Spyfall – Part One
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Lenny Henry, Sacha Dhawan, and Stephen Fry
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens, and Nikki Wilson
Composer: Segun Akinola
Director: Jamie Magnus Stone
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.
All over the world, spies from various governments are being compromised by an unseen enemy that can’t be detected. With no other choice, MI6 turns to the Doctor and her companions for help. However, as the situation becomes more and more dire by the second, the questions and danger only multiply. What are these beings, and why are they only attacking spies? And more importantly, who is in charge of them, and what do they want?
So, here we finally are, exactly one short year after the last episode of Doctor Who. New series, new decade, new opportunities. As we all know, the last series was definitely controversial, for some reasons that were justified, and some reasons that you’d have to be an idiot to believe were justified (you all know the ones). While I definitely enjoyed Series 11, more so than others, there was definitely lots of room for improvement. Every episode being a one-off gave very little room for the stories to breathe, as well as the characters, and the lack of an overarching story made everything feel far less connected. With the news that Series 12 would be taking extra time, releasing in 2020, I definitely hoped the legitimate criticisms wouldn’t fall on deaf ears, and that Chibnall and co. would take the time to improve upon things. I am far more than happy to say that it definitely seems to be the case, as this is already taking the top spot as not only Chibnall’s best episode, but the best one of the new era by far.
Jodie Whittaker remains absolutely phenomenal as the Doctor, and has upped her game to an even higher level than she was at last year. Something I absolutely love about the Thirteenth Doctor is that, unlike many of the previous Doctors that are somewhat snarky and sarcastic, she’s incredibly open and sincere, always having this child-like innocence of fun and wonder. You’d think it would make her appear to be less alien and more human, but it doesn’t at all, and actually opens up a lot of different paths to be explored with her character. Without spoiling, this episode cracks the door wide open for further exploration of who she is, and I genuinely cannot wait to see what happens with her.
The fam, as well, have also upped their game since last year. Now that their establishment is out of the way, there seems to be far less restrictions on who gets more attention, as all of them are given a very equal and balanced amount of time. While Yaz has seemed to draw the short straw in previous episodes last series, it’s definitely not the case here, as she’s pretty much front-and-center during the whole episode’s conflict. Ryan and Graham aren’t given an extreme amount of development, but after Series 11, it’s safe to say they’ve earned the right to not be the sole focus this time around. While they don’t have much in the way of arcs being set up (although something seems to be planted for Yaz and Ryan), it’s nothing to complain about, as we still have nine more episodes to go.
Chibnall has absolutely improved in terms of writing compared to Series 11, and I think a lot of that is due to allowing himself to let this story flesh out into two parts. While Part Two remains to be seen until this Sunday, I feel like it’s definitely safe to say this episode would not have been as good as it was had it been crammed into one. Each scene flows naturally, and while the dialogue is still very expository, it’s been improved upon a lot. Akinola’s score has also improved, as well, becoming more big and bombastic, but still distinct, and making sure not to emulate Murray Gold. If anything’s for certain, it’s that this episode has one of the biggest twists and cliffhangers in the show’s history, and if you haven’t been spoiled yet, you’re gonna be thrown off of your seat. While there are so many more questions I have right now than ever before, I can’t wait to see where this story is going, as well as what questions it will decide to answer next episode.
Overall, Series 12 has started off with a bang in the highest sense of the word, and I couldn’t be happier. Every criticism I seemed to have from last series has been improved upon tenfold, which is no small feat considering how much loud and irrational noise there had to be cut through. The cast remains brilliant, the story is riveting, the directing and cinematography have only gotten even more beautiful, and any fan of spy movies or shows will definitely be delighted with this first part to Spyfall. Doctor Who came into the new decade swinging, and I genuinely hope the momentum keeps up.