As the first-ever female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker has made a lasting mark on the long-running and beloved BBC series Doctor Who. With the release of “The Power of the Doctor,” fans were treated to an action-packed, feature-length episode that serves as an exhilarating farewell to both Whittaker and writer Chris Chibnall. The high-stakes adventure brings together the Doctor’s three biggest foes – the Cybermen, the Master, and the Daleks – for an unprecedented clash that tests the limits of our heroic Time Lord.
The anticipation leading up to this centenary special was palpable, with the promise of an epic showdown between Whovian icons and a farewell packed with surprises. This included cameo appearances by Sophie Aldred as Ace (the Doctor’s companion from 1987-1989) and Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka (a companion from 1981-1984). These callbacks to past characters lent a nostalgic touch to this momentous departure.
From its pulse-pounding opening scene comprising laser beams, high-speed trains, and chaotic explosions, “The Power of the Doctor” is fast-paced throughout the extended runtime. Sadly the relentless pacing ultimately proves to be the finale’s downfall.
While adrenaline-filled sequences are impressive in their own right, this overstuffed special struggles to cultivate genuine suspense or dread when it counts. Trying to squeeze in everything from cameo appearances to battles between the Doctor and her adversaries leaves little breathing room for more nuanced storytelling. Moreover, casual viewers who are less familiar with Doctor Who’s complex history may struggle to follow some of the episode’s less-devoted plotlines.
In one such subplot left woefully underdeveloped, famous paintings like “The Scream” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring” are inexplicably defaced by the appearance of the Master’s face, hinting at his interference throughout history. Another thread involving Rasputin’s mesmerising influence skillfully sets the stage for intrigue but is ultimately sidelined in favour of more explosive action sequences.
Despite these shortcomings, the dialogue throughout the episode is well-written, offering viewers memorable lines and magnetic exchanges between characters. The sinister Master (played by Sacha Dhawan) is hell-bent on eradicating the Doctor from existence, with none of that pesky regeneration to fall back on. He aims to assume her mantle as the Time Lord and destroy Earth while he’s at it.
To achieve his nefarious goals, the scheming Master allies himself with both Daleks and Cybermen. His double-fronted attack on the Doctor is intended to force regeneration through Cybermasters and Time Lord technology in 1916 while partnering with Daleks in 2022 to flood Earth with lava. The resulting battles between the Doctor and her foes are visually stunning, even if they occasionally detract from opportunities for more nuanced storytelling.
“The Power of the Doctor” is an undeniably thrilling ride that delivers on its promise of all-out action but like the Flux before it, the episode was hard to grasp because there was too much going on. Embracing the “show, don’t tell” approach, Chibnall sometimes leaves out crucial details, making it difficult to connect his visual sequences. However, some minor plot points raise more questions than they answer, leaving viewers pondering their significance.
Its relentless pace allows little time for deeper exploration of potentially fascinating subplots or gradual suspense-building. As a result, what could have been an epic finale may leave some viewers feeling overstuffed rather than wholly satisfied.
Despite its flaws, this special episode may prove a fitting farewell for fans who delight in high-octane action sequences and appreciate seeing familiar faces return for one last battle alongside Jodie Whittaker’s iconic portrayal of the irrepressible Time Lord. And with Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as the Doctor now firmly wrapped up, the next chapter of the show’s history awaits.