Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Josh Bowman, and Vinette Robinson
Writers: Malorie Blackman & Chris Chibnall
Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens, and Nikki Wilson
Composer: Segun Akinola
Director: Mark Tonderai
Doctor Who was created by Sydney Newman, and follows the adventures of the time-traveling alien known as the Doctor, along with their companions, as they explore and help the universe.
Still trying to get back to present-day Sheffield, the Doctor and her friends find themselves stuck in the deep south of 1955 America, lured in by a familiar alien energy. Before they know it, they quickly become acquainted with one of the biggest civil rights activists in history, Rosa Parks. However, whoever possesses that alien energy is trying to disrupt history, and it’s up to the Doctor, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan to protect it. Can they make sure that Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on the fateful day of December 1st, 1955? And who is trying to disrupt the timeline, and why?
In nearly every series of Doctor Who, there’s always gonna be an episode or two that becomes a new classic, and one that is fondly remembered throughout the show’s tenure. For Series 3, it was Blink. For Series 9, it was Heaven Sent. Not to be premature, but for Series 11, I have no doubt in my mind that it will be Rosa.
Getting right to the point, Vinette Robinson was absolutely magnificent as Rosa Parks. Her performance was memorable, strong, and is the beating heart of this episode. If there’s anything Doctor Who has done well, it’s not only highlighting historical figures, it’s also having them go through legitimate arcs, and coming out of them as changed people. Rosa Parks in this episode is no exception, as meeting the main characters definitely has an effect on her, especially her interactions with Ryan. She was a fantastic addition to this series, and I look forward to her work in the future
Jodie Whittaker continues to stride in glory as the Doctor, always having a sense of curiosity and excitement, but knowing when to assert her dominance and take control, especially in regards to protecting the timeline. Krasko was a very enigmatic villain as well, and while some may say his character is over-exaggerated, I can see multiple people I’ve met ending up like him, in terms of motivations at least. This episode doesn’t hold back one bit when dealing with racism and prejudice, and it gets to near-uncomfortable levels of how harsh and realistic it is. Seeing something like that in an incredibly popular mainstream show doesn’t happen that often, and I’m glad Chibnall and the BBC chose to show it this way.
The companions were terrific in the episode as well, with Yaz finally getting a good amount of focus and development that was lacking from the previous one. Her and Ryan have a fantastic growing bond, especially during their conversation about racism and how far society’s come. Graham continues to be a delight, Bradley Walsh plays him as such a kind and caring man who is incredibly reluctant, but will still do his best for his friends. This series is at a point that if one of the companions left, it would definitely feel like something was missing from the main cast, and that is no small feat.
Rosa is absolutely destined to become a new Doctor Who classic, as it has a great mix of old and new. I can definitely see this being a go-to for history teachers to show their classes, all while still being a great episode overall. Vinette Robinson knocked it out of the park (no pun intended) as Rosa Parks, the main cast continued to be strong and dynamic, and the ending is absolutely tear-jerking. Not only is this a great Doctor Who episode, but if you want any of your friends or family members to get into it, Rosa is the perfect gateway episode.