|Written by||Chris Chibnall|
|Directed by||Jamie Childs|
|Produced by||Nikki Wilson, Adam Friedlander & Alex Mercer|
On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos, a battlefield, a conflict-scarred survivor, and a deadly reckoning await The Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham. On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos lie the remains of a brutal battlefield.
2018, the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos. The planet is devoid of any sign of life except for an older woman named Andinio, and young man named Delph. Andinio is testing Delph to see if he can harness their powers on his own. Delph begins building something out of the surrounding rock when suddenly blue energy crackles behind them. Andinio snaps Delph out of his trance, drawing his attention to a figure stumbling in an attempt to get up.
Elsewhere, in the TARDIS, the Thirteenth Doctor is giddy, there are nine separate transmissions calling for help from the same location on one planet. Graham wonders why they have to always answer distress calls. The Doctor explains that everyone else is passing up the distress signals like they don’t care, so it gives them a mystery to solve. The atmosphere of the planet is also quite unpleasant, exposure to it will cause paranoia and irrationality. The Doctor pulls out a box, which contain neural balancers, they keep the brain from being affected once applied to the temple. Once everyone has one, The Doctor pulls the lever…
The TARDIS materialises inside one of the ships giving off the distress signal. The group disembarks, hoping to find someone to explain all the distress calls. A scared man points a gun at them, demanding to know if they are with “them.” The Doctor explains they’ve only just arrived and can’t be in league with someone they’ve never met, they only want to help. The man considers it for a moment, but then seems to forget their entire conversation, demanding to know who they are. The Doctor kindly re-explains and offers a neural balancer to help calm him, she shows one is one her head as a gesture of trust. The man accepts the device and instantly calms once its working. Though calm now, he is missing some memories, his first name and his immediate past. Though he does remember his last name is Paltraki. The Doctor examines the systems, finding that everything is actually in order.
A transmission is then picked up, making Paltraki shove everyone out of view. Andinio appears on the screen, demanding to that he returned what he stole from the Creator. When Paltraki refuses, a sinister voice rasps a warning. Team TARDIS are in disbelief as they know that voice…. it’s the voice of Tim Shaw! At that moment, a Stenza mask fills the screen, threatening the life of his crew if he does not return what was stolen. Tim Shaw kills a woman named Umsang, threatening to end the lives of the last two of his crew if Paltraki does not comply. The Doctor wonders what he stole, so Paltraki show her a crystal-like object with a rapidly moving black object inside of it. A scan of the sonic reveals that there’s too much data from the object inside to understand what it is. However, The Doctor is sure that what they have to do is stop Tim Shaw from causing anymore senseless violence. Finding throat mics, The Doctor gives one to each of her companions, she grabs supplies, telling them they need to find Tim Shaw and use the crystal as a battering tool to buy time until they can figure out his plan.
They head outside, where there are eight other vessels in wreckage around them. The Doctor concludes this explains all the different distress signal in the same location. Paltraki points to an object barely visible through the mist in the distance, that is where Tim Shaw is. As they walk off, Graham asks The Doctor to stop a moment so they can talk. He reveals that when they defeated Tim Shaw, he vowed to kill him if he ever saw that Stenza again. The Doctor tells Graham that he’s better than that, killing will make him just as bad as Tim Shaw. Worse, The Doctor will not permit Graham to continue traveling with her if he stoops that low. Graham tells The Doctor that she has no say in his choices, despite her claiming otherwise.
They arrive underneath the object, which Paltraki calls the temple. The Doctor pulls out grenades from her back pack. Ryan is quite surprised as this goes against everything The Doctor told him, she was quite angry with him for shooting SniperBots. The Doctor explains that she has no problem with using these things to remove walls and doors blocking the way, but living beings is where she draws the line. She tells Ryan not to quote her back on that as her rules are always changing. She attaches the grenades to the crystal, creating a”dead-man switch”, if she’s fatally injured, it will detonate the crystal. The Doctor is taking advantage of regeneration to get past a normally, suicidal plan. Scanning the temple, The Doctor finds the “doorbell”, which transports them inside the temple. Despite the rocky exterior, the inside resembles a modern spaceship. She splits up the group, sending Graham and Ryan to find the crew and rescue them, while Yaz and Paltraki look for similar material to the crystal, its their best way of understanding why Tim Shaw wants it back so badly.
Ryan and Graham discuss Graham’s desire to kill Tim Shaw, which Ryan attempts to talk him out of both because of the Doctor’s rules and because he loves his grandfather. However, Graham is sure that Grace would want them to kill Tim Shaw to stop him from spreading anymore death and misery. They are caught by SniperBots, which give chase to them. Luckily, they manage to duck when surrounded, allowing the fire from both sides to knock the SniperBots down. Ryan and Graham manage to find the crew in stasis chambers similar to the crystals, however, their job is much more complicated than they thought. There’s a total of 30 people trapped. Its the crews of the other eight ships.
The Doctor, meanwhile, is found by Andinio, who holds her at gunpoint to demand the return of the crystal. However, The Doctor reveals her stalemate, making Andinio explain that she’s an Ux. The Doctor is elated at the idea of meeting an Ux, but then wonders why they are working for Tim Shaw. She demands that Andinio show Tim Shaw that she’s there. Once she does, Tim Shaw demands that The Doctor be brought to him, Andinio is confused as to how her “god” could know The Doctor. The Doctor is a sarcastic quip about how “shocking” it is.
