The episode acted as a bookend to the series by marking the return of Tzim-Sha, who previously appeared in the first episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth. It also granted closure to Graham and Ryan's grief over Grace's death that occurred in the same episode and had became a recurring subject throughout the series.
Team TARDIS discovers nine different distress calls, all coming from the same location on an unknown planet in the far future. Little does the Thirteenth Doctor know that her very first enemy has survived throughout the centuries, and is looking to get revenge upon her in a crueller way than is even imaginable.
2018, the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos. The planet is devoid of any sign of life except for an older woman named Andinio, and young man named Delph. Andinio is testing Delph to see if he can harness their powers on his own. Delph uses telekinesis to begin building something out of the surrounding rock when suddenly blue energy crackles behind them. Andinio snaps Delph out of his trance, drawing his attention to a figure stumbling in an attempt to get up.
Elsewhere, in the TARDIS, the Thirteenth Doctor is giddy; there are nine separate transmissions calling for help from the same location on one planet. Graham wonders why they have to always answer distress calls. The Doctor explains that everyone else is passing up the distress signals like they don't care, so it gives them a mystery to solve. Unfortunately, the planet is also giving off psychotropic waves; if they are exposed to these, their minds will be scrambled, leaving them paranoid and irrational. However, the Doctor has a way to counter this; she pulls out a box, which contains small devices she calls neural balancers; they keep the brain from being affected by the psychotropic waves once applied to the temple. Once everyone has one, the Doctor pulls the lever...
The TARDIS materialises inside one of the ships giving off the distress signal. The group disembarks, hoping to find someone to explain all the distress calls. A scared man points a gun at them, demanding to know if they are with "them”. The Doctor explains they've only just arrived and can't be in league with someone they've never met; they only want to help. The man considers it for a moment, but then seems to forget their entire conversation, demanding to know who they are. The Doctor kindly re-explains and offers a neural balancer to help calm him; she shows one is one her head as a gesture of trust. The man accepts the device and instantly calms once it's working. Though calm now, he is missing some memories; his first name and his immediate past. What he does remember is his last name: Paltraki. The Doctor examines the systems, finding that everything is actually in order; the ship is not crashed, just parked.
A transmission is then picked up, making Paltraki shove everyone out of view. Andinio appears on the screen, demanding that Paltraki return what he stole from the Creator. When Paltraki refuses, a sinister voice rasps a warning. Team TARDIS are in disbelief as they know that voice... it's the voice of Tzim-Sha! At that moment, a Stenza mask fills the screen, threatening the life of Paltraki's crew if he does not return what was stolen. Tzim-Sha kills a woman named Umsang, threatening to end the lives of the last two of his crew if Paltraki does not comply. The Doctor wonders what he stole, so Paltraki shows her a crystal-like object with a rapidly moving black object inside of it. A scan of the sonic reveals that there's too much data from the object inside to understand what it is. However, the Doctor is sure that what they have to do is stop Tzim-Sha from causing anymore senseless violence. Finding throat mics, the Doctor gives one to each of her companions; she grabs supplies, telling them they need to find Tzim-Sha and use the crystal as a bartering tool to buy time until they can figure out his plan.
They head outside, where there are eight other vessels in wreckage around them. The Doctor concludes that this explains all the different distress signals in the same location. Paltraki points to an object barely visible through the mist in the distance; that is where Tzim-Sha is. As they walk off, Graham asks the Doctor to stop a moment so they can talk. He reveals that when they last defeated Tzim-Sha, he vowed to kill him if he ever saw him again. The Doctor tells Graham that he's better than that; killing will make him just as bad as Tzim-Sha. Worse, the Doctor will not permit Graham to continue travelling with her if he stoops that low. Graham tells the Doctor that she has no say in his choices, despite her claiming otherwise.
They arrive underneath the object, which Paltraki calls the temple. The Doctor pulls out grenades from her back pack. Ryan is quite surprised as this goes against everything the Doctor told him; she was quite angry with him for shooting SniperBots. The Doctor explains that she has no problem with using these things to remove walls and doors blocking the way, but living beings is where she draws the line. She tells Ryan not to quote her back on that as her rules are always changing. She attaches the grenades to the crystal, creating a "dead-man switch"; if she's fatally injured, it will detonate the crystal. The Doctor is taking advantage of regeneration to get past a, normally, suicidal plan. Scanning the temple, the Doctor finds the "doorbell", which transports them inside. Despite the rocky exterior, the inside of the temple resembles a modern spaceship. The Doctor splits up the group, sending Graham and Ryan to find the crew and rescue them, while Yaz and Paltraki look for similar material to the crystal; it's their best way of understanding why Tzim-Sha wants it back so badly.
