Whittaker shines more obviously, and wonderfully, during this episode – incorporating the character’s core philosophies (‘Brains beat bullets!’) in new and hilarious ways. You can see when her mind is working at a million miles a minute, before coming out with a funny yet reassuring line (‘Are we gonna die?’ ‘One day, yes’).
There’s also a brilliant bluntness underneath, like she’s a parent teaching her children, which (in terms of overall intelligence) is what her new friends essentially are. In this episode, there are also some questions raised about the Doctor’s past during her scuffle with the villain. We can probably look forward to more of that later in the series.
The raised number of companions isn’t completely convincing, since Ryan (Tosin Cole) is the most engaging out of all of them. You wonder why he couldn’t have been the only companion. Graham (Bradley Walsh) is funny and he's a magnet for clear explanations of what the hell is going on, but doesn’t serve a higher function. It’s a similar case with Yaz (Mandip Gill), who contributes even less. But who knows – maybe Chibnall will surprise us again and make these characters more relevant.
The pulse of the story and the childish thrill of friends working together is exceedingly enjoyable. With all the rubbish that’s swirling around the world right now, Doctor Who is an immersive and entertaining break.
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