OK, here’s chapter two of the whole Flux thing. Do I have a better idea of what is going on? Eh, not really, but this episode almost didn’t feel overcrowded to me like so many Thirteenth Doctor episodes usually do.
The problem for me is pretty much anything involving Swarm or Azure. Not because they are bad characters. It’s because my so-so hearing is making it difficult for me to even figure out what the heck these two are even doing. Swarm knows the Doctor. He also knows Yaz. He knows things about Yaz that suggest they have met before, like in her future and his past. I might be in some real River Song level territory when it comes to seeing who knows whom from where and when.
Yaz, it should be noted, is on a planet called Time where time begins or ends or something. The Temple of Atropos is there, watched over by the Mouri, and the episode ends with Yaz, and possibly her new pal Vinder, strapped into a machine that will monitor time if Swarm turns it on, and the Doctor can’t seem to talk him out of it.
Basically, this is the stuff where I am mostly confused about what’s happening. That is rather typical for this era where everything from the pacing to Jodie Whittaker’s Yorkish accent seems designed to befuddle my tinnitus.
But set that aside…the real fun for this episode has the Doctor and Dan dealing with the Sontarans. Those jerks managed to get down to Earth before the shield went up, and they decided the thing to is invade since that’s basically their whole deal. But they managed to get some time travel into the whole thing and settled on also invading other times. As a first expedition, they decided to try the Crimean War where they would be fighting the British instead of the Russians. Partly because the Sontaran commander wanted to ride a horse.
That’s what I like about the Sontarans here. Yes, they are killing large numbers of people, but there’s a ridiculous side to the whole thing. The Flux appears to have shot the TARDIS back there, but then some weird time stuff sends Dan back to Liverpool in his own time while Yaz takes an unexpected trip to the Temple. The Doctor is stuck behind because the TARDIS won’t let her back inside right away. And in the present, Dan runs into a dangerous pair that can handle a Sontaran…his parents, who thanks to a drunken drinking buddy from the local pub, knows you can knock a Sontaran out with a frying pan to the sensitive spot in the back of their neck.
Oh, and in the Crimean, the Doctor learns a little herself from the only wounded Sontaran, a scout who got hit by a stray cannonball and was taken to a hospital by British nurse/historical figure Mary Seacole. I don’t know who that is, but Dan and the Doctor do. That’s good enough for me.
Anyway, between the Doctor and Dan talking to each other across time, they manage to take care of the Sontarans. For the ones in the past, the Doctor, after failing to negotiate a surrender because the Sontarans don’t wanna mess with the Doctor until a British officer who loves the glory of war stupidly gets involved, does realize she can get the Sontarans to leave if she messes with their atmosphere during the very brief window when the Sontarans go to sleep. Dan manages to redirect a ship to hit the others at the Liverpool shipyards, getting a rescue from Karnanista, and yes, those two still don’t get along. If that British officer the Doctor dealt with didn’t set explosives on the Sontaran ship in an act of revenge after getting a lot of his own people killed, then it might have been better.
But in the end, I am still not sure what this whole Flux thing is all about.
Titans “Caul’s Folly”
Comic Review: The Judas Coin
The X-Files “Pusher”