Doctor Who: Flux — Survivors of the Flux first thoughts (spoilers)

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Chapter Five of Doctor Who: Flux has just landed. Here’s what we thought of Survivors of the Flux… 

Naturally, spoilers follow.

Tony Jones: well that left me in two frames of mind. Watching as a piece of entertainment it was all very jolly, and didn’t the Division space station look fantastic! Where would we be without CGI? Answer — we’d have to tell better stories with intriguing characters. This brings me to Dan, Yaz and Jericho…

After doing little, the stranded in time team had plenty to do, shown in little snippets as they tried to avoid forces of (presumably) the Grand Serpent. It was all Indiana Jones, and like Raiders of the Lost Arc (if you’ve watched the relevant episode of Big Bang Theory [The Raiders Minimization] did they have any more agency than Indie? At least a lot of story was left off-screen, so cue the inevitable Big Finish boxsets in a few years time. From temples to comic turn gurus it filled up the time, but it all led to Liverpool (did you know Dan was from Liverpool?)

This leads to both a fascinating Grand Serpent / end of UNIT story thread, and we see all the pieces coming into line, including Bel and Vinder, Dan’s stood-up date and the Liverpool tunnel digger. Here’s where I do feel the overall story pivots too many coincidences on too few characters, and sometimes less can definitely be more.

Still we have a minor (#joke) cliffhanger with the destruction of the rest of the universe, conquest of Earth, UNIT fight back, impending death for the Doctor and Sontarans everywhere.

Next week it either all comes together or it doesn’t. Not long to find out!

Ian McArdell: So, answers are coming thick and fast, and I’ll let the show off for the Doctor’s Weeping Angel transformation being nothing but a cruel trick — it provided a cracking cliffhanger. Survivors of the Flux was all about laying the groundwork for next week’s finale.

I imagine Barbara Flynn’s identity surprised precisely nobody on its reveal – save for a casual viewer who might have said… who? Regardless, the Division was given (an unfathomably large) purpose – something I can understand the Doctor wishing to be a fugitive from. If they have been so all-powerful though, quite how has she managed to evade them for so long (albeit unknowingly) or was she no threat in her ignorance? In which case, why send the Judoon after the fugitive Doctor? That aside, I thought the Doctor’s confrontation with Tecteun was well played and it brought up some interesting (Mummy) issues.

Although seemingly on a fool’s errand to fill up the time, I enjoyed Yaz, Dan and Professor Jericho’s globe-trotting, Indiana Jones antics. It provided a much-needed counterpoint to the Doctor’s deep and meaningfuls, as well as some comic moments. Was the wisecracking mystic hermit a bridge too far? Perhaps, but he was very funny. One thing that did bug me was the overuse of graphics to give us a date and location; no matter how neatly it was done, it grates. Surely the location can be confirmed in dialogue?

The real treat here was the UNIT story, first with Robert Bathurst and then the return of Jemma Redgrave’s Kate Stewart. Craig Parkinson’s villainous Grand Serpent continued to please, cleverly coiled through Doctor Who history. Can Vinder or Bel do that same serpent trick too if they’re the same species? Maybe that’s what Tigmi is! Regardless, how lovely it was to hear the Brigadier and see Nicholas Courtney’s name in the cast list once again!

The stage is set for next week – fingers crossed Flux can stick the landing. I’m hopeful!

Doctor Who: Flux concludes next week with The Vanquishers.