The Master and Doctor battle it out on Gallifrey. The Cybermen are close behind attacking the Doctor’s fam and some of the last remaining humans?
So what did Blogtor Who think about this last episode of Series 12.
PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD
I’m still processing how I feel about tonight’s episode but here goes….
Series 12 is over and ended with bang in the form of The Timeless Children. The promotion implied that everything changes with this episode but in reality is – no, not really. No more than what already changed with the introduction of an alternative Doctor in Fugitive of the Judoon. Essentially we are left where we were – the Doctor has many lives that she has forgotten. Interestingly, Rassilon was forgotten as well but that is for another conversation. And certainly Gallifrey seems to be a planet that abuses children and one child in particular – The Doctor.
On the other hand, it was great to see the fam step up to save the day against the Cybermen and there was a lovely moment between Graham and Yaz but the Cybermen were hardly significant in this tale. The real focus was the mind game between the Master and the Doctor, as the Master systematically destroyed who she thought she was. Both Jodie Whittaker and Sacha Dhawan excelled in this battle. But even that proved to be not that important since as her previous self reminded us, it doesn’t matter how many Doctors there have been – the Doctor is always the Doctor no matter what the minor external changes bring.
In the end, this wasn’t a conclusion, just another reset and a continuation onto the next chapter –
All that is left to say is The Doctor will return with
REVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS!
What! What! What!
Wow. What an ending to the series. And it’s almost perfectly juggles all the things we expected from it, the heavy weight the whole saga of the Timeless Child had put upon it, and the resolution of the story set up in Ascension of the Cybermen. It does so aided by two great weapons in its arsenal. The first is a great joy in its own more ridiculous aspects that, nevertheless, never undercuts the drama. When Ashad, the great Cyber-zealot, finally reveals his grand design it’s… well, it’s a little naff. But that doesn’t matter at all when the script and Sacha Dhawan’s performance conspire with to wink at that. The Master’s hang dog disappointment “… robots,” is a terrific moment and there’s something wonderful about how unknowingly out of his depth Ashad is as soon as he walks into the same room as the Master.
The second is the way it approaches its earthquake of a revelation with a poetic outlook on the nature of Doctor Who itself. Squaring the circle of the age old Cartmel Plan is carefully builds a new mythology for the character while making them even more of a mystery than ever before. But even as it builds this new mystery, it reminds the more twitchy members of the audience that ultimately it doesn’t matter. The Doctor is still the Doctor. Nothing has changed. Still never cruel. Still never cowardly. They’ll never give in and they’ll never give up. Their About page on Space-Facebook might need a bit of an overhaul after tonight’s events, but that past does not define them. The Timeless Children seems certain to take its place alongside the likes of The Deadly Assassin and The Day of the Doctor as one of the Doctor Who stories.
We’ve been set up with a lot of mysteries over the course of this series – ‘What is the secret of the Timeless Child? ‘ What is the importance of the Lone Cyberman’ ‘how does Jack know about him’ ‘Is everyone from Galiifrey dead?’ ‘Whats going on with the new Master?’ ‘ Who is the fugitive Doctor?’ and ‘Who the Heck is Brendan?’.
That’s a lot to answer in one episode. Thankfully Chris Chibnall didn’t try to answer all of them however, the absence of Jack Harkness was particularly felt and somewhat cheapens his earlier appearance in the series as he has no involvement in the Cyberman plot. However a lot else WAS answered (even while giving us more questions). And as promised it was pretty mind-blowing and changes everything we thought we knew.
Different people will have various opinions about if that is a good or bad thing, personally though, I find it exciting. And this was a very exciting episode, with lots of hold your breath moments, some brilliant character interactions and heart-pounding action. Every time the Doctor and The Master are on screen together the interaction is electrifying.
Yaz and even Ryan (who has been a bit hard done by in the writing this series) both had some great individual moments as well. And yes, the Cyber-Time Lords felt a tad cheesy, especially in their design, but they don’t distract too much from the mind games between the Master and the Doctor.
We even had a cliffhanger into the Seasonal special complete with nostalgic “What?, What? What?’ just like in the classic RTD era, keeping the excitement going right to the very end of the episode. This episode have us so much in terms of spectacle and lore that it could have easily been an anniversary special so if this is what we’ve got now god knows what Chibnall has planned for 2023.
I’m sure most other viewers are in the same situation as me, in that I really don’t know exactly what to say right now!
I was very apprehensive about all the promises both within and outside the show itself that this episode would change everything, but thankfully they really weren’t lying! I really thought this revelation we were promised would turn out to be something negative or inconsequential, but in my mind it’s neither of those things – this is a very exciting prospect for the show, and the Doctor’s past and forgotten lives are something I’m very much looking forward to exploring in more depth!
Jodie Whittaker’s performance was spectacular, as was Sacha Dhawan’s unhinged and chaotic Master, who I sincerely hope we see again against all odds! He certainly stole the show for me this episode.
I’m still not quite sure how I feel about his ‘CyberMasters’ which are an unbelievably bonkers concept, but aren’t they just the kind of ridiculous thing the Master would come up with?
I’m also amazed that Graham, Ryan, and Yaz all made it out of that unscathed – I was convinced at least one of them wouldn’t survive. I do wonder if perhaps it would’ve been more impactful for one of them to sacrifice themselves, rather than Ko Sharmus?
Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to see if and how they ever reunite with the Doctor. I for one hope they do, or this will be a very anticlimactic end of the road for the ‘fam’. It feels as though this rollercoaster of a series has ended all too quickly, and I know I’ll be processing this finale for the next several months until the Doctor’s back on our screens again!
Closing the series of what used to be known as ‘Doctor Who’ and should now be referred to as ‘Doctor What the Hell’, is ‘The Timeless Children’. Let’s start with that, ‘The Timeless Children’. Whilst I applaud the idea that those from the planet Gallifrey were not naturally capable of regeneration, what stemmed from there was overly convoluted. Many will tear into what this does to continuity. What I will say however, is that trying to create mystery in a character by muddying the water of established history risks alienating a lot of people.