Doctor Who: Flux: Survivors of the Flux
November 29, 2021 7:23 AM - Season 13, Episode 5 - Subscribe

As the forces of evil mass, the Doctor, Yaz and Dan face perilous journeys and seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their quest for survival.
posted by mumkin (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I thought this was pretty good. With only one more left, they're still going to have to pack a lot into the next one, though. I think we're in for some sort of causality loop situation where Bel and Vinder's baby gets left by the wormhole to be picked up by wicked stepmother.
posted by jordemort at 8:02 AM on November 29, 2021


I think we're in for some sort of causality loop situation where Bel and Vinder's baby gets left by the wormhole to be picked up by wicked stepmother.

Oh Lord.....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:34 AM on November 29, 2021


Vinder worked for the Grand Serpent and knows what a Tardis is. So he might be Timelord-adjacent in origin. Bel seems to not have much alien about her. Sigh... all this nonsense is about making The Doctor half-human on her mother's side, isn't it?
posted by Gary at 10:03 AM on November 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


After the breather last week, we're thrown back into Chib's maelstrom. We were watching with friends, and the consensus of the room was that this is going to wind up being Chib's big "eff you" to the next team. Kind of a "Let's see you retcon your way out of this" move.

I will readily admit I am having a real hard time keeping the strings straight, and just hanging on for the finish.

• In the scenes with Yaz and Dan in the large, Titanic-esque, steamship calmly powering its way across the ocean, the interior shots have them in what is clearly a much smaller, rickety wooden ship, complete with exaggerated pitching, rolling, and creaking of a smaller wooden ship.

• Speaking of Yaz and Dan...How in the world are they paying for all this worldwide travel?

• So, are we now to believe Kate and UNIT (or, just Kate?) are now in play in this mess? Why else spend so much time on her, blowing up her home and her informing Osgood that she's "going dark"? Are there any spices left in the cabinet we can throw into this pot?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:05 AM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


Vinder worked for the Grand Serpent and knows what a Tardis is. So he might be Timelord-adjacent in origin.

Oh crap the Grand Serpent is going to end up being The Master, isn't he?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Could someone please put together a list of who is who in this series? Aside from the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan, that is. Between the messiness and the dialects, I have a real hard time even catching people's names in this series. Thanks!
posted by Thorzdad at 10:47 AM on November 29, 2021


I wondered about their finances as well. Maybe they took advantage of knowing where something especially valuable was that in the original timeline was found some time after 1910 but before modern day? If it were in Liverpool Dan would certainly know every detail about it.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:05 PM on November 29, 2021


Super disappointed by this one. The design and sets are good (although I'm really over the orange/brown palate), costuming and makeup are great (Swarm and Azure remain amazing to look at) and the characters and acting are all interesting (Jericho and Dan are fun). And while I'm not committed to continuity, consistency and explanation should reward the viewer (Weeping Angels can transform the Doctor to stone and also transport her out of the Universe? UNIT has had decades of mysterious deaths resulting in ... something?)

But maybe most of all, could the writing can give our heroes (and villains even) some agency - a decision to make, an insight to show, a skill to demonstrate? Yaz, Dan and Jericho travel the world ... but do they grow or achieve anything? And the Doctor spends the episode being fed a bunch of exposition?
posted by jjderooy at 2:12 PM on November 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


Yeah this was weak. The doctor immediately being deangeled was sadly as predicted, and then she stood being exposited at.

The stuff with yas and the fam was underwhelming, the difference between the professor last week just turning into an exposition machine was very disappointing. The one scene of Yas missing the Doctor was reasonable, but it was mostly wasted time with little tension.

And the division ladys plan was baffling. So apparently she decides to blow up the universe because the Doctor discovered about the division... but doesnt just kill the Doctor. Then she pulls the Doctor out of time so she doesnt intefere,... but doesnt kill her. And then she tries to recruit the Doctor? But the literal reason she is destroying the universe ks because of the Doctor?

How does this make any sense? Destroying the entire universe rather than just offing the Doctor? I could believe she had more motivation than that, but shes apparently dead now!

I really wanted to like the Flux but it feels like its getting worse
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:30 PM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Also, the decision to make the new threat the Sontarans again is completely baffling to me. They were disposed of very handily before, why worry now? Its just incredible to me that in a 6 part series with a ludicrous number of plot threads, this episode felt entirely like standing still.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:58 PM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


>And the Doctor spends the episode being fed a bunch of exposition?

This whole "floox" series has been nothing but, it seems. I want to say I hated this episode, but I don't like to use such a strong word. I was disappointed by it. I did like a few things, but it's still such a mess. Doing the "Hi, I'm your mom" thing was just terrible. (But then I also find the whole timeless child thing to be terrible too.)

