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The second episode of this season of Doctor Who made very clear that we’re in the same universe with the same Doctor, regenerated. There were a lot of references to the classic series, from the opening credits to the very end. Sure, it featured a space race that the Doctor found herself and her companions inadvertently in the middle of. That’s happened before on the show, more than once. But this time there was more of a self aware approach to the subject matter, continuing a theme from last week by introducing behind it all the same species, the Stenza, and their propensity to kill and damage in the course of organizing intergalactic competitions. Significant social commentary accompanies that theme every step of the way, once again very much in keeping with the Doctor’s speeches from the First onward.
After being scooped up separately by two different ships, the Doctor and her team are reunited on a planet we’re told has no actual name, just a symbol that basically means desolation. As the episode continues, we learn that scientist had their families held hostage, and the threat to them was used to force them to lend their minds to the project of turning the planet into a thoroughly cruel and hostile environment. Their words – “we had no choice” – were an attempt at apology, but it is one that we’ve heard throughout history from those who worked for genocidal regimes because of threats to them or their family.
Episode - Thousands - Entrants - Race - Family
The episode actually digs deeper, because one of the last two of the thousands of entrants in the race tells how she left her family in order to participate in the race in the hope of winning the prize money and being able to rescue her family. This sort of participation in an...
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