Synopsis: In the Vanquishers. All hope is lost the forces of darkness are in control. But when the monsters have won. Who can you count on to save the universe?
The Vanquishers attempted to be a huge Journey’s End-style blockbuster regrettably the different story threads were not woven together as skillfully as they were the previous week. There was a good buildup of tension however at the climax when the Flux wiped out the Dalek and Cyberman fleets. Unfortunately, the episode did not set this up well enough for it to really have as much impact as it needed to.
There were some interesting moments such as 13’s regeneration, as well as the Master’s return, being foreshadowed. Additionally, it was great to see Bel and Vinder finally reunite. The overall episode though felt like a hotchpotch of different arcs and threats. Which were not held together as well as they really needed to be. Against this there were some great moments such as Jericho’s final farewell. Furthermore, it was affecting to see Di refuse Dan’s offer of dinner disappointingly. The writing was not as coherent as it needed to be.
Jodie Whittaker seemed to struggle this week the only time she really seemed like the Doctor was when she turned the tables on the Grand Serpent. Although in fairness. Whittaker had some nice moments with Jemma Redgrave’s Kate Stewart and with Mandip Gill’s Yaz at the end. These were the exception and not the rule though. As Whittaker’s performance was not where it needed to be to carry the emotional weight and gravitas of this outing. By contrast. Sam Spruell and Rochenda Sandall were on creepy, menacing form as the Ravagers as was Craig Parkinson as the Grand Serpent Kevin McNally hit a real emotional note when he said goodbye to the Doctor. Who was unable to save him.
Annabel Scholey was great as Claire showing her trepidation and nervousness excellently. As did McNally in their scene aboard the Sontaran ship. John Bishop had a nice moment when Dan broke Karvanista out of the Sontaran forcefield as well as showing Dan’s sadness when Di turned him down. Craige Els showed Karvanista’s rage and hate well of the Sontarans. Thaddea Graham continued to be likable as Bel she and Vinder had a great moment when they reunited which was done brilliantly by both Graham and Jacob Anderson. Jemma Redgrave showed Kate Stewart’s cool toughness and grit to good effect once again. Also, Nadia Albina showed Di’s heroism well I loved when Di said that she was not insignificant.
The Vanquishers displayed some very good incidental music Kate Stewart’s theme was great and helped put across who she was. There was also a good hopeful theme when Williamson (portrayed to good effect by Steve Oram) mentioned the doorways throughout time and space. Azure’s theme helped sell her character’s menace and the threat she posed to the Doctor. Additionally, the theme used when the Passenger absorbed the Flux really helped create the epic-ness of that moment. I got a kick out of the 10th Doctor-like theme also that played when 13 stowed the fob watch containing her memories in the guts of the TARDIS.
The Vanquishers boasted some truly jaw dropping CGI. Such as the hologram Doctor glitching between the timestreams and the Lungbarrow-esque house of memories. The FX of the Sontaran, Dalek and Cyberman ships was stupendous. As was the CGI of the empty planet where the Passenger was stationed. Speaking of the Passenger. The CGI of it absorbing the Flux was good but not great. However. The FX of the Flux destroying the Dalek and Cyberman ships was great.
The Vanquishers. To speak frankly was kind of a mess. The story arcs were all over the place and Jodie Whittaker’s central performance was not where it needed to be. Although there were some interesting moments throughout. They never quite gelled into a cohesive whole that made sense. Thumbs in the middle this time.
- Incidental Music8.9