Doctor Who Easter Special Recap – Legend of the Sea Devils | Television

A treasure hunt, a wish for revenge, a noble sacrifice, unrequited love and more than a nod to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise – we were promised a swashbuckling Easter special, and it partially delivered his promises. You don’t often see the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) sword fight, we’ve never seen the Tardis open like this underwater before, and there was a huge, satisfying sea beast for good measure. . But it all turned out to be a little less exciting than it looks on paper.

It was easier to warm up to this episode from the second act, once they boarded the ships. The opening sequence in the village seemed very disjointed. It was raining in the village, but not on the beach, and there seemed to be no preparation for the game with the crew of the Tardis trapping the sea devil in a net, Scooby-Doo style. It felt like the episode was five minutes short.

Dan Lewis (played by John Bishop, upside down, left) and Ying Ki (Marlow Chan-Reeves). Photography: James Pardon/BBC Studios

Dan (John Bishop) was once again the main source of comic relief, from his ridiculous pirate costume to his usual banter in difficult situations. We know he practiced against the Sontarans with his deadly wok, but it was still surprising how brutally effective he was at dispatching the Sea Devils in the final battle scenes.

Much of the pre-publicity had focused on the fact that we would meet legendary real-life pirate Madame Ching (Crystal Yu), but we learned relatively little about her life. In fact, it was Arthur Lee’s Ji-Hun who provided more of an emotional focus and leadership role. His sacrifice at the end seemed on the cards from when we knew he had been held captive by the “Ocean Demons” for centuries, and was now a man out of time.

Ji-Hun, played by Arthur Lee and Madame Ching played by Crystal Yu.
Ji-Hun, played by Arthur Lee and Madame Ching played by Crystal Yu. Photography: James Pardon/BBC Studios

Sum it up in one sentence?

The Sea Devils have a flying pirate ship, a prehistoric underwater monster, and a plan to change the face of the Earth forever – if they can just find this lost magical treasure.

Life on board the Tardis

Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and the Doctor had “the conversation”. And as many expected, it feels like heartbreak for Gill’s character, with the Doctor mentioning his wife for the first time – essentially putting Yaz in the I-would-but-I-can’t friend zone.

The scenes didn’t necessarily ring true. The Doctor said Yaz was “one of the greatest people I’ve ever known”, but as much as Gill has contributed to the show both on and off screen, Yaz’s character hasn’t. never really had enough development to warrant the Doctor saying that. “I wish this would last forever,” said the Doctor, flicking his wishing stone as the episode ended. We know full well that will not be the case.

Yaz and the Doctor are almost a couple.
Yaz and the Doctor are almost a couple. Photography: James Pardon/BBC Studios

On a perhaps happier note, it was nice to see Dan talking to Diane (Nadia Albina) again, in the hope that he might return to Liverpool one day. It must have been due to trauma, but the way she seemed to blame him for her experiences at the end of Flux last year still felt too bittersweet for their story to end.

fear factor

The scenes of the Sea Devil mercilessly slaughtering everyone in the village upped the ante for them as villains early on. It instantly undermined anything comedic about sticking true to their 1970s looks. In the past, we’ve seen them rely more on stealth and threat than sword combat, but they worked well as prehistoric water samurai.

Craig Els as Chief Sea Devil.
Craig Els as Chief Sea Devil. Photography: James Pardon/BBC Studios

However, they seemed much more technologically advanced than their previous appearances, and now have a device capable of changing the polarity of Earth’s magnetic core, as well as the ability to teleport as a green mist – which suited a visually most powerful episode. in dark, green-lit underwater scenes.

Mysteries and questions

We’re one episode away from the end of Whittaker’s tenure on the Tardis, and now wasn’t the time to set up any new puzzles. The biggest mystery, then, was why you’d cast Craig Els as Sea Devil leader, rather than bringing him back as Karvanista, Dan’s disgruntled but lovable lupari protector – who he played so brilliantly in the year. last. Marlowe Chan-Reeves’ Ying Ki acted as Dan’s sideman here, and the show missed Els’ grumpy big dog walking and talking in space.

Deeper in the vortex

  • Sea Devils first appeared 50 years ago in a well-received 1972 story of the same name by Jon Pertwee, shot mostly on the Hampshire coast, with an iconic scene of them emerging from the sea.

  • They returned in a less well-received 1984 Peter Davison story, Warriors of the Deep, where they teamed up with the Silurians and – I’m not kidding – a creature called Myrka, who was a pantomime horse painted green with seaweed stuck on it. . Deadlines and budgets were then very different.

  • In the Doctor Who extended universe, the “proper” species name of sea devils has been given in the books and audios as Aquatic Silurians or Reptilia Sapiens.

  • The 13th Doctor was able to use the 11th Doctor’s catchphrase “Geronimo!” as she rocked from pirate ship to pirate ship.

  • At just 47 minutes, Legend of the Sea Devils is the shortest episode billed as a “special” since the show’s 2005 relaunch.

  • If you need more Doctor Who, the BBC today launched a new 10-part audio story – Doctor Who: Redacted – from the pen of Juno Dawson. It tells the story of The Blue Box Files, a paranormal conspiracy podcast about… well, you can guess. It features cameos from Whittaker as well as several other characters reprising their television roles.

The next time

Daleks! Cybermen! Sacha Dhawan’s Hot Camp Master! Throwback mates from the 80s! For a man who started his first season in charge of Doctor Who promising no old monsters and no convoluted story, showrunner Chris Chibnall certainly seems to have thrown everything away and the kitchen sink in his era’s finale. and that of Whittaker, which will air later. this year to coincide with the BBC’s centenary. And by then, we might find out who returning Russell T Davies has cast as the 14th Doctor. I can not wait. Until there, let’s go!

Karl M. Bailey