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Doctor Who Flux: Wasting Whittaker, Martin Was Season's Biggest Fail

The BBC just had to start scraping the barrel to have another clip video for Doctor Who, this time calling the part of "Flux" with two Doctors in it that's possibly one of the two worst sequences of the entire season. It featured the promised return of Jo Martin's "lost" Doctor and completely wastes her in the most boring flashback sequence possible.

Doctor Who: The Two Doctors Sequence in
Still from "Doctor Who: Flux", BBC

Doctor Who: Flux has been an utter waste of resources, of everything, of both Jodie Whittaker and Jo Martin. Chibnall had two fantastic actors who are The Doctor and does nothing with them. The show has horribly shortchanged both Jodie Whittaker and Jo Martin, the former playing the first canonical female Doctor that's also LGBTQ, and the latter the first woman of colour to play The Doctor, and Doctor Who failed to capitalize on both. They don't team up. This should have been a Two-Doctor team-up episode considering Whittaker and Martin already had great chemistry together as bickering Doctors in the previous season's "Fugitive of the Judoon." Instead, it's just 8 minutes of the 13th Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) stepping into a flashback of her forgotten history and settling into the Doctor as part of a Space SWAT team, one of the most boring tropes you could ever choose in Science Fiction. Then it has both Doctors just talking at each other, explaining the plot, all talk-talk-talk. Then they meet up with the bad guys, who start explaining the plot to them too!

Watching this whole sequence on its own just highlights how much worse it is. It is an abject lesson in How NOT to Write a Screenplay. It's basically a radio play where everything is explained via dialogue, or none of it would make any sense whatsoever. Even then, the dialogue is full of pseudo-science gobbledygook, so it doesn't make any sense anyway. Screenwriters are taught to "show, not tell" because movies and television are visual mediums. Throughout "Flux," Chibnall's scripts both show and tell – and fail miserably at both. He's showing and telling us everything, and none of it makes any sense or matters. The baddies are holding innocents hostage? We don't see them, so we feel nothing when he says he kills them. The Doctor explains she's tricked the baddies, and they act all shocked, but we don't see exactly how, so how can we care?

We're not writing this just to beat Chibnall up. There are major storytelling lessons to learn here. If you're a student learning to write scripts, the BBC has, perhaps inadvertently, provided a valuable lesson here in showing us all how not to tell a story. If you're a fan and enjoyed "Flux," including this clip, we envy you for being able to find joy in it. Chibnall has said that the whole season of Doctor Who was nearly cancelled because of COVID but managed to get it to production, but that logistical victory just had to have this creative defeat snatched out of it. We went from being grateful to getting any Doctor Who at all to dawning horror at a season as mind-numbingly mediocre as this. Chibnall has turned Doctor Who into exactly the show that decades of its haters have said it was: incoherent pseudo-SciFi nonsense.

Doctor Who: Flux is streaming in the US on HBO Max if you want to subject yourself to it.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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