Tardis

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The Vanquishers, prefixed with Chapter Six in the title sequence, was the sixth episode of series 13 of Doctor Who. It formed the sixth and final chapter of the six-part serial Doctor Who: Flux.

It brought an end to the storylines of the Ravagers, and saw Inston-Vee Vinder finally reunited with his pregnant wife, Bel, after they spent most of the series looking for one another.

It was the first televised story to see the Doctor coming face to face with the embodiment of Time, although such a thing had previously been presented in the Virgin New Adventures novels.

The episode gave a similar ominous warning of impending doom for the Thirteenth Doctor, as had been previously given to the Tenth Doctor in the 2009 special Planet of the Dead.

Synopsis[]

Split across three realities, the Thirteenth Doctor has more than one problem to solve. The Division's base, way out in the Void, has been taken. Some unlikely allies have joined together, hoping to find victory in Earth's final hour. The Grand Serpent has been making plans, and the Doctor's oldest enemies hold the key to the Doctor's past, poised on handing her their final retribution.

Tunnels beneath the Earth lead to all kinds of places in space and time. As the final Flux event approaches, which door leads to victory? Last call before the end. It's time for contact.

Plot[]

As Swarm leans in to disintegrate the Doctor, she dodges and runs away, taking Tecteun's Ood with her. Meanwhile, in the Williamson Tunnels, the Doctor's friends hide from the invading Sontarans. Thinking fast, Yaz lassos the door with "death rays" behind it, which opens and kills all the Sontarans before closing itself. The Ood explains that if the Doctor takes off her conversation plate, she will be forced back into the universe, but Swarm and Azure catch up and hold up the biodata module fob watch containing her memories.

In the tunnels, Yaz, Dan, Jericho, and Williamson try to escape through one of the doors but end up teetering on the edge of a cliff on a volcano planet, realising that their exits have changed. Noticing that the dead Sontarans are missing when they return, the group decide to try and go through a time-changing door; notably, one that Williamson has labelled "December 5th, far future, two thousand and twenty one!!" Yaz prays that she will be able to return to her own time.

The Ood makes calculations to return the Doctor to her TARDIS, but Swarm and Azure try to force her to stay. She takes off her conversion plate just as Swarm touches her and wakes up on Karvanista's ship, witnessing him and Bel finishing off the Sontarans. Bel notes that the Doctor is flickering in and out of existence.

Williamson's door correctly leads the group into 2021, with the tunnels now being freshly excavated for historical purposes and are met by Kate Stewart and the TARDIS, which has been transported since UNIT picked it up in 1967 Medderton. She describes herself as "the leader of human resistance against Sontaran occupation", scanning them for artron energy and realising that they are friends of the Doctor. Suddenly, the Doctor appears in front of them, still unstable, and is completely baffled by the faces and objects she sees, knowing she is not only also on board Karvanista's ship but is still on the Division ship as well. The Doctor on the Division ship questions why she has not left as Swarm taunts that his plan has gone better than hoped.

Elsewhere, in the face of their recent defeats, Sontaran Commander Stenck makes an intergalactic broadcast, offering "the three-fingered hand of uneasy alliance" to any other race that may listen so they can survive together, except the Rutans. He calls on the Daleks and Cybermen to join with him to crush everyone else.

On Karvanista's ship, the Doctor questions how three of herself can be co-existing, potentially due to Swarm's interference in the conversion plate. Hearing another wave of Sontarans approaching, she takes Karvanista's controls and breaks away from the rest of the Lupari fleet. Meanwhile, at the Dark Energy Camera in Chile, the Sontaran Scientific Officer Senstarg reports to Stenck that they made a "surprisingly adequate" choice to build their command base there. The Grand Serpent turns around and explains that it was his idea before they are alerted to Karvanista's ship breaking away. The Doctor targets the Sontaran ships in Chile and attempts to ram them at full speed but stops dead in their forcefield. However, she explains that this was part of her plan, allowing themselves to get captured so Bel can sneak off and examine their operations.

