Transcript for Flux: War of the Sontarans (S13E02) (A Wibbly Wobbly Minisode!)
Chapter Two of FLUX is here, so join Lucia and Talia as they unpack everything going on in THE WAR OF THE SONTARANS! Talia questions why Dan and not Vinder is the new companion, Lucia tried to figure out what the flux is happening, Azure and Swarm are giving us All the Queer Coded Villainy, and we discuss why putting marginalised people in danger (again!!) is such a problem.
Talia Franks: Hello, and welcome to the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast!
Lucia Kelly: I’m Lucia Kelly, expert at applied analysis, and WWTDD?
Talia Franks: And I’m Talia Franks media critic, fanfic enthusiast, and I want to ride a horse.
Lucia Kelly: And we’re here today for a Wibbly Wobbly Minisode!
Talia Franks: Today, we’ll be talking about Chapter Two of Flux, War of the Sontarans, which aired on November 7th, 2021.
Talia Franks: It was written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone.
Lucia Kelly: Reminder that time isn’t a straight line. It can twist into any shape and as such, this is a fully spoiled podcast. We might bring things in from later in the show, the comics, the books, the audio dramas, or even fan theories and articles.
Talia Franks: What’s the way you underestimated us you pathetic temporal hags! So, let’s get in the TARDIS.
Lucia Kelly: IMDB states that this episode synopsis thingamabob is: During the Crimean War, The Doctor discovers the British army fighting a brutal alien army of Sontarans. As Yaz and Dan are thrown deeper into a battle for survival. What is the Temple of Atropos? Who are the Mouri?
Talia Franks: And our synopsis is, that this is the episode where we question, why Vinder wasn’t the companion!?
Lucia Kelly: Oh my God! So many excellent companion candidates. This episode, we’ve got Vinder, we’ve got Mary fucking Seacole, and we’ve got Dan’s parents.
Lucia Kelly: I love his parents so much. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Their little family dynamic was so cute. I mean,
Lucia Kelly: They were adorable
Talia Franks: I am still annoyed that Dan is on the TARDIS at all. There should have only been one companion, and if there are going to be two, it should have been Vinder. Um, but. Dan’s mum is amazing.
Lucia Kelly: Dan’s mum is stunning. I want her, and I’m getting a lot of Jackie energy and you know how I feel about Jackie, I want Jackie 2.0! (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: I do know how you feel about Jackie. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: So this episode, oh my God. So much happened and I barely know where to start. Um, the drip from the Ravagers? (Lucia laughs) Oh my God. The fashion, I made a whole Instagram post about it. (Talia and Lucia giggle)
Lucia Kelly: Everybody in this episode was just like. There was style. There was so many things going on. I loved, I adored the aesthetics of The Temple, like everything about it, the little triangle priests, the way the light came shining in kind of like honeycomb and the, the design for the Mouri is just.
Lucia Kelly: Ah, beautiful. Beautiful. I adored it.
Talia Franks: Absolute chef’s kiss. Amazing. Amazing. If we were rating on production, it would definitely get a five.
Lucia Kelly: Oh yeah. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Also, I just love Vinder and Yaz’s chemistry, which is why I say
Lucia Kelly: Oh my gosh
Talia Franks: Vinder should have been the companion. He and Yaz have such great chemistry.
Lucia Kelly: They sure fucking do, like, you know, you know, I’m here for Thasmin, but like,
Talia Franks: I didn’t mean they had that kind of chemistry. I wasn’t seeing that. I just thought, I just thought that they, that they had a lot of like I
Lucia Kelly: I am just saying they were cute. They were really cute.
Talia Franks: Okay. If you say so, I just thought that they had a lot of onscreen, like they work well together.
Talia Franks: I got definitely the vibes that they. Like they click. They definitely are the type of people who work well together in a crisis, which is I think what you need with two companions who are working together.
Lucia Kelly: Definitely. Definitely.
Lucia Kelly: (Lucia sighs) I’m wondering whether we should save the conversation about this stupid lieutenant until our proper episode, or like… not. Like, THE PATRIARCHY! Fuck the Patriarchy! Argh!
Talia Franks: So, one thing I will say is that one thing I really appreciate about this Doctor is that she has a really great capacity for not acting any differently from the other Doctors. Because I feel like. There could have been a world in which a woman Doctor acted like significantly different than a male Doctor when confronted with people.
