“We Go Way, Way, Way Back.” (Doctor Who: Spyfall – Part Two TV Review)
Spyfall – Part Two
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Sylvie Briggs, Aurora Marion, Lenny Henry, and Sacha Dhawan
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens, Alex Mercer, and Nikki Wilson
Composer: Segun Akinola
Director: Lee Haven Jones
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.
The Doctor’s past has finally caught up with her, as her greatest enemy, the Master, has returned to put her and her friends in grave danger, with little hope of survival. Meanwhile, a horrifying plan to destroy humanity is about to reach fruition, as Daniel Barton and the creatures of light put their final plans into motion, led by the rogue Time Lord himself. Can the team find a way to survive and stop them before it’s too late? And what exactly is the Master hiding from the Doctor?
I think it’s no secret at all that Spyfall – Part One was a huge surprise of an episode, for both content and quality alike. The writing, acting, character work, and more were so much tighter this time around, and that cliffhanger was probably one of the best in this show’s history. However, the trickiest thing about making a two-parter is sticking the landing, especially in Doctor Who. This show is riddled with fantastic first parts with incredible cliffhangers, with second parts that never quite break the threshold. Heaven Sent and Hell Bent from Series 9 are probably the perfect example of this, as people now solely view the former as a solo episode rather than part one of two due to how lackluster the latter was. Point is, two-parters are very, very tricky. However, I definitely have to say that Spyfall – Part Two did not disappoint whatsoever, as it delivers on everything its predecessor set up, while leaving just enough questions open to make us excited for the upcoming episodes.
I cannot get started at all without talking about the elephant in the room: Sacha Dhawan as the new Master. First of all, the fact that this didn’t leak is beyond me, and it seems that the BBC have definitely learned from their sticky Series 10 situation, seeing as they edited out Dhawan from all of the trailers and promotional material. To get right down to it, Sacha is downright incredible as the Master, and seeing last episode how he flipped the switch between O and the Time Lord was phenomenal. He commands such a threatening presence, along with a twinge of gleeful evil, and just the right amount of crazy to make all of it work. While Missy remains my favorite incarnation of the character overall, Sacha’s Master is the perfect blend of classic and modern, in many more ways than one. Without spoiling, all I can say is that he is downright amazing in this episode, and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
Jodie Whittaker absolutely gives it her all within this episode, giving arguably her most layered performance of the Thirteenth Doctor yet. She and Sacha have such fantastic chemistry and banter as their respective characters, especially in how they push one another. While the she constantly pushes his buttons by getting in the way of his plans, he constantly pushes out her darker side, as if he’s a reminder of who she truly is, and that she can’t hide the truth from her friends forever. The scenes between the two within this episode are absolutely brilliantly written, with Chibnall fully flexing his strengths as a writer. The Doctor’s character is definitely put into an emotional and mental vice grip within this episode, and I greatly look forward to seeing where it all leads to.
While there’s not a whole lot left I can say without spoiling, the rest of the episode itself is absolutely solid, and shows just how much Chibnall has grown as a writer. Graham, Yaz, and Ryan spend the majority of the episode on their own, and the development between the three of them is absolutely brilliant and emotional. The other side characters, while I don’t have much to say about them, are very well-written and well-acted, and serve their respective purposes within the story. I do somewhat feel like there’s a couple deleted scenes, or at least shortened ones, as one scene in particular feels like it forgot to have an ending, but it’s nothing to truly worry about. Once again, the visuals are outstanding, and the music is phenomenal, especially the new theme for the Master. It definitely feels like Segun Akinola is coming into his stride as a composer for this show, and I greatly look forward to what else he has in store later on.
All in all, this was a fantastic second part to an incredible first, as it gave me everything I wanted to see. This episode absolutely belongs to the Doctor and the Master, and seeing the focus narrow on the former is greatly appreciated, as Series 11 was more so about the companions rather than the Doctor. If Chibnall and co. keep up this momentum, as well as stick the landing with everything they’re setting up, Series 12 could very well end up being one of the best that the show has to offer. Let’s hope that it’ll be the case from here on out.
Summary A satisfying second half of the story that delivers on the Doctor and the Master, while setting up some potentially amazing story material for the future.