Doctor Who season 11 episode 1 review

Doctor Who Decided to Torment Us With Big Spiders and White Men

Love the idea of giant spiders!

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This week’s episode of Doctor Who had a great message against elitist male politicians who try and run America. The problem is that the episode also featured spiders that were dead and became reanimated because of toxic waste. So basically, zombie spiders that were abnormally large. Welcome to the aptly titled “Arachnids in the UK,” no doubt named for its guest star(s).

The episode centered around Yaz wanting to go home to her family and the Doctor coming to terms with her new friends going back to their lives. When they are meant to say goodbye, Yaz invites everyone up for tea so that the Doctor doesn’t have to go alone. There though, of course, they find out that one of Yaz’s neighbors was murdered by a giant spider. You know, as is normal in society.

By investigating the spiders and where they eventually end up, the Doctor meets up with Yaz and her mother at a hotel that is being built by Jack Robertson (Sex and the City‘s own Chris Noth). Robertson, who is a hotel tycoon who is running for president (who is essentially Donald Trump but hates Donald Trump), fires Yaz’s mom, Najia, because he thinks there is something wrong with his new hotel.

When the Doctor shows up, everyone else seems to know who Jack Robertson is except for the Doctor. Jack, being the egomaniac that he is, can’t believe that the Doctor doesn’t know who he is. “Are you Ed Sheeran?” she asks, and it is clear that Jack gets angry about it.

Still, he demands to know why everyone is listening to the Doctor (clearly hating that she is a woman in charge). When Jack sees that everyone accepts whatever the Doctor says, he asks who is in charge and Ryan, Graham, and Yaz all say the Doctor. “Who says?” Jack mutters and, without pause, everyone tells him that they say the Doctor is in charge. (Furthering the idea that Jack is that dude.)

As if the episode wasn’t bad enough with a terrible white dude and giant spiders, there ends up being a spider that is about the size of a small elephant. Again, this episode had a great underlying message about who we, especially us Americans, put in leadership positions. Still, though, there were giant spiders.

“Get a gun, shoot things like a civilized person.” This is one of those quotes that really stuck out. When the Doctor and her crew convince Jack to take them to his panic room, they make a plan for all the spiders to go into the panic room and die there naturally rather than killing them. Jack, however, wants to use his weapons that he has to kill all the spiders and, eventually, does shoot one that is already dying.

The Doctor points out that he is not what the world needs and it reminds us all that we have been so accustomed to these men running the world that we just accept them. But we don’t have to let the hatred win. We can vote and get rid of men like Trump and keep men like Jack Robertson out of the White House.

An underlying message throughout the episode was Yaz’s mother asking about her relationship status. She asked if she was seeing the Doctor and then she asked if she was seeing Ryan, prompting fans to connect it to Yaz being bisexual, which would be great for the show. So often, we’re lost in storylines of companions falling in love with the Doctor and now that the Doctor is a woman, it’d be nice to see Yaz explore her feelings for both Ryan and the Doctor throughout the season.

At the end of the episode, the Doctor believes that all her new friends are going to go home and leave her on her own. Graham, who had gone home a couple of times throughout the episode, realizes that he isn’t ready to return to a life without Grace at his side: “The thing about grief is that it needs time.”

Ryan, who received a letter from his father, decides that his family isn’t just his father but also Graham and the new friends they are making and Yaz, who loves her family, can’t exactly stay with them all the time. So Team TARDIS is born as the Doctor and her friends take on time and space together.

What did you think of “Arachnids in the City”?

(image: BBC)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.