The Halloween Apocalypse is Chapter 1 in season 13 of Doctor Who, aka Doctor Who: Flux.
Jodie Whittaker is back for the last time as her overhyped Doctor, with this six-episode series, followed by three specials. Yep, you’ve not got rid of her or Chris Chibnall just yet. Then again, we’ll be getting Russell T Davies back again afterwards, and he was fucking hopeless.
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene… actually, I don’t know where they are. Somewhere in the middle of space. It doesn’t really matter, but Jodie and Yaz are hanging upside down and about to die. However, the trouble with any such situation is that you never feel that any of them are in danger. Ever.
The time and space hopping begins when we had back to Liverpool, 1820, as Joseph Williamson (Steve Oram, from Sightseers) is speculating that something cataclysmic is about to happen soon. Probably so-called “man-made climate change”. Fast-forward 201 years to the present day, and stil nothing has changed whatsoever, but the governments of the world are pretending to do something because a Swedish teenager is moaning at them, since if she doesn’t moan, she doesn’t get paid by George Soros with scripts written for her.
Cue John Bishop playing John Bishop, pretending he works at the Museum of Liverpool because he fancies Diane (Nadia Albina) who does actually work there. Still, his matter-of-factness made for some comic relief when an alien chops down his door, and Dan Lewis (Bishop’s actual character) just assumes it’s a rather heavy-handed Trick or Treater, even though it’s a Mancunian-sounding dog-like character called Karvanista (Craige Els).
Beyond that, things just nipped around at a pace making little sense, for now. It was amusing CGI to see Dan’s house disappear – well, shrink down, although as it ripped away the brickwork to next door’s bathroom, that room would be more likely to be situated at the back of the house (like most houses) than the front, because the pipework goes out the back. In this case, there would be no where for the pipework to go because it can’t go down the side of the house. Well, it can now, as Dan’s house is no longer there.
Still, maybe they did it to pay homage to the regular joke on Family Guy when Peter damages Cleveland’s house, interrupting his bath to comic effect.
Along the way in The Halloween Apocalypse – which didn’t really have much in the way of Halloween about it – Jodie and Yaz meet a woman called Claire, who seems to know them, even though the haven’t yet met her (more timey-wimey nonsense), the Weeping Angels are back – because it’s easy to rely on past baddies, although their inclusion was a fairly decent scene, for whatever reason – Jodie manages to move the Tardis to where the dog’s holding Dan, there’s a haunted house, and so on, but there’s too much going on in this to care about, as they bounce about trying to further the plot.
In amongst this mess, Jodie meets a man she doesn’t know, but he knows her. In the ’80s, if a woman met a man she hadn’t met before, it was probably because she was wearing Impulse deodorant, and he was wanting to woo her. However, in 2021, he’s an alien who declares their final fight has just begun. Is it The Master again? God, I hope not. The latest incarnation was shit.
As for the flux, itself, it’s a ripple of destruction going through the universe and blowing up everything in its place. So, it’s the Nexus energy ribbon from Star Trek Generations (see below).
Yep, there’s nothing original about The Halloween Apocalypse which is written by Chris Chibnall. 2021 diversity protocols ensure that within ten minutes, there’s a disabled actress onscreen, plus a black tertiary female character, along with a white lesbian. However, an alien killing the black woman made him Derek Chauvin to her George Floyd, albeit with no fentanyl overdose to blame.
Doctor Who: Flux is the first single-story series since The Trial of a Time Lord, which I didn’t watch because I don’t like cocky people, even if they’re just characters in a drama or film, so as soon as Colin Baker’s Doctor appeared, taking over from Peter Davison, I instantly took a dislike to him and stopped watching.
However, while The Trial of a Time Lord was 14 episodes of 25 minutes each, this is six episodes at 50-60 minutes apiece, so it’ll probably even out equal.
Chapter 2 will be War of the Sontarans, and airs next Sunday at 6.15pm.
The episode is now on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Jamie Magnus Stone
Writer: Chris Chibnall
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker
Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
Dan Lewis: John Bishop
Karvanista: Craige Els
Joseph Williamson: Steve Oram
Diane: Nadia Albina
Swarm: Sam Spruell
Azure/Anna: Rochenda Sandall
Vinder: Jacob Anderson
Claire: Annabel Scholey
Ritskaw: Jonathan Watson
Kragar: Dan Starkey
Old Swarm: Matthew Needham
En Sentac: Sarah Amankwah
K-Toscs: Charlie Oscar
Wilder: Richard Tate
James Stonehouse: Paul Leonard
Wilma: Heather Bleasdale
Kev: John May
Jon: Gunnar Cauthery
Weeping Angel: Barbara Fadden
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.