Dr. Who: Season 12 is a winner

Doctor Who Season 12 had a serious loss of viewers. About 4.9 million Doctor Who fans suddenly tuned out of watching the longest-running science fiction show on television, which is particularly worrisome to me. I have been a Whovian since ninth grade and have seen almost every season. I am worried that so many people have stopped watching the show, but I’m not necessarily shocked

There was a lot of anguish over the concept of a female Doctor. The new writer, Chris Chibnall, wasn’t fantastic in the opinions of many. Basically, nobody loved season eleven, and many expected that season twelve would just be worse. 

Fortunately for Whovians around the world, I think that season twelve was a massive improvement overall. Season twelve may not be over yet, but in my opinion, it is much better than Jodie Whittaker’s debut on the show. 

For those of you who are new to this show, here is a super brief rundown: The Doctor is a Timelord who is (basically) immortal. Every time they die, they can regenerate into a new body. Right now the Doctor is played by Jodie Whittaker, who is the first woman to ever portray the character. She can travel in a TARDIS, which is a machine that travels in time and space. The Doctor Who universe is really complex and crazy, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. Here’s what I think of each of these new episodes. 

The season started with a bang: Spyfall, Parts One and Two. I watched the first part with my friend, and we both just about leaped out of our seats during the big reveal at the end. But the entire two-part episode was great. It had a real James-Bond feel that worked really well and gave all of the characters a shining moment. If you’re going to watch any episode from season twelve, I would recommend this one. It keeps you on your toes. Plus, there’s a motorcycle chase. 

Orphan 55, on the other hand, was not as good as I had been hoping for. There’s nothing really good I can say about this one. Dr. Keely, a serious Doctor Who fan, noted that it “had allusions to Alien and Planet of the Apes.” So if you liked those, maybe you’d enjoy this episode, but it’s honestly unlikely. I spent most of the episode wondering when it would end. It was a plea for a cleaner planet without much actual plot. 

Luckily, Orphan 55 was the only episode I’ve hated so far. Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror was similar in style to the Rosa Parks episode in season eleven: a fitting tribute to someone in history who deserves way more recognition. Dr. Keely, who is basically the pop-culture liaison at this point, commented that this episode follows a “basic 1950s giant-animal horror film genre.” I’ve never heard of this film genre, but if you love the 1950s and you love giant animals, this episode is for you.

Fugitive of the Judoon was so full of plot twists that I can’t really talk about it much without revealing spoilers. I will say that some characters from the past made a return and something that should not be possible in the Doctor Who universe happened during the episode that puzzled viewers. Charlotte Hecht ‘21, another Doctor Who fan, called the plot twist at the end “an awesome surprise.”

Praxeus was another plea for environmental justice, but this time I really enjoyed it. This episode called back to classic Doctor Who humor while still having a complicated plot with plenty of twists to keep viewers engaged. 

One of the best episodes of the season was the Haunting of Villa Diodati, which explored Mary Shelley’s inspiration for Frankenstein. This episode had ghosts, the closing of some plot holes, and featured multiple famous writers such as Lord Byron. The episode also explored the Thirteenth Doctor’s range of emotions. Despite her bubbly exterior, she does have a dark side, and this is featured during the episode. 

What will happen next? It’s hard to tell. At this point, it’s up to the fans to try and speculate how the season will end, but if you ask me, I think it will be unexpected and exciting. Doctor Who will either evolve with its fan base or it won’t. The real question isn’t how the season will end so much as if the show will change. 

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