Doctor Who The Timeless Child Review – Fixing Lore and Creating More

Posted on 2 March 2020
By Dana Andersen
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With all the speculation, rumours, and supposed leaks surrounding Doctor Who’s finale this season, huge expectations were created for ‘The Timeless Children’. Beginning right where we left off was a fulfilling entrance into the finale, progressing immediately with The Doctor stepping through the boundary with The Master.

Tying together so many plots in a final episode can get messy, bringing together The Master, and The Lone Cyberman is an interesting way to condense them into one line together. Sacha Dhwan’s Master mocking the Cybermans plans with such glee, and lack of fear, was so on character for him, and such tense fun to watch.

Once again utilising the psychic abilities we’ve become used to Time Lords having, more information is given about the Timeless Child, and how the Time Lords came to be, making for one of the most impactful episodes we’ve had involving Doctor Who lore in quite some time.

This is where things got scary! The Doctor finding out she in in fact the Timeless Child breaks her a little, even as she demands The Master show her the rest. Jodie’s performance here was truly perfect. She looked almost emotionally empty, broken, and confused.

Using the psychic link gives the opportunity of ‘interactive’ flashbacks, having The Doctor, and The Master, within the flashback to talk takes it from a normal, boring flashback, to a genuinely interesting way to unravel parts of a show as lengthy, and full of backstory, as Doctor Who.

Things only continue to seem increasingly hopeless through out the first half of this episode. The Doctor doesn’t know who she is anymore, The Master has absorbed the Cyberium following his miniaturisation of the Lone Cybermen, and it looks like the fam are pretty much guaranteed to be killed by the Cybermen sometime soon.

Upping the stakes even more, we’re given Cybermen that are terrifying in theory and, well, Time Lord Cybermen were always going to have a certain kind of look weren’t they?

Cybermen that can regenerate though, a horrifying addition to cyber-history for those of us that have been haunted by those soulless black eyes, and echoing footsteps, since childhood.

The Fam coming through the boundary was another big moment, though not as big as some others. How often have The Doctors companions ended up getting to actually step foot on Gallifrey?! Its also a great, organic feeling way to reunite The Doctor and her friends.

Ruth Doctor was sure to make an appearance following everything we saw from her, though few fans were expecting her to show up in ‘The Matrix’ to revive…herself?

This is where the episode picks up in feeling like Doctor Who though. Following a few conversations with herself, theres this beautiful moment where we fully see The Doctor come back. The music, the dialogue and the look in Jodie’s eyes tell us something big, and brilliant, is just around the corner.

And it is! The Doctor may be mind blown, but she’s able to blow her way out of the Matrix, giving us an iconic montage of previous Doctors, monsters, companions, and even Doctor’s that have been argued about in the fandom for decades.

Finally The Doctor and the fam are back together, plotting a way to get out of there alive while making sure all the Cybermen are killed. Shouldn’t be too hard, considering their ship is parked in the middle of Gallifrey, and they have bombs.

Finding the miniaturised Lone Cyberman gives The Doctor some alternative, thanks to the now tiny death particle thats still in his chest.

The Doctor and The Master plan to meet a final time, face to face, before having to race off as the bombs on the Cybership are set to detonate sooner than expected.

With the fam safely bundled into a brilliantly vintage looking TARDIS it seems things may be okay, until The Doctor brings up the one option she has left, using the death particle on Gallifrey, The Master, his Cybermen, and of course, herself.

Throughout this season we’ve seen Yaz grow, taking charge more effectively, and being the companion that cares most about those around her, leaving us with the heartbreaking scene of her being the only one to try to stop The Doctor from killing herself.

A final showdown between The Doctor and The Master was what we all needed in this episode, and its exactly what Chibnall gave us. The Master knows what plan The Doctor has up her sleeve, and encourages her to do it in his twisted, gleeful way we’ve all come to love from Dhwan’s Master.

But she can’t do it. How could she? How could anyone but The Master destroy their home, and every life form on it?

So it’s just as well Ko Sharman made his big reappearance, having left the TARDIS before it took everyone else home, he reveals he helped send the Cyberium back in time, and is now prepared to pay his penance by being the one to die, to destroy them all.

It’s a bit of a cop out, we all know it is, but it’s not like The Doctor can just die is it?!

The Doctor is reunited with the TARDIS, and every Doctor Who fan drew a sigh of relief.

Until the episode in fact ends with The Judoon once again popping up to leave the Doctor in a maximum security prison. Doctor Who always has to leave us something fantastic and frustrating to mull over between seasons now.

Fixing plot holes, diving into the lore of Who, and once again leaving us in a position of not knowing where The Doctor is from or exactly what she is, leaves so many exciting things to explore, and improves the continuity of the show’s history.

This episode alone leaves Chibnall so many amazing places to take us next season, but for now, the long wait begins.