Ryan and Graham discuss Graham's desire to kill Tzim-Sha, which Ryan attempts to talk him out of, both because of the Doctor's rules and because he loves his grandfather. However, Graham is sure that Grace would want them to kill Tzim-Sha to stop him from spreading anymore death and misery. They are caught by SniperBots, which give chase. Luckily, they manage to duck when surrounded, allowing the fire from both sides to knock the SniperBots down. Ryan and Graham manage to find Paltraki's crew in stasis chambers similar to the crystals; however, their job is much more complicated than they thought. There's a total of 30 people trapped. It's the crews of the other eight ships.
The Doctor, meanwhile, is found by Andinio, who holds her at gunpoint to demand the return of the crystal. However, the Doctor reveals her stalemate, making Andinio explain that she's an Ux. The Doctor is elated at the idea of meeting an Ux, but then wonders why they are working for Tzim-Sha. She demands that Andinio show Tzim-Sha that she's there. Once she does, Tzim-Sha demands that the Doctor be brought to him; Andinio is confused as to how her "god" could know the Doctor. The Doctor makes a sarcastic quip about how "shocking" it is.
Brought before Tzim-Sha, the Doctor teases him about his new look; she shows off her new coat. When asked how long it's been, Tzim-Sha reveals that it's been 3407 years since their fight in Sheffield. The Doctor laughs that the last seven years must have seemed to drag on. Tzim-Sha tells Andinio to get Delph ready, which she momentarily hesitates to do. Tzim-Sha reveals that the DNA bombs had corrupted his teleport device, banishing him to this planet; without a spaceship, or a teleport, he would die if he attempted to leave. However, as luck would have it, the Ux found him and foolishly believed him to be their god; they did everything they could to keep him alive. The Doctor is disgusted with Tzim-Sha for deceiving such brilliant, yet naive people; not to mention Tzim-Sha's newfound god complex.
Elsewhere, Yaz and Paltraki have found a room with similar crystals and inform the Doctor. The Doctor asks Tzim-Sha about their importance. He reveals that he's used his knowledge in conjunction with the Ux powers to carry out the most basic of motives for a living being... revenge. He has taken revenge on the worlds that opposed the Stenza. The Doctor realises, to her utter horror, that the black objects are shrunken planets. Paltraki finally remembers that he and several others were sent here to stop Tzim-Sha, as his capturing of the planets wiped out all life on them. The Doctor knows immediately that the Ux built a weapon for Tzim-Sha; she demands to know where in the temple they've hidden it. However, Tzim-Sha tells her the temple is the weapon. Now he will take his revenge on her by taking his latest trophy - the Earth.
At the same time, Andinio has arrived in a room where Delph is held prisoner in a frame to harness his powers. Delph pleads with Andinio to see Tzim-Sha is not their Creator. However, she ignores him and powers up the temple. A beam of red light shoots out and opens a portal to Earth. The light begins enveloping the planet; when it's completely covered, it's game over for all life on it. The Doctor calls Tzim-Sha a fool; there are consequences for attempting to break the laws of the universe. Tzim-Sha simply tells the Doctor that the death of everyone on the planet she loves so much will be her consequences for interfering with his hunt. The Doctor races to stop the Ux, as Tzim-Sha tells her that its useless; even in exile he rules.
In Tzim-Sha's trophy room, Ryan and Graham work to free everyone. However, the SniperBots are working to get in the room. Once everyone is evacuated, Graham tells Ryan that he has to stay behind to detonate the bomb on the door; it’s the only way to sufficiently damage the SniperBots to cover their escape. Ryan sadly parts ways with Graham. Ryan runs into the Doctor, Yaz and Paltraki; the Doctor tells the men to lead the survivors to Paltraki's ship for safety. In the meantime, Graham succeeds in taking out the SniperBots; he takes one of their weapons to wait for Tzim-Sha.
The Doctor and Yaz run to where the Ux are powering the temple. After some debate on how to stop the temple without killing the Ux, the Doctor realises that their neural balancers can be used to stop the telepathic connection to Andinio and Delph. However, it also means having to endure the psychotropic waves; Yaz decides it's worth the risk to save Earth. With blurring vision from the effects starting, both the Doctor and Yaz attach the neural balancers to the Ux, stopping the temple and releasing the Earth from its death grip. Andinio is outraged by the Doctor stopping them from serving the Creator, but the Doctor forces the old woman to face reality; Tzim-Sha is not a god, but a monster who has been taking advantage of them for centuries. Delph, now free, tells Andinio that the Doctor is right. The Doctor further tells them that they are the Creators, because they create.
However, things soon become much worse. Because of all the strain Tzim-Sha has put on the temple, the Ux and the very laws of reality, the miniature planets are beginning to lose their stability. If those crystals break, it will cause destruction beyond comprehension. However, the Doctor has an idea and summons the TARDIS to her location; she is going to hook the Ux up to the telepathic circuits, which will allow them to use the temple to send all the planets back to where they came from at the same time, restoring balance to the universe. The plan is successful, but severely draining to the Ux.
