Doctor Who: Flux – Survivors of the Flux – Reviewed!

Survivors of the Flux

Image Credit: BBC (Fair Use)

Image Description: Yaz explores a tomb while Professor Jericho looks on

Series Thirteen sets the stage for its finale in a workmanlike fashion, says James Ashworth

Following on from Village of the Angels was always going to be a large ask, and so to describe Survivors of the Flux as merely fine may be something of a compliment. That said, following the breakneck pace of the rest of the series, the episode hits a series of speedbumps as the brakes are applied for the approaching finale.

With Series Thirteen having been hit by the ongoing Covid pandemic, the series was cut down to six episodes, plus specials, and adopted a serial format. That the impact of Covid has appeared remarkably limited in the finished product until now has been quite an achievement given the changes that were required. Unfortunately, it couldn’t last forever, and the cracks begin to show in Survivors of the Flux. The fast pacing of the previous episodes has kept the series feeling fresh and lively, but hasn’t always left time for explanation. As a result, the series’ penultimate episode is having to shoulder the resulting narrative burden placed upon it.

Perhaps the most obvious way it makes itself known is through the continuation from Village of the Angels‘ dramatic cliffhanger. The Doctor being turned into a Weeping Angel was a stunning end to an episode, only for Survivors of the Flux needing to resolve it almost immediately. Any potential implications are mostly forgotten about, even if the concept remains interesting, as the Doctor is moved on to Division. Sadly, there isn’t time to look into the enigmatic organisation more fully as the Doctor, Tecteun, and a handy Ood have just 50 minutes to get through a lot of exposition. In the end, the acting prowess of Jodie and Barbara Flynn keeps these scenes alive to get across information that will presumably be relevant further down the line.

With the Doctor handling the exposition, there’s a bit more room for manoeuvre elsewhere. The manipulation of UNIT by the Grand Serpent presents a potted history that intrigues, even if it too could have done with more time to breathe. It does, however, leave sufficient space for Dan, Yaz and Jericho’s strand to proceed at the pace the other storylines cannot keep up. Though this episode isn’t Spyfall, their storyline takes cues from the Bond franchise, harking back to Diamonds are Forever as as it hops around the world. This entertaining adventure makes up for the lack of a deeper symbolism in their plotline, unlike Tecteun as the gardener reaping from the universe she grew, or the Grand Serpent as a literal snake in the grass.

Of course, Karvanista, Bel, Vinder, Swarm, and Azure also put in appearances, but just like the episode itself, this review has run out of time for them bar a brief mention. Though Survivors of the Flux may be shuffling its pieces around the board quite blatantly, the CGI, which continues to impress, makes it a diverting, if not entirely memorable, spectacle.

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