“I know that voice…”
When you are given all the components of a solid episode, but are told that this will be the last one (technically) of the broadcast year, it can be difficult to lower any ‘bar of expectation’ to a more reasonable level. Such is the difficulty — daresay, conundrum — that Chris Chibnall faces, having to follow in the footsteps of recent Doctor Who showrunners. In that shadow, the viewing public may come to anticipate a “Utopia/Sound of the Drums/Last of the Time Lords” level of danger and emotional intensity, or a “Name of the Doctor” mind-bending revelation. Does this then mean that a less bombastic, more nuanced, or a hold-your-course story cannot effectively close out a season? Have we become too dependent upon the high voltage?
This week, Series 11 — and the year 2018 — closes with a bit of an off-planet chess match in “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos”. A certain mispronounced villain makes their return, somewhat wounded but nonetheless pathologically violent and dangerous. Graham and Ryan continue to deal with Grace’s loss, while Yaz continues to do the heavy lifting with very little thanks, or adequate balance of dialogue. The Doctor continues to observe, learn, and wonder at the complexity and capacity of the Universe, no matter how much of it she sees. And we, observing it all, wonder if it has the makings of a series finale…both in the grand 55-year history of the program, and in the shorter context of the last thirteen years.
EXTRA: We call out to you, dear listeners and friends, to help us develop some NEW game ideas for 2019! Because honestly, we can’t maintain ‘serious’ discussions for even half of the calendar year.