Never did I think that Chris Chibnall would make me excited for Doctor Who, but here we are.
On the 27th of May last year, I wrote a post about a promotional image for Series 12 which, we now know, was taken from this episode. I said “we could just end up with another very flat story that happens to have a fan favourite in”. I was right to be catious, but I was also pleasantly surprised.
They definitely gave Thirteen more edge in this episode. I was so relieved to see 45 minutes of Doctor Who that wasn’t riddled with agressive neutrality from the very flat-acting Jodie Whittaker. I would rather Doctor Who be a hot, steaming mess than the boring, straight line that it has been for the past couple of years.
Anyway, back to the Good. Captain Jack Harkness showing up after EIGHT FULL SERIES (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, MISTER?) was the last thing I expected. Only this time last year was I making a podcast about Captain Jack and Torchwood, theorising that he may never return. My feelings towards Chibnall were mostly calm with Jack on screen. After all, Chibnall wrote and led the first two series of Torchwood – okay, they weren’t particularly strong examples of good television, but I felt comfortable knowing that Chibnall knows how to write for John Barrowman as Jack.
Honestly, Captain Jack was the best part of this episode. He finally brought the very missing connection to the rest of Doctor Who. We haven’t seen him in Doctor Who since Series 4 and I am very curious to see how a Series 4 character is going to fit into this Series 12 s**tshow.
Why oh why do you keep casting people who can’t act? I loved some of the banter between Thirteen and the other character, which I will be calling Ruth, but there were no other redeeming factors of her performance. It really p**ses me off when writers, directors etc. create an opportunity for representation for a minority and then they pick a disappointing person to be that beacon.
Of course, no member of a minority is a representative of that minority, but when it comes to representation – especially in the media – it is vital to provide figures who members of those minorities can look up to.
Okay, I loved seeing the Judoon return. I also loved all the jokes of making the Judoon rhyme with words like “platoon, lagoon” etc. It’s a great call-back to Series 3 and an homage to David Tennant. For that reason, this episode has my respect.
However, one of the key traits of a Judoon is that they speak IN JUDOON. It’s a language that even the TARDIS can’t translate (as seen in Series 4’s ‘The Stolen Earth’). While the Judoon language seems laughable at first, when you combine it with their relentless aggression and over-the-top policing attitudes, it adds to the intimidation. As soon as you remove that barrier by making them start speaking English (or “Human” as they put it), they suddenly seem a lot less frightening. Not to mention the fact that they sound so cartoonish speaking English.
I already pledged to “stick-it-out” for the remainder of Series 12 but, thanks to this episode, I actually have a valid reason to watch.
Featured image copyright BBC.