For those who have been avidly following Doctor Who Flux, The Vanquishers is an undemanding plot that neatly ties up most of the series’ loose ends – at least as far as the characters go. There are reunions galore… Di and Dan, Yaz and the Doctor, Bel and Vinder, Claire and Jericho, and the Ravagers and Time. But in order to get everyone back together again, the coincidences and shortcuts are off the scale. It works, but at what cost?
It’s a rare case of the parts being greater than their sum and the whole experience is lessened as a result. There are no hidden clues cleverly concealed in parts 1-5 – no ‘how did we miss that’ revelations. It’s all very one-dimensional. Forget the Sontaran in the sweet shop (if only we could), The Vanquishers is a sickly feast of mismatched ingredients for those who haven’t been paying attention, and an unsatisfying meal for those who have.
While it might please some fans to see the Timeless Child mysteries buried deep inside the TARDIS, perhaps never to be revealed, others will feel their investment in the Doctor’s quest has been a waste of time. Finally, the Doctor can get the answers she set out to find, safe in the knowledge that she no longer has to choose between her personal needs and those of the universe, yet she bottles it. Even with Yaz by her side.
With three specials left, is there still a pay-off to come? We can but hope.
10. Is The Universe Still Mostly Destroyed?
The Flux is effectively obliterated by the bigger on the inside Passenger. Matter and anti-matter destroy each other on contact. All well and good, if we can overlook the slightly dodgy science, but how come the potentially infinite matter contained within a TARDIS didn’t have a similar effect? Perhaps because the Doctor tried to defeat it with time rather than mass? Maybe she should have kept the door shut at the end of The Halloween Apocalypse.
More importantly, this was supposed to be the Flux’s final assault on a universe it had already mostly destroyed. So what’s left? Has time been reversed, is the universe back to how it was before the Flux was released? Something must have changed because the New Year special sees the return of the Daleks, despite their entire fleet being wiped out by the Sontarans.
It’s possible there are reconnaissance Daleks taking shelter somewhere on the shielded Earth, ready to make our planet the new Skaro. And let’s not forget the Williamson tunnels, which for some inexplicable reason are gateways between different worlds and times. It’s another convenient way for them and all manner of other alien invaders to resurface.
Unless the Doctor is planning to take Yaz and Dan to a new
universe, leaving Karvanista, Vinder and Bel to pick up the pieces, this one will
still need to be fixed. Russell T Davies won’t want to be saddled with a series
tied exclusively to Earth and a bunch of unpopulated wastelands.