Talia Franks: But I feel like, you know, she still pushes on through. She still is the Doctor and yes, people do treat her differently because misogyny and patriarchy, but you know, she still, does the thing that needs to be done and she works around it in ways, obviously other doctors haven’t had to. But, I think she does it really well and the balance between, her having to navigate that lack of privilege while at the same time working toward her goals and not giving up her authority, I think is done really well.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, very much. There’s particularly, um, particularly I noticed this episode, there’s a shot, just before she meets Skaak to divulge where the Doctor, which I adored all of that, um, but there’s this particular shot as she sort of steps into the scene and into her power, which is, I can’t quite describe it, but the way that that is shot is distinctly masculine. You do not get that kind of framing for a woman basically ever. And it was just really cool because yeah, it’s the Doctor, they break gender stuff all the time. She gets the masc framing. It was great.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Yeah. And one thing I appreciated about that is that there’s kind of a tendency to when a woman steps into that role, there’s kind of a tendency when a woman steps into that role to have, the best way I can describe it is like girl boss energy, (Lucia mhmms) which, uh, I don’t like girl boss energy, like, it feels kind of fake and fabricated, because it’s like, it’s not, it’s not real boss. It’s girl boss. It’s like, You know, fem people can’t actually be the boss. They have to be the girl boss, but it’s like, no, it puts the Doctor on equal footing.
Talia Franks: And I don’t even want to say it’s like masc energy. I think it’s just, you know, authoritative. Because masculinity comes with authority, which is ridiculous. (Talia wheezes laughter)
Lucia Kelly: We could, we could get into the whole, the whole gender breakdown of how girl boss energy and that whole phenomenon actually feeds right back into the patriarchy.
Lucia Kelly: But it’s a minisode. So we’ll save it. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Ah, don’t worry. I’m sure that there’s a Rose episode or two where we could get into the girl boss energy.
Lucia Kelly: Okay. Speaking of Rose, I need to know, Chibnall, you just need to tell me straight out, is there going to be a reference to the famous Tyler? Because right now we’ve got the Rose outpost and. The, the number of references in this episode, two to past Who, particularly seasons one to four is wild.
Lucia Kelly: Um, the way the Lewis’s parents are introduced is mad Journey’s End, Rose coming to save the day. Like, it’s almost the exact same framing and the exact same sort of setup, except with Sontarans instead of Daleks. And then I was getting really nostalgic when, uh, Dan was breaking into the Sontaran ship and you have that whole like visual cuing to the whole three fingers, Donna-Doctor stuff.
Lucia Kelly: And then at the end, I mean, that was Christmas Invasion. That was Christmas Invasion right there. Right? Like it was. So, like, is this on purpose? It’s gotta be.
Talia Franks: Yeah. It’s definitely hitting a lot of the same story beats. Um, I’m not sure how much it’s on purpose or if it’s just that doctor who tends to hit a lot of the same story beats.
Talia Franks: The thing that I thought you were going to say that it’s connecting to Rose is that the Mouri talk a lot about time running wild and time being out of sync and things not being okay. And that makes me think of parallel universes and the capacity for Rose to potentially come back. But at the same time, I don’t want her to, cause I don’t like Rose. (Lucia wheezes and Talia giggles)
Talia Franks: If they bring a companion back, I want it to be Martha because she’s the only companion it makes sense to bring back. Cause like Martha and Ryan are the only companions that didn’t have devastating exits. So they’re the only ones who it makes sense to bring them back. I’m just saying. And Ryan left too recently.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, no, absolutely.
Lucia Kelly: It’s, (Lucia sighs) also the shadow proclamation was a referenced to, again, obviously with the Sontarans here, with Martha and the whole, the Sontaran experiment, and specifically using their breathing apparatus as a weak point. And also time is Evil? Question mark? Really fascinating how the triangle priests and by extension, I guess the Mouri talked about time as this very negative and active force, which was also giving me Bad Wolf sort of stuff as well. This idea of, um, a force that can manipulate the universe. Also also I call bullshit. I call bullshit as if, as if! Who assigned to the Mouri would be lost. That, (Lucia makes noises of frustration and Talia giggles) that makes no sense! That makes no sense that such a vital piece of information would not be accessible.
Lucia Kelly: That is just bullshit storytelling stuff. It’s a vital piece of information that we, as the audience, can’t know yet. It’s a good question to ask that if this was real life would absolutely be answered, but we’re holding it back for dramatic purposes and it’s. (Lucia makes more noises of frustration) Bullshit. (Lucia and Talia laugh)
Talia Franks: I gotta say one thing that I find interesting in that I’ve seen some people talk about is the idea that the Ravagers aren’t evil, like.
Talia Franks: That like, yes, they are evil. They’re murdering people like nobody’s business. If they kill Yaz—
Lucia Kelly: They murdered my triangle men, they did nothing wrong! They were perfect,
Talia Franks: If
Lucia Kelly: My beautiful triangle priests
Talia Franks: If they kill Yaz and Vinder, I’m going to riot. But my main point was that if the Mouri are actually evil and in the wrong, and especially if if the Ravagers, if they’re anti division, then I can’t completely hate them. (Lucia hmmms) Um, also they’re so stylish. Also they’re queer coded, I find it very hard to hate queer coded people.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, it is. I’m fascinated by this, this idea of this, so, we’ve been told for a really long time that the Time Lords were in charge of time. Right? Like that this is their division, if you will. Right? Like the Time Lords are the one who keep track of time and make sure everything’s okay. So what is all this? You know?
