‘The Ghost Monument’ is the chemistry-setting second episode we need as we make our way into the era of Jodie Whittaker.
As I assumed in ‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth,’ a lot of the character building will focus on the relationship between Ryan and Graham. We immediately split them off from Yaz and the Doctor, forcing them to rely on each other in a desperate and unpredictable situation. Though their separation from the other two isn’t very long, it’s enough to get the ball rolling for them as characters who need to explore their relationship with each other. It also gives Yaz a chance to shine as an independent character, though I certainly hope she gets more focus in the future. ‘The Ghost Monument’ gives all of the new companions a bit of development, fleshing them out as real people that we’ll grow to love, though we have a long way to go before we truly know them as people.
Now that the Doctor has began to settle down after her regeneration, we’re also learning more about her as an individual, too. She has the same confidence and sass as her previous iterations, but there was a hint of vulnerability that was uniquely her as well. When she began to doubt herself, her new friends were there to lift her up. This is a great team and a perfect fit as we explore new territory with the Doctor. She’s different than her previous iterations, as are all regenerations, but no doubt the same Timelord we’ve grown to love over the years.
I appreciate that they aren’t shying away from addressing the gender change, too. Near the end when she refers to herself with a masculine nickname, it takes her a moment to correct herself. This is a first for us, but a first for her as well. We’re in new territory now and even she’s having a bit of an adjustment period. I hope it doesn’t become a gimmick, but so far it’s been handled well.
Another thing about this new series that I’m appreciative of is the subtle inclusiveness that’s present in every episode so far. The first episode was pretty blatant in the sense that we have our first female Doctor, but the companions are unique as well. We have two POC companions, and the one white male is older than a typical long term companion. In ‘The Ghost Monument’ we get another bit of diversity with a queer woman character as a primary player in the self contained episode. When Graham reveals that the Stenza took his wife, Angstrom replies “mine too.” Its a subtle moment, but it’s there.
Speaking of the Stenza, it appears these episodes aren’t as self contained as I assumed. It’s quite possible that this is our big bad of the season, or at the very least a connecting thread to reveal a much larger threat. While I’m sure there will be several episodes that have little to do with whatever overarching plot they’re creating, I’m glad that there’s something there to tie it all together. I much prefer longer more complex stories instead of one off episodes. I look forward to seeing how this develops.
We’re ready to take off at full speed now. We’ve got the Tardis back. We’ve got a new opening. We’ve got eager companions excited to travel with the Doctor. We are in for a proper season of Doctor Who now, so buckle up.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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