July 21, 2024

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Doctor Who “Flux Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse”

Something is eating the universe. It's called the Flux.

Given the final Thirteenth Doctor special is coming up very soon, and there’s a big anniversary coming up next year, I figured this was a good time to get back to the current Doctor and see if I could catch up here before the end.

That said, before I go any further, the Doctor and Yaz spend a few minutes at the start of this episode hanging upside down in a death trap, and there’s something disconcerting about watching normal human faces talk while hanging upside down.

My biggest issue with the Chris Chibnall era of Doctor Who is a pretty basic one:  there’s always too much happening.  And here I am at the beginning of what is basically a six part mini-series, and yeah, there’s a lot going on.  Stepping away from the fact the Doctor has to first escape from a death trap set by Karvanista, an alien warrior with some sort of grudge against the Doctor that she just plain does not remember, the big issue seems to be some ancient evil named Swarm has escaped from Division custody.  Who is Swarm?  Well, he has a sister named Azure, and they look like discount Cenobites.  Swarm knows the Doctor, and he keeps sending her these telepathic messages.

He may also be connected to the Flux, this something-or-other that is literally wiping out everything in its path.

But like I said, this is the Chibnall era.  There has to be more than that which may or may not add up to a good story in the end.  The main thrust is the Doctor has to rescue one Dan Lewis from Karvanista.  Why?  She doesn’t know.  Dan is a harmless enough guy, a proud citizen of modern day Liverpool who gives tours at a museum he does not work for and volunteers at a local food bank.  Why would Karvanista be after this guy?

Honestly, Karvanista is the best part of the episode in many ways.  He’s your standard alien warrior, but he’s also a dog man.  So, some guy with a Shih-Tzu’s head is running around trying to capture Dan, and since it’s Halloween, Dan doesn’t seem to get right away that the big guy who broke through his door isn’t a trick-or-treater.

Instead, well, Dan gets taken away, and Karvanista’s people have about seven billion more ships on the way.

Now, that’s a good start.  But this is Chibnall, so what else is there?

  • A woman named Claire, who already knows the Doctor because they met in Claire’s past and the Doctor’s future, is stalked and taken out by a Weeping Angel in one of the best Weeping Angel attack scenes since their premier episode.
  • Some old man is mining for something in Liverpool 200 or so years earlier.
  • Vinder, sole crewman on a deep space outpost, flees when he sees the Flux coming.
  • The Sontarans welcome the Flux as a chance to blow stuff up.
  • The TARDIS has an extra door.
  • A female friend of Dan’s is lured into what looks like a haunted house by Azure.

And that’s just a little.  That said, I did say I liked the Karvanista twist, so here it is:  his people are trying to save the human race from the Flux, not conquer them.  Each of his kind is sworn to protect one human.  Dan just happens to be Karvanista’s charge.  And there’s nothing that says Karvanista has to like Dan.  Regardless, the Lupari spacecraft have the ability to block the Flux, so their plan was to collect all the humans and store them away somewhere safe.  When the Flux starts to get there first, the Doctor has them use their ships to surround and protect the Earth.  And then the TARDIS gets sucked into the Flux.

So, there’s a lot to all this, typical for this era, and I am not sure it will come to a completely satisfying conclusion, also typical for this era.