Doctor Who S13E06 Review: The Vanquishers – Out with a bang?By Jason Collins| December 7, 2021 TV Blogs Well, the Flux miniseries had come to an end — for some with a bang, for others, with a mere whimper. For some, this was a fantastic Doctor Who episode in which the Doctor triumphs while being trisected between different times and spaces, but also real human motivation, despite her being a member of an alien race that literarily plays with Time. But for those who ended up disappointed, the final episode is nothing but a final nail in the coffin of the most ambitious storyline in the series’ history. The episode opens up with the Thirteenth Doctor having her consciousness split across three different places at once. One-third is currently on a Lupari ship with Karvanista and Bel, another with Yaz, Dan, Jericho, Kate Stewart, and Joseph Williamson in the tunnels, and the third is left with Swarm and Azure at the Division HQ. It’s a nice nod towards “The Three Doctors” episode from the Classic-era Season 10, in which anti-matter was the main threat, along with one of the Doctors being trapped in a bubble outside the universe. Skip the intro, and the episode shows a Sontaran leader offering “a three-fingered hand of uneasy alliance” to Daleks and Cybermen. The Doctor on Karvanista’s ship tries to ram the craft into the Sontaran Command on Earth, only to have her plans foiled by the forcefield around the Command. As it turns out, the Doctor intends to offer herself and Karvanista as prisoners, while Bel attempts a solo mission./879525252525252 After a few jumps here and there, we’re presented with a scene in which Swarm and Azure use their powers and the acquired fob watch to inflict harm upon the Doctor. Then, skip forward a few seconds and one scary-looking and severely twisted house that represents the Doctor’s memories; Mr. Williamson explains how his tunnels came to be. Finally, the Doctor formulates a plan and discloses it to the group: infiltrate Sontarans, escape the Swarm, and keep everyone alive. Equipped with a working TARDIS, which sat idly waiting since 1967 and the events of “Village of the Angels,” the group traveled to the 60s looking for Claire Brown. The scene shifts to another version of the Doctor, who’s trapped with Karvanista inside a Sontaran jail, sharing a touching scene about their mysterious past or possible future (timelines… am I right?). A few seconds later, Swarm and Azure are explaining their sinister plans, a-la-grand-villain-style, to the Doctor, disclosing that they want the destruction of all spatial things but playing on a repeat. In the meantime, Diane and Vinder escape the Passenger form they were captured in, and Claire and Jericho enter the Sontaran Command in apparent service to the might of Sontar — they’re used for their psychic abilities to predict the exact space-time coordinates of the final Flux event. It seems that Sontarans plan on riding its waves to universal domination. But how? Well, while we ponder over that particular question, the Grand Serpent is trying to use his lesser but deadly form, the serpent, to suffocate the Doctor. However, the Doctor arrives just in time (the split version who has access to the TARDIS) to save the Doctor and neutralize the Grand Serpent threat, while Bel downloads codes and logs of all communications from the Sontaran ships, and Dan “fetches his dog” — by freeing Karvanista from his cell. Back at the TARDIS, the Doctors are deciphering the psychic information sent by Jericho and Claire through their transmat rings. Upon reviewing the information brought in by Bel, the two Team TARDIS Doctors established telepathic contact with the one at the Division HQ. And that’s where the Doctors deduced that the primary matter used for the Flux is anti-matter created outside our universe and channeled in. At the same time, Claire and Jericho locate the final Flux event for the Sontarans, who outrightly abandon Outpost Earth to go on a “Flux Offensive.” Through a series of short scenes, one of the Doctors in the Williamson tunnels sends the Joseph Williamson also known as the Mad Mole back to his own time, while the other picks up Vinder and Diane and brings them aboard the TARDIS — to probably one of the most heart-warming reunions of the entire season — Vinder and Bel finally meet. Back at the tunnels, the Doctor eventually figures out what the Sontarans are up to. The titular would be Vanquishers plan to summon the entire