eek three of the brand-new series of Doctor Who and this week we’re in Montgomery, Alabama. The Doctor and Co. are on their way back to Sheffield, 2018. However the TARDIS is drawn off course to 1950’s America. What’s going on and why is everything pointing towards Civil Rights activist; Rosa Parks?
Before I delve deeper into the third episode of the eleventh series of the NuWho era of Doctor Who, I must warn you that this article does contain. What Professor River would say: SPOILERS!
This episode is an accurate interpretation of how the ethnic minorities were treated at that time, and what better way to show that the ball that got rolling many moons again as gently nudged by the Doctor herself. This episode made Whittaker’s Doctor shine beautifully. I was thoroughly pleased by her performance and that of her co-stars.
Not only do we see Rosa Parks (Vinette Robinson) but we’re also granted an appearance from none other than Martin Luther King (Ray Sesay). However this isn’t the first time that Luther King has been in Doctor Who. Previously the activist was heard in the 1988 serial Remembrance of the Daleks as a Dalek ship slowly comes into orbit above planet Earth.
This isn’t Robinson’s first involvement in Doctor Who. She previously appeared in the 2007 story 42. Which by chance was penned by Chris Chibnall and like many actors who make much reappearance for the show Vinette Robinson is now among the actors who shall leave their mark on the show, especially after the subject of this week’s episode?
Again like last week’s episode I am getting the impression that the show is still paying homage to the Classic series but looking to the future. I do feel however that Rosa had more of a story than the previous two episodes. Jodie Whittaker is slowly coming out of her shell in this series and I’m slowly starting to take to her portrayal of the benevolent time travelling Time Lord or is it now Lady?
I did feel however a similarity with this episode and The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Let’s look at this week’s antagonist, Krasko (Josh Bowman). The showdown involved the villain disappearing in a puff of logic. Like T’zim-Sha’s disappearing act it has left the character’s return open and the possibility of both characters returning and forming an alliance is somewhat likely.
I was beginning to think though that Krasko would or could have a connection with the Time Meddling Monk from Hartnell’s time on the show. I did find myself questioning the possibility that could he be a Time Lord or even a Time Agent and lastly his fixation with Rosa could be that he was to snag her from the past to be part of some futuristic millionaire’s time collection of historical figures, but it turned political and my questions were answered.
However, this week had no mention of the Stenza, unless I missed at least something. However we did get a mention of the Stormcage, the prison of which River Song made regular prison breaks from. It wasn’t until after the revelation of him being an ex-convict of the prison that the questions were answered.
The accurate politics of 1950’s American made viewing uncomfortable and unsettling. I especially felt immensely uneasy with how Yaz and Ryan were being treated and that having them skulking around in the shadows is a good example of how the ethnic communities were being treated at that time. It was rewarding however to see Rosa Parks’ historical movement happening and making a change for the future of civil rights and humanity itself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and found the themes to be hard hitting. It was a good insight and a great piece of entertainment. I am beginning to see Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, like previous incarnations it does take some time to warm up to the new form of our favourite Doctor and I believe that over the course of this series she’s going to shine beautifully.
Doctor Who continues on BBC One, Sunday 28th October in Arachnids in the UK.