I think the thing that's bugged me overall is this whole universe in peril thing. Like, compressing the universe and the Doctor's plan is to uncompress it? Like, that's a thing? Like, if the Doctor can like, distract the villain(s) using some plot point that has been vaguely wafted by the viewers briefly, she can wave her hand (while holding the object formerly known as the sonic screwdriver but know known only as the Sonic) and undo everything except, oops, she's going to regenerate, of course.

The other thing that's bugged me is finally we find out what Division is and it's actually secret Time Lord intervention. And then the Doctor is like, Time Lords don't do that and actually every episode we've ever seen with Time Lords in it they are doing just that! (I guess I'm just a long time casual fan, so don't peck that apart.)
posted by Catblack at 3:27 PM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


ENOUGH OF THE RIDICULOUS DOG PEOPLE.

Also not a fan of the Fabergé Egg Hellraiser Clan.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:49 PM on November 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


>ENOUGH OF THE RIDICULOUS DOG PEOPLE.

Agreed. Thought it was fun at the start of the season. It's a great concept to incorporate into a Doctor Who episode. Introduce the idea, do something with it, bring it to a conclusion. Maybe if there's more to say, then the concept can return in a future Doctor Who episode. But in spreading it (and lots of other ideas) across six episodes, the whole idea becomes shallow, stretched, confused, and worse - repetitive and boring.
posted by jjderooy at 7:38 PM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


I don't know why I still watch this damn show. The last episode I actually enjoyed was some time back in the Matt Smith era.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:25 AM on November 30, 2021 [2 favorites]


Christ that was a mess.
posted by coriolisdave at 1:18 AM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]


I keep saying this every week...I'll be so glad when Chibnall is gone and he can stop stuffing every shiny idea that catches his eye into episodes like some kind of "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" magpie.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:49 AM on November 30, 2021 [4 favorites]


There was way too much stuffed into this episode. My favorite parts by far (even when they made zero sense) were the 1904 scenes with Yaz, Dan, and Jericho. I would watch a series about their early 20th century exploits. Traveling around the world in no time at all in 1904? Impossible. The 21st century-vocabulary Nepalese monk? Ridiculous. But it was really fun, unlike most of the rest of the episode. I'm interested to see what Vinder will do now that he got Swarm to put him into a Passenger, with Di wanting Liverpudlian revenge. The whole Grand Serpent/return of the Sontarans thing needed to be in another show entirely, and I don't know when Kate became that silly (tell the bad guy you know everything and then go home like no one is going to try to kill you--total rookie move).

And the Division's plan to close up shop in one universe, destroy it and move onto the next was really confusing. The Doctor caused too many problems in that universe? So Tecteun decides to bring her to Division and offer take her to the new universe? Where she'll just cause trouble again because that's what the Doctor does? WTF?

I really want to like this. I like Jodie's Doctor, I love Yaz and Dan and I liked Graham, I even like Vinder and Bel. But Chibnall just can't seem to control his impulse to complicate everything and that just ruined it all.
posted by ceejaytee at 7:36 AM on November 30, 2021 [3 favorites]


I'm actually down with Time Lords deciding to wind up the universe and move on, that's a simple motivation to understand. I just don't know why the plot needs the crystal head weirdos at all. They just monologue about "Space and Time" and evaporate people. What happened with the Time Temple or whatever? Was that important? I don't remember, and it feels like the show doesn't either...
posted by BungaDunga at 12:41 PM on November 30, 2021 [2 favorites]


I'm actually down with Time Lords deciding to wind up the universe and move on, that's a simple motivation to understand. I just don't know why the plot needs the crystal head weirdos at all.
I think they're there to be the surprise good guys - working against Evil Division Mummy, sticking everyone into easily-transportable bodies to migrate to a brand new universe that will turn out to be usefully unpopulated to allow an entire universe reboot.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:06 PM on November 30, 2021


Most of the remaining Time Lords are Cybermen under control of the Master now. Division Mum is making this seem a lot like the end of Loki. And I agree with the idea that the Grand Serpent is probably the Master in a disguise. This series feels like it needs a couple of more episodes to develop a couple of plot threads instead of kitchen-sinking the finale. Fingers-crossed, Chibnall pulls it together in the end.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 7:11 PM on November 30, 2021


This was a travesty. From the Doctor equating "displaced people" with hordes battling over ownership of the Earth to her rant about following the Time Lord's rules and this weird sentient unborn child... it all feels conservative and icky. And the Doctor's experience as a child effectively being a trauma narrative that she is visiting on all her companions is pretty gross, especially for the first female Doctor.

I've been mad at RTD and Moffat's choices in the past, but most of them have just felt ridiculous or wrong-headed. Not politically regressive like Chibnall's era. He's made the Doctor passive and a fan of letting things play out rather than interfere. Her whole existence until now has been in defiance of the Time Lord society.

