Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: Flux: Once, Upon Time

We have the third episode of Doctor Who: Flux in the can, Once, Upon Time. Not often you get a comma in a Doctor Who title, but there is a lot of weird stuff going down in this episode. And a way to get a lot of backstory of all the characters down as their relive their lives, some we know, some we don't. Doctor Who has been a bit underrated recently for not doing those overly complicated Moffatty plots. Well Once, Upon Time definitely goes down that wormhole.

1. Copper Kettle Daleks

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: Flux: Once, Upon Time

In an episode that seems to have the CGI budget of entire previous seasons of Doctor Who, these knock-off Vashanrada don't look great – to be fair, the Time Vortex isn't up that that much either. And we get yet another new character Bel, with her own story. Indeed, we get told "it's Bel's story" but at least we'll get a better idea of she's going by the end, from Daleks to Cybermen and beyond, with a Tamagotchi in hand. And the future of Tamagotchi seems to be to be able to communicate with your unborn child in the womb. May work better than pelting it with Mozart.

2. As John Burroughs Once Said To Doctor Who

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: Flux: Once, Upon Time

I admit, I heard that the first times as "Borusa said to me" but "Leap and the net will appear". John Burroughs, nineteenth century naturalist, nature essayist, and conversationalist rather than a goalkeeper. But the impetus is to act, to take a leap of faith. And so that's wha

3. I've Been Here Before

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: Flux: Once, Upon Time

Remember when time fell apart when River Song refused to kill the Doctor? And we had a mishmash of time and continuity, like spaghetti  folding in on itself. And so we have the Doctor's new friends revisiting their pasts and maybe futures, while superimposing each other on top of their memories. And it's happening to the Doctor as well.

4. A More Capable Doctor Who

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: Flux: Once, Upon Time

We think it's the future. With everyone far more on their game tackling the temple of Atropos on the planet of Time, we presume this is the future of the Doctor and her friends. But instead it's the past, working with the Division. And I have to say I do prefer it when Jodie Whittaker is playing her old self rather than the Victoria Wood version. So it was the Fugitive Doctor who took down the Ravagers, Swarm, Azure and the rest, back in the days of the Dark Times – and it seems the Lupari last a very long time if the same one is around to help rescue Dan.

5. There's Always Satsumas

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who Once, Upon Time

Yes, that Victoria Wood version. Or Alan Bennett. It does get a bit much. This Doctor sets up the biggest difference between her and her Tenth Doctor self. Because he was much more akin to a satsuma. But it does make for a rather strong Weeping Angel arrival. Better car mirrors than a PS5.

6. Di Another Day

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who Once, Upon Time

 

Back to Di's story, as the world falls apart for Dan, literally, as we delve into his own past, even as the present keeps changing around him. Joseph Williamson was an English eccentric, businessman, property owner and a philanthropist who is best known for the Williamson Tunnels, which were constructed under his direction in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool, in an attempt to provide employment for the poor. His philanthropy earned him the nickname the King of Edge Hill, whilst his tunnel-building activity earned him posthumous nicknames, including the Mole of Edge Hill and the Mad Mole. And he does seem to be losing it a bit. And we note that Dan is also from Edge Hill – any chance he could be a descendant? He also does his best to help out, as a volunteer tour guide and working in the food bank, trying to run from his own past. And if the Ravagers got Di – did they get her via Weeping Angel?

7. Time And Regressive Dimensions In Space

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who Once, Upon Time

If Time and Space are at war, and this was the original Time Lord war, is the TARDIS at the centre of it all? It has been infected, the doors have gone haywire and now it seems that Vinder is familiar with them. Time Lords as well? But we see Vinder's heroism as a whistleblower that dooms him to an outpost in the darkest, deepest of space. And they should really fix that TARDIS door. And is there any way Russell T Davies can be persuaded to look kindly upon Jo Martin going forward for Doctor Who? It does feel with this episode that her odds may have sharpened a tad…

8. Kinda What I Was Going For

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who Once, Upon Time

So Vesper is the Guardian Of The Grand Serpent, and the Grand Serpent is a bit of fey tyrant, with shades of Martin Clunes. There's no chance Serpent could be a Snakedance reference at some point is there? I mean there are Sontarans, Cybermen, Daleks. Weeping Angels, Fugitive Doctors, and everything else Doctor Who being thrown at this thing. And the Mouri are involved with them as well, killing people by accident, rewriting history? And will true love between him and Bel play out?

9. I Am A Passenger, And I Ride And I Ride

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who Once, Upon Time

Is the Passenger made with Time Lord technology like the Dalek Prison? And handy to bring the Mouri through the barriers. If Time is at war with Space at the beginning of the universe, and they are indeed the basis for the creation of the Weeping Angels, could they be the Doctor's original sin? After all the Angels had the phone box, they now have the TARDIS.

10. Doctor Who? Blame The Matriarchy

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who Once, Upon Time

Barbara Flynn is Awsok, a mysterious woman in charge – Time Lady or something more? Could she be of the Doctor's original race? The Doctor's mother? Say, maybe Swarm could be as well? And this universe is over, the Flux is intentional and it's all the Doctor's fault. Of course, it is. And where is Claire? See you next week… for the Doctor Who past!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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