However, as she talks, the Doctor feels lightheaded and comes to on the Division spacecraft. Azure opens the fob watch to return the Doctor's missing memories to her, but the Doctor refuses to see them. Seeing them all contained within the illogical house that the Doctor witnessed after first being attacked by the Flux, Swarm repeatedly destroys it, causing the Doctor great pain.

Waking up again in the Williamson Tunnels, the Doctor takes stock of her surroundings, gets an update from Yaz and Dan on their exploits, and is introduced to Williamson, being very pleased as he was on her list of people to meet. He explains how he built his tunnels to protect the doorways in space-time and upon witnessing the final Flux event, worked further to build an underground city that could protect them. The Doctor gives him a handshake for his hard work. Kate explains that she is wishing to send undercover operatives into the Sontarans' Chilean Psychic Command centre, giving Jericho an idea of who to send. Kate explains that she has uncovered a key weakness in the Sontarans' strategy thanks to their raids of local corner shops.

Stenck broadcasts to all of Liverpool, reminding the humans that any defiance is useless. As a troop of the invaders march out of a corner shop, leaving Commander Shallo behind, the Doctor and her friends pounce on him as he tries to stash away many chocolate bars to himself. Despite his claims that his resolve will never be weakened, he tries to bargain for more chocolate, leading the Doctor to give him a deal: get a couple of people into Psychic Command in return for unlimited human chocolate and even its recipe. Sighing, he relents. The team land the TARDIS in 1967, where Jericho meets up with Claire and she hugs him. They explain that they can take her back to 2021, but they need to use her psychic abilities to go undercover on the Sontaran spacecraft.

As they are held in a cell on one of the Sontaran ships in Chile, Karvanista reveals to the Doctor that he cannot say anything about his time with her fugitive incarnation as the Division put an implant in his brain that would kill him in three seconds if he ever spoke of their time together. However, he implies that during her time working for the Division, he was her companion.

Back on the Division craft, Azure questions the Doctor over why she so desperately wants life to win across the cosmos, as she honestly believes that death is better than life. Azure reveals that she and Swarm plan to alter the location of the final Flux event from Earth to the planet Time, releasing the embodiment of Time and using it to replay the destruction from the Flux on an eternal loop, forcing the Doctor to feel every dying particle as revenge.

In Sontaran Command, the Doctor finally meets the Grand Serpent. He and Stenck tell Karvanista that all of the Lupari species were killed by the Sontarans, being airlocked into the vacuum of space, leaving Karvanista the last of his kind. He howls in sorrow for his lost race as the Doctor is taken away for interrogation by the Sontarans.

Inside a Passenger form, Vinder and Diane run through the endless landscapes, while Diane explains that all the prisoners had been removed to be destroyed by the Time Force by Swarm and Azure - they left her believing that she was insignificant. Diane explains that the locations have edges that lead to new landscapes, and one includes a hidden security system that she had dug up. Reasoning that it was hidden to avoid interference, she realises that it controls the entrance steps, so Vinder shoots it, causing the steps to become active. They run up the steps, out of the Passenger, and find themselves stranded in another unknown environment.

Jericho and Claire are marched through the Sontaran ship by Stenck and led to Psychic Command where they are plugged into a machine attached to their heads. He tasks them with determining the location and time of the final Flux event, explaining that the strain in doing so will result in success or death - with the reward for success also being death. Meanwhile, during interrogation by the Grand Serpent, the Doctor tries to determine his species, realising he is a "binary demi-species" with his summoned serpent creature. She also angers him by labelling him a dictator and sounding an "ego klaxon", causing him to try and suffocate her from the inside, but as she is not fully there, he is unsuccessful. At that moment, the version of the Doctor who landed in the tunnels with Yaz and Dan arrives in the TARDIS to rescue her, trapping the Grand Serpent in his interrogation beam, briefly flirting with herself as she does so. Elsewhere on the ship, Bel downloads vital transmissions and is picked up by the Doctors while Dan rescues Karvanista, realising he is "fetching his dog" as Kumar said he would.