Thanks, I hate it.
posted by crossoverman at 8:24 PM on November 30, 2021 [4 favorites]


I don't really expect great writing from Who but I do expect episodes to have a strong temporary theme/setting and we've had that in... two out of five episodes here? The rest of the time (and also breaking the tension in the middle of the Angels episode) we get Chibnall Game-of-Thronesing his new characters through a glacially-paced back-/side-story and rifling through the Whovian cutlery draw for characters someone on Twitter might have asked for more of sometime last decade.

- Bel+Vinder being the Doctor's parents rings extremely true.
- Yaz, Dan, and Jericho are watchable.
- Crystal Skull Gang could be great if they did something other than unmotivated murder/imprisonment/smugness. I want Scorpius back.
- I sure would like it if some of the main plot sequences could actually go somewhere instead of Karvanista grumbling that he's not a time traveller and The Doctor getting distracted by the memory watch when she's about to undo the Flux.
- Dog people didn't need to be in more than one episode, or actually any. Surprised but glad that the budget only stretched to one of those on screen.
- "equating "displaced people" with hordes battling over ownership of the Earth" yeah Doctor Who does not need to be reinforcing the UK media's shameful narrative on refugees. That pissed me off more than anything in this series.
- Americans not coping with the UK having regional accents gives me life. Turn on the subtitles and think about the accents in your own exported media.

Anyway, my conjecture about Chibnall's motivation here is he wants future Who writers to owe him the way they owe the Dalek guy.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 8:47 PM on November 30, 2021


Bel+Vinder being the Doctor's parents rings extremely true

If this happens I... will rant wildly on the Internet.

If Chibnall was staying, I'd stop watching.

Since he's almost gone, I'll just count down the days until RTD returns. Only 722 days until November 23, 2023!
posted by crossoverman at 10:01 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]


- "equating "displaced people" with hordes battling over ownership of the Earth" yeah Doctor Who does not need to be reinforcing the UK media's shameful narrative on refugees. That pissed me off more than anything in this series.

That really grated with me too. The last thing we need is Doctor Who teaching young viewers that refugees = threat. That's the precise opposite of what the character's always stood for to me.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:14 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]


I think we're in for some sort of causality loop situation where Bel and Vinder's baby gets left by the wormhole to be picked up by wicked stepmother.

jordemort made this prediction after the last episode as well. I wasn't as sold on that idea, but tbh I had forgotten most of the "Timeless Children" story details -- all I remembered was that the Doctor was the source of Time Lord regeneration. After this episode, though... yeah, I think we're going to be stuck with some bullcrap like that.

The structure of this season thus far as been an episode of nonsensical quasi-sci fi stuff thrown at the wall, followed by a relatively grounded episode set mostly in one location. Chibnall is good at the latter, not so much at the former. In fact, I suspect that Chibnall might actually hate science fiction. I mean, it's not like Doctor Who has ever been all that concerned with scientific accuracy or plausibility (it makes the science babble on Star Trek seem like it's coming straight out of a textbook) but all the sci fi elements and timey-wimey stuff in this season has been especially nonsensical. Space vs. Time, huh? When Swarm kills off that one group of people he says, "You are space" -- no they aren't! They are matter! They take up space! Like, "time vs. matter" would have made so much more sense, or "time vs. permanence" or something like that: have the Ravagers (or is it Ravages? as in, the Ravages of Time?) plan be to make time so chaotic that even atomic bonds are immediately disrupted as soon as they occur. But Chibnall is, as so many above have pointed out, just tossing in a bunch of stupid shit, like he's testing just how much garbage the audience will put up with -- maybe it IS an F-U to the next team.

By the way, where did that scene happen? They weren't inside a Passenger, because Swarm catches Vinder spying and traps him in a Passenger. So are they putting people in a Passenger, taking them somewhere else, taking them out of the passenger, and then killing them and absorb their time force energy or whatever the hell it is? That seems inefficient. But, I guess, not any more incomprehensible than Mama-Division's plan.

ENOUGH OF THE RIDICULOUS DOG PEOPLE

Yep. In the first episode, I though Karvanista said he was on "Species Recon," but apparently they are on "Species Recall." As I said then, though, what the f- is Species Recall? The Doctor recognizes the term, so, like, is there an intergalactic buddy system in place? If so, why are the Luppari the only species who bothers to do their job?

the Doctor is like, Time Lords don't do that and actually every episode we've ever seen with Time Lords in it they are doing just that!

And, of course, interfering with other societies is exactly what the Doctor has been doing for the last however-many-thousand-years-old-she-is-now.

it all feels conservative and icky.

The sentient baby with the blue-tooth adapter is so bad. So, so bad. I hadn't picked up on the anti-refugee angle at first, but of course, it's so obvious now. See also S11E7, Kerblam!, wherein the Doctor actually says something very close to, "The system isn't the problem, the system is good! It's who runs the system!" About the most un-Doctorish thing I've ever heard.

