Last time on Doctor Who, the Doctor had used the Stenza teleport in an attempt to find her TARDIS – an attempt that left her, Graham, Ryan and Yaz floating in space. Fortunately, thy are saved from certain death by a couple of passing spaceships – the Doctor and Yaz in one, Graham and Ryan in the other.
Okay, I have to pause to geek out about the titles. We caught a glimpse last week, but the full version just makes me squee. They’re just so old school. Like all-the-way-back-to-the-first-Doctor old school. The new theme music is also very classic. (I did think it was unbalanced, but the sound is much better when watched on a TV rather than my crappy laptop.)
The reprieve for our fearless four is short-lived; while Angstrom manages to land her ship, Epzo’s is badly damaged and is forced to crash land. The pair of the only survivors of a race to find the Ghost Monument and win a prize. The Doctor and her friends join them and after trekking through a dessert, come across a tent.
Here they “meet” Ilin – former winner and now race runner – who’s only there in hologram form. He reveals a second hologram depicting the Ghost Monument, which turns out to be the TARDIS in a demateralising loop.
On the quest to find the TARDIS, the gang comes across a devastated city. With Ilin’s warning about the planet’s dangers ringing in their ears, they decide to seek shelter. The Doctor had wondered about the dead planet and here the truth is revealed – it was a world conquered by the Stenza, who forced the scientists to develop WMDs.
As Angstrom reveals her family were killed by the Stenza, it seems fairly clear that Chibnall is framing this new race is the series’ antagonist. I did think “Tim Shaw” might have been an anomaly, but it’s clear he’s the norm and not an exception.
This is a bold move on Chibnall’s part, given the show’s biggest and most prevalent villains being the Daleks and the Cybermen, but perhaps not before time.
I’m not sure about the Remnant. Semi-sentient pieces of cloth? Really? On the other hand, I don’t think we’ve heard the last about Desolation. I’d wager this is the first piece of a larger puzzle.
But we shall see!