; Date: Tue Nov 02 2021
What a relief! Chris Chibnall has finally produced an episode that's not boring, and is instead rather interesting. The Season 13 opener is the first of a six-part story, and it does an excellent job of setting up the problem, while keeping us in the dark about many important things.
We have a very important question at the front - How long have they had a mattress (and a trampoline) in the TARDIS Control Room? And what are Yaz and The Doctor doing on that mattress? Or, did the TARDIS instead quickly install the trampoline and mattress because it/she/he knew those were needed to successfully catch Yaz and the Doctor? Yes, that must be it.
In modern Doctor Who the typical story is wrapped up within 45 minutes. That's why modern Who often feels rushed, compared with Old Who where stories usually required four episodes and sometimes 10 episodes. This story, The Halloween Apocalypse, is the first part of a six-part story. That means we won't be seeing the conclusion until mid-December, and instead the role of the first part is to get us into the danger of the situation.
Usually, the real "everything is chaotic and extremely dangerous" moment hits at about the 3/4th point of the story. For a six-part story, that would be either in the fifth or sixth episode. Instead, the ending of this story feels like that chaotic and extremely dangerous moment. But, there are five more episodes to go, and it appears that the next episode involves a full-on field battle with Sontarans. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
One thing we can answer (sort of) is - who is this Williamson person who was building tunnels? And what does it have to do with the story? According to Wikipedia, the Williamson Tunnels are "a series of extensive subterranean excavations, of unknown purpose" that were dug in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool. "Williamson" is Joseph Williamson, a tobacco merchant, landowner and philanthropist. The tunnels are described as "brick or stone vaulting over excavations in the underlying sandstone". The purpose may have been to provide employment to soldiers returning from the Crimean War.
But, what we is the episode wants us to believe Williamson foresaw some cataclysmic event that "lies ahead", and was having the tunnels dug for that purpose. Since this story is certainly a cataclysmic event, surely the tunnels will play a role.
Raise your hands if you understood this name in the episode? I sure didn't, and had to look up the spelling on the Wikipedia page for the episode.
Anyway, Karvanista is a Lupari - a race of people who are somehow dogs. It's best to not try to work this out too deeply. The word "Lupari" is obviously related to the latin word for Wolf (Lup), and that the Lupari are pair bonded with humans is just a play on dogs being mans best friend.
The more important point is that The Doctor had been tracking Karvanista for quite a long while before the episode even started. We eventually learned Karvanista was the only known Division Agent that The Doctor could find, and she wanted to talk with him about this. But, Karvanista refuses to answer her questions about the Division.
So... when The Doctor told Yaz to rescue Dan while she went to chat with Karvanista, that wasn't just about efficiently splitting their efforts. It was so that Yaz would not know about The Division.
This episode had several things about The Division. Obviously that whole decrepit unwanted blasted story line about The Timeless Child is going to rear up its ugly head somewhere in these episodes. I had hoped that Chibnall would have dropped this, because it is such a bad idea. But, obviously he didn't read my blog posts about what a bad thing he's done to Doctor Who with that story.
Anyway... The Division appears to be a super secret Time Lord thing. It similar to the same as The Celestial Intervention Agency from the Big Finish version of Doctor Who. Meaning, it is the typical super secret spy agency, but with all kinds of Time Lord twists.
With the two guards checking on Swarm are working for The Division. That means The Division was responsible for holding Swarm prisoner, and that there was a many thousand year period in which one Division agent after another held this responsibility.
"Swarm"? That's the name of the guy with the crystals all over his head. The sister of Swarm is called Azure. It may be that the two people in that remote house at The Arctic Circle were Division agents, except that Azure was locked away inside one of them.
The next bit about The Division was, as said earlier, Karvanista. He refused to answer questions. However, we did learn that Karvanista is aware of "time disturbances" which meant his ship arrived several hours before the rest of the Lupari fleet. It may be that everyone in the Lupari fleet are Division agents, and that some form of time technology is present in their ships.
Okay, the "villain" in the story is a force that is spreading across the universe deleting every law of space and time. Well, the villain would be the person(s) who unleashed The Flux.
It occurs to me that this Flux thing is similar to what The Eternals (Who are the Eternals, Guardians, and the Toymaker named in 'Can You Hear Me'? (Doctor Who)) would have done if The Doctor hadn't put them back into their cage. Curious.
Otherwise, whatever or whoever this is, all we have is question marks.
This is a curious person which popped up. She obviously knew The Doctor and Yaz very well, but they haven't met yet. Timey-wimey.
But what's more important is the events in her personal past which are in The Doctor and Yaz's future. We'll see her in a later episode, in an event that already happened to her.
This was a throw-away line in the first segment. Nitro 9 was an explosive developed by a previous Companion of The Doctor, namely Ace. Ace was a rough street kid from Perivale who liked to create explosives, including Nitro 9.
This woman seems to be someone Dan's character wants as a girlfriend, and it's mutual. But, Azure captured Diane, and who knows what will happen to her. So sad.