Review: ‘Doctor Who” Season 13 Finale – The Vanquishers

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Doctor Who concluded its six-episode event, titled Flux, this past Sunday with an extended season finale. This season had a pretty high bar set, being both the final season run for Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall, with the exception of the three specials throughout 2022. For the most part, the season as a whole has been exceptional, however, the finale didn’t quite stick to the landing that I was hoping for. 

Warning: Spoilers for the season finale of Doctor Who: Flux are below!

The season centered on an event called the Flux. A wave of energy that is destroying the universe and everything in its path. The Doctor (Whittaker) along with her companion Yaz (Mandip Gill) and newcomer Dan (John Bishop) set off on a mission to discover as much as possible about the Flux. And more importantly how to stop it. For a more in-depth look at the series opener, check out my other article here

With the Flux promising impending destruction to all of Earth, the pressure was on for the fam to find a solution. A pressure that was felt by the audience as well. I was constantly on the edge of my seat each episode as the story developed. However, the intense pressure that I and Team T.A.R.D.I.S. experienced was for nothing. As the solution comes in the form of an off-handed line and less than six minutes of build-up in the finale. 

At first, I didn’t even realize what was going on. And by the time I did, the Doctor had already sprung her plan. It was an exceptional plan, however, it felt like the problem we had invested six weeks into exploring was over without much fanfare and with no repercussions. The team moved on without worrying how Flux had changed everything. With a season that was downsized due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, you could feel the rush to complete a ten-part story in the final chapter.

As well, baddies Swarm (Sam Spruell) and Azure (Rochenda Sandall) felt wasted in the end. From the beginning of the Flux, Swarm felt terrifying and intimidating. He was someone who had been imprisoned since the dawn of time. He had a history with the Doctor, one she didn’t remember. It felt like there was so much left to explore with Swarm. But instead, he and Azure were swept away with little to no answers. Perhaps these questions will be answered in one of the specials, but I’m unsure. Casualties to the shortened season I presume.

Adding to the list of wasted potential, I was not sure of the point of The Grand Serpent’s (Craig Parkinson) storyline in the season other than to bring back Jemma Redgrave’s Kate Stewart (always a welcome addition to a Doctor Who story). It felt like there was so much more than The Grand Serpent was supposed to do, with a story that got left on the cutting room floor. His exit was just as unceremonious as that of Swarm and Azure.

The finale gave each star a moment to shine. I was apprehensive of Dan when he first came into the show. However, by the end of the season, his friendship with Yaz rivaled that of Yaz’s with the Doctor. The camaraderie that they had with each other after being displaced through time, without the Doctor, built something special between the two. Yaz was also able to set up from behind the Doctor’s shadow and be the leader that we all wanted her to be.

Bits of the story that I hope carries over into the special are the parts about the Doctor’s past. I thoroughly enjoyed the Timeless Child storyline from the previous season and was hoping we would find more out about who the Doctor was prior to being the Doctor. The almost destruction of the Doctor’s memories, which are locked away in a pocket watch, caused some panic. However, with the pocket watch in possession of the Doctor, I’m sure it’ll come back to haunt her.

That being said, the series finale was satisfying enough, especially when you factor in the constraints that the production had due to the pandemic. I hope that the next three specials provide a worthwhile conclusion to the Doctor and her companions. Because after three great seasons, this cast deserves a proper send-off.

Doctor Who will return with Eve of the Daleks on January 1st, 2022. Watch the trailer for Eve of the Daleks below!

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