Browse the WBW Podcast
Browse the WBW Podcast
Browse New Who reviews
Browse New Who reviews

A temporal clip show that leaves a good few questions unanswered

Quicker than your run-of-the-mill multicoloured crystalline space nemesis can snap his fingers, Doc has leapt into the fray and undone last week’s cliffhanger. Her plan of action: to drag her new fam into a time storm, whatever that is. Suddenly everything goes out the window. Temporal cohesion, recall reliability, the kind of narrative restrictions that certain lesser showrunners might benefit from in order to thrive. You name it! But in their stead comes the hope of Doc regaining her lost past.

As she gives it her all to reclaim her roots, she must also fight to keep hold of her companions (and Vinder) who have been scattered across each other’s timelines. And intercutting this week’s temporal mess is the story of Bel, or so we’re told, she’s barely in it, and who is Bel anyway, isn’t this meant to be her story? Point is across this fragmented clip show we also learn that the Daleks and Cybermen, like the Sontarans before them, are scavenging lives across a failing universe, so adventure must surely lie ahead.

Here's what we think of N169 Once, Upon Time (Flux, part 3)

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Here's what we think of N169 Once, Upon Time (Flux, part 3)

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Here's what you think 7 Responses to “N169 Once, Upon Time (Flux, part 3)”
  1. Michael Tanoshi

    For this episode, I will leave it at this: it sucks and the only thing I liked were the Mouri. My rating is 1.9.

    And now, because I have no clue how: a mini for the next episode!

    Village of The Angels takes place in Devon, November 1967. A little girl has gone missing, Professor Eustacius Jericho is conducting psychic experiments, and in the village graveyard, there is one gravestone too many. The episode has the Doctor still on her crazy Flux adventure and has her learn more about the Division. I thought the Weeping Angels were pretty freaky for once and I was surprised at the moment were, SPOILERS, the 13th Doctor became a Weeping Angel. I liked Kevin McNally as Professor Jericho and I think the Division stuff was tied in nicely. Ultimately, I give it 4.4 out of 5 illegal psychic experiments that really use cactus alien splooge.

  2. The Doctor Gamer

    This episode is a bit of mess to be honest. There are a few interesting scenes but it’s fairly shit compared to War of the Sontarans and even Village of the Angels which comes after it.

    – The fact that we get to see Jo Martin’s doctor yet again is brilliant, even if it is only for one scene.
    – This episode has a real sense of scale due to all of the locations that we go to. One thing Chibnall is very good at is putting our characters in cool and creative settings.

    – The pacing is a bit shit to be honest.
    – Some of the dialogue is very clunky which, quite frankly, is to be expected from Chibnall at this point.
    – Some of the CGI is not done well at all and it’s quite distracting at times.

    Overall, I feel like this story isn’t terrible but it’s far from being good so I’m going to give it a 2.5.

  3. GP Haynes | @FindingGspots (Insta & YouTube)

    I really wanted to like these Flux episodes more.

    But……..The gorgeous visuals and production is just not enough to make up for the lack of writing!

    We are left with a disjointed, jumbled mess of an episode with few coherent passages.

    I like the IDEA of it. The Doctor passing through different streams in time, companions “hiding” in their time streams…

    It sounds great! But it flicks quickly from shot to shot, with little explanation for much of the dialogue.
    Do we accept these bold new ideas from modern Dr Who?

    Some of the individual stories are great. Vinder’s was interesting, Yaz in the police car was great. Heck, even Dan’s date night was atmospheric,
    with a sinister, creepy background vibe.

    And then it’s all spoiled by super-fast exposition and description, as it judders quickly to the next scene.

    This is a real problem in this season in particular. An all encompassing , universe wide problem that should make a great 6 episode arc.
    Buuuuuuutttt…. even 6 episodes in not enough for Chibbers to adequately explain his ideas!!

    It might have been Drew that said in the past, that everything has to be bigger, with more at stake, and kudos to Chibbers for giving it a go.

    Pity, it just doesn’t work here.

    It’s entertaining…to a point…then it just feels hollow.

    Sorry, I can’t go higher than,

    Rating: 1.3 Cute little hand robots with heart emojis

    Cheers everyone!

