Doctor Who – ‘The Battle Of Rankskoor Av Kolos’

Series Eleven, Episode Ten – Finale

CONTAINS SPOILERS

The TARDIS gets many distress calls from a planet, which everyone else in the universe has ignored. The TARDIS team decide to aim for one of the ships who sent a  distress signal, and that leads them to the mysterious planet.

When they arrive on the ship, they meet a man (Mark Addy), who aims his gun at them! He’s very cagey, and wonders if the TARDIS team are “them”. The Doctor tells him they can’t be who he fears, as they have only just arrived on the planet. The man is very confused about almost everything, he can’t even remember his own name, and he forgets the Doctor instantly after he has asked who she is. The Doctor gives him a neural balancer and transmitter to try to help with that, and she also gives neural transmitters to the TARDIS team, as she thinks it’s the planet itself which is causing the memory loss.

The man’s memory begins to return slowly, and he now knows his name, which is Greston Paltraki. The Doctor powers the ship back on and there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s working perfectly, so the distress call can’t have been because the ship was unable to leave.

They get a message on the ship’s computer, from none other than Tzim-Sha (Samuel Oatley), last seen in the first episode ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’. He wants Paltraki to return something, and kills one of Paltraki’s crew. There are now only two of the crew left.

The object Paltraki “took” was a diamond-like object it was his mission to recover, and the planet they are on isn’t the Stenza’s home planet. The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver can’t tell what the object is, but despite it looking heavy, she is able to lift it easily.

Graham wants to kill Tzim-Sha, as vengeance for Grace’s death. The Doctor doesn’t approve of this on either moral or strategical grounds. They’re trying to rescue hostages, and that might be compromised by trying to kill Tzim-Sha. Ryan doesn’t agree with Graham’s intentions either, not least that he is worried Graham won’t have a chance against Tzim-Sha and could end up being killed himself.

The planet has wreckages of many spaceships which have come and failed to get to a place known as The Edifice. So the TARDIS team and Paltraki head off to there! The Doctor thinks they should all be armed just in case, and keep in contact via the neural transmitters. As Tzim-Sha wants the diamond object, the Doctor puts a lot of grenades on it, so they have some leverage.

As it turns out, they don’t have to go all the way to The Edifice themselves, as they are teleported there!

They separate. Ryan and Graham are surrounded by SniperBots, but they duck and the SniperBots end up taking each other out!

The Doctor runs into Andinio (Phyllis Logan) who is an Ux, a very rare species. She wants the object from the Doctor, and says she “defends the creator”. Guessing that Andinio is referring to Tzim-Sha, the Doctor asks her to show him her face. Tzim-Sha wants the Doctor to meet him in person.

Paltraki takes Yasmin to a room which has four more of the diamond objects, and each has something in the centre. Meanwhile, Ryan and Graham find another room with dozens of people asleep in chambers.

The Doctor is taken to Tzim-Sha who is attached to some sort of life support machine. As he failed in his mission in ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’ he was banished from his home planet to this one, where he would be unable to leave without dying. He was teleported to this planet over 3000 years ago, and when he arrived he was worshipped as a god by the Ux.

The Ux only ever have two people on each planet, and here they are Andinio and Delph (Percelle Ascott). But they can live for a long time and have powerful abilities, which Tzim-Sha intends to use to power up a weapon – the weapon is The Ediface.

As the weapon is powered up, the diamond objects are shaking. What is in each object is a planet! Being placed in there will have killed all life in them – five planets! And the next target is Earth. To make matters worse, the planets are returning to their normal size!

Disconnecting the power would end up killing the Ux. They could give them the neural transmitters to make them see sense, but that will leave the Doctor and Yasmin vulnerable to the brain draining effects of the planet’s atmosphere. And all those planets in the objects being together in one place is causing a rip in space-time. As the Doctor puts it, “there’s too many things to do!”. But for all its flaws, it’s the only plan they have. After giving the Ux the neural transmitters, the Doctor explains who Tzim-Sha is and how he took advantage of their faith.

The planets need to be back to the place in the universe they came from. The Ux have the ability to do that, but they don’t have enough time. The Doctor laments “Universe provide for me. I’m working really hard to keep you together right now!”. She eventually decides to summon the TARDIS, and asks the Ux to come in. That allows the Ux to put the planets back where they belong. (Don’t ask me how, but it does!)

Ryan and Graham get the people out of the chambers, and Paltraki takes them back to his ship. They encounter Tzim-Sha, and Graham shoots him, but only in the foot. He and Ryan lock him in one of the chambers, giving him a life sentence rather than killing him.

We’re told “Rankskoor Av Kolos” translates as “Disintegrator of the Soul”.

There were bookends of series eleven in a way, in that the villain in the first episode was also the villain in the last episode.

This episode was certainly action packed and full of explosions, but it didn’t feel like a grand finale really. But, as it was the finale it might be good to look at the series as a whole.

It’s notable for being the first series where the Doctor was played by a woman, and apparently this series has had more young girls watching than previous ones, so it has made a difference in that respect. But as for how the gender of the actor playing the Doctor makes a difference to the character, to be honest I don’t think it has! The Doctor is still the same character, Jodie Whittaker has taken to it instantly. It’s a bit like something Michelle Gomez said in an interview about playing Missy/The Master, she’d found that the gender was incidental, and that seemed to be the response she got from fans too. I would quite like to see Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and Missy encounter each other!

In general, for series eleven, I really like the Doctor. I like the companions, though I think having them all at once meant that it’s taken a while to get to know them and I’m still not sure we know them yet. However, I think the monsters/aliens were generally the weak point, and some episodes would have been better without them in it. The series as a whole was OK.

This is my 300th post on this blog! Another milestone!

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