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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Doctor Who Season 11 Finale!

December 10th, 2018 by Todd Black Comments

And with that, the first season of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who run is over (save for the New Year’s Day episode that is), and I find myself with mixed feelings about it. For while The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos did indeed tie back to things in the previous episodes, I, like many, didn’t think it matched up to what season finales are supposed to do on Doctor Who.

Now, sure, this is all subjective, and I’m sure some people loved this episode with all they had, and that’s fine. But one thing I really loved about the Capaldi episodes was that the season finales were always dramatic, and impactful. Here? Not so much.

When nine distress signals ring out on one planet, the Doctor and the others investigate, only to find a planet that messes with people’s minds, an amnesiac pilot, and a race of faith-based terraformers worshiping a “creator”. Turns out though, that the “Creator” was none other than Tim Shaw from the pilot episode of the season. This was actually a really nice twist, and one I personally appreciate, as it tied the beginning to the end, and gave even more gravity to the plot.

For Tim Shaw had used the new aliens technology to find a way to capture whole planets, all as a way to get revenge on the Doctor for making him lose the contest at the beginning of the season. That certainly was a new one, and it was interesting to see Earth almost consensed to the size of a bouncy ball.

The real driving force here though was Graham, who upon finding out about Tim Shaw, wanted to kill him for killing Grace (by proxy) in the premiere. Props to Bradley Walsh for that cold-hearted performance at the beginning with that scene with the Doctor. He didn’t even blink when he told her he was going to kill him, or that he’d be out of the Tardis business if he did. He didn’t care.

And yeah, he didn’t do it in the end, but for a moment or two, you wondered if he would.

But again, the problem is the question of scale and scope. Sure, capturing planets was a big idea, and Tim Shaw clearly did it. But as the Doctor admitted, he actually failed. And while Ryan getting to Graham and convincing him not to kill Tim Shaw was good (and sealing him away in his own pod was poetic), it lacked the impact of a finale.

Now, it could be that the New Year’s Day episode could make a bigger splash, but I don’t know. It better, because it’s going to be the ONLY episode of Doctor Who coming out in 2019. Yeah, the series got a bit behind in production, so the second season of Jodie’s run won’t arrive until 2020! We’ll see how it turns out.

Still, for a season finale, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos, was good enough, and Graham’s drama really made it feel worth it.

4 out of 5 nerds

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!