Tonight saw the first episode of the 13th season of Doctor Who, a six-episode one-story season with the overall name of Flux. What the flux?! Well, we would find out when I eventually got round to watching it. More on that later… here for you now is our Ten Slightly Late Thoughts for Doctor Who: Flux: The Halloween Apocalypse
1. He's Hyperpodulating!
It's never a good idea when the opening of Doctor Who reminds me of nothing more than the Ricky Gervais Doctor Who scene in Extras with David Tennant. But this one really did. At least we know that the Doctor can hotwire a gravity platform. That might come in handy. And also still very lackadaisical about getting her companions in mortal danger.
2. Two In A Bed
TARDIS physics can always be fun, and a direct line from the door to a double bed via a trampoline must have come in handy all manner of times. And will also provide plenty of screencaps to all those folk who ship Yaz and the Doctor. Notably, Yaz is now a trained TARDIS operator alongside the Doctor. Definitely earning her place.
3. The Boy Who Waited
So Swarm has been imprisoned since the dawn of time by The Division. The Dark Times then, the eons before the formation of Gallifrey by the Time Lords, and which in the previous season we learned that the Doctor was a part of. Before the First Doctor, before Gallifrey, before the Time Lords, she was the Timeless Child, an unknown figure from an unknown species from an unknown reality, whose DNA was used to create the Time Lords. And was a part of The Division, the Time Lord secret police. And The Division is still around, checking on their prisoners in the remnants of the Burnished Rage battleground. And a vision granted the Doctor of Swarm's escape, doing a bit of psychic Fleabagging.
4. Trick Or Treat
We pointed out that this may be a Hallowe'en episode, but having it play out in the early evening of Hallowe'en is a way to guarantee low initial viewing figures as kids and families are either doing what the kids are doing here or answering the door. This is a Doctor Who worshipping family but we all put it on hold tonight. How many other families will have done the same?
5. The Cavern Club
We have two Liverpools, the Industrial Revolution full of men with top hats, industry, manual labour and follies that built modern-day Liverpool – and its caverns. And then modern-day Liverpool with Dan and Diane, a proud city, including what came from the Cavern Club, but one with its own troubles such as modern-day poverty and food banks. Dan as a food bank worker is like The Vision picking up Mjolnir and handing it to Thor. Instant "this is a good guy" vibes, as well as a recognition of austerity Britain over the last decade, as food banks have blossomed, especially in places like Liverpool.
6. Lots Of Planets Have A North
Karvanista appears to be homo canis, one of a race of dog-related aliens, the Lupar, who are nevertheless bonded to humans and humanity in a very unexplained fashion. Are they the descendants of Earth dogs, from the future, coming to the past to protect their former owners? Or is it just some kind of strange coincidence? So long and thanks for all the bones, maybe? And as Northern accents between Dan, Yaz, and the Doctor battle it out as Americans try and tell the difference between Sheffield and Scouse, it is nice to acknowledge that if Doctor Who aliens landed on a street in Liverpool, people would just assume they were dressed up as unconvincing Chewbaccas – especially on Hallowe'en. Oh yes, and "mardy" means being out of sorts, being in a mood that leads you to complain and whine.
7. Tale Of Three Prisoners
Karvanista imprisons Dan. The Division imprison Swarm. And Observation Officer Vinder is imprisoned on Observation Outpost Rose. It turns out both of these imprisonments were with good intentions. But now The Flux is going to destroy everything, while the Swarm seems to intend to do so on a more minimal level. And maybe the Flux may have freed Vinder? Chibnall throws a lot of balls in the air, with a lot longer to bring them down to Earth. Talking of balls…
8. Once Upon A Time. The Doctor Was A Ball Boy
Just a little bit of gender fluidity. The Doctor was a ball boy for Trent. What does that mean? And who was The Doctor? Famously Oakley Cannonier was the ball boy, whose quick reactions, getting the ball that had been kicked off the pitch by Barcelona to Trent Alexander-Arnold fast to take a rapid corner-kick, enabled strike Divock Origi to score Liverpool's fourth goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final and win the match. Cannonier became famous for it and a few years later would join the Liverpool under eighteens team. Basically, that means, at some point in the Doctor's many lives, she was Oakley Cannonier. And, presumably, still is.
9. A House In The Middle Of Nowhere
If Chris Chibnall has a strength, it's in throwing in a mass of locations and characters and finding a way to thread them all back to the central narrative, And with a six-part story to tell, he has got more and more scope to do that, because none of it needs to tie up by the closing credits. Indeed the more that stay open, the greater the draw to bring them all back together. Such as weird houses sitting in the middle of nowhere. Time Lords hide in plain sight courtesy of fob watches but Swarm's relations seem to implant themselves into all manner of places too…
10. The Doctor's Greatest Hits
"Nice to meet you, Dan. Run for your life!" is a direct reference to the first New Who episode Rose. when the Doctor first meets her. The name of the space station here is also Observation Outpost Rose. We have clipped officer Sontarans and static Weeping Angels., we have compressor devices and Vortex energy, and we have Claire, someone who we are meeting out of order, just as with Sally Sparrow and River Song. She knows the Doctor but the Doctor does not know Claire – yet. Claire is going the long way round, but then an encounter with a Weeping Angel sends her back in time again. Is she going to have to go the long way round twice? "You've got to go home now Claire" – where, or when, is home? And it's this just what happened to ' Master in Steven Moffat's The Curse Of Fatal Death? And we even have the Cloister Bell…
Time to break out the bonnets and the bayonets for War Of The Sontarans…