TV Review: Doctor Who Flux (Series 13)

Opting for a miniseries for Series 13 of Doctor Who certainly changes up the pace well, as Flux comes to a breathless end with some great work by Jodie Whittaker

“Do you think running will help?”

And so the end begins for Jodie Whittaker, and for Chris Chibnall. The 13th Doctor and her showrunner had a three-series-and-out deal which they are honouring and so this final season – a miniseries called Flux and three specials – will take us up to the centenary of the BBC in late 2022 and the regeneration of the Time Lord into…well, whoever the returning Russell T Davies decides.

One might have thought opting for the ostensibly more focused notion of a miniseries, of one overarching story stripped over six episodes, would have made Flux a simpler affair than the last few series of Doctor Who but Chibnall clearly had other plans. But having reached the end, I’d say that it was a good deal more fun than anticipated, a full-on caper merely teasing traumatic revelations about the Doctor’s selves rather diving full on into the morass of series lore.

There was still a hell of a lot packed in here, including perhaps one character too many (sorry Dan, John Bishop’s new companion) who ultimately had very little to do with the Doctor in the end, actually having been stranded with Yaz for years in the 1900s. Future space couple Vinder and Bel were more fun for me, Jacob Anderson and Thaddea Graham playing out a sweet love story across the galaxy (and I’m glad their baby is just a baby…).

Annabel Scholey and Kevin McNally teamed up brilliantly in their battles against the Weeping Angels and Craige Els’ Karvanista grew into one of the series’ MVPs, particularly with the aching sadness of the revelations from the final episode. It’s a wonder that Mandip Gill was able to round out Yaz into a more pleasingly complex character, the depth of her connection to the Doctor hinted at with more than one particularly charged moment.

And I’ve not even mentioned the baddies. The Angels were used excellently, expanding their mythos cleverly and the Sontarans were scarier than they’ve ever been before. Sam Spruell and Rochenda Sandall were great value for money as the menacing Swarm and Azure though inevitably I wanted more answers about their previous relationship with the Doctor and a more satisfying ending. Craig Parkinson’s Grand Serpent was another strong addition and you kinda hope that isn’t the last we see of him, if only to resume his duel with Jemma Redgrave’s Kate Stewart, a brief but awesome appearance for this iconic figure.

And whilst I’m not mad keen on harping on about every little detail of something, particularly when it comes to sci-fi, you do have to wonder how we got to the end of Flux without anyone mentioning the considerable part of the universe that had already been destroyed by the Flux itself (that was the main driver of the story btw ) The ending was all rather upbeat considering what had been lost but perhaps the forthcoming specials will shed some light on that (I wouldn’t hold my breath though…). Still, a strong outing for Whittaker’s Doctor, possibly her best yet, let’s hope it continues with Eve of the Daleks.

Photos: James Pardon/BBC Studios

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