Doctor Who Gave Me Major Déjà Vu While Watching Season 14’S Finale


Doctor Who season 14 featured one of the more divisive season finales in the show’s run, but it also reminded me of the finale that immediately preceded it. Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi show on TV, with the show’s first episodes airing way back in 1963. Now, more than 60 years later, the show has undergone a few regenerations of its own, and it appears almost unrecognizable from the original, aside from some key characters, the mode of transport, and the core concept.

However, with Doctor Who’s rich history, there are also plenty of ups and downs. With almost 900 episodes of the show, and a total of 40 seasons and a movie, not every season has proven to be a hit. Admittedly, since Doctor Who’s revival in 2005, most finales have featured a satisfying conclusion, and some exciting hints at things to come, but for the last two seasons of Doctor Who, the finales have felt off to me. Between a lack of story development, disappointing resolutions, and the tension being superficial, Doctor Who feels different lately.

Sutekh’s Death Wave In Doctor Who Season 14 Felt A Lot Like The Flux

Sutekh And Swarm Have Similar Weapons

In both Doctor Who season 13, subtitled Flux, and season 14, the big bad threatens the safety of all time and space with a wave of catastrophic energy. In both, this wave goes off, and it kills or erases countless living beings from existence across time and space. But the thing is, both of these endings may be grand in scale, but the storytelling and imagination behind them feel like the bare minimum. Fair enough, each came from a different showrunner, but both failed to really build an ending that was more than the threat of catastrophe.

Personally, I struggled to get on board with the Chris Chibnall era of Doctor Who. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Jodie Whittaker, and think her potential to play the Doctor was there, but the stories let her down. There were highlights, like Sacha Dhawan’s Master, but when the Thirteenth Doctor’s finale was a six-part miniseries called Flux, it felt off. Ultimately, the show hasn’t climbed to the heights of a massive season finale like Steven Moffat’s or RTD in his first era’s for a while.

Does Doctor Who Have A Stakes Problem?

Where Is The Drama In Doctor Who?

Which raises the question, has Doctor Who run out of disasters for the Doctor and Team TARDIS to face? The answer to this question should be a resounding no. And the fact that some episodes like “Boom” were able to create tension and build high stakes in one 40-minute block, with the Doctor standing still proves this. Doctor Who has the entirety of time and space at its disposal, and with a Disney budget to push the show to new heights and depths, there is no good reason that it shouldn’t be able to generate excitement and angst in the audience.


Doctor Who is a show that plays the long game. With 60 years of history, and RTD proving that he is willing to dive into the archives for material, there is plenty that can and should be developed. But to do it right, the most exciting and crucial events need to happen on screen. A death wave is not what makes Doctor Who exciting or meaningful. And I’d argue that the Doctor beating bad guys isn’t either. It’s the character moments where this isolated alien connects with scared people across the universe and gives them hope, and these last two seasons didn’t offer any of that.

Doctor Who Season 14 Fixes The 2 Biggest Mistakes From Flux’s Ending

There Were Some Redeeming Elements

RTD did amend a couple of grievous issues that came up in Flux, but there are elements that he also repeated. For example, the start of “Empire of Death” opens with the Doctor almost in a paralysis over the arrival of Sutekh. Next, he arrives on an alien planet to get a spoon, while one of the last remaining people in existence becomes dust. Then they go to the future to get some data from a computer, and Ruby beats Sutekh. The interesting part of the story happens in between these sentences, and unfortunately, was nowhere to be seen in season 14.

Both of these endings may be grand in scale, but the storytelling and imagination behind them feel like the bare minimum.

On the other hand, the Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) did reverse the damage that Sutekh caused, unlike Thirteen, and he managed to avoid committing genocide. This may be a somewhat redeeming element, bringing the Doctor back in line with the character and their usual sensibilities, but it doesn’t do much to overcome the dullness of a season finale that appears ultimately inconsequential. Doctor Who doesn’t have a stakes problem, but it does need to find itself again. Hopefully, RTD is playing the long-game with other mysteries and the Pantheon of Gods, but there is work to be done.