Spoilers might phase in and out of reality.
The Doctor is in, the companions have sorta volunteered (not) and last week’s thingamajig ended up transporting everyone to the vastness of space. The adventure has begun with a cliffhanger. Don’t worry, our brave travellers have been scooped up from the cold hand of death and thrown into another place where they could face certain death. All in day’s work.
The Doctor along with Ryan, Yasmin and Graham end up tagging along the last two competitors of a survivor’s race called the Rally of the 12 Galaxies. Competitors Angstrom and Epzo first believe they’re part of the challenge, but once they realize their mistake they want nothing to do with them. Too bad the Doctor’s still the smartest person in the room, even if the room is a holographic tent. The goal of the race, which is to reach the Ghost Monument, does not interest the Timelord until she realizes that’s a very familiar police-box-looking milestone.
The prize is safety. Epzo and Angstrom have lost it all since an invading race, the Stenza, appeared in the picture. The Stenza, by the way, are not a new typeface font for OpenOffice but a race of beings that we met in the first episode. They don’t make an appearance. Actually, there’s very little actual threats except for some Stormtrooper-type robots (with Stormtrooper aim to match) and… flying pieces of fabric? Really?
The Doctor gets to teach Ryan the value of brains over firepower (as Graham said, Ryan did had a point though). I did like that the Doctor does let him go about it anyways so that Ryan learns the truth himself – odds are not in his favour. The Doctor also gets to teach Epzo and Angstrom to cooperate, which was a much better delivered point given how they see the benefits of helping each other.
So, did we get something a little bit better in this episode than the first one? Yes, but barely. We got the Doctor reunited with his beloved TARDIS, which means the adventures can now properly start. The new interior will take some getting used to (looks a little too dark to be honest). I’ve yet to see the Doctor dig into a more intellectual problem than just finding the answer to it. It’s still early, but we’ve yet to see a proper antagonist or start building towards one. Lots of things on the To-Do-List yet to come.
Highs, Lows and Twelve Galaxies:
- The Doctor is known for not liking guns, but I gotta give it to Graham and his line: “You can’t out-brain a bullet.” Actually if those robots had actually good aim, it would’ve been a different story. Turning a robot into an EMP pulse emitter was ingenuous but also a little bit of a rabbit-out-of-a-hat deal. I would have like it if the Doctor had worked out how to do that gradually rather than instantly.
- The threat of flying fabric. Ok, this doesn’t work in any angle. Flying snakes or flying bats would’ve been scary. Flying pieces of cloth are not scary even if they hiss. The tidbit about “the Timeless Child” was undermined by the delivery method.
- Ryan’s grandmother and Graham’s wife, Grace, was just killed in the past episode. You feel Graham and Ryan should be in mourning. It’s the part of the plot that doesn’t work. I like their dynamic, and it’s obviously going to be a source of drama, but the death of Grace should be a bit further in the past than just the previous episode. It’s too soon for them to go on adventures. The timing is off.
- The TARDIS makes it all better and all is forgiven. I do argue it feels like it needs more light. And that stone in the center is going to be blocking the view all the time. Anyhow, it’s refreshing to see a new TARDIS ready to go and with a whole new look and feel.
- The ending of the previous adventure was rather brief. Epzo wasn’t willing to give it all up and Angstrom wanted to take the price for herself and then the Doctor intervened. Next scene, they’re both in agreement demanding a joint win. Feels like we missed a scene there.
- The Stenza is what we’re supposed to consider the overarching story arc that will culminate in the season finale. So far, we’ve yet to see a decent arch-villain to go with it.
That will do for now.