Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Thirteenth Doctor

I recently finished rewatching the Thirteenth Doctor’s run before the Centenary Special. As we say goodbye to Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. Her run as the Time Lady was filled with controversy, largely because of the Timeless Child saga (but I covered that in a previous post). All the same, I enjoyed seeing her as the Doctor, so let’s celebrate her three-season run with a little recap. 

Series 11

Top Story: Demons of the Punjab
Sometimes I just really like these stories that have no supernatural villain. The “demons” in question are just there to mourn, which is beautiful. I also appreciated this episode more after watching Ms. Marvel and understanding a little more about Partition. There’s also the time loop version of time travel I love.

Flop Story: Witchfinders
Maybe it’s just hard dealing with impossible people, but I just got so annoyed with the witch hunters. Why couldn’t they just chill out, especially once the Doctor showed up? Granted, that’s discrimination for you… you can’t exactly logic yourself through it. The episode also felt like there were so many moving parts and it was resolved in a snap. A bit anticlimactic.

Honorable Mention: Rosa
As a white man, I have a hard time talking about racial issues, because I feel unqualified. However, even if you’re not a minority, I think the story of Rosa Parks can be inspiring to anyone who feels misunderstood or mistreated. Portrayed in this episode, it was heartbreaking to see how people treated Ryan, Yaz, and Rosa  (makes me reevaluate how I’m treating people around me too). Even more heartbreaking was seeing Graham forced to keep his seat on the bus and make history happen, no matter how wrong it felt to him. 

Series 12

Top Story: Fugitive of the Judoon
Return of the police rhinos from space! I think the last time we'd seen them as an antagonist was The Sarah Jane Adventures, so it's been a while! I loved the mystery of this story, introducing the confusion of who Ruth is and how she plays into the Doctor’s past. I’m probably one of the only people who liked this plot twist of more past Doctors. But we’ll get into that shortly with “The Timeless Children”. 

Flop Story: Praxeus
Not a bad story, per se. But again it had so many moving parts that I didn’t care for it. I can appreciate the message to protect the Earth and treat it right though. At least it wasn’t preachy about its “green” message, like Supergirl (they literally had a trash monster at one point–like something out of Power Rangers).

Honorable Mention: Ascension of the Cybermen/The Timeless Children
Unlike many of the more vocal Doctor Who fans, I enjoyed the idea of the Timeless Child. Unfortunately, I didn’t like how it was revealed (but I’ve covered that already). All the same, this story opened the door for so many other possibilities in Doctor Who. With Chibnall leaving and Davies returning, I doubt we’ll revisit it. But who knows? At least we don’t have to revisit the Doctor continually being given more and more regenerations… especially since the Time Lords are gone again…

Series 13

Top Story: The Vanquishers
A satisfying (mostly) way to round out the story of the Flux. While Chris Chibnall had written out UNIT the year before, we had them back again here, albeit very small. But I’ll take any chance to see Kate Stewart back, representing UNIT and her father. While overall I enjoyed this story, two things didn’t sit right with me. One, the Doctor just ditches her fob watch, after all that time searching? Not very satisfying. Two, what happened to the universe after the Flux? Is it back? Is it broken? Is it resetting? We get zero indication.

Flop Story: Eve of the Daleks
The 2022 New Years special left me wanting more. Maybe it’s because so many series have done the Groundhog Day thing already. I liked the Doctor’s scheming and how she had to adapt each time the loop started again, but it just wasn’t engaging for me, being thrown in with two new characters who are both awkward in their own right. And then there was Yaz confessing her feelings for the Doctor, to which I’ll refer you to my feelings about shipping the Doctor, regardless of gender.

Honorable Mention: Once, Upon Time
It was an interesting way to delve into the Doctor’s forgotten past and into the lives of her companions, while still keeping the story moving forward. I really enjoyed getting the Fugitive Doctor back, even just for a flashback (kind of). I hope we get to see more of her in the future stories. I doubt we will, with the change in showrunners, but I can always dream.

Centenary Special: The Power of the Doctor
I did a whole review of this special, but it needed a mention here anyway. We get the return of a number of Classic companions, primarily Ace and Tegan. The return of the Master and the return of various Doctor faces made this story heartwarming too. I would love more stories like this, with returning companions. And then that cliffhanger. Jawdropping.


Yaz The Woman Who Fell to Earth - The Power of the Doctor
Ryan The Woman Who Fell to Earth - Revolution of the Daleks
Graham The Woman Who Fell to Earth - Revolution of the Daleks
Dan The Halloween Apocalypse - The Power of the Doctor

Favorite Companion: I probably liked him for the same reason I loved Donna Noble. The sense of adventure, plus the comedic timing from John Bishop being a professional comedian, lent well to making his character endearing and memorable. So while he was the shortest of the Thirteenth Doctor’s companions, he still outranks the other three to me. Also, he hit a Sontaran with a wok. How can you top that?

Least Favorite Companion: I’ve seen plenty of comments online over the years of people complaining about Yaz; I don’t want to do that. She was my least favorite of Thirteen’s four, but not for lack of character. She had some great growth, reminding me of Clara in a way (though plenty of people didn’t like her). Honestly, the biggest issue I had with her was the reveal of her being in love with the Doctor. It just seemed to come out of nowhere. No prior indication she was a lesbian. But I suppose that’s just how it is with people sometimes, closeted even to themselves.

And now we wait for the Fourteenth Doctor’s adventures in the 60th Anniversary Specials. If you need me, I’ll be watching some Classic Who on Britbox.

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