Reviewed By: Mercury
Review Date: 12/12/18 11:26 am
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Overall this episode is not exceptionally great but is perfectly solid quality in every respect apart from one plot aspect I did not like.
The story is that 'Tim Shaw' the evil Stenza leader who we met in the excellent The Woman Who Fell to Earth turns out to have been transported to a desolate planet Ranskoor Av Kolos where he meets the Ux, a pair of super powerful beings who can achieve dimensional engineering. The Stenza warrior is taken to be the God prophecied to the Ux and they follow his instructions to capture planets and shrink them down within a sort of crystal allowing him to keep them as trophies. The Doctor must stop him and also stop Graham's wish to avenge the death of his wife ending badly for him.
My one issue with this story is the UX. They are well acted and the idea of religious aliens taken in by a false God is decent but the way they were portrayed was problematic. Tim Shaw is meant to have arrived and been taken to be a God unquestioningly with the Ux so convinced that they go against all their own views of right and wrong to follow his orders. For such a powerful race to do this is hard to swallow without being at least given a reason for why they were so convinced. Did he meet a description of the 'messiah'? Would they have followed the first person to arrive? Seems odd. Also Tim Shaw has been with the Ux for roughly 3500 years and while his plot is an ambitious one which it makes sense would take time the Ux's powers seem contradictory. They are able to return the planets in a very short time and are clearly super powerful so it seems strange that they took so long to capture the planets and build his ship. If they simply had Tim Shaw as being with the Ux for a very short time instead, such as a year or two, then it would make more sense that they only followed him for a short time and had not achieved more and it would show a more frightening level of threat by them achieving a lot of damage in a short space of time. Tim Shaw also has not aged so if Stenza never age why do they ever need to replace their leaders? Not thought through fully in my opinion. It is not necessarily illogical as such but it just did not ring true to me.
It is not the most exciting season finale but it has fine acting, superb production values, no major problems with dialogue, lovely emotional journey with Graham and Ryan and a great scene with the TARDIS saving the day. The defeat of Tim Shaw by Graham was not done in the most clever or satisfying way but that has been the case in many of the greatest Doctor Who stories when the villain crumbles suddenly (The Daemons, the Master in numerous stories, the Weeping Angels being left staring at each other by the TARDIS dematerialising) so I cannot judge that too harshly. It would have maybe been a 9/10 excellent episode if it were not for the issues I had with the Ux. As a result my rating is 7.5/10.