Talia Franks: The time words did control the division though.
Lucia Kelly: I mean, yeah. (Lucia laughs) But like,
Talia Franks: So that’s what I’m saying is how are the Time Lords and the Mouri, and the Division and the Ravagers all connected? And we’re still going to get Weeping Angels and Cybermen!?
Lucia Kelly: Right!? Like, it, it’s interesting that the Angels were introduced in the first episode and seem to be quite important. And then we got no Angels, no Claire, none of that storyline in this episode.
Lucia Kelly: So, and yeah, the, the trailer for next week, there’s cybermen as well. So we’re bringing everyone in. Um, Hmm. Hmm. Ah, it’s still act one. It’s still act one.
Talia Franks: Yeah. If I’m remembering correctly, the fourth episode is called Village of the Angels and that’s the one that’s co-written with Maxine Alderton. So that’s when we’re going to meet the Angels
Lucia Kelly: All right. All right. In defense of Dan.
Talia Franks: Please don’t defend Dan.
Lucia Kelly: He was pretty fucking adorable this episode. I’m sorry. (Lucia begins to speak in a pleading tone of voice) I mean, he, he made a wok pun. He’s trying so hard. He took a video evidence!? That is a good companion!
Lucia Kelly: That is a good companion. Well done. smart lad. (Lucia continues to plead as she argues her case) He did really good. He’s doing well. I’m rooting for him. I’mso sorry. I didn’t want to.
Talia Franks: He abandoned Diane. (Talia is incredulous)
Talia Franks: Who for all
Lucia Kelly: That was not his fault.
Talia Franks: He—
Lucia Kelly: That was not his fault.
Talia Franks: He knows he’s been gone for two days and that he stood her up.
Lucia Kelly: I am worried about Diane. I do want to know where she is.
Talia Franks: He stood her up for a date two days ago and didn’t even check on her.
Lucia Kelly: We don’t know that
Talia Franks: I think I remember he contemplated checking on her. He looked at his phone, but he didn’t actually verify that she was okay. And then he ran off to go do time and space.
Talia Franks: And I just, I don’t understand. Also, also he was like, oh, in these past couple of days, I’ve had some experience with aliens and time-travel or whatever, shut the fuck up. It’s been like a few hours for you,
Lucia Kelly: It’s been a few hours for him but it has been a few days. So he’s using their time? Maybe
Talia Franks: Still doesn’t excuse. (Lucia laughs) I don’t care for it.
Lucia Kelly: In my defense. He called the Sontarans potato heads and thought they had tempura control. I’m, I’m soft, that’s so cute. (Lucia trails off into laughter)
Talia Franks: You’re not going to get me to like Dan, Lucia.
Lucia Kelly: Tempura control. (Lucia laughs again)
Talia Franks: Yaz and Vinder. We end the episode with Yaz and Vinder being threatened and almost dying. And we think they’re going to die. The only reason I know they’re not dead is because they’re in the next episode trailers and promotional photos. And that’s the only thing that’s making me not about to riot because like, okay.
Talia Franks: So I tried to get into this last episode and then we got sidetracked, but the thing is, so the thing is Black people, people of color dying all the time is a problem because it’s a repeated pattern. It’s not a question of Black people are dying and oh, white people are dying too.
Talia Franks: Like, it’s not just that, it’s the fact that it’s a repeated pattern of violence. And in particular, what sometimes feels like senseless violence against people of color. And it’s that repeated pattern? That can feel triggering and upsetting, because it’s like, yes, there should be more representation. And it would also be weird if no people of color ever died on a show where people die all the time. But, it’s distressing when there’s a pattern of repeated violence and it’s a problem. It’s the reason why Midnight is my least favorite episode. Not just because it’s scary and it freaks me out. But because of Black women who we explicitly state in the text never gets a name. And that we do not care about enough because she’s just a service person. She’s just a laborer.
Talia Franks: We don’t care about her. And she goes completely unnamed and she sacrifices herself for all these people, mostly white people and the only other Black person in that episode also is degraded and constantly put down and ignored. And they’re both Black women. And then one of them dies completely unnamed.
Talia Franks: It’s a problem. Sorry, I didn’t mean to go on a Midnight rant, but I fucking hate that episode.
