Recap: Doctor Who 12.1: Spyfall Part 1

What if Doctor Who was a James Bond movie?

That’s how season 12 started on the day 2020 began. The Doctor and his friends become amateur spies to figure out how a computer genius may be connected with aliens who are attacking spies and threatening the universe. The answer is shocking, and will get people to see the conclusion this coming weekend.

SPOILERS BELOW

SPOILERS BELOW

SPOILERS BELOW

It starts with spies being kidnapped by aliens in different parts of the globe, from Africa to a plane headed to Tokyo. It’s a job for MI6 and its leader C (Stephen Fry). He’s able to find the Doctor (who’s fixing her TARDIS next to a car waiting for an oil change), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh). The Companions have tried to keep their travels a secret to others, but it has hurt Yaz’s hopes to be a police officer and Ryan’s social life. He’s had to fake a hernia or two.

The Doctor and his friends are transported by car, and then the GPS gets hacked. A death ray kills the driver and car goes haywire. They’re barely able to escape in a wild scene that would fit into any action/spy movie.

They meet with C, although he mistakes Graham for The Doctor. C was unaware of her upgrade, as she puts it.

They find one of the attacked agents and discover her DNA’s been rewritten and hacked. She’s not human anymore. She was investigating a guy named Daniel Barton (Lenny Henry), whose search engine is getting way too powerful.

The Doctor says she knows someone who could help, a guy known as “O” (Sacha Dhawan). He is sort of a Mulder, investigating cases where aliens could be involved. It’s too bad C fired him because C wasn’t sure if he was loyal. The Doctor is able to track him down thanks to deciphering a picture of a fish.

Then C gets killed, and the aliens emerge from the walls. The Doctor and her friends escape to the TARDIS, and leave before one of the aliens get through.

The Doctor decides to take Graham to O, who’s hiding in the Outback, while Ryan and Yaz go to San Francisco by pretending to be reporters interviewing Barton. That’s a nice move because juggling three Companions was a tricky problem last season.

It seems he’s not suspicious, and even invites them to his birthday party. However, they find out his DNA is 93% human, and he seems to know the aliens and their plans to take over the universe. One of them grabs Yaz, and sends her… somewhere.

Meanwhile, the aliens invade O’s compound, where he and the Doctor trap one of them. It’s able to make itself explode, along with O’s tech, but somehow Yaz finds herself in the alien trap. Soon, everyone is reunited, but really puzzled about what’s happening.

Meanwhile, O seems like a good guy, very friendly to the Doctor even though their paths only crossed briefly according to him. He even claims he’s got a lot of info on her, and offers it to Graham. He doesn’t take it though.

The Doctor is able to figure out, thanks to some well-hidden alien code, that alien spies have infiltrated Earth… or maybe multiple Earths. However, it’s still not known how Barton fits into all of this. Good thing they’re invited to his birthday party.

When the Doctor confronts Barton, he denies everything, and even threatens to have her removed. Barton soon seems to be rather guilty when he tries to leave the party. He’s chased by the Doctor, O, and their friends on motorcycles. O even asks if this is a typical day for the Doctor, but Yaz says it’s actually a quiet one.

Barton tries to fly away at his private airfield, and then gets a phone call. The Doctor and her Companions are able to get on the plane, but O nearly doesn’t because he says he’s a terrible runner. She says O’s files claim he’s a champion sprinter.

Unless that’s not the real O, since his compound is ten thousand feet in the sky near the plane. He did say it was important to find the aliens’ spymaster… or spy MASTER!

Yes, that Master. He had replaced the real O long ago and compressed his body in a matchbox. That was worse than how he used to do it in another body.

Apparently this Master may have existed between John Simm and Michelle Gomez, or was resurrected again. It’s a great twist but Sacha expresses his betrayal with too much glee and delight. If he was more sarcastic like Gomez, it may have paid off better.

In any case, he sets up an impossible cliffhanger. Barton escaped somehow (thanks to the phone call) and left behind a bomb that a Sonic Screwdriver can’t stop. He also has the alien spies at his control. His final words to the Doctor express his apparent victory: “Everything that you think you know is a lie. Got you. Finally.”

Of course, he could be lying about that, too. He puts the Doctor in the same mysterious place where Yaz was, with no way out. The Companions are also trapped in a falling plane

And there is a Part Two (and the rest of the season), so it can’t be over yet.

“Spyfall” was described as the most ambitious episode in the show’s 57 years. The aliens, near-car crash and the chase against Barton are the wildest scenes yet, and then the final scenes. What will the show do for an encore?

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long to find out.

Facebook Comments

Post Author: David Mello

Worked nearly eleven years at a radio station as a board operator, news reader, and assistant producer for baseball broadcasts. Have been a staff writer for Whedonopolis since July 2008