The two Doctors, Yaz, Dan, Bel, and Karvanista meet back on the TARDIS. The Doctors contact Jericho and Claire, revealing they are wearing transmat rings that are feeding back their findings to the TARDIS, but it is still a work in progress. Bel shares the signals Tigmi picked up, revealing the Sontarans' offer of an alliance. With too many questions in their heads, the two Doctors make psychic contact with their third self on the Division ship, where she reveals that the Flux is made up of anti-matter and that its trajectory is changing, but contact is quickly broken.

Stenck notices that Claire is psychically gifted and increases the load on her brain, eventually determining the exact coordinates of the final Flux event. Sontaran Psychic Surveyor Kragar sends a hologram to confirm he has received the news, to the pleasure of Stenck, who orders all Sontarans on Earth to return to their ships and begin an offensive. The Grand Serpent then barges in, demanding to know where the Doctor has gone. He performs a scan of all recent artron energy readings, leading him to Kate.

Vinder uses his TARDIS communicator to request urgent help, which the Doctor receives, delighting Bel as they all realise that Vinder was who she was searching for. However, before he can finish talking, he and Diane are teleported back inside the Passenger. The Doctors manage to track the signal but are interrupted by a call from Kate, saying that the doors inside the tunnels are acting strangely. They decide to split up.

Outside in the docks of Liverpool, a hologram of Stenck urges the Grand Serpent to return to command, but he instead interrogates a young man named Stevie over Kate's location. He begins to suffocate him with his snake and Stevie relents too late, dying in the process. One Doctor arrives with Yaz in the tunnels to rescue Kate, who realises that the doors are a result of the Flux in the future affecting the past. Before doing anything else, however, the Doctor sends Williamson back to his time, as he is too important to history, thanking him for his help in saving the universe.

As the Doctor onboard the Division ship becomes increasingly unstable, the Doctor in the TARDIS with Dan, Bel, and Karvanista locks onto the Passenger form's location. She makes a quick hop inside it and rescues the prisoners, finally reuniting Vinder with Bel, who reveals her pregnancy to him. Diane is less than happy to see Dan, however, as she blames his lateness to their night of drinks for her imprisonment in the Passenger.

In the tunnels, the Doctor realises that the Sontarans are using the guise of a peace alliance to sacrifice the Daleks and Cybermen to slow the Flux, because a huge wall of matter, coupled with the Lupari shield producing matter, should, in theory, cancel out its anti-matter. Yaz wonders if they should warn their enemies, but the Doctor states that her plan is even riskier.

The allies assemble in the TARDIS: two Doctors, Yaz, Dan, Diane, Vinder, Bel, and Karvanista. The Doctors explain that everyone has a job to do, and their mention of the Grand Serpent alerts Vinder. Meanwhile, the Doctor in Division tries to distract the Ravagers so the Ood can minimise the Flux, as Swarm explains that he is targeting Atropos so Time will be unleashed with the Doctor as their offering to their "saviour".

In the TARDIS, the Doctor sends her other self, Vinder, Bel, and Karvanista back onto the Lupari fleet. Claire and Jericho attempt to escape the Sontaran ship using their transmat rings at the Doctor's cue, and although Claire is successful, Jericho drops the ring, and it is promptly destroyed by Sontarans in the chaos.

The Dalek and Cyber fleets arrive in Earth's orbit behind the Lupari shield for their alliance of protection with the Sontarans, not knowing that the Sontarans plan to betray them by reforming the shield to cover only them, leaving them the ultimate vanquishers of what remains of the universe. On the Lupari ship, Bel knocks out the Sontaran in charge and the Doctor prepares to give them a taste of their own medicine. The shield reforms so that the Daleks and Cybermen are destroyed by the Flux. However, Karvanista reprograms the ships to make the shield move behind the Sontarans instead of in front whilst Bel and Vinder disable the Sontaran comms systems, so the rest of the soldiers do not know to evacuate. As the Doctor's allies on the Lupari ship return to the TARDIS, the Sontaran fleet is consequently wiped out, slowing the Flux further. Unfortunately, Jericho finds himself unable to leave, trapped between the Flux and Stenck, and he remarks "what an awfully big adventure" as he faces his fate.

