TV Writer Ilina Jha reviews the latest episode of Doctor Who, praising Jodie Whittaker’s final performance as The Doctor
‘The Power of the Doctor’ – the Thirteenth Doctor’s (Jodie Whittaker) blockbuster finale and Doctor Who’s contribution to the BBC Centenary celebrations – is funny, emotional, and brilliant. Everything you want from a Doctor Who episode, really. The trailers for ‘The Power of the Doctor’ promised a lot, and I was apprehensive about whether everything could be satisfactorily fitted in. However, this episode (mostly) delivers. The Thirteenth Doctor’s final task is to defeat the Master, the Daleks and the Cyber Masters, preventing their devastating plans for the Earth. A mammoth task, to be sure, but not one the Doctor has to complete on her own – trusted companions old and new are there to help along the way.
There is a certainly a lot going on in ‘The Power of the Doctor’ – Daleks, Cybermen, missing seismologists and paintings, returning companions, and, of course, the return of the Master (who survived, as he always does, what was meant to be his complete obliteration in ‘The Timeless Children’). While some elements of the episode feel rushed or unresolved, I am pleasantly surprised by how well most of the important plot threads are integrated into the episode.
The highly anticipated return of Classic companions Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) is particularly enjoyable, and many will appreciate the references to their previous time on the show (such as the return of Ace’s iconic jacket and baseball bat). Plenty of surprise appearances from other former Doctor Who characters are a further delight to any long-time fans of the show.
The soundtrack to this episode is excellent, with music befitting the emotional elements of the episode (such as the Doctor’s regeneration scene). However, a surprisingly comedic scene in which the Master dances has to be the standout musical moment of the episode (I’ll give you a clue: the artist is Boney M). The editing is good, and the visual elements are striking; ‘The Power of the Doctor’ is a big episode, and the production certainly reflects that. There are some stellar performances from the cast, particularly from Sacha Dhawan as the Master, who performs a complicated character mix of cruelty, genius, and gleeful insanity.
Last, but certainly not least, Whittaker’s final performance as the Doctor is outstanding. All the elements of the Thirteenth Doctor are there: optimism, her particular love of fixing things, childishness, and the contradictory adult secretiveness. Most importantly, there is the determination to save lives and thwart the enemy’s plans, no matter what – the trait common, of course, to all the Doctors. Whittaker’s poignant final scene as the Doctor is beautifully done (although I feel she was deserving of a longer farewell speech, more akin to the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors’ final speeches).
‘The Power of the Doctor’ is bold, exciting, and emotional, full of twists and surprises. Despite some rushed elements of the plot, what a finale for our first female Doctor. Whittaker has been brilliant in the role, and I’m sure she will be missed by many. For me, regeneration scenes evoke a sadness for the passing of one Doctor, as well as an excitement for the Doctor who is coming next.
Finally, for those of you who have watched ‘The Power of the Doctor’ and know how it ends, there is only one thing to say: what? What? WHAT?
Read more TV reviews here: