Forget epic series finales, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos is a very personal story for Team TARDIS.
Under previous showrunners Russell T Davies and Stephen Moffat a series always ended with an epic story often featuring the cybermen or Daleks. But Chris Chibnall is not as predictable as that. Instead he chose to write a much smaller story set in the wake of a battle.
Answering a chorus of distress calls, the Doctor and companions Graham, Ryan and Yaz discover a world which has been the site of a terrible battle. They soon find themselves going up against the alien nasty whose actions in the series opener killed Graham’s wife and Ryan’s nan Grace.
For the Doctor it’s all about helping others who are suffering under Tim Shaw, a nasty who steals the teeth of the people he kills, but for Graham in particular it’s an opportunity for revenge.
The dramatic tension in this episode centres around what Graham, the everyman of this TARDIS team, will do if and when he comes face to face with the alien killer. He tells the Doctor that he will pull the trigger if he comes across Tim Shaw. It’s lovely to see her take her expected stand. Pulling the trigger will make Graham as bad as the episode’s heavy, and he’s much better than that.
While Earth is threatened by Tim Shaw, we don’t see the effects of the story on our home planet. More concerning is what will Graham do?
The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos is a compelling episode that has you caring about the characters Chibnall has written.
It feels like we might have to wait for the New Year’s Special to get something epic for Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor to do.
On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos lie the remains of a brutal battlefield. But as the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan answer nine separate distress calls, they discover the planet holds far more secrets.
Who is the mysterious commander with no memory? What lies beyond the mists? Who or what are the Ux? The answers will lead the Doctor and her friends towards a deadly reckoning.
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker
Graham O’Brien: Bradley Walsh
Ryan Sinclair: Tosin Cole
Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
Andinio: Phyllis Logan
Paltraki: Mark Addy
Delph: Percelle Ascott
Umsang: Jan Lee
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Producer: Alex Mercer
Director: Jamie Childs
Executive Producer: Matt Strevens