Doctor Who: Once, Upon Time’s 8 biggest questions
What are the Weeping Angels planning? Will *that* shock character return? And what on Earth is going on with Joseph Williamson?
And while a few of our questions from last week were answered (turns out Passenger is a walking prison, and Vinder isn’t from Gallifrey after all!) the TARDIS team’s trip through the timestream also raised a few more mysteries that we’ll be chewing over for the next few days.
Kicking off with…
How is the Doctor responsible for the Flux?
Having been pulled out of her own timestream, the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) takes a brief detour before reuniting with Yaz (Mandip Gill), Dan (John Bishop) and Vinder (Jacob Anderson) in the temple of Atropos – she awakes in parts unknown, accompanied by the mysterious Awsok (Barbara Flynn), who drops a rather large bombshell...
So far, we've been asking "What caused the Flux?" – now we know the answer, sort of, and our next question is... how is the Doctor responsible? "The Flux wasn't an accident – it was made, it was placed… because of you," says Awsok.
So there we have it – the Flux was man-made, it's a force that's being directed by some higher power, and somehow its a response to the Doctor's actions. But what, and why? Is it the result of something our Time Lord hero did recently, or is it another consequence of her forgotten past coming back to bite her?
Who is Awsok?
Speaking of Awsok... who the heck is she?
Played by Barbara Flynn (Cracker, Cranford), she appears to know the Doctor – another old friend/foe from her days with the Division? – and doesn't seem at all surprised when the pair meet again. What's more, Awsok seems to know an awful lot about the Flux, what caused it and what it true purpose is: "The Flux event was spatial," she explains, adding that the Ravagers were freed as a "temporal contagion" to ensure both space and time were disrupted. (Those tiny "particles of the time force" that serve as "tiny elements of temporal destruction" were presumably an after-effect of this disruption to the flow of time.)
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But is Awsok the Big Bad pulling all the strings? Did she create the Flux? Or is she just one more sub-boss we're encountering on the way to uncovering the true force behind all this?
What's going on with the Weeping Angel?
One of the scariest parts of this week’s episode came from the mysterious Weeping Angel apparently stalking Yaz (Mandip Gill) through time. First advancing on her police car and breaking out of her TV from a video game (remember, the image of an angel becomes an angel…), once the gang are finally free from the timestream the same angel breaks into the TARDIS itself.
In a great cliffhanger moment, said Lonely Assassin pilots the TARDIS and apparently lands the Doctor, Yaz and Dan in the midst of an angel assault in the 1960s (at least based on the Next Time trailer).
So what’s going on here? Well, perhaps like the Sontarans in episode two the Angels are taking advantage of the situation, slipping through the cracks as time runs wild to get their hands on the Doctor and her friends.
Why they’re doing this, or why they targeted Yaz in particular is less clear, but might be answered when we visit a whole village of them next week…
Why did the Doctor leave the Division?
After a long wait fans have finally started to get some answers to the mysteries brought up in series 12’s Fugitive of the Judoon and The Timeless Children. Once, Upon Time finally let the Doctor relive one of her lost memories, specifically the last time she faced off with Swarm and Azure in the Temple of Atropos.
Anyway, it’s soon revealed that the Doctor who actually lived this memory was the mysterious Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin), during her time working for the morally murky Division (a sort of Time Lord secret police). And that means we and the Doctor get more of a sense of her work for the Division, a lost period wiped from her memories that she’s been trying to recover for some time.
Intriguingly, it seems like this mission was the Doctor’s last for The Division, some time before we met her (as Ruth Clayton) in Fugitive of the Judoon. Her colleague (represented by Jacob Anderson’s Vinder in the timestream) comments that she just has to get through this mission then she’ll “be free of all this,” noting that she’d made a deal with the higher-ups.
Considering we saw the Doctor joining as an eager young recruit in the Timeless Children, it’s intriguing to wonder what happened in between to turn her off the work – as well as what happened after this, given that the Division were chasing after her after she quit.
Like the Doctor, we can’t help but wish the Mouri had left her in there a little longer…
What's going on with Joseph Williamson?
Having first encountered real-life historical figure Joseph Williamson (Steve Oram) in The Halloween Apocalypse on home turf – Liverpool, 1820 – where the business and philanthropist was digging a series of tunnels beneath the city for reasons unknown, we met him again in War of the Sontarans when he ran into Yaz in the temple of Atropos.
We see Williamson again in Once, Upon Time for another brief, baffling encounter – this time he meets Dan in parts unknown (somewhere "very far" from Liverpool) and has somehow acquired a laser gun, which he's using to fend off "demons" that are apparently pursuing him. (Williamson makes it clear that the time particles are not what's after him, it's something else.)
How'd he get the gun? Who's after him, and why? And what is "the task" that he's so affronted Dan isn't carrying out? In a series packed full of them, this might be the most perplexing plot thread of all...
Will we see the Fugitive Doctor again this series?
We’re going to go with a tentative yes on this one – it was a great surprise seeing Martin cameo again as her version of the Time Lord, but we want more! And as the Doctor continues to investigate her Division days and takes on the newly-released Swarm it seems likely she’ll revisit the incarnation that actually lived through all that as soon as she can…
Will the Grand Serpent return?
Yes! If you thought Craig Parkinson’s sleazy politician type was an oddly minor role for the Line of Duty star, never fear – we can confirm he’ll be back for more, at least based on shots of him in the early Flux trailers which have yet to appear (including him outside in a different location).
Maybe as Vinder hunts for Bel (Thaddea Graham) in the post-Flux universe (episode five is called Survivors of the Flux, after all) he’ll run into his old boss, and might have a score or two to settle…
Who was the “creature in the bar”?
After escaping the Daleks in a spacecraft and embarking on a tour of Doctor Who's rogues gallery, Bel makes reference to a "creature in the bar" who warned her about the Flux, the Mouri and Atropos.
Is this significant? Does this "creature" – whoever or whatever it is – have some special knowledge that will come into play later? Or is all of this just common knowledge – the Lupari certainly knew all about the Flux (as did the Sontarans), while last week Vinder seemed familiar with the temple of Atropos, at least as a legend.
Still, this seems like an odd reference to drop without any pay off later... perhaps the Ood we glimpsed in the Flux trailers but hasn't appeared in the three episodes aired thus far might be the one who spoke to Bel? They do have a track record in delivering chilling proclamations of doom...
Read more about Doctor Who:
- Doctor Who brought back another Doctor, and it's about time
- Is Doctor Who still hiding a secret regeneration?
- Is Doctor Who's Once, Upon Time a pilot episode for a Fugitive Doctor spin-off?