I really hope that The Grand Serpent doesn't turn out to be the Master, because it would be totally pointless, but unfortunately that probably means it is exactly what will happen.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:20 AM on December 1, 2021


What is the timeline for the Bel / Vinder storyline? I got the impression he was stuck on that space outpost for a long time. She's also been searching for him for long enough to understand the state of the universe post-flux. But she doesn't look pregnant at all? I understand that every woman is different, but from the storyline I'd put her at very late term and she's jumping around fighting dog creatures.
posted by Gary at 11:51 AM on December 1, 2021


Most of the remaining Time Lords are Cybermen under control of the Master now.

Weren't they all blown-up when the Who crew destroyed the Galifrey capitol dome building thing? Yes, I know the Master will have miraculously escaped, but I'm pretty sure the Cybertimelordmen were destroyed with the building.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:54 AM on December 1, 2021


What is the timeline for the Bel / Vinder storyline?

Before he sees the Flux for the first time, Vinder says something about having already made 12k+ reports (or was it 21k?), which, let's say he does 2 per equivalent of an earth day, that's close to 17 earth years that he and Bel have been separated.

The Flux appears to be happening during Earth's year 2021, and while the Luppari have apparently had time to build 7billion+ Flux-proof ships (HOW?! WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF?!), it seems like the Flux is a very new/recent phenomenon, relative to our year 2021 at least. I would presume that Vinder sees the Flux happening at the "same" time, wherever in the universe he may be. It's not clear "when" the Temple of Atropos scenes are -- are they in 2021? Out of our timeline? But, if we assume that Vinder is sent back to roughly the same time when he leaves the Temple (I can't remember how he got out, or any of them, really...), then he's back in the immediate aftermath of the Flux.

Since Karvanista takes over Bel's ship and commands it to join the rest of the Luppari shielding Earth, I assume that her journey is also happening in the immediate aftermath of the Flux.

So I think at this point, we have:
the Luppari and Bel orbiting Earth, in or just after our 2021;
Vinder somewhere else in the universe (and now in a Passenger) but at roughly the same time;
the Doctor bouncing from 2021 to 1967 to Division outside the universe, but watching it implode (so, again, 2021?);
Yaz and Dan bouncing from 2021 to 1967, and then with Jericho, back to 1904;
The Grand Serpent arriving on Earth sometime in the 1800s? 1900s? but now making a deal with the Sontarans a little prior to 2021 (I don't remember what the exact year was, but basically in the Now, but just prior to the Flux);
Kate and UNIT leading the Human Resistance post-second Sontaran invasion (or, I guess, first, since the previous one was essentially erased from history?) and post-Flux;
and Swarm and Azure were freed in our 2021, I guess, and have now bounced out to the Division.

Am I missing anyone? Captain Jack? K-9? Susan? Romana? Rassilon?
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:16 PM on December 1, 2021


OH, and with Bel & Vinder's child, I think they'll write in something about how the baby has been in some sort of temporal stasis, so Bel's been pregnant for like 2 decades now (since I don't think he's seen her since he was stationed on that outpost) but is waiting to give birth until she sees Vinder again.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:32 PM on December 1, 2021


They weren't inside a Passenger, because Swarm catches Vinder spying and traps him in a Passenger.


Unless they were inside a Passenger and that Passenger had another Passenger transported inside it to imprison any troublemakers already in the first Passenger? Yep, that's got to be it: an infinite regression of Passengers operating inside one another like a set of Russian dolls.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:16 PM on December 1, 2021


Unless they were inside a Passenger and that Passenger had another Passenger transported inside it to imprison any troublemakers already in the first Passenger? Yep, that's got to be it: an infinite regression of Passengers operating inside one another like a set of Russian dolls.

and the final passenger is Bel's baby, the doctor.

(cos what is baby if not a rampaging parasitic entity?)
posted by coriolisdave at 9:21 PM on December 1, 2021


I suspect that Chibnall might actually hate science fiction.

This was very similar to a complaint I made about it shortly after Chibnall took over! I thought I'd made that complaint here but it must have been on Facebook, because it's definitely not in my Fanfare history. I've long thought that Chibnall writes scifi like someone who doesn't actually read it but who just glanced at the genre and said to themselves "well, how hard can it be, really?" (It can be really fucking hard, actually, like any writing.)

I've yet to see episode 6 of this, but in my view there's nothing he can do to save this series, and at this point I'm hoping that the last thing the Flux destroys is Chibnall's time on the show. It's a shame, really; I've liked some of the characters and Jodi Whittaker is a good actress who mostly got bad scripts here.
posted by johnofjack at 2:18 PM on December 23, 2021


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