Doctor Who: Flux – Season 13 Episode 6 “ The Vanquishers” Recap & Review

The Vanquishers

Episode 6 of Doctor Who: Flux begins with the Doctor calling upon the Ood to try and find her TARDIS. However, Azure and Swarm have other plans. Both of them approach the Doctor and, after touching her, somehow manages to fracture her mind into several different pieces. This allows the Doctor to quite literally be in more than one place at once.

Meanwhile, super Yaz manages to take out the impending Sontarans, courtesy of a quick grappling hook, opening up a door which sends ripples of lightning out that just so happens to hit their probic vents. Righteo then.

Anyway, Kate shows up right as Yaz and the others jump through one of the tunnels which leads to the Doctor teleporting into their location too. There’s also a version of the Doctor with Karvinsta and also with Swarm too. With a very loose explanation (and not a very good one at that) the three different versions of this Doctor all work to thwart the threat of the Sontaran fleet, which rock up on Earth alongside the Grand Serpent.

Aboard Karvinsta’s ship, the Doctor flies full force into the Sontaran ship. Only, the shields activate allowing her to freeze just prior to that, serving as bait with Karvanista while Bel gets to work saving the day. The thing is Karvanista used to be the Doctor’s companion once upon a time, but a poison injected in his brain means he’s unable to talk about it.

Back with Yaz and the others, this other echo of the Doctor catches up with some loose exposition from our characters, with Dan confirming that Yaz was “brilliant” in her two year absence. Anyway, Kate Stewart has more pressing concerns to discuss.

With the Sontarans taking over, she’s learned of another weakness they have. Chocolate. The Sontarans are back again, raiding the planet and seemingly enslaving the world.

Yaz and the others show up at the exact corner shop that these Sontarans are at and it allows the Doctor to make a deal with the Commander in charge, Shallo. In exchange for psychic operatives they agree to give him unlimited access to chocolate. With a cringe-inducing utterance of “choco-late” the plan looks set to go.

Those operatives happen to be Jericho and Claire, whom the Doctor picks up with a quick jump back to 1901 in the Tardis. However, the main draw here comes from the Doctor with Azure and Swarm. This pair want to destroy all spatial objects; mass genocide in a way.

Azure questions the Doctor’s desire to build and allow life to prosper (unless they’re all displaced and threatening to mass around Earth of course. Intergalactic refugees are a big no no for this doctor.) Azure and Swarm intend to allow the flux to destroy everything, but in doing so with a constant destructive loop so they can watch it happen again and again.

Meanwhile, Karvanista learns that the entire Lupari fleet have been destroyed, jettisoned out into space in the wake of the Sontarans attacking. With Karvanista heartbroken, he remains dead-set on taking out the Sontarans and gaining revenge. At the same time, Vinder and Diane continue to work through their prison they’re stuck in as the scene cuts across to inside Passenger temporarily.

The Doctor finds herself caught at the mercy of the Grand Serpent. Only, the Grand Serpent is stopped by the other versions of the Doctor, which both show up and turn the interrogation against this weird creature, which happens to be a binary demi-species. That’s it, that’s all the explanation we get.

Anyway, these different Doctors manage to psychically link to the Doctor with Azure and Swarm. The Doctor locks onto Vinder’s signal and manages to bring him and Claire aboard. After splitting up the operation and allowing the two different echoes of the Doctor to go in opposite directions of course.

Anyway, Bel and Vinder get their big reunion while Diane and Dan also get their reunion…for 3 seconds. For now, it’s time to work on the big final Flux event, which the Doctor and Kate Stewart both realize that the Sontarans are intending to use to their advantage. Specifically they intend to use the Lupari ships to shield them while bringing in the enemy fleets to fall to the Flux event.

So remember that moment during episode 2 where the Doctor was horrified that a lowly soldier blew up all the Sontaran ships? It turns out Karvanista has been working with the Doctor and they double-cross the Sontarans, thwarting their shields, destroying the fleet and exchanging big high-fives as the Sontarans are obliterated. The Doctor even shows up to taunt them too. Mass genocide once more, and this time the doctor is watching it all take place!

