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Why Doctor Who Keeps Failing Yaz (& How To Fix It) | Screen Rant

Yasmin Khan has been a Doctor Who companion since 2018, but the show has wasted her potential. Doctor Who’s 13th season, entitled Flux, will be the last full season for Mandip Gill as Yaz. She will depart the series in 2022 alongside Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall. Chibnall’s time as showrunner has been met with widespread criticism, with Yaz’s lack of development and underutilization in the story as one of the most frequent complaints.

Officer PC Yasmin Khan, better known as Yaz, was introduced alongside the newly regenerated 13th Doctor in Doctor Who season 11, episode 1, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.” Yaz gained particular distinction as the first companion of South Asian descent to appear in the long-running series. With Chibnall’s reputation for well-developed characters, the TARDIS team as a whole, and Yaz specifically, became one of the most anticipated elements of Doctor Who’s 11th season. So, what went wrong?

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Despite being the 13th Doctor’s longest-serving companion, Doctor Who has consistently underutilized Yaz. While Yaz’s backstory has all the elements for a strong, dynamic character, she hardly ever has an impact on the story, and is rarely the center of attention, even in stories that ostensibly focus on her. With the end of Yaz’s time on the show in sight, Doctor Who needs to make a change and put Yaz in the spotlight.

While her fellow companion, Ryan Sinclair, also received criticism for some dubious choices with his characterization, he was at least given something to do. Instead, Yaz has consistently been pushed to the background. Throughout season 11, Yaz’s inaction became something of a running gag for viewers. Doctor Who seemed to go out of its way to put the character in scenarios where her police background would prove beneficial, only to ignore it completely. In Season 12, Chibnall made a clear attempt at a course correction but ultimately left Yaz underutilized. For instance, the 2021 New Year’s Special “Revolution of the Daleks” opened with Yaz in detective mode, investigating The Doctor’s absence. While this moment paid lip service to the idea of making Yaz more active in the story, the episode left her playing second fiddle to the returning Captain Jack Harkness for the remainder of its runtime.

Flux offered a last chance at rehabilitating Yaz and giving Mandip Gil the material to stand out. Season 13, episode 1, “The Halloween Apocalypse” seemed aware of this challenge, quickly giving Yaz a moment on her own, freeing Dan from Karvanista’s cage. But the scene has proven to be another empty promise. Only a few episodes into Flux, Yaz has already been put on the back burner with a paper-thin story and little to do in each episode. Season 13, episode 3, “Once, Upon Time” has the story once again simply unfolding around her. In the final moments of the episode, Yaz takes a stab at having an active role in the story, attempting to solicit information from The Doctor, only to be shot down by The Doctor saying, “Does everything have to be a discussion? Go on. In.” the moment is intended to show The Doctor’s secrecy, but instead it highlights just how little impact Yaz is allowed to have on the plot.

With only the tail-end of Chibnall’s run of Doctor Who left to air, there’s precious little time to redeem Yaz as a companion. Despite that, viewers remain eager for Yaz to receive some much-needed attention. While it may be too late for Doctor Who to provide Yaz with a lengthy, nuanced character arc, it can still give her a story where she can take charge and use the skills she already has. Yaz needs a scene where she feels like a competent person, with training and expertise, making her own choices and having a genuine impact on the story. Hopefully, in season 13 Chibnall will use one of the remaining stories to give her just that kind of memorable moment.

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