back. OK? Told you so.

Without using the watch that was used in the earlier story, ‘Human Nature’, Ruth remembers what coded words are used and regains her memory and presumably physiology. She is an earlier regeneration of the Doctor which our current Doctor can’t recall happening and had been doing some work for the Judoon or someone close to them as she relates when they are captured by them. Their current boss of this team is Gat (actress Ritu Arya), also a Time Lord. All of this is still weaving away in the current Doctor and my head. There’s also a misinformation. The Ruth Doctor thinks the Judoon could kill them both but really as she’s supposed to be a past regeneration, they would only need to kill her to kill the current one. None of that happens as the Ruth Doctor attacks one of the Judoon and forces them to do an emergency teleportation away.

With me so far? I suspect everyone’s going to be wondering where all of this is going to lead, more so as we now have two Doctors existing in the same time frame. Logistically, she must survive or there wouldn’t be any more regenerations.

Some things don’t make much sense. The Ruth Doctor points out that the two TARDISes can’t be in the same place close to each other. As we have seen going back as far as ‘The Three Doctors’ and ‘The Five Doctors’, that isn’t necessarily so. Someone should have picked up on that although that might be explained in the next story or when it appears next.

If the Ruth Doctor is truly that then where does she fit in the regenerations before she regenerates into one of them. There’s also something else to consider. A couple years back, I was discussing with David Howe, a ‘Doctor Who’ expert over at Telos Publishing who agreed with me that to show having a female Doctor might be carried over to the next regeneration that just let it look like an anomaly. If the Ruth Doctor doesn’t belong to an alternative reality or have some other odd origin, then that throws everything out the window on that idea and even on ethnicity. Well, unless the next regeneration is an Asian or oriental. Not like another regeneration is going to happen any time soon, but it is an important thought that might come up in a few years time.

As commented in the opening paragraph. If it is correct, then the Time Lords have serious counting problems before giving the Doctor a further 13 regenerations.

There are far more questions than answers and I doubt if any solution I offer will match what they might have on offer. More so as I don’t think we have all the ‘facts’ to make sense of yet. Harkness’ appearance is more like a set-up for a different story than this current one.

As an episode, we really have been thrown in the deep end with this one with plenty going on and not much in the way of why it is happening. I do think it is going to get a lot of you chatting away on the subject until it’s resolved, so it would have achieved one thing on their tick list. The pace is fast and it will keep you alert and, oh, if you have ignored my issue of SPOILERS, I haven’t revealed everything.

GF Willmetts

26 January 2020

2 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Series 12 (or 37 depending on how you count) : Episode 5: Fugitive Of The Judoon by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall

  • Re: Regeneration and ethnicity. You will correct me, I know – but didn’t the elderly white male Time Lord general in Day of the Doctor regenerate into a black female Time Lord?

    • Hello Julian
      I was focusing on what they might consider for the Doctor him/herself for future regenerations that a periphery character that only appeared once. The Ruth Doctor could be testing the effect of this. After all, without Missy we wouldn’t have had our current Doctor. If anything, the Doctor’s current regeneration has shown in human history past, of having more problems with the local gentry to doing what she suggests simply by being the wrong sex. Granted this is addressing problems in human history, it could be a continual problem with a change of colour although I think it might be daring if the Doctor had a green or blue skin on Earth now could affect all stories. Mind you, Vastra showed that could work in Victorian London.


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