The Doctor Who Series 11 finale is finally here and with the exception of two short trailers and an episode description released by BBC Studios, we know very little about the episode itself. However, by combining the released episode descriptions with the visuals and dialogue from the trailers we can begin to put the pieces together.
Titled ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos,’ the official episode description is:
The Doctor and her companions receive nine separate distress calls, all originating from the mysterious planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos, which turns out to have been the site of a terrible battle. As further secrets are uncovered and strange forces gather in the mists, the only clue to what has happened on this world is a commander who has no memory. Mark Addy guest stars alongside Jodie Whittaker in the final episode of her debut series.
While the Doctor Who website gives a bit more information in their description:
On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos lie the remains of a brutal battlefield. But as the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan answer nine separate distress calls, they discover the planet holds far more secrets.
Who is the mysterious commander with no memory? What lies beyond the mists? Who or what are the Ux? The answers will lead the Doctor and her friends towards a deadly reckoning.
In addition to the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh), the episode will include guest stars Mark Addy (Game of Thrones) as Paltraki, the above mentioned commander with no memory, Phyllis Logan (Downton Abby) as Andinio, Percelle Ascott (Wizards vs. Aliens) as Delph, and Jan Le as Umsang.
The full trailer starts in the same way as the descriptions, with voice over describing “Nine cries for help all coming from the same planet” and a view of a planet with an obvious hot spot on its surface. Graham then provides comic relief in the TARDIS as the Doctor takes them away with a “here we go.” In this sequence we learn that all three of the companions are along on this mission and that it appears they are heading to a specific planet on purpose, rather than accidentally landing there (as has been the case for most of the season so far).
“Nine cries for help all coming from the same planet”
“Oh, another cheery one.”
“Here We Go”
When the Doctor and crew arrive at their destination, they appear to exit the TARDIS with unusual caution. Then we see an image of destruction, with humanoids visible beneath the hull of at least one heavily armed and armored ship. It is difficult to see if the image shows one ship with multiple sections or two ships. All around is metal wreckage, some of which is still on fire, indicating that the battle has not been over for long.
We finally meet Mark Addy’s amnesiac commander Paltraki, who, when asked who he is by a character off camera (I am told by people smarter than me that it sounds like Logan’s voice), says that he can’t remember his name. The dialogue is followed a quick view of a hand and a face trapped behind a pane of glass in some sort of gray mist (looks like it could possibly be the Doctor by the hand, neck, and nose shape),
(Woman): Who are you?
“I can’t remember my Name”
Creepy Doctor Hand?
We hear the probable voice of Logan again over shots of the Doctor running through the dark and using her sonic to analyze a crystalline structure. The voice wants to know “where is the object.” In the room where the Doctor is examining the crystal, we see Addy in addition to the TARDIS and Ryan and Graham. Yaz is not visible in the shot, either off camera or the gang split up at some point. Immediately after, we see Ryan and Graham in a seen where beings are coming towards them and Ryan yells “Run!” Very evident in this shot is the technological implant that the whole cast (including the Doctor, so not just humans) appear to be wearing on their necks and/or their temples. How did they get there? Who put them there? Why did they allow it?
(Same Woman): Where is the object?
The trailer then delves into a series of action shots. First, a scene where Graham appears to be (somewhat joyfully) holding a possible detonator. Next, a shot of Yaz running from a series of explosions (maybe the ones that are detonated by Graham). Third, the Doctor is to be working on some sort of gadget of gizmo under pressure of explosions and sparks. It appears there will be quite a bit of action and things blowing up in this episode, which will be encouraging to fans who have been complaining that season 11 has been “too boring.”
We hear a scream off-camera as Ryan is standing outside and turning around. It is unclear if he is responding to the scream, or if it is just voice over. Then, the most important part of the trailer: an indication that the Doctor and her companions are going to run into someone or something the Doctor has met before. We see a close up of the Doctor saying “I know that voice.” And then a flash to the Doctor Who banner, though this time rather than the lava-lamp look typical of this season, there is the look of an explosion of crystal-like structures. At the very end, a ship (obviously not the TARDIS) takes off from the center of the logo. The ship appears to be consistent in shape with the one we saw at the beginning of the trailer in the remains of the battlefield.
“I know that voice”
Ship blasting off from what looks like crystalline debris. Not the TARDIS.
In addition to the full trailer, BBC Studios also gave us a look at ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ in a “next time” teaser at the end of last week’s episode, “It Takes You Away.” While the teaser includes a lot of the same images as the trailer, it has a few additional scenes. First, it shows more of the Doctor and her crew’s first encounter with Paltraki. He explains that something about the battle that took place is keeping him on the planet.
Paltraki: I should have left
Doctor: Why haven’t ya
Paltraki: The Battle
And finally, the last scenes of the “next time” teaser gives us our biggest clue. Voiced over visuals of the Doctor running and looking genuinely scared, we hear an alien-sounding voice say “You give me my destiny.” There is a lot of speculation online that the voice is that of Tsim-Sha, the Stenza warrior the Doctor battled in “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.” Given that the Doctor recognized a voice in the longer trailer – and that Chris Chibnall has stated that he was not planning on bringing back big bads from previous seasons – Tsim-Sha makes sense – but the voice seemed even more garbled than Tsim-Sha’s was earlier in the season, so it is impossible to tell for sure. As we broke a couple days ago, we are going to see at least one classic Who villain this season – most likely during the New Year’s Special.
“You give me my destiny”
If you would like to perform your own analysis as you while away the remaining hours until ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos,’ check out the full videos below while we wait and watch to see what surprises Doctor Who has in store for us.