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Spyfall (Part 1)

ShowDoctor Who / Series XII / Episode 1
First Broadcast2020/01/02 - 19:30 (Link: ABC TV)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeResolution
Next EpisodeSpyfall (Part 2)

The entire episode is explicitly influenced by the James Bond films, for example, the title is a clear reference to Skyfall. There are many other references too, eg. MI6, characters named by a single letter, C, O, a-la M, the Doctor introducing herself as "Doctor, the Doctor". Consequently the episode doesn't really feel like a normal Doctor Who episode. There's a lot of "spy stuff", action scenes, dressing up in black tie and so on.

Almost secondary to this is the standard plot line of a mysterious alien - this time it's the Kasaavin - beings capable of moving throughout the universe and possibly even into the TARDIS. Also in the mix is Daniel Barton, the CEO of VOR - a company to be feared for its access to data about us all and no doubt based on Facebook, Google, etc.

The whole episode was clearly building up to something and at the very end we found out what that was. In classic style, the big reveal is that the Master is back, disguised from the Doctor and out for revenge. The cliffhanger looks untenable - the Doctor is marooned somewhere unknown, while the rest of the team is aboard a plane about to crash. Just how will the Doctor save the day?

A few other noteworthy things ... I'm intrigued by the Master's words to the Doctor, "everything you know is a lie." It didn't even click that the Master is black until sometime afterwards. Time Lord regeneration across gender and skin colour is just normal now. The highlight for mine was when the Doctor met C for the first time and C addressed Graham. When corrected by his assistant, he says "I read the files, the Doctor is a man." The Doctor replies that she's "had an upgrade".