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< 11.5 - The Tsuranga Conundrum
11.7 - Kerblam! >

11.6 - Demons of the Punjab

Rating Votes
10
23%
14
9
23%
14
8
29%
18
7
13%
8
6
6%
4
5
2%
1
4
2%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
3%
2
Average Rating
8.1
Votes
62
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: The31stWAHReview Date: 4/14/19 3:14 am
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

This seems to be a polarizing episode in an already polarizing year, but I think it's the best of the season, despite a few flaws. Vinay Patel is exactly the kind of writing talent the show should be looking for and he chooses the perfect premise to challenge what Doctor Who can be. Why are you even watching this show if you don't want it to try new things? Doctor Who has a long history of stories with sociopolitical commentary, and this episode tells a simple, sad, moving story about Partition that encapsulates the horror of the times.

Yes, it's slow, serious, and almost hard to watch at times. It's missing a lit of the humor that characterizes The Doctor. But it alsi introduces the idea that just bearing witness to history and refusing to forget it is a vital, noble task, even if you can't change anything. That's a lovely notion and it casts The Doctor's travels in a new light. Needless to say, it's a way better "there should have been another way" ending than "Aranchnids in the UK".
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: PilordeReview Date: 12/17/18 8:28 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Doctor Who, at first, was supposed to be educationnal. Than, it started to be about avdentures. Then, it was a show of hope.

This episode has all three: it is strong, it'll make you cry, it'll make you consider how humans can be so cruel and stupid and teach you a lot (I'm french so we don't talk at all about India and Pakistan in history class). That's what I love in Doctor Who.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
1
Plot Rating:
1
Acting Rating:
1
Replay Rating:
NR
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Silence Will FallReview Date: 11/27/18 8:52 pm
1 out of 5 found this review helpful.

Boring, boring, boring. And yes, I know that this story is much more character-focused, and as such, the plot will naturally move much slower. But the characters that the focus were put on were some of the blandest, most uninteresting and most poorly acted characters I have ever seen in Doctor Who (not as bad as Arachnids in the UK however). We were clearly meant to feel some emotional attachment to them, as the whole story focuses on the tragedies that Umbreen has lived through, a wedding, a religious dispute between 2 brothers and the inevitable death of one of the characters. And none of it is done well because the characters are so bland. Even the final confrontation between Manesh and Prehm was hugely underwhelming and simply consisted of cliched extremist views and constant whining. Honestly, it just got tedious. Now when you first enter this story, you may wonder what on Earth I'm talking about, as the Doctor immediately suffers a psychic attack, the characters see 'Demons' and there's a thrilling moment where Team TARDIS runs after the 'Demons' through some Punjabi forests. Savour that moment, becuase it doesn't pick up again until the final 5 minutes, and even then, it lasts only about 40 seconds. But yes, as I say, the Doctor and co hunt for the 'Demons' and immediately discover that they are a race named the 'Thijarians', before finding a cheap way to exclude the Thijarians from most of the remaining story. What writer Vinay Patel seemed to forget, is that he still had about 30 or 35 minutes of screen time left to fill.

And this leads into the dull and immensely draggy story that we see before us. But aside from a rushed beginning and terrible characters, what else did Demons of the Punjab suffer from? Well how about the titular demons themselves, the Thijarians. Unlike most people, I wasn't hugely bothered that they weren't actually the story's main antagonists, mainly because it was very predictable. but what bothered me is how inconsequential they were to the story. If they had been removed, the difference would've been...? All that would have come about if they'd been removed is more chance to focus on the dangers of the time, which is the thing that I think could've boosted Demons of the Punjab up from terrible to average, or even on the verge of being a good story. When I saw the epic visuals of Manesh's fellow extremists riding swiftly towards the barn on their horses, wielding blades, preparing to hunt down Umbreen, he mother and Prehm, I thought to myself: "Finally. The story is actually utilising the period (the Partition of India) and its dangers, but lo and behold, there was only 5 minutes left! And then we went into the whole rubbish confrontation between Manesh and Prehm, followed by Prehm getting shot (finally) and the story ending.

So... yeah. Wasted the period it was set in, useless monsters that felt like a cheap and lazy way to avoid being a pure historical, boring and hollow characters and some terrible pacing issues give this story a grand total of 1/10. I find it highly unlikely that ANY other story of S11 will be lower in my rankings than the hideously overrated Demons of the Punjab, but judging by upcoming synopses, past experience and the regulars' slowly devolving performances, I won't be too surprised if any, or even all of the next 4 stories somehow get into minus figures. On the positive side, Kerblam! looks like a nice, traditional DW story, so that should be a breath of fresh air from Chibnall's producership.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 11/27/18 3:44 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

'Demons' takes us back into the realm of history as the TARDIS team travels back in time to India 1947 in order to help Yaz get in touch with her grandmother and a hidden history that influences her family to this day. Unfortunately, they've landed on Partition Day, the day upon which India was divided into two independent dominions by the British into India and Pakistan and violently displaced millions of people. In a powder keg of tension that threatens to overflow into Yaz's family, it doesn't help that something else is stalking the forests of the Punjab with a seemingly dark and alien intention. It's a story that closely resembles an earlier episode in the season "Rosa" in terms of theme and intention. But the plot ends up feeling very much like "Father's Day" from Eccleston's era in that the resolution is based on the main cast doing nothing as tragedy hits and time takes its natural course. It gives us a romance plot with the background of history and once again the alien threat is displaced in favor of a deeply personal human struggle with desperate stakes for all involved. It's not a bad thing but the more that time goes by with this season, I do begin to see that it does have a villain problem to a degree. That's not to say that there aren't demons in this story which don't play a big role in the story but they aren't what we are led to believe and the story flips things on its head about two-thirds of the way giving us a much more realistic rendition of demons in this world. This twist ends up being the saving grace for the plot as it makes the setting feel much more realĀ and it makes the natural ending that it all leads so much more tragic. The main cast continues to be good even if some of them feel a little underused again. Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh once again take the spotlight for me as both get plenty of stronger moments to shine in speeches and words. Tosin Cole doesn't get too much to do but does work well in his role. The big surprise for me was Mandip Gill's Yaz in that while the story is entirely based around her and her history, she doesn't play a gigantic role in what's going on. Even in bringing about the crux of the story, she ends up taking a backseat and ending up either confused or emotional with no real action at play. It's a shame because Gill is certainly trying her best and you can tell the season is doing its best to give her something to do but she ends up feeling like the spare part in the story even in her own story. Still, this episode is pretty good all things considered giving us a very bible-esque story that accurately conveys the drama of the Partition and the devastation it has on the people affected by it. While some of the bigger elements that bring about the drama do feel like a forced-in afterthought and it again brings the villain problem of the season into sharp relief, there are a lot of powerful moments, gorgeous landscapes, and memorable words from the cast that save it from being bad. Also, give credit to Akinola's score in that the end credits are played over a Punjabi style version of the theme which was something I didn't immediately catch. All in all, "Demons of the Punjab" isn't perfect but it's still damn good and another great historical for the season that continues to bring the show back to its roots.