Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Joana Borja, Molly Harris, Thapelo Maropefela, Matthew McNulty, and Warren Brown
Writers: Pete McTighe and Chris Chibnall
Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens, Alex Mercer, 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.
On planet Earth in the year 2020, a series of incidents within Hong Kong, Peru, and Madagascar unfold, involving a missing astronaut, a strange type of skin growth, and flocks of birds acting somewhat strange. The most terrifying part? They’re all connected. As the Doctor and her friends split up across the three locations in a desperate search for answers, they only find more questions, and more people in need of help and protection. Why are all of these events happening, and what’s the cause? Also, what exactly is Praxeus, anyway?
The previous episode, Fugitive of the Judoon, was an absolute shocker, to say the least. From Captain Jack returning, to Jo Martin’s character being revealed as an unknown past Doctor, so many questions have built up for the series finale. Thankfully, however, we still have some time to go on a few fun adventures before then, and I’m not complaining about that in the least. While Praxeus isn’t a show-stopping game-changer like Spyfall or Fugitive, it’s still a fun, well-paced, and thrilling adventure, with high stakes and a formidable threat that always leaves you guessing where it’s going to strike next.
Jodie delivers strong this time around, as always, but I didn’t get too much from her character within this episode. While she still leads the charge with flying colors, I didn’t get a sense of last episode’s events truly sticking with her, which is even stranger since Praxeus takes place immediately after them. She did get a good pep-talk from Ryan, Yaz, and Graham, sure, but I would’ve liked to have seen her somewhat off her game during this episode, which could’ve added to the tension and fear of the threat overall. However, there’s far more to come, and we’ve gotten a great amount of development for her this series, so I can’t be too mad. Overall, she still does a fantastic job, which isn’t surprising whatsoever.
Ryan, Yaz, and Graham don’t get the deepest development ever, but they’re all given a good amount to do, and let their characters shine through by being paired with the side characters. Yaz and Graham especially get some interesting stuff to do, as Graham finds himself having to motivate one of the side characters to face life head-on, while Yaz is sort of left on her own with one of the others, trying to find out the truth about the threat. Her arc was especially interesting to me, as it sort of put her on a subtle collision-course with the Doctor, which we haven’t seen yet at all. As tensions rise between our main characters this series, so do the questions about where they’re all going to end up afterwards.
Where this episode seems to truly shine is, surprisingly enough, within the main side characters. I found them to be incredibly heart-felt and compelling, especially Jake and Adam, as pictured above. Their relationship anchors the plot itself down to a very human level, showing what’s truly at stake if the threat at hand wins. I have to tip my hat to Warren Brown and Matthew McNulty on a job well done. I also tip to Joana Borja, and while her character’s emotional arc was a bit rushed, she still brought a fantastic energy to this episode. As for the story itself, without spoiling, what I can say is that it’s like a better version of what Orphan 55 from earlier this series tried to accomplish. Some might see it as hitting too close to home, but nowadays we need these reminders now more than ever. Nothing’s gonna change if we stay complacent and refuse to act, and one way or another, we have to. I applaud Doctor Who for choosing to go above and beyond to address real-world issues, because at the end of the day, pure escapism won’t do any of us any good.
Overall, while it wasn’t the strongest this series had to offer thus far, Praxeus is still a very enjoyable adventure within this fantastic show. The Doctor and her friends got more than enough to do, the side characters were fantastic, and the story at hand presents a grim reminder of things we should take better care of. I definitely hope we see more of the side characters from this story in the future, as they worked super well with the TARDIS Team, and it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question. Series 12 continues to be fun, exciting, and thrilling, as I’m on the edge of my seat nearly every single week. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens within the next two episodes, as well as the two-part finale.