Doctor Who Recap: World Enough And Time There Isn’t

A black hole, says the Doctor, is the like the Superman of gravitational pull, but in this penultimate episode of the show’s tenth season, a black hole plays the part of supervillain. As if we didn’t have enough of them already. The supervillain field is more crowded than it’s ever been as the Doctor and Nardole come face to face with Missy (probably not good), an army of Cybermen (not good but it’s not their fault), and the Master (definitely, irredeemably evil).

Also, Bill’s been Cyber’d and the Doctor’s regeneration is on the very near horizon (as revealed in the pre-credits teaser). It’s basically the worst weekend ever.

Despite inspiring a reluctant delight over seeing the Cybermen and John Simm’s Master return to Who, this episode is a heart-crusher in so many ways. The Doctor’s greatest wish, for Missy’s rehabilitation, seems hopeless. His plea to Bill to wait for him and the way she holds onto it for years, until it’s too late (a cruel joke constructed by the Master), is harrowing. Even the Whovian inside joke about Twelve’s acceptance of the misnomer “Doctor Who” is somehow sad (and funny, and sweet, and also, as we’ve mentioned, sad).

Trapped aboard a massive Mondasian spaceship where the extreme gravitational pull of a black hole has created extreme differentiations in time zones (as marked by the elevator-based calendars on the wall), the Doctor is separated from Bill when a Blue Man Group understudy panics and shoots a soccer ball-sized hole in her chest. Bill is taken to bottom of the ship (the fast end) to be “repaired” while the Doctor, Missy, and Nardole work out a plan to go after her. The problem is, they’re operating in slow-motion.

While Bill recovers (a small kitchen appliance where her heart used to be), time passes. A lot of it. What amounts to 10 minutes for those at the top of the ship is years for people at the rapidly decaying bottom. And because the Master, posing as Bill’s only friend Jorj, has been monitoring the Doctor’s progress so closely, he knows when her rescue is imminent—and so he chooses that exact moment to strike. He tricks her into believing she’s heading for the elevators, when she’s actually destined for the operating theatre.

So the Doctor arrives too late—time, for once, works against a Time Lord. Can the clock be reset next week?

5 Questions About This Week’s Episode

1. Has Missy definitely gone back to her bad girl ways or definitely-maybe gone back to them? And why can’t she fully remember herself as the Master?

2. Recent Who history has shown the Cyber-ing process to be irreversible (see: Danny Pink). So what hope is there for Bill? Will the Doctor blame Missy for her fate?

3. Mondas is Earth’s twin planet—is that what kept the Doctor and Missy, clever as they usually are, from figuring out where they were until it was too late?

4. Can we talk about Jorj’s accent for a second? What was that? French-Spanish-Romanian?

5. Who’s playing the Thirteenth Doctor—or do we even want to know?