I’ve mulled over The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos for a few days in the hope I might conjure some enthusiasm for it. Sadly no such luck. In the main it felt ordinary and while the idea of a big season ending episode may be a modern-Who contrivance, I’m hoping New Year’s Day brings something more energetic or challenging with Resolution. Why am I not thrilled? I’ll explain…
The Battle of Never Was
I may have blinked but I’m not sure when the battle happened? Presumably offscreen and used weapons so formidable, two blokes from Sheffield with stolen rayguns can overpower the evil leader of the Ux, Tim Shaw? Apologies for sarcasm, but for me a lot of this story was a waste of potential. Once again I find myself feeling there’s a better episode hiding somewhere, perhaps in RTDs deleted items folder…
For me this episode was the end of a trio including The Woman Who Fell to Earth and The Ghost Monument. It felt mid-season to me, tying up a story whose villain managed to survive a damaging DNA weapon with minimal apparent damage and giving some closure to Graham (and presumably Ryan, who doesn’t talk about Grace much at all). Jodie’s Thirteenth Doctor was fine and it was nice to be back in a quarry, just like the old days.
We even got a little bit of TARDIS, and a decent new actor in the form of Mark Addy whose Paltraki felt genuine, even if his suffering from the planet’s attack on his mind was very underbaked, worse so in the case of the ‘attack’ on Yaz and the Doctor. What was that about?
The Ux, despite quality casting (Phyllis Logan and Percelle Ascott) were a waste of talent and perhaps the most one-dimensional aliens we’ve had for a long time. The floating base seemed to hold a modern version of bits of the Key To Time, each holding a planet stolen from its orbit (haven’t we been here before…). If Tim Shaw has a super weapon like this, why didn’t he take Earth first? And didn’t the red colouring on Earth look a bit cheap? Perhaps not as cheap as the rubbish sniperbots: let’s duck and let them kill each other! [Isn’t that how the Daleks were defeated around Gallifrey?] It’s all a bit Scooby Doo, and perhaps that’s deliberate with Chris Chibnall skipping the similarity with Buffy and going straight to the Scooby Gang?!
I wonder about budget for this series and how many extras were there who had no lines. Poor Mark Addy ended up shepherding a group of monks!
Graham was good, Bradley Walsh doesn’t let us down, yet I felt the scene with Tim Shaw could have been stronger. It felt rushed.
Ryan feels under motivated, and as for Yaz she hasn’t had any chance to make an impact. The Doctor herself is just about driving things along, complete with magic TARDIS deus ex machina trick. Here’s a thought: the TARDS split some force field to allow the Ux to move all the planets at the same time as time was short. Isn’t the TARDIS a time machine? Why not just pop back a bit or change the rate at which time happens? Just a thought. Don’t mind me.
So there it is, a moderate episode but nothing great and perhaps the show isn’t really for die-hard long in the tooth critics any more. Perhaps there’s a new generation. Perhaps it just played things too safe?