Doctor Who: Flux finale was just a bit rubbish

Dec 6, 2021 | News, Uncategorized



If you don’t want spoilers, here’s a Tl;dr just for you: Doctor Who: Flux was ok for the most part. The series kicked off with a lot going on and several threads to follow, for Doctor Who, that isn’t new.

There were some pretty satisfying and engaging twists and turns but often these didn’t really pan out at all, and in the final episode where everything has the potential to be wrapped up with a neat bow, or even to leave the audience on edge with some major cliffhangers, the series clumsily staggered towards its end and felt utterly underwhelming and disappointing.

Anyway, synopsis done, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why the finale sucked!

Warning: Heavy spoilers ahead

Coming into series 13

I had level hopes for the series with the news of several old enemies returning. The first season under Chibnall had some shining moments but it was missing a lot of the old charm.

Some of that returned in season 12 and I felt like the show had regained some of its familiarity once again so that was enough reason to think things were going up…

Going into the Flux, I was weary for sure, but I thought there were enough elements to create something special for old fans and new and to give the cast some shining moments that they didn’t get much of in seasons 11 and 12.

Unfortunately, even after some solid moments in the 6 episode special, the finale really burst any bubbles of thinking Chibnall could have made a great and lasting impact on the show instead of becoming a part of Who history we would all rather sweep under the rug.

Here are 5 major let-downs from the finale:

1) Re-hashing the multiple Doctors idea with a weak method and exectution

To be fair, as the longest-running sci-fi series in history, they are bound to repeat some ideas, and the multiple Doctors situation has been done several times delighting fans.

But in this case, the premise is flimsy and the execution is full of holes.

The Doctor finds herself split into three separate entity’s when the Ood help her return to the universe to save it.

Why three? If the Ood was simply restoring her to the universe, at most it makes sense she is split in two between the division and the universe.

Also, why does this fluctuating reality work exactly in the Doctor’s favour by preventing the Grand Serpent from killing her, allowing her to use console controls with no difficulty and even hug her friends.

In fiction writing, it’s an unwritten rule that coincidence’s in the protagonists favour are a no-no, while coincidences that affect them negatively increase tension and engage the audience. Here, the Doctor is fully physical when necessary and just enough immaterial to be protected and that kind of feels like a cheat.

And lazy writing… More on that in a second.

2) The Doctor is now extremely comfortable with committing mass genocide?

Let’s just think for a minute about how the Doctor stopped the Flux and saved the universe.

So the Sontarans were about to betray Daleks and Cyberman allowing them to be consumed by the flux and then shielding themselves with the Luparian shield tech.

The Doctor decides to instead redirect the Lupari tech away from the Sontarans allowing not only the huge fleets of Daleks and Cybermen to be destroyed but also all of the Sontarans and a few of the Doctor’s friends behind enemy lines as they nobly sacrifice their lives.

Then once all of the bad guys are disintegrated into nothing, she has the passenger show up and absorb the remaining Flux energy.

My question is, when the heck did the Doctor become so chill about wiping out entire fleets, enemy or otherwise?

This is the same Doctor that struggled through multiple regenerations and centuries of their life until they were able to alter a decision that resulted in the removal of Time Lords and Daleks (Unfortunately not all, but you get the point) out of time.

Sure, that was her own race, but the Doctor has never been so relaxed about taking lives. You may argue that the Cybermen and Daleks are mostly machines, sure, but the Doctor has always tried to find another way to preserve lives, even if the only alternative is sending them to the void or restoring emotions and allowing the human element of a machine to self-destruct.

Why couldn’t she have used the passenger earlier? The Sontarans plan only required two armies to be swallowed up by the Flux so at the bare minimum, she chose to slaughter the clone race that is the Sontarans as well.

3) The Grand Serpent voluntarily walked into exile?

I think Craig Parkinson is a decent actor. In shows like Misfits, he plays a solid douchey guy. But I don’t know how much he had to work with in this character.

The bio probably read something like this;

‘Really bad alien with a magic snake monster that can kill. Determined to be worshipped and is completely unfeeling about the lives of others… The End’

The motive is somewhat hollow, but let’s go with it, plenty of side villains don’t get a lot of character development. The thing is, he has been in half this series as an underlying, conniving and plotting big bad.

Manipulative and powerful enough to implement a multi-generational plan to overtake the Sontarans and establish himself as the new leader of all humankind.

What is it that stops him in the end?

A minor issue with kate Stewart who challenges his authority. The plan is already far enough gone that she can’t really prevent him from working with the Sontarans and taking over, but for some reason, this creature that has been working for decades to put a plan in place, finds himself at the wrong end of two guns, just handguns, nothing special, and he walks himself into exile without any resistance at all.

What? Did a child with basic understanding of stories beginning, middle and end and a good wins over evil attitude write this?

4) Dan doesn’t get the girl?

Sure, this isn’t the biggest issue about the episode or series, but we see that Dan’s hopeful love interest, Diane is established as a strong character with an incredible ability to endure and overcome.

Dan and Diane clearly like each other and were pursuing some sort of relationship, until Dan Lewis is abducted by aliens and spends years fighting alongside Yaz through history to try and get back.

When he finally comes through these years lived in the past, his biggest thought is trying to catch up with her and explaining why he didn’t arrive in time for their drink.

But regardless of the things she has just come through and seen with aliens and spaceships and time travel and an almost universe ending event, she can’t hear him out for one minute?

Now, I don’t think this is the end for Dan and Diane, as she says “maybe not tonight”, but I think it’s a pretty flimsy set up for Dan’s eventual departure as he leaves the TARDIS to be with the girl.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it just feels poorly put together and thought out.

5) The Doctor’s indecision with the Fob watch

We get a glimpse inside the fob watch with the Doctor’s memories, and she has spent a considerable chunk of time searching for more information about her past and is finally presented with it.

And she decides to drop it into the Tardis console for safe keeping (until a special episode can deal with it in greater detail I guess…) but again flops her decision and says “unless I really ask for it.” Pick a dang side!

Is the Doctor afraid of being changed by her memories? I guess so and that is reasonable considering what we know about Fob watches in previous episodes and the Doctor’s past with the Division.

But I just don’t think it’s done very well.

The Doctor is coming across as indecisive, erratic and careless honestly and that just isn’t the Doctor as we have seen them before.

Jodie Whittaker has proven herself in other roles to be strong, confident, and more than capable, I just think this role hasn’t given her an opportunity to really shine.

Wrapping up

To be clear, I don’t think the fault for this series being as weak as it was lies with the actors or the majority of the team.

I think Chris Chibnall bit off more than he could chew trying to take Doctor Who in a whole new direction. New Doctor, new companions, new cinematography, new enemies, new relationships and just a whole different vibe.

What we have seen for three seasons has been a mad scramble to invigorate the show with new life and bring in new fans. Things were certainly shaken up but the numbers have dropped abysmally and I don’t know if they got as many new fans as they’d hoped, but they certainly turned off some older ones.

We know that there are a few specials coming next year and then Russell T. Davies is returning to the position of showrunner, let’s hope that is enough to rescue Doctor Who before the rest of the fans turn off too…

What did you think of the finale and the series?

By Ben Gibbons

Linktree: @benjaminblogs1

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