Are you flummoxed by The Flux, or are you flush with the facts?
Or, like the Doctor, are you in three minds about it all?
Try our fun-filled time-filler to find your Flux-Buddy – are you Fam, Friend or Foe?
(If you want to play, just keep track of how many of each letter you choose)
1. Why were there so many characters?
A) Because Chibnall is so good at creating them, or using ones someone else created. I miss Ryan!
B) They were all important to different parts of the plot, and it would be a shame to discard any of them; a bit like Journey’s End.
C) They were originally invented for lots of different stories, and got squished under the Flux umbrella. They don’t quite fit, even when split up to compete their missions.
D) So they could stand around while the Doctor uses them all like Greg House uses his trainees – to bounce off and occasionally pick up their ideas, while technobabbling at herselves.
E) Because Chibnall doesn’t know when to stop. I could make a suggestion.
2. Vinder to Diane: “Why have they kept you if everyone else is gone?”
B) She may have been insignificant to them but she matters to us; she’s a lovely character, it shows she’s clever, and it gives us (along with Dan) more reason to want to see her again.
D) The ‘in-story’ reason that she’s insignificant is lazy writing as a contrast to the storytelling reason; partly they wanted to, like they wanted to reunite Vinder and Bel. And partly without SOMEONE to talk to, Vinder would have to learn all that himself and waste loads of time showing the audience, or talk infodump aloud to himself.
C) Due to Covid’s constantly changing situation and regulations, they had to use limited pool of actors. It could have been any prisoner gone to ground used to pass on his experience when Vinder needed it. But then they’d have picked up yet another stray!
E) Because she fulfils Chibnall’s overriding agenda to use diverse and minority actors.
A) Maybe they were keeping her as hostage or bait. We don’t need to question all the little details that got lost in the final cut.
3. Why did Jericho have to die?
E) Because Chibnall thinks old white guys are the past and must be seen to be wiped out with all the other monsters.
C) Because it’s hard for viewers to feel the loss of 7 million Lupari they never met, but can feel for one character they’ve got to know and like. Shame it had to be the classiest actor though. Note the look on McNally’s face as comedy Sontaran recites infodump; he looks round, assesses situation, shows emotion.
D) Because it was another trope to throw in for emotional effect without much consequence.
B) Because old white guys can still be stalwart, honourable, chivalrous, and courageous to their very last breath, not just a plot device or comic relief. Making his death as much accident as heroic sacrifice – but accepted with equanimity – completed his personal story well.
A) Because a life well-lived should go out fighting on the winning side not moulder away in a basement somewhere reminiscing about past glory.
4. Who were Swarm and Azure and what happened to them?
B) Two of the best-acted villains for ages, all confident charm and salacious slow-burn menace. Plus great costumes. Consumed by the ‘Saviour’ they foolishly served.
D) A lot of talk but not much action, their apparently limitless power easily defeated by dodging out of the way. Wasted potential.
A) They were marvellous minions of Time, created to free it from the Mouri but destroyed when they were defeated by the Doctor’s superior mind.
E) Examples of Chibnall’s imagination, a lot of bluster and showy style but empty on perfunctory examination. Azure called it ‘ascension’ – I’d call it being unceremoniously disposed of when he got bored with them.
C) An entertaining enough plot device for taunting the Doctor and us fans with the Timeless Child arc. She rejected their temptation, as she should. Their plot was not as strong as their performance.
5. Who/what was the Grand Serpent all about?
D) A rather wasted good actor with not much to do but ooze poisonous urbanity and menace the goodies, for the panto audience to boo at but no reason to be involved at all.
B) A really fun villain with a plan, which we never really got to understand. Revenge? Survival? World Domination? Maybe he’ll be back, who knows? That glance over his shoulder as he entered door 7 suggests so. Good foil versus the Doctor and Kate
C) Chibnall teasing us that he might be the Master, with his doomed alliances, snake form, and style choices.* Had some good moments, but a hurried, too easy demise. ‘They must rate you very highly – for now.’ (Segun Akinola’s gorgeous score for him as he slides into view behind the Sontarans).
E) A patent Chibnal plot device to be used for explaining why UNIT went underground (a problem he created in the first place) then discarded without a thought.
A) A brilliant character villain, with obvious elements of present-day dictators and power-grabbers, inevitably defeated by the underdog and resistance.
* (Did anyone else look at his staff with a snake wound round it, and think ‘common symbol of a doctor…’?)
6. What progress did the Doctor make through this story?
A) She didn’t need to; we always knew she was going to sort it all out as she’s the Doctor.
C) Jodie was much better, especially versus the baddies, ignoring Azure’s bluster, the look on her face showing the Doctor knowing her tormentor was bonkers and ready to fall. Sassy under torture like the Eighth Doctor, but no idea why the Grand Serpent just stood there and let her talk, much as her gaggle of companions did.
B) She’s got control over the lure of her past memories, and chosen to start again. Akinola’s almost quoting Gold under that hide-the-fobwatch sequence implies she’s got as much memory as she needs. She’s fixed her relationship with Yas, maybe having learned from what Karvanista told her. She’s progressed as a person.
E) None at all; she’s right back where she started, knowing nothing, but weakened by the flux. Which at least means she’ll be gone soon.
D) She’s gained a little authority and control, lost some of the scattergun infodump routines, but still spent most of the time reacting to stronger, more dangerous characters – like Time cloaked as herself. She has little time to make up lost ground.