With the end of everything, the Doctor uses Passenger to serve as a conduit for the Flux, absorbing all the energy and saving everyone that’s left from total annihilation.

Meanwhile, the Doctor shows up at Atropos where Azure and Swarm “ascend” courtesy of the manifestation of Time. “Beware of the forces that mass against you and their master.” It says, teasing what’s to come next year during Chibnall’s final three specials. Soon after though, the Doctor is rejoined together and back aboard Karvanista’s ship.

Despite everything being destroyed, the Doctor says goodbye to all the half-baked characters we’ve almost met this season, including Dan, Diane and Claire.

With the Flux destroyed, Azure and Swarm just gone and nothing really explained, Yaz, Dan and the Doctor head off for the final three specials before Chris Chibnall departs and Russel T Davies returns.

Interestingly though, the Doctor happens to hold her fob-watch from times gone by. She drops the watch deep into the TARDIS, deciding to keep it safe deep within the old ship, somewhere she’ll never find it.

The Episode Review

I fear this review portion is going to be quite long so apologies in advance. To sum it up though, this was a dreadful episode to end an awful six-part series. There have been some highlights – namely the stand-alone segments featuring the Sontarans in episode 2 and the Weeping Angels in episode 4. Everything in between? Not very good at all.

Props to Chibnall and his team though, what they’ve effectively done here is a Rise Of Skywalker; rapidly increase the pace and throw as much at viewers as possible across six episodes to confuse, obfuscate and mask the fact that the story is just not very good.

Azure and Swarm’s master plan is to destroy everything and everyone, as revenge for the Division and Doctor thwarting them some time in the past. But that’s not all, is it? Despite propping these guys up as massive villains, they’re destroyed and  over in a matter of minutes when the final confrontation occurs. And that’s with none of our supporting characters in any sort of peril.

Ignoring the Doctor’s skewed morality again this season (hey, remember when she lamented the Sontarans being destroyed in ep 2? Only to then taunt the Sontarans just before the Flux rip through their fleet?) the companions and supporting characters have been nothing short of awful.

Dan started out quite promisingly and soon devolved into an under-utilized comedy sidekick, with most of his lines used to exude reinforcement for how amazing Yaz has been. Of course, she singlehandedly destroys the three Sontarans this episode and then goes on to play second-fiddle to the doctor. Or Doctors I should say.

No word on the skewed morals or logic around having more than one doctor but there’s no point in actually trying to dissect this season, none of it is supposed to make sense. Speaking of which, is the entire universe now completely ravaged after the Flux event?

And that ultimately sums up this throwaway season. The decision to have a longer Who story is a welcome one, but unlike the epic 8 parters of old (I know they used to be 23 minutes) the sense of grandeur is lost with poor pacing and poor characterisation.

Diane, Claire, Dan and Professor Jericho have been completely under-utilized, and that’s before mentioning the indifferent subplot involving Vinder and Bel, which is quickly solved and then never mentioned again. There’s not really any sort of big send-off either (people had been theorizing that their baby could have been the Doctor) After a whole chunk of this season was taken up with trying to bring them together, it’s all just over without much aplomb.

Ultimately though, we’ve got three more specials left with Chris Chibnall before Doctor Who may finally get back on track. And up next is a nice New Year’s Day special with *checks notes* Daleks. Oh that’ll be a nice change of pace!

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2 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Flux – Season 13 Episode 6 “ The Vanquishers” Recap & Review”

  1. This season goes to awfully weak and thin script writing. I am starting to feel It wasn’t Jodi to blame for not being a good doctor but the writers and Director who went with a shitty script.
    How come Daleks and cybermen only appeared at the end of the 6th episode plus why everyone keeps calling it to flux even the maker of it. Where is The Master since it’s the end of the time and universe?

  2. Yup. It was absolutely awful. No surprises there as this season has been dire. No surprises on New Years Day either. Daleks? Again? Sigh!

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