    GP Haynes

  4. Tanz Sixfingers | @tanzsixfingers

    Hello Leon and Drew!

    First off, I have loved every minute of Flux (except maybe the initial cold open), but this is my favorite episode. Second, I got a lot of Red Dwarf vibes from this season; from Dan’s accent and Vinder’s look reminding me of Dave Lister, to the Division body armor and overly large guns (bazookoids, anyone?)

    Unlike you Brits, None of the guest cast were familiar to me. I don’t know John Bishop from anything. In fact, the last guest on New Who I knew was Maisie Williams.

    – I gather the people in the flashback are Kavanista, Lee, and Gat.
    – In season one, episode 10, The Doctor Dances, Captain Jack says that when he was a Time Agent he woke up one day and they had erased 2 years of his memories. What if he was working with the Doctor in Division then? Because it was a Time Agency, maybe they knew he would meet the Doctor later on and wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret? (This sounds like a good scenario for a spin-off.)
    – Is Bel talking to her child through that device, or is it just a toy with an AI?
    – If Bel is pregnant, how long is her gestation? She’s not showing, yet it seems like Vinder was on that space station for 5 years or more. Or are they just in different places on their timelines?

    I give this 4.5 Mouri priests out of 5.

  5. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    Well, this is an odd one to review is it? It’s sort of messy, disjointed. But that’s the point of this one I think so we can’t really be too harsh on it for that. It’s Doctor and co getting jumbled up in their own timelines. Some back story, some weirdness, and Jo Martin popping up. Nice. I did find that how the Doctor got out of the cliffhanger to be a bit so so. Like, we know the Doctor thinks fast but how it’s presented in this one is a bit of a cheat with the Doctor moving superfast and somehow beating the finger click despite the cliffhanger last time showing the Doctor stationary at the point of the click.

    Anyone else like Jodie’s Doctor more when she’s doing stuff in the flashback as the Yet To Be Fugitive Doctor? More assertive, less random. Yeah, I sort of like that more. That said, I like when the Doctor is in Yaz’s Doctor timeline and is just shit talking. I did laugh.

    Vinder’s story I suppose sets up some of the next two parts but it’s not the best. And we have Bel as well…for some reason. Hmm, I don’t actually have anything really to say about her. She’s…there…and expecting.

    The Angel hijacking the Tardis at the end is a good sequence and bodes well for next time.

    An odd ep, I don’t dislike it but I won’t be rushing to rewatching it, 3.0/5



  6. Izaak | @msmonsteradams

    This story feels like the heart of Flux, and it somehow magically manages to give us everything we need about the main roster of characters while also expanding on the state of the universe, and throwing in some teases for the future as well. Focusing on each character in splintered fragments of moments from the past, present and future is a lovely way of giving us more backstory for the new characters, and allows for Jodie and Mandip to have fun playing different characters too.

    The mix of cool, sci-fi landscapes and characters blends amazingly with the simple everyday scenes of the Doctor’s friends in their everyday lives, a kaleidoscope of all the best Dr. Who elements. The biggest win is Jodie Whittaker throwing her Doctor to the edge of desperation and fanaticism with the need to understand, and watching her scrabble and beg for more time while Yaz tries to calm her is a real emotional gut-punch.

    On first viewing I missed all the pandemic parallels, with Bel and Vinder trying to adjust to the new, unknown world, and it sits heavily on their narrative. Everything about this is just so good and weird and also lovely. Swarm is an absolute blast of a villain, and Old Swarm has just as much sass and camp as his future self. Flux really peaks in the middle!


  7. Benjamin O'Neill

    so in response to your question, yes I live in the States (Louisiana currently, but I’m from Florida, more or less. (Or like Conner MacLeod said, “Lots of different places.”)) I get classic Who (and Red Dwarf) on BritBox and New Who on Amazon Prime. I do have some series on DVDs, but nothing past Matt Smith. I can’t wait for them to be released on Disney+.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you haven't already... Subscribe now!

Subscribe to us on iTunes now! We're dropping a new episode every week (pretty much), reviewing Classic Who, New Who and all kinds of bonus stuff from spin-offs and conventions to Doctor Who comic books.

We last reviewed...

N183 73 Yards