“Spyfall” Just Can’t Shake the Problems from Doctor Who

The Doctor is recruited by MI6 to figure out who has been taking out the world’s spies and rewriting their DNA and soon, Team Tardis find themselves facing new enemies and old.

I like Jodie Whittaker and I have absolutely no problem with the Doctor being a woman, but since Jodie took over the role, the Doctor has been aimless, robbed of her bombacity and grandeur. It didn’t matter if it was Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, or Peter Capaldi, the Doctor is known for grandiose speeches. dark moments, or inspiration. Jodie hasn’t been gifted those moments and, for all of her efforts and personality, she has had nothing written for her to even put her in the parking lot of the ballpark the other doctors are playing in and that is so colossally unfair.

Thirteen is playful, maternal, and a friend… and is also kind of a bore. She’s been a blank slate for an entire season and, with the premiere of the new season, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change which is frustrating… and that’s got to be frustrating for Jodie as well.

That’s not to say that “Spyfall” is bad because it isn’t. There’s plenty in this episode to love… seeing Doctor Who play with tropes and gadgets from James Bond movies and gleefully throw itself into another drama is a lot of fun.

The aliens are sufficiently neat and scary… good luck making action figures out of these guys! I was rather reminded of the Silence by these guys and I mean that in the best possible way.

Finally, the episode had some great character moments between Yaz and Ryan who actually had something to do this time around. Graham, of course, was as wonderful as ever.

It’s difficult to write about the merits of the first part of a two-parter as the ending of this episode felt like it hit us with dozens of things in three minutes so I’m going to abstain, at least until the next installment, to comment on the revelation of the surprise bad guy because, honestly… I have issues, but I’m going to give the show a chance to unpack them before I start complaining.

All in all… it was a fun episode with an interesting alien menace, but it was also a discouragingly low-key non-event like most of 13’s run and I hate that. I hate it for the character, I hate it for the actress, and I hate it for the fans.

The Thirteenth Doctor has got to be given big scenes to be mad, vengeful, inspirational, vindictive, boastful… anything! Jodie deserves to make her doctor memorable and she’s just not being given that opportunity.

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