To be honest, I didn’t think Doctor Who would ever end up here. No-one did. When I first started my reviews for Series 12, I had pretty low expectations. Those were certainly met. On occasion, I was pleasantly surprised, but this series still doesn’t stack up to previous NuWho.
Here is my run-down of the finale to Series 12.
John Simm and Michelle Gomez set incredibly high and unique standards for playing the Doctor’s counterpart, the Master a.k.a. Missy. Personally, I’m satisfied with Sacha Dhawan’s portrayal of the Master. It feels like the entirety of Series 10 has been completely forgotten, but I think he brought a good characterisation to the screen.
Now, this is going to be controversial. I actually like the break in canon, for ONE SPECIFIC REASON… hear me out. There is almost always a history-changing decision at the end of a series of Doctor Who. Russel T Davis did it by inventing the Time War and allowing the Doctor to regenerate into the same body because he… had a spare hand. Steven Moffat did it by granting the Doctor an extra set of regenerations to the Eleventh Doctor (who was actually the Thirteenth because of the War Doctor and round two of the Tenth Doctor). What happens is that everyone gets very angry and then just accepts it when the new series comes because that’s all we want. As long as there’s more Doctor Who, more adventures, then the consistency doesn’t really matter.
On that note, Chris Chibnall has made one of the biggest canon changes in the history of the show. Not only is the Doctor not a Time Lord, but the entire Time Lord race came from her. The reason that I like this, however, is because of the question: How many lives has the Doctor had? This opens up the possibility of infinite regenerations and, thus, infinite Doctor Who.
Finally, in the “Good” section, I want to recognise the direction of this episode. It was by far the best we’ve seen in a long time in this show. I think that it is a strong contender to be the best directed episode of Doctor Who. This, coupled with the amazing sets and visuals, made it an artwork for the eyes.
Oh, dear. Where do I begin? *sigh* Well, let’s start with Jodie Whittaker. This series really solidified my observation that she is not right for this role. I don’t know if it was poor direction or a misunderstanding of the character (or both), but she mostly just stands there. Thirteen is passive. That is wrong for Doctor Who. No Doctor has ever succeeded in being passive. The person who the SHOW IS NAMED AFTER must be actively engaging in the story and Thirteen just doesn’t. It’s so frustrating to be bored by the Doctor. I would rather hate the Doctor for his/her decisions than for his/her indecision. I really hope that, if there is a next one, the next Doctor is exciting, interesting and active. Quirky is not enough.
Yet another stupid redesign of the Cybermen. We now have a hybrid of Cybermen and Time Lords. And of course, they gave them the awesome name CyberLords… oh wait, no hang on, they called them CyberMasters. Well that’s a missed opportunity right there. At this point, Chris Chibnall should just stop making up new ideas for monsters. They either serve no actual purpose or exist for half an hour and then are never seen again. These CyberMasters lasted barely minutes before being destroyed. We never saw them do anything except die. The Daleks were right, the CyberMen are better at dying.
The Supporting Cast
I felt it necessary to dedicate this section to all of the additional characters Chris Chibnall has stuffed into every episode he’s ever written. He has a very interesting method of writing characters. Instead of fully developing a single character, he will assign each trait he thinks of to an otherwise empty character and ask himself why the audience didn’t care when that character died. Don’t expect people to attach anything to a character, if the character has no substance in the first place. Almost every Chib character has done nothing except randomly making noise whilst following the Doctor around. They’re like underdeveloped chihuahuas.
This includes the companions, by the way. Team TARDIS has been utterly useless for the two series. I am happy to give the occasional pass to moments when we got some character moments, but a character is not just moments. They are an entire person. Chris Chibnall treats everyone in the TARDIS like one of four mouths that he randomly picks to spit out exposition. They are not characters, they are simply relays for Chibnall’s meaningless waffle.
Featured image copyright BBC.