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Revenge Isn’t For the Doctor on This Week’s Doctor Who

Sorry Graham, the Doctor says no.

Doctor Who season 11 episode 1 review

Doctor Who has been tackling a lot of personal issues recently with the characters on the TARDIS as well as those the Doctor and her friends run into as they travel through time and space.

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In this week’s episode, Graham has to tackle the idea of revenge and what it means to the Doctor and those she chooses to travel with. When the Doctor, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz end up on a dangerous planet where someone is trying to capture vibrating boxes, the Doctor is a bit concerned.

But then she hears a voice she knows well and realizes that Tzim-Sha is back and ready to the be the God that the Doctor made him out to be. Tzim-Sha is the villain from the thirteenth Doctor’s first episode, the one who ended up killing Grace and starting the journey for the Doctor and her friends. So, reasonably so, Graham wants to avenge Grace against Tzim-Sha, but the Doctor won’t have it. If you want to travel with her, you cannot kill.

Throughout the episode, the Doctor learns that Tzim-Sha has collected planets and plans to commit mass genocide to show his power—the power that he claims the Doctor gave him by banishing him from Earth and not letting him complete his mission. Obviously, the Doctor defeats his plans because it is, after all, the Doctor, but the important message comes from Yaz.

“I’m with you, whatever happens,” Yaz says to the Doctor and it is a perfect representation of the Doctor and her effect on her friends. When Graham is face to face with Tzim-Sha, gun held in front of him and the ability to kill him right at his fingertips, Graham can’t do it. Not because he’s scared, but because he knows that he is the better man: he wouldn’t kill and Grace wouldn’t want him too.

So he just shoots Tzim-Sha in the foot, Ryan helps him imprison him in the same cells that Tzim-Sha put the crew of the ship that came to stop him, and they leave to go find the Doctor. When Graham tells the Doctor that he was too much of a coward to do anything to Tzim-Sha, she shakes her head and tells him that he is the strongest person she’s ever met.

Graham and Ryan grew throughout the season, Yaz learned to be stronger and stand up for herself in ways she didn’t before, and the Doctor continued to look out for the universe and be the best she’s ever been. While we have to wait until 2020 before Jodie Whittaker has her own season as the Doctor once more, we at least have the New Years special to look forward to.

This season of Doctor Who was brilliant, just like the Doctor herself.

(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.

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