Talia Franks: Yeah. And anyway, that’s why I’m not super hyped about RTD coming back, because as they said in The Queer Archive podcast, one of the things that is distressing about RTD coming back is that yes, he’s grown as a writer but the thing that we want to be cautious about, isn’t the things that he regrets and is going to do better it’s the things that he doesn’t regret and he’s going to continue to do.
Lucia Kelly: Absolutely. Yeah. it’s about the relative representation and the patterns, right. The way that, a marginalised character dies or is in any way harmed or like any actions against them negatively is particularly important when you consider the amount of representation. Because there’s such a long history of white, straight, cis, heteronormative, people who are considered the norm, having so much representation, the, the balance is different, right? When you’ve got such a limited sample size. What happens is really important, because much like in real life, because that representation is so limited, they become unwilling sort of representations and representatives of their entire minoritized identity, (Talia mhmms) which is a direct result of the fact that they don’t have representation. Right. So yes, you know, The quote, unquote, normal population of whatever cast of whatever TV show does experience harm.
Lucia Kelly: But when the repeated patterns are always being victimized, sacrificed unnamed, you know, when, when the vast majority of one particular kind of person is always being hurt in order to serve the type of person that is in power, that feeds back into the reality that we live in. And it’s something that we need to stop in our fiction in order to, you know, set the example for our reality. (Talia mhmms)
Talia Franks: Yeah. And that’s definitely the problem that I have with ending the episode on Yaz and Vinder potentially dying. Because from future episode trailers, we know that they’re okay. But we end the episode with them being in peril and their status being questioned.
Talia Franks: Similarly with Diane she’s one of the first major representations we have of someone who is disabled. And, her last scene is her being threatened and we don’t see any more of that. And so it’s just, what, what are we supposed to do with that?
Talia Franks: Now, so my thinking is that we should probably move into the funky, fabulous or foul of this episode.
Lucia Kelly: I agree.
Talia Franks: I know I’m pretty firm in what I think, so I want to know what you think before I give my firm judgement.
Lucia Kelly: Well before discussing it. I was firmly in fabulous because even though this episode put me through an emotional roller coaster, which I did not appreciate (Talia laughs) the high points were super high and I enjoyed them immensely. (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: But now I am not so sure. And I’m upset about it
Talia Franks: I’m sorry to have put you in such turmoil as it were. Um.
Lucia Kelly: This is the problem with only having three results that I can choose from.
Talia Franks: I think before we had 30, because we could, we had five different categories that we rated on a, on a scale of zero to five.
Talia Franks: Me personally, my personal judgment is, funky. I think this episode wasn’t fabulous. It wasn’t foul. It was weird. It was uncomfortable.
Talia Franks: It had some high points, some very low points. I did not enjoy Dan as much as you did. Um, so this episode was funky. It’s funky to me. I’m not, not loving it. I’m not hating it. Um, I don’t like the ending. Um, so yeah, I’d, I’d call it funky.
Lucia Kelly: I am also calling it funky, but like a very high funky, like if we would, if we were putting this on a rainbow scale, right.
Lucia Kelly: And fabulous is red, and foul is indigo. It’s like an orange funky, like a deep, vermillion, kind of,
Talia Franks: Wait, why does red have to be good?
Lucia Kelly: ‘Cause. I was just starting at the beginning of the rainbow.
Talia Franks: No, but I fine
Lucia Kelly: It can be reversed then I don’t mind. What I mean is that like it’s right in the middle. I did really enjoy this episode, but I have to acknowledge the low points.
Talia Franks: You know, I just think the beauty of the rainbow is that all of the rainbow is equally valid.
Talia Franks: So I don’t think the rainbow is a good, is a good option. I think we should just do a numbered scale.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: So you want to call this a five on the funky scale.
Lucia Kelly: We’re getting in. We think about, we think about numbers and colors differently, I guess, (Lucia laughs) but yeah, sure.
Talia Franks: Whatever.
Talia Franks: (Lucia laughs) Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Um
Lucia Kelly: Us! Hello, I’m here too
Talia Franks: Yeah, that’s why I said thank you for coming on this journey with me.
Lucia Kelly: Oh
Talia Franks: We becomes us. Me and you
Lucia Kelly: It’s like how dare you! Co-host, co-host!
Talia Franks: No, me and you is us!
Lucia Kelly: Okay. Yes. Thank you for coming on this journey with me as well. We will see you next week.
Talia Franks: This has been the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast!
Lucia Kelly: We hope you enjoyed this adventure with us through space and time.
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Lucia Kelly: You can find out more information about us and our content on wibblywobblytimeywimey.net And full transcripts for episodes at wibblywobblytimeywimey.net/transcripts
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Talia Franks: Special thanks to our editor Owen Elphick who has been a vital member of the Wibbly Wobbly team.
Lucia Kelly: That’s all for now. Catch you in the time vortex!