‘Doctor Who’ Episode 3 Recap: Scenes of Destruction

‘Doctor Who’ Episode 3 Recap: Scenes of Destruction

He’s not human, he explains; setting off the land mine wouldn’t just kill him, it would wipe out half the planet. “I am a complex space-time event,” the Doctor tells Mundy, teeth gritted and bared, warning her of his terrifying potential. “I will shatter this silly little battlefield of yours into dust.”

Over the decades, the Doctor’s human appearance has been the downfall of many an adversary. It’s a fairly standard “Doctor Who” formula: Aliens fail to realize that the Doctor is a two-hearted Time Lord and underestimate him until he outsmarts and destroys them. The show’s longstanding villains — the Daleks, the Cybermen — are so feared by the Doctor and loved by fans because they know what he’s capable of, and how to play the Doctor at his own game.

On Kastarian 3, the drama continues. While attempting to deflect the ambulance, Ruby ends up getting shot herself, and the Doctor responds with the pained gasp of a wounded animal. But when the ambulance tries to name her next of kin, it, too, falters. As in the last episode, snow falls, just like on the night that Ruby was abandoned as a baby — though this time, it hangs in the air on Kastarian 3.

The only way to save them all, the Doctor tells Mundy, is for her army to surrender. For the first time, we see the capacity of Gatwa’s Doctor for rage. “There’s nobody else here. You declared war on an empty planet,” he rants, adding that the army’s soldiers didn’t notice they were alone because they were placated by faith: “The magic word that keeps you never having to think for yourself,” the Doctor says.

But the land mine’s clock is ticking down, leaving little room for Mundy (or viewers at home) to seethe at the Doctor’s jab at religion. The Doctor breaks through the A.I. to the real John, but the system glitches and the mine glows green, only this time with green Xs symbolizing a parting “kiss kiss” message between John and his daughter.

It’s a satisfying ending, and Moffat walks back some of the episode’s critique of religious warfare when the Doctor admits that just because he doesn’t like faith, it “doesn’t mean I don’t need it.”

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