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Doctor Who Recap: The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos Is An Epic Who Finale

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Jodie Whittaker’s first season on Doctor Who came to a stunning conclusion last night as the Doctor and her team saved not one but—let’s see—six planets? Including one that we here on Earth are pretty (literally) attached to. At the top of the episode, nine separate distress calls have brought the TARDIS to the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos, home to the Ux, a race of beings that numbers just two at any time in their history. There, they find some pretty stellar guest stars: Mark Addy (Game of Thrones, The Full Monty), Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), and Percelle Ascott (The Innocents). The team also runs into a familiar face/voice. We knew Tim Shaw would return.

As Graham battles the demons that have haunted him since Grace’s death (at the hands of none other than a power-hungry Stenza psychopath now threatening Earth and beyond), the rest of Team TARDIS try to figure out what has happened to the nine crews sent to the planet in an attempt to stop Mr. Shaw from executing his evil plan. Also: what exactly said evil plan entails. An incredibly dense but lightweight crystal provides their first clue, leading them to a rocky monolith at the centre of a recent battlefield on Ranksoor Av Kolos. It’s both a shrine and Tim Shaw’s current hideout (the Doctor accidentally banished him there thousands of years ago and he’s out for revenge). The Ux believe Tim Shaw to be their divine creator and have been going along willingly (mostly) with his plan to steal entire civilizations. Next up, Earth (which is where Shaw’s whole revenge plot comes in).

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In a finale where the Doctor aptly describes the forces of good she’s wrangled together as a “supergroup” (we imagined them as the Travelling Wilburys of space/time heroics) we see Graham face his Stenza adversary and come out the better man (as Grace would have wanted him to) while Yaz and the Doctor not only work out a way to save Earth but also return the other captured planets to their rightful places in the universe. Ryan frees the individual prisoners Tim Shaw had been holding and helps Graham imprison the Stenza monster in a cell of his own making. Even the Ux evolve, deciding to leave their home planet so that they can meet other beings (and maybe become a bit less gullible the next time a false god turns up to exploit their awesome powers). And that’s how you go from extreme suspense and peril to a happy ending in under an hour.

5 questions we have about the Doctor Who Season 11 finale

1. Err, this is awkward but… how do the two existing Ux make more Ux? And what happens to one when they do?

2. Is that capsule prison really going to hold Tim Shaw for all of eternity? Should we expect the Doctor to have to face him once again?

3. Could people on Earth feel the Ux attempting to steal the planet? That read beam looked nasty… will the Doctor have to wipe the memories of an entire continent?

4. The Christma—sorry! New Year’s Special: Who wants to bet it’s going to feature some Daleks (at long last)?

5. After that, when is the next time we’ll be seeing the Doctor and her crew? We’ll have to stay tuned.