When last we left the good Doctor, she just discovered that her old nemesis, The Master is back… somehow and she had been whisked away by the aliens of the week to a strange place from which there is no escape until, at least, she finds one. Also, Ryan, Graham, and Yaz are in a crashing airplane without a cockpit, so that’s an issue.
Okay, so… last week I lamented many things about the state of Doctor Who, the major one being that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is being given next to no heavy scenes to make her iteration memorable. When compared to the other Doctors in modern Who, she’s the lightweight and that sucks because I really don’t think it’s her fault… she just not being given anything substantial!
While “Spyfall Part Two” doesn’t address that problem in a way I would like, even though there was ample opportunity, I do feel like it is a step in the right direction. Thirteen gets some heavy and emotional moments and Whittaker plays them beautifully. True, they may not be the heavy and emotional scenes we came to expect from Capaldi, Smith, Tennant, or Eccleston, it does seem to point to things going in that direction. At least, I hope it does… I really don’t want Whittaker’s Doctor to be remembered as the boring one.
The Master is back… somehow… again. I have to admit, I wasn’t crazy about the revelation last week that Sacha Dhawan was the Master because, to be honest… the Master’s story was pretty much over as far as I was concerned and the Master had been redeemed. It was a wonderful story arch, it was a fitting end, and it was an ending that the Master didn’t need to survive, much less take all of that character development and chuck it out the window for the sake of making the Master evil again.
Why did it have to be the Master anyway? The Valeyard, the Romani, Omega… there are so many other Doctor Who baddies that the show hasn’t even touched. Why go back to the Master well one more time?
Now, to his credit, Sacha Dhawan reveled in the role and had fun with it and, thus, was a lot of fun to watch but I just couldn’t shake the disappointment that everything that Missy went through and accomplished has been flushed down the drain.
It’s possible that this is an earlier incarnation of The Master and Missy hasn’t even come along yet from his point of view, but until that point it cleared up, this is going to be a down for me.
To the episode’s credit, it does do more right than it does do wrong. The episode and plot are cleverly put together and paced, never really tipping its hand as to what’s happening keeping everything fresh and surprising. Having the episode basically devolve into a cat and mouse game with the Tardis Fam on the run from Barton and his goons while the Doctor joins with some historical female role models to run from the Master through time. It’s fun stuff.
One of the main complaints I’ve heard and I’ve shared is that the Tardis Fam really doesn’t get enough to do; Yaz in particular, but with the added time that the two-parter provided and the fact that the fam is separated from the Doctor and on their own, each one of them gets a chance to shine. Ryan being the lovable doofus, Yaz the calculated one, and Graham… guys, Graham is just awesome. Laser shoes and all.
There was a lot to love about this episode from the Bill and Ted way that the Doctor was able to save the fam literally from the end of the episode to the revelation that Gallifrey is destroyed… again. (Wow, there’s a lot of backsliding in this episode, isn’t there?). It’s a lot… and leaves a lot up int the air not even counting the fact that Barton escapes at the end and everyone pretty much forgets about him.
It’s a little disappointing that the aliens from this episode turned out to be somewhat of a dud given their presence and overall scariness, but overall, “Spyfall Part Two” not only served to be a pretty gosh-darned decent episode of Doctor Who, but it actually made the first part better.
The return of The Master bugs me to no end, but I suppose I should give the show a chance to explain itself… with tears if necessary.