TV Review: Doctor Who Flux Episode 1

The end begins… Jodie Whittaker’s final full season as Doctor Who starts with ‘The Halloween Apocalypse’, episode 1 of Flux

“Synchronize watches. Forget that: I’m not wearing a watch”

There’s perhaps something a little awry when news of a show’s new showrunner overtakes the show itself but such is the way of the Doctor Who discourse. Russell T Davies coming back to the show is undoubtedly a huge development but it does feel a bit of a shame that this was announced before Jodie Whittaker at least got to start her final series in the TARDIS. But whaddya gonna do?

For Series 13, Chris Chibnall has opted to shake up the model and so we’re being given Flux, a six-part single story ahead of a handful of specials next year which will lead to Whittaker’s departure. This era has been, not necessarily hit and miss for me but something less than essential, though I think that it is perhaps as much me growing apart from Doctor Who a touch, something that actually started in the Capaldi era.

But for now, The Halloween Apocalypse has the mighty task of introducing all the story strands that make up this single adventure and predictably, there’s an absolute ton of them. New companion, (John Bishop’s cheeky scouser Dan) check. New space-bound pseudo-companion (Jacob Anderson’s intriguing Vinder), check. New scary villain (the destructive amorphous mass of the Flux), check. New scarier bigger villain (the chilling Swarm), check. 

Throw in villains that turn out to be friends in the ultimately cuddly Karvanista, returning villains in the Sontarans, scenes in 1820s Liverpool as well as outer space, and the sense is of a whole lotta set-up, which is more than understandable and for me, really quite intriguing. I’m most excited about Annabel Scholey’s mysterious Claire, who knows how to escape an entanglement with a Weeping Angel and if I’m not mistaken, might very well have something do with the Doctor’s past ( I hope so, I bloody love Scholey!).

Photos: James Pardon/BBC Studios

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