Brought before Tim Shaw, The Doctor teases him about his new look, she shows off her new coat. When asked how long its been, Tim Shaw reveals that its been 3407 years since their fight in Sheffield. The Doctor laughs that the last seven years must have seemed to drag on. Tim Shaw tells Andinio to get Delph ready, which she momentarily hesitates to do. Tim Shaw reveals that the DNA bombs had corrupted his teleport device, banishing him to this planet, without a spaceship, or a teleport, he would die if he attempted to leave. However, as luck would have it, the Ux found him and foolishly believed him to be their god, they did everything they could to keep him alive. The Doctor is disgusted with Tim Shaw for deceiving such brilliant, yet naive people, not to mention Tim Shaw’s newfound god complex.
Elsewhere, Yaz and Paltraki have found a room with similar crystals and inform The Doctor. The Doctor asks Tim Shaw about their importance. He reveals that he’s used his knowledge in conjunction with the Ux powers to carry out the most basic of motives for a living being… revenge. He has taken revenge on the worlds that opposed the Stenza. The Doctor realises to her utter horror the black objects are shrunken planets. Paltraki finally remembers that he and several others were sent here to stop Tim Shaw as his capturing of the planets wiped out all life on them. The Doctor knows immediately that the Ux built a weapon for Tim Shaw, she demands to know where they’ve hidden it in the temple. However, Tim Shaw tells her the temple is the weapon. Now he will take his revenge on her by taking his latest trophy – the Earth.
At the same time, Andinio has arrived in a room where Delph is held prisoner in a frame to harness his powers. Delph pleads with Andinio to see Tim Shaw is not their Creator. However, she ignores him and powers up the temple. A beam of red light shoots out and opens a portal to the Earth. The light begins enveloping the planet, when its completely cover, its game over for all life on it. The Doctor calls Tim Shaw a fool, there are consequences for attempting to break the laws of the universe. Tim Shaw simply tells The Doctor that the death of everyone on the planet she loves so much will be her consequence for interfering with his hunt. The Doctor races to stop the Ux, as Tim Shaw tells her that its useless, even in exile he rules.
In Tim Shaw’s trophy room, Ryan and Graham work to free everyone. However, the SniperBots are working to get in the room. Once everyone is evacuated, Graham tells Ryan that he has to stay behind to detonate the bomb on the door, it’s the only way to sufficiently damage the SniperBots to cover their escape. Ryan sadly parts ways with Graham. Ryan runs into The Doctor, Yaz and Paltraki, The Doctor informs the men to lead the survivors to Paltraki’s ship for safety. In the meantime, Graham succeeds in taking out the SniperBots, he takes one of their weapons to wait for Tim Shaw.
The Doctor and Yaz run to where the Ux are powering the temple. After some debate on how to stop the temple without killing the Ux, The Doctor realises that their neural blockers can be used to stop the telepathic connection to Andinio and Delph. However, it also means having to endure the paranoia-inducing atmosphere, Yaz decides its worth the risk to save Earth. With blurring vision from the effects starting, both The Doctor and Yaz attach the neural blockers to the Ux, stopping the temple and releasing the Earth from its death grip. Andinio is outraged by The Doctor stopping them from serving the Creator, but The Doctor forces the old woman to face reality, Tim Shaw is not a god, but a monster who has been taking advantage of them for centuries. Delph, now free, tells Andinio that The Doctor is right. The Doctor further tells them that they are the Creators, because they create.
However, things soon become much worse. Because of all the strain Tim Shaw has put the temple, the Ux and the very laws of reality through, the miniature planets are beginning to lose their stability. If those crystals break, it will cause destruction beyond comprehension. However, The Doctor has an idea and calls the TARDIS to her, she is going to hook the Ux up to the telepathic circuits, which will allow them to use the temple to send all the planets back to where they came from at the same time, restoring balance to the universe. The plan is successful, but severely draining to the Ux.
Tzim-Sha arrives in his trophy room, where Graham is waiting. Graham tells him that he had wanted to kill him for the death of his wife, but he has chosen to be the better man and not kill. Tzim-Sha calls him foolish and approaches to kill him with a deadly frozen touch. However, Ryan appears behind him and causes the Stenza to divert his attention. Graham takes the moment to shoot Tzim-Sha in the foot, knocking him down. Ryan is shocked, but Graham defends that he only wounded his foot. They tell Tzim-Sha that they sentence him to life, trapping him inside his own trophy case. They tell him as he ponders about how this went wrong, he should always remember the name Grace; her death motivated them to put him in this hell. Graham and Ryan rejoin The Doctor, who is proud of Graham for being the better man. However, Graham considers that not having the will to kill someone horrible makes him weak, but The Doctor counters that he is one of the strongest people she knows.
The Doctor takes the Ux to Paltraki’s ship, where Delph decides that the Ux must be part of the civilisations in the universe. It was because of their isolation on this planet that they mistook a monster like Tim Shaw for a god. Andinio agrees with Delph, explaining that they’ve locked Tim Shaw’s temple and no-one will be able to get to him. Team TARDIS bids everyone farewell.