REVIEW: ‘Doctor Who’ Season 12, Episode 2 – Spyfall (Part Two)

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The second episode of Doctor Who’s 12th season, “Spyfall (Part Two),” aired Sunday night on BBC One. In the previous episode, we’re shown intelligence agents around the world being attacked by mysterious alien forces. We’re then given a sort montage that shows what the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions have been up to since we last saw them. Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Graham (Bradley Walsh), and the Doctor are all picked up by MI6 agents who are in desperate need of help. The team, along with some new recruits, travel the world in search of answers. With the Earth’s fate once again on the team’s shoulders and threats coming from all sides, the Doctor and her companions are facing their biggest challenge yet. But they soon discover that not all is as it seems and that this conspiracy goes a lot farther than they think.

In “Spyfall (Part Two),” the Doctor is stuck in the same dimension that Yaz was transported to in the previous episode. It’s there where she meets Ada Lovelace (Sylvie Briggs), who is just as confused as the Doctor in terms of where they are. As things progress, the Doctor enlists Ada’s help to get back to save her friends and the world. Meanwhile, the Doctor’s companions are stuck on a plane that’s about to crash. With the Doctor gone, they must come up with a way to escape the plane in order to stop whatever plan the Master (Sacha Dhawan) and Daniel Barton (Lenny Henry) are trying to achieve. Against all odds and with major revelations, our heroes continue to deal with world-ending dangers that only they can manage.

While I did enjoy the previous episode, I couldn’t help but notice how much I appreciated that no real spy tropes were included in “Spyfall (Part Two).” I feel like they overdid it “Part One,” especially with the James Bond references. It’s great that there are multiple pop culture properties that shows and films can use as references or gags, but they risk adding too many throughout their plot. With the tropes and references gone, I was able to appreciate more from the episode. The opening scene would count as a spy trope, but it was a necessity for the plot. Had any of the other references in episode one been made for the sake of the plot, it would’ve had a different effect. However, I’d think doing that would take away the overall flow of a Doctor Who episode.

I understand that each episode is given an allotted amount of time, but it feels like the ultimate danger of “Spyfall (Part Two)” was taken care of with an easy solution. I don’t mean an easy solution in the sense that it was simple, but rather that it was too convenient. Gone are the days of the Doctor and companions being challenged by dangers such as the weeping angels, the cybermen, or even mysterious libraries. The Master has been proven to be a formidable foe in the past and nearly bested the Doctor on several occasions. While I did appreciate the way that Dhawan portrayed the Master, he was defeated in a neatly-tied manner. It almost makes it feel like anything evil that his character caused in this two-part episode was meaningless.

A rather interesting aspect that “Spyfall (Part Two)” goes into is that Yaz, Ryan, and Graham really don’t know much about the Doctor or who she really is. Her companions make note that the Doctor knows everything about them but that they don’t know anything about her. While other incarnations of the Doctor still hid some aspects of their life, they still confided in their companions from time to time. From what I can remember, the thirteenth Doctor hasn’t said much about her past to her companions. While this could easily be an issue, I think it makes for a great aspect for this season. Further revelations could take the show in a variety of different directions that lacked in the previous season.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching the second episode of Doctor Who‘s twelfth season, “Spyfall (Part Two).” While it did have its issues with the simple solution and pacing, it was quite an improvement from the previous episode. As with “Part One,” the length of this episode had an unnecessarily long run time but it never once got in the way of the episode’s flow. The ending of the episode set up the way the rest of the season will play out, which will surely cause heated discussion amongst fans of the show. It’ll be quite a divisive decision but I’m hopeful that this change carries the show to new heights.

New episodes of Doctor Who air every Sunday at 8 PM on BBC America

Rating: 8.5/10 Terms of Service Agreements