Doctor Who season 11 episode 1 review

Fans Are Divided Over Doctor Who‘s New Historical Approach

So people just forgot Doctor Who was created to teach history to children?

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Leave it up to Doctor Who fans to forget what the show was originally created for! This week’s episode, “Demons of the Punjab,” showed viewers a very real historical moment that many of us were not taught about in school. The Partition of India occurred when was an important time in Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh history when India and Pakistan separated from one another while under British rule.

When Yaz wants to go back and learn more about her grandmother as a young woman, the Doctor takes them back to August of 1947, when the Partition began to take place. Throughout the episode, Yaz learns that her grandmother was the first woman married in Pakistan, as she states in the beginning of the episode … just not to Yaz’s grandfather.

As the episode goes on, there is, of course, an alien that the Doctor has to try to fight against, but later learns that the Monks, the Vajarians, are no longer assassins but, since their people have died, come to places to be with people who die alone. First, it was Prem’s oldest brother on the battlefield. Then, the man who had agreed to marry Prem and Umbrine (Yaz’s grandmother) when Manish, Prem’s brother, kills him for being willing to do so.

The Doctor has to let his death happen, knowing she can’t interfere or it will affect Yaz’s entire timeline but the episode does an incredible job of showing what the divide did to families and, as the Doctor states, how millions of people were displaced from their homes or murdered during the Partition.

The episode, surprisingly, has been met with criticism. Many are excited about the way that Doctor Who dealt with explaining the Partition.

However, one of the main criticisms is that the show is being “too historical,” which is honestly laughable. Out of the 6 episodes so far in season 11, 2 have been heavily history based. Sure, that may seem like a lot to people who don’t know the show, but Doctor Who was created to help teach history to children. So yeah, of course there are going to be episodes about history …

To answer this Twitter user simply: 1963. When the show was created.

Overall, it was an incredible look into history that we may not have known previously. The criticism is just from people who forget that Doctor Who was created to teach children about history and think it’s just meant for their sci-fi needs.

(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.