7. What did they run out of?
E) Ideas – used Blake’s 7 Gan’s limiter on Karvanista, Hunger Games zones in Passenger, Star Trek The Next Generation plot, comic book designed characters; we could go on. But can’t be bothered.
C) Time. Eight or even 10 episodes with more ‘show’ and less ‘tell’ would have worked better. We could have learnt more about some characters arcs, and got to know others – like Williamson – better, and tied up more loose ends.
D) Money. How wonderful a new interior TARDIS set would have been after the flux ate it. Then conveniently forgot it had.
B) Extras. Covid meant their giant crowds were socially distanced, and each actor had to cover a lot of roles (Dan Starkey) or plot points. At least in small groups we got to know most of the people a bit better.
A) Screen space. Seriously; this would have looked awesome on IMAX.
8. What’s the most important thing about comedy?
C) Balance. It could have been too heavy without some comic touches, but some misfired. Some laugh-out-loud lines and mostly convincing delivery, but other parts too slow and unfunny breaking up the action, or using time that could have been better spent.
D) Timing: Dan’s line, “be nice or you won’t get a biscuit” was funny, but the audience knew Karvanista had just been told ALL his Lupari race had been wiped out. Chibnall REALLY needs a script editor.
A) Visual gags. Like the reference to the Third Doctor, famous for drinking tea without lifting the cup. The Doctor gratefully accepted the refreshment offered by the Ood but didn’t appear to touch it. Camp walks, farce running around tunnels, and cartoon expressions are fun too.
B) Delivery. The actors made their funny lines work, and seemed to enjoy themselves, and each others’ delivery. If you like something about the character you remember the line more.
E) Taste. Sontar Huh? Corner shops, manufacturers of cheap chocolate, and Bob Holmes should be suing Chibnall.
9. What explanation can you give for Anti-matter, (The) Division, the quadruple genocide (don’t forget the Lupari), The Magic Faraway Tree under Liverpool, the un-mended Flux-ravaged universe, Karvanista knowing how to remote stun intruders but no other Lupar doing it, Claire’s Angel, the Village’s safe return to normal space in ’67, and all the other unanswered questions?
A) They are like the fobwatch: only evil characters want to open up a pandora’s box like that.
E) Incompetence? Boredom? Incipient dementia? Who cares?
B) They draw in characters like Williamson, add depth and motivation to others, and leave us lots to talk about or other writers to follow up.
D) Over-promising and under-delivering. Like other leaders I could think of, convinced of their own brilliance and unchecked by any opposition.
C) Tom’s ‘Have I The Right’ speech is so iconic, we tend to forget that the Doctor has been willing to wipe out ‘every last stinking’ Dalek/ Cyberman/ Gallifreyan/ Skaran. But preferred ‘another way.’ Without ‘magic’ portals to other worlds sci-fi wouldn’t exist. Chibnall is probably leaving no more holes than his predecessors, but they’re all more obvious and raggedy.
10. Which quotation best sums up your response to Flux?
B) “I think you might be getting the hang of this!” (Yas to Dan)
D) “You are not, and yet you are.” (Ood to Doctor)
C) “Oh, there’s too many questions!” (The Doctor)
E) “I do not have time for your delusional witterings.” (Stenk to Grand Serpent)
A) “What an awfully big adventure.” (Jericho)
So which Flux character are you…?
If you answered mostly A
You have total faith in your Leader and follow him without question, even when his plan to finish everything with a cataclysmic showdown is fallible and full of holes. You are willing to sell your soul for cheap confectionary which gives you a sugar rush but has no nutritional value.
You are Commander Shallo and probably need to recharge.
If you answered mostly B
You have lots of love for the good characters and are happy to be carried along for the exciting ride, even if you can’t see the whole thing without someone you trust explaining it to you. You are content to go on with the adventure in the company of anyone of like mind.
You are Tigmi and we wish you a long and happy life.
If you answered mostly C
You have been estranged from Doctor Who for some time, clinging to old recordings for comfort, but have finally been reunited with the Doctor. You have mostly enjoyed the adventure and people you’ve met, though you’ve had some ups and downs. You are at home in the TARDIS once more, but not everything is forgiven and you still have questions.
You are Yaz and your journey is not yet complete.
If you answered mostly D
You have valiantly and heroically stuck it out through most of the Flux, and despite great effort and personal pain have remained polite and gentlemanly to the end. Nevertheless, you find yourself on one side of an impenetrable barrier with Chibnall, Jodie, and the Fam on the other side.
Simon Danes Professor Eustacious Jericho and we never want to lose you.
If you answered mostly E
You are urbane, superior, and used to being in charge, and can’t see the point of anything that doesn’t match your personal criteria. You enjoy imposing your will on others and set off an ego-klaxon whenever you open your mouth. You are left alone on a rock staring bleakly into the void, and stalking the comments sections of fansites.
You are the Grand Serpent and could probably use a hot chocolate. Or therapy.
None of the above
You have long experience of the Doctor, and are here because you care, and people like you, but you have been given little to engage with and feel unable to contribute very much. You have had interesting encounters with a few characters, but spent too much time wandering round in the dark waiting for something to turn up.
You are Kate Stewart and we live in hope that something better will turn up for you, soon.
Or better still, make up your own buddy-link. We’ve time to fill till New Year.
Extra points for knowing which companion said the title of this quiz, and in which story.