One word review – good. Two words – very good. More words – read on past the break. Suffice it to say with Spyfall Part 2 Chris Chibnall seems to have taken his foot off the brakes, kept a lot of elements in play and set a direction on his era of Doctor Who. Let’s do this! Warning MASSIVE SPOILER BELOW.
Spyfall Part 2
Some of my guesses (there were enough) paid off. We had the spy gadgets and much more of Lenny Henry’s Daniel Barton. There was a lot more.
A lot happened. Even if the alien scheme through time seemed convoluted, it’s not a patch on everything else going on. We had the eighteenth century and moody scenes on war-torn Paris. The companions I’ll cover below, but let’s say their plot was almost a sideline to the main story.
The rescue of the companions was Seventh Doctor mixed with Curse of Fatal Death. Mad but fair enough if not overdone. Yes a lot was off-screen but there we are.
Still a bit mad, Sacha Dhawan does evil well. Even the Doctor is repelled at the Master as a Nazi, questioning if he has any limits at all. Yes he’s still much more John Simm than might be needed (blame the direction as well) but I’m very keen we get more of him, even if it’s on recordings as Jodie pursues the arc.
Ada and Noor
I did feel it both a waste of two historically important women (Ada Lovelace and Noor Inayat Khan) and also possibly a case of pushing the envelope on the role of women in history. That said the Doctor, Ada and Noor made a terrific team and if you look Noor did surprisingly little but she and Ada did it very, very well. No wonder Graham and company thought they’d been replaced.
Another poor episode for Graham and the three had almost no agency in this story and little relevance except distracting Daniel Barton. Wasn’t Lenny Henry evil towards his mother? And he’s not dead or captured!
Ryan is still out of his depth and I like this. If most of us were in his situation how useless would we be?
Yaz seems to be developing into a more complex character and I wonder if she will leave or have a thread at a tangent?
I must say this episode really showed how the Doctor was more free flowing without them under foot. Will this continue?
Easily Jodie Whittaker’s best performance in the role. The last ten minutes or so were dark, mysterious, emotional and compelling. This is the Doctor I want. Grabs people from history, wipes their minds when needed and gets the job done. More please!
And a big surprise here. Unlike RTD this time we’ve seen Gallifrey in ruins. It’s a big statement (and a build to 2023?). Will any have survived? We know Rassilon left, we’ve no clear idea on Susan’s destiny and there could be more. What is the dark truth? Lots of speculate on and congratulations to Chris Chibnall for getting fans talking even if they don’t all buy in.
For me the best story for some years. I worry that in ramping up complexity for more serious fans it leaves casual viewers behind but the risk is surely worth taking.
Time will tell!