Dalek and Cybermen fleets at the beginning of the final Flux event, pretending to offer a truce. However, they plan to betray and sacrifice the Daleks and Cybermen to the Flux because how does one fight against anti-matter? By feeding it matter, and plenty of it, while hiding behind Lupari shields. The same one protected the Earth in the first episode of the season, “The Halloween Apocalypse.” It’s a Sontaran plotted course for the ultimate victory that would enable them to save the universe and eliminate all their enemies all at once. In another series of brief scenes, one of the Doctors boards the Lupari ship remotely controlled by the Sontarans, alongside Vinder, Bel, and Karvanista. Claire manages to use her transmat ring and teleport to the TARDIS. Unfortunately, Jericho’s ring gets destroyed in an altercation with the Sontarans. Outside of the Sontaran Command Ship, in deep space, Dalek and Cyber battalions gather to meet the Sontarans, right in Time to become food for the Flux. However, one-third of the split Doctor and one-half of the Team TARDIS used Karvanista’s knowledge to hijack all Lupari ships and reform the shield behind the Sontaran fleet — offering the potato-headed military clones to the Flux as well. But wait, what about Jericho? And is the Doctor really going to allow a mass genocide of Daleks, Cybermen, and Sontarans? Well, yes. The previous Doctors were known for crossing certain lines, which the companions always called out. Unfortunately, Yaz and Dan didn’t question the Doctor’s decision this season, which did clash with the “pacifist grandmaster” proclamation the Doctor previously made. Additionally, by tricking Sontarans, Daleks, and Cybermen, she distanced herself from her previous, more peace-loving incarnations, like the Twelfth Doctor. Well, back to the episode. Jericho died honorably while some of the Flux passed through the Lupari shields on its continuous journey towards remnants of an unprotected universe. Enter Diane, who somehow gathered enough knowledge while in the Passenger Form, to know that it’s an endless matter generator, which could in effect cancel out the anti-matter of the Flux. Well, luckily for the universe, the Doctor just happened to have a Passenger form lying around; the one she plucked Vinder and Diane out of. So she releases it, and it sucks up the remnants of the Flux. That’s it; the Flux has been destroyed. But the story doesn’t end there. Swarm and Azure teleported the Doctor, or at least one-third of her, to Atropos, planning to sacrifice her to Time. Time informs its servants, Swarm and Azure, that they’ve failed to set it free and that it remains imprisoned on Atropos. Time extinguishes the Ravagers and teases the Doctor about what’s to come next, mentioning a “Master” (wink, wink, nod, nod) and how the Doctor will not regenerate again. It does, however, restore the Doctor to her former self, bringing all three pieces of her split time existence into one before leaving. The episode concludes with Vinder finally getting to deal with the Grand Serpent, and he, Bel, and Karvanista head their own way. Dan and Diane don’t go out for a drink; instead, Dan is made a permanent resident at the TARDIS. In the closing scene, the Doctor drops the fob watch containing her memories into the heart of the TARDIS, determined to never know the enigmatic and potentially terrible memories of her past or future selves… at least for now. 9/10 – I’m giving this episode a high score due to its highlights. It had a few interesting callbacks, a Doctor who’s really putting in the effort to untangle the mess of things instead of being a bystander, and a few heart-warming events along the way. The idea of using the Passenger form as an endless matter generator does seem like a rather convenient plot device for stopping an otherwise unstoppable problem, but it is a nice nod to Who’s tendency to have the villains introduce the foil that would become their own undoing. However, what happened to the Ravagers? Who are they? What did the Doctor do to them that was so terrible? All we really know is that Sam Spruell and Rochenda Sandall provided fantastic performances and that their characters, Swarm and Azure, who respectively, hate the Doctor with every fiber of their glamorous appearance and bedazzled souls. But to round things off, dropping the fob watch into the heart of the TARDIS is a step back from the Chibnall “big reveals” that have become patented in his era.