However, even with the allies safe, some of the Flux begins to make it past the shield, so the two Doctors, inspired by an idea from Diane, use the infinite matter within the Passenger form to absorb the Flux remnants and save the universe.

Azure and Swarm bring the Doctor from the Division craft to the Temple of Atropos to sacrifice her to the physical manifestation of Time, believing it can be released due to the Flux winning. Time manifests itself in the form of Swarm, which the Doctor describes as "play[ing] to your ego". However, Swarm and Azure are unaware that the Flux was destroyed, thus failing to free Time, so Time destroys them in return, with the Ravagers deeming it "ascension". Time then reconstitutes itself in the form of the Doctor wearing her inverted coat, pleasing her. After the Doctor picks up her fob watch from the ground, Time lets her go but forebodingly warns her that the end is coming for her: "Nothing is forever. No regeneration, no life. Beware of the forces that mass against you... and their master." As a parting gift, Time reunifies the Doctor's three selves. The Doctor, drained and exhausted but relieved, awakes on the floor of the TARDIS, watching her many friends look down at her. She realises she has one thing left to solve.

In the Williamson Tunnels, the Grand Serpent has tracked Kate down but is surprised by Vinder, whom he no longer recognises. Kate and Vinder force him through door seven, where he is stranded on a tiny asteroid. On Karvanista's ship, Vinder and Bel decide to travel with Karvanista, who claims he is less than happy with the arrangement. Finally, the Doctor says her goodbyes to Kate and Claire in 2021, hoping to see them again.

Back in the Museum of Liverpool, Dan once again pretends to be a tour guide, this time using his new knowledge of Joseph Williamson. He invites Diane to go for a drink with him, which they were unable to do due to what had happened, but Diane, due to her experiences, turns down the offer. Outside, the Doctor invites Dan to join her and Yaz on their travels.

After directing Dan to the TARDIS bedrooms, the Doctor apologises to Yaz for shutting her out and begins to tell her about everything that has happened to her since they visited Gallifrey, but they are interrupted when Dan cannot remember the instructions. Yaz leaves to help him. The Doctor, not ready to face her past, deposits the fob watch containing her lost memories into the TARDIS interior, telling it to hide it until she really asks for it.

Cast[]

Uncredited cast[]

Crew[]

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



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.


References[]

Individuals[]

Story notes[]

Ratings[]

  • Overnights: 3.58 million[3]
  • Consolidated: 4.61 million[4]

Filming locations[]

to be added

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • A COVID-19 banner emphasising the government advice of Hands, Face, Space can be seen in the Liverpool shopping mall, despite no further references to the pandemic as having taken place within the Doctor Who TV series. The pandemic has, however, been referenced in wider DWU content.
  • When the Doctor speaks to Yaz as Dan leaves to find his bedroom in the Doctor's TARDIS, Dan can initially be seen walking up the steps to the corridor but disappears when the camera zooms in on Yaz.

Continuity[]

Home video releases[]

DVD and Blu-ray release[]

The Vanquishers was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 January 2022, along with the five other episodes of Doctor Who: Flux.

Digital releases[]

to be added

External links[]

Footnotes[]

  1. This episode was also simulcast on BBC America, as well as other networks.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Time appeared by borrowing the New Swarm's form, and, later, the Thirteenth Doctor's; the performers were not credited separately for these roles, but simply for Swarm and the Doctor respectively.
  3. https://www.doctorwhonews.net/2021/12/ratings_latest.html
  4. https://www.doctorwhonews.net/2021/12/series_13_ratings.html
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