Hello my TV Geeks!
History is kept on track once again this week when the Doctor and Team TARDIS have to let things play out. Yaz takes the front seat as we travel to 1947 and the Partition of India. A similar episode to Rosa, as they’re both rooted in race and has the TARDIS crew avoid interfering with the timeline. But Demons of the Punjab seems to have been handpicked to be broadcast on Remembrance Sunday.
I’d be lying if I knew much of the partition of India, but from what I can read from this episode is that it was a poignant and relevant story to tell. The story centres on Yaz’s Nanna as she lives on the border of what becomes India and Pakistan. Clearly writer Vinay Patel is passionate of the subject given Doctor Who has a tendency to gloss over some historical truths, but with the Doctor stating:
“It’s not just the country that gets divided. Tens of millions of people about to be displaced. More than a million about to die.”
It’s a good way of reminding us that the past sometimes has more in common with the present than we realise. A truly enjoyable and thought-provoking episode as it shows neighbours turning on each other due to being whipped up into a frenzy by pamphlets and angry men on the radio. Nothing changes! Hate is a fire that is easy to fuel. One of the best quotes in this episode is:
“We’ve lived together for decades, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. And now we’re being told our differences are more important than what unites us”
The trend of Doctor Who aliens to be a kind of red herring occurs again here. We see a Holy Man being watched from the woods by a scary shadowy figure. The aliens here are designed brilliantly with their dog like heads, mandibles and multiple eyes; they are the Vajarians an Assassin species. It’s funny that again, we have an alien that is a kind of hunter/assassin like episode 1’s Toothfairy Predator. There is a theme, but it seems to be coincidental.
They are seen to be killing people, but it turns out they are being the reapers of the lost fallen. Again, is it any wonder this episode was broadcast on Remembrance Sunday? The alien encounters do seem to be a later addition as though the stories have been considered first, which isn’t a bad thing. I do wonder though if any of these new aliens will make future appearances.
Yaz receives a broken watch from her nanna Umbrine, the story of how and who’s watch it is isn’t told, so she asks the Doctor to take her to her Umbrine’s past. With some warning words from the Doctor to:
“Tread lightly. You’re treading on your own history”
She’s clearly remembering the times when here assistants have gotten too involved with their own history, Rose anyone? We don’t have anything to that extent here, and we get a nice change as if Yaz did get involved, she would most likely be erased from existence. Yaz finally discovers the truth about her Nanna’s flight from India but when she sees her again, she says it doesn’t matter.
Umbrine is to be married to Prem a man Yaz recognizes is not her granddad. Clearly something has to happen for Yaz to exist. It does make you wonder about these time travel stories. Does Umbrine remember Yaz? Is this the reason why Yaz is her favourite granddaughter? Surely Lorrain and George McFly recognise Marty as the person who got them together!
I like to think so, but I also like the unspoken understanding between Yaz and Umbrine. She doesn’t need to tell her what happened, Yaz already knows.
Doctor Who continues to impress with the quality and storytelling. I mention in this week’s MAaD Movie Podcast that there is something that bothers me about the series, but I just can’t put my finger on it. It may be the music is a little jarring, It could be the fact we have a lot of characters to follow. I’m not too sure, but I would like a solo Doctor episode. I just want to see what Whittaker can do on her own. Six episodes in and I’m still feeling as though I want to see more of the Doctor.
There are a lot of name drops, Einstien, Mountbatten etc were mentioned this episode alone, maybe we should see these stories instead of just being told about them, or maybe cool down on the quippy references.
Overall the episode was extremely well made, well-paced and had a great relevant story. It’s surprising how many times this series we have watched the Doctor not get involved. It’s a far cry from the Timelord Victorious where the Doctor saves everyone! Has the Doctor grown a little?
I really enjoyed the episode. This new series has brought the standard for a TV science fiction show up to the level it should be. It gives us drama with a strong Sci-fi element, but always keeps it human, good and bad!
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