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Doctor Who: Flux Reveals Chibnall Still Has One Storytelling Flaw

Doctor Who: Flux started with a bang as the titular Flux ravaged the universe, but a single line of dialogue just put the apocalyptic force on the back burner. The 13th season of Doctor Who, known as Flux, tells a single story across six episodes. It’s the final season produced under showrunner Chris Chibnall, with both he and lead actress Jodie Whittaker leaving the series in 2022.

Season 13, Episode 1, “The Halloween Apocalypse” revealed the titular Flux as a mysterious wave of energy cascading across the universe, destroying everything in its wake. Whole solar systems were turned to dust, clearly establishing the Flux as the major threat of the season. The first part of Doctor Who: Flux concluded with a cliffhanger ending as the TARDIS failed to stop the Flux, leaving the Doctor and the rest of the TARDIS team moments away from certain doom.

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While “The Halloween Apocalypse” set up the Flux as the main threat of the season, the “War of the Sontarans” simply pushed it off. Waking up on Earth, the Doctor brushes the cliffhanger aside saying, “If I had to call it, we're back on Earth, which meant the Lupari shield worked, but the TARDIS took a hit.” Whatever the hit was, it happened off-screen and the consequences are unstated. With four episodes of Doctor Who: Flux left to go, the unstoppable wave of destruction has already been stopped.

While the fallout from the Flux creates plenty of new opportunities for the story, the season is now posed with drastically reduced stakes. In “The Halloween Apocalypse” the Doctor faces one of the greatest threats in the history of the show, with every civilization in the universe hanging in the balance. In “War of the Sontarans” most of the drama is centered around a military skirmish in Crimea. While the larger Sontaran plan still jeopardized the future of humanity, it’s not anywhere near the all-encompassing threat of the previous episode.

When the show eventually circles back to the physical threat created by the Flux, it might be too late to spark interest. While the details are still unclear, “War of the Sontarans” has already set up a new threat that endangers time itself. Now at the center of Doctor Who: Flux, The Temple of Atropos has generated a brand new slate of mysteries. It’s likely the damage from the Flux played a crucial role, but it’s hard for a faceless wave of energy to compete with the nightmarish duo of Swarm and Azure, especially with so much of the action resolving off-screen. While the rest of Doctor Who: Flux promises plenty of universal peril, it looks like the Flux itself may have already fallen by the wayside.

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