Synopsis: On Halloween, all across the universe, terrifying forces are stirring. From the Arctic Circle to deep space, an ancient evil is breaking free. And in present day Liverpool, the life of Dan Lewis (John Bishop) is about to change forever. Why is the Doctor on the trail of the fearsome Karvanista? And what is the Flux?
It’s clear that Chris Chibnall had at least one eye on the MCU when he wrote The Halloween Apocalypse. We were treated (no pun intended) to some truly epic storytelling that never lost sight of the humans that are so important to Doctor Who. There were some funny moments throughout (the opening scene and Dan’s argument with Karvanista stand out). There were some intriguing concepts like the TARDIS “leaking” as well as 13’s psychic link with the Swarm (Sam Spruell). I also liked how Claire (Annabel Scholey) already knew the Doctor. Not since the Russell T Davies era has the universe been threatened on such a grand scale. My only criticism is that perhaps these huge multiple threats and arcs are over egging the pudding. In the first episode. Chibnall wanted to make a statement with this truly universe scale threat however and he has done just that.
Jodie Whittaker has very obviously upped her acting game here which is great to see. We saw a frenetic yet secretive 13th Doctor who remained brave in the face of utter destruction. John Bishop plays a brilliant unfazed everyman. I loved his scenes with Craige Els as Karvanista. Also great was Bishop’s ability to show Dan’s hidden depths of courage and ingenuity. After Karvanista dismissed him as “not important”. Mandip Gill did well at showing Yaz’s dissatisfaction with the Doctor keeping secrets from her. Jacob Anderson portrayed Vinder as an everyman with a sense of wonder. As the best Doctor Who companions are. Sam Spruell also played a great foil to the 13th Doctor. As the affably menacing Swarm. His scenes with the Doctor brought the tension and the fear factor.
The Halloween Apocalypse’s incidental music really made the episode stand out. I adored the Weeping Angel theme when Claire was being stalked by them. Dan’s theme that introduced his character was also great.
The Halloween Apocalypse’s CGI was off the charts brilliant. From the opening scene where Yaz and 13 were hanging over an acid pit to Dan’s house being shrunk to Karvanista’s battalion protecting the Earth to the CGI of the Flux itself. I’d say that the special effects team have absolutely smashed it into orbit this time around.
I’m not too proud to admit I was wrong about Chibnall. He has delivered a truly mind shattering opener that I’m sure hardcore and casual fans alike will be talking about for a very long time. Massive thumbs up from this reviewer.
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- Incidental Music10