Tzim-Sha arrives in his trophy room, where Graham is waiting. Graham tells him that he had wanted to kill him for the death of his wife, but he has chosen to be the better man and not kill. Tzim-Sha calls him foolish and approaches to kill him with a deadly frozen touch. However, Ryan appears behind him and causes the Stenza to divert his attention. Graham takes the moment to shoot Tzim-Sha in the foot, knocking him down. Ryan is shocked, but Graham defends that he only wounded his foot. They tell Tzim-Sha that they sentence him to life, trapping him inside his own trophy case. They tell him as he ponders about how this went wrong, he should always remember the name Grace; her death motivated them to put him in this hell. Graham and Ryan rejoin the Doctor, who is proud of Graham for being the better man. However, Graham considers that not having the will to kill someone horrible makes him weak, but the Doctor counters that he is one of the strongest people she knows.
The Doctor takes the Ux to Paltraki's ship, where Delph decides the Ux must be part of the civilisations of the universe. It was because of their isolation on this planet that they mistook a monster like Tzim-Sha for a god. Andinio agrees with Delph, explaining that they've locked Tzim-Sha's temple and no-one will be able to get to him. As everyone boards the TARDIS, the Doctor gives a parting message to travel hopefully.
- The Doctor - Jodie Whittaker
- Graham O'Brien - Bradley Walsh
- Ryan Sinclair - Tosin Cole
- Yasmin Khan - Mandip Gill
- Andinio - Phyllis Logan
- Paltraki - Mark Addy
- Delph - Percelle Ascott
- Tzim-Sha - Samuel Oatley
- Umsang - Jan Le
|Executive Producers Matt Strevens and Chris Chibnall|
|Co-executive producer(s) Sam Hoyle|
|Series Producer Nikki Wilson|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The Ux believe in "The Creator".
- Because they are isolated from the rest of the universe, they believed that the first being they encountered was their god.
- The Doctor explains her rules are always changing.
- The Doctor allows weaponry for non-lethal uses.
- Graham wants revenge on Tzim-Sha.
- Unlike in TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth, Tzim-Sha is listed in the credits with his real name, instead of the Doctor's nickname "Tim Shaw". Additionally, the credit uses the spelling established in PROSE: The Secret in Vault 13, rather than that used in WC: Case File One (T'zim-Sha).
- To keep the return of Tzim-Sha a surprise, Samuel Oatley was not credited in Radio Times or on BBC iPlayer.
- This was the first series finale in BBC Wales Doctor Who not to be set at least partially on 21st century Earth. Earth itself is only seen from space, with no scenes set on the surface.
- Delph being trapped in the device to harness the powers of his mind bears similarities to when the Master once trapped Adric and used his mind to create Castrovalva.
- This was the first televised series finale in revived Doctor Who not to feature so much as a cameo from a classic series monster or villain.
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- The events from the companions' first encounter with the Thirteenth Doctor are referred to throughout. (TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth)
- Grace O'Brien's death as a result of Tzim-Sha is discussed by Graham, Ryan and the Doctor.
- Tzim-Sha recalls how the Stenza recall device and DNA bombs sent him to Ranskoor Av Kolos, badly injured.
- Tzim-Sha mentions his plan to become leader of the Stenza.
- The Doctor brings up the new coat she bought from a charity shop and indirectly references the fact that she was still wearing the Twelfth Doctor's coat when she met Tzim-Sha.
- The Doctor mentions the TARDIS regressing a Slitheen back into an egg (TV: Boom Town) and towing the Earth halfway across the universe. (TV: Journey's End)
- SniperBots from Desolation are used by Tzim-Sha. The Stenza had previously conquered Desolation. (TV: The Ghost Monument)
- The sonic screwdriver once again has trouble analysing an object with an impossible density. (TV: Demons of the Punjab)
- The Doctor refers to her TARDIS as a ghost monument. (TV: The Ghost Monument)
- Ryan and Graham fist bump. (TV: Rosa, The Tsuranga Conundrum)
- Ryan calls Graham his granddad and further admits that he loves him. (TV: It Takes You Away)
- Ryan once more uses a gun against SniperBots. (TV: The Ghost Monument)
- Graham sarcastically comments on the cheery translation of Ranskoor Av Kolos. (TV: The Ghost Monument)
- The Doctor tries to call her companions "fam" once more. This time, Yaz expresses a liking to it while Ryan and Graham still hate it. (TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth, Arachnids in the UK, The Witchfinders)
- The Doctor previously met somebody else who stole and miniaturised planets. (TV: The Pirate Planet)
- The Doctor uses the TARDIS telepathic circuits again and mentions using it with Yaz's grandmother's watch. (TV: Demons of the Punjab)
- The Doctor summons the TARDIS using her sonic screwdriver, something her war incarnation did quite frequently. (AUDIO: The Thousand Worlds et al.) When she previously summoned the TARDIS the same way, the Thirteenth Doctor revealed that this is demeaning for the TARDIS, and as such she tends to be "prickly" about being summoned too often. (COMIC: A New Beginning)
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