Top 10 New Who Episodes That Should Have Been Two-Parters (5-1)
Guest contributor Owen Davies concludes his count down of the episodes that could have used an extra part.
In the eight-year history of Doctor Who’s revived series, we have been treated to many fantastic episodes. However, we have also had some episodes that haven’t quite lived up to their full potential. Here are my top 10 episodes that could have used an extra part to really shine. This list is ranked based on how much I liked the episode, regardless of how much better it could have been and how much it would have benefited from another part.
5. The Bells of Saint John
When introducing a new companion, it needs to be done with style. The Bells of Saint John, in my opinion, is the weakest of all the companion introductions so far.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Clara is a bad companion, although I haven’t seen enough of her yet to have strong feelings either way. The reason why The Bells of Saint. John is on this list is simply because it is a forgettable episode and a new companion introduction shouldn’t be. Nothing much happens in this episode. Clara gets attacked by that robot thing, hacks into the Shard, gets sucked into the Wi-Fi, the Doctor saves everyone. The problem with this one is that Clara doesn’t do much apart from the hacking, which is not what a new companion should be. Think about Rose back in 2005: the new companion saved the Doctor from the Nestene and he would be dead without her. Martha revived the Doctor in Smith and Jones. Even Amy made sure Prisoner Zero was captured while unconscious. Clara just… kind of gets stuck and the Doctor has to get her out. This story could have done with another part to develop Clara a bit further and feel a little less rushed.
Where Part 1 Could Have Ended: As Clara is trapped in the Wi-Fi.
4. The Wedding of River Song
If you are a regular to this site, then you’ve probably already seen the article on pros and cons for this episode, so this might be a slight re-hash.
The first thing was I wanted to see more of the world. The idea of time splintering and everything happening at once was very intriguing and I would love to see more of the effect this had on the setting of the episode. Sadly, we get a few brief glimpses and then it’s off to the Area 52 for the rest of the episode. Another part might have offered an intriguing change of locale. The TARDIS, for instance?
Another thing was the huge cop-out ending of how the Doctor survived. I expected something imaginative and clever, not just ‘he’s a robot’. This felt like a cheap ending and left me a bit annoyed. Although, the revelation regarding the question was pretty inspired. Another part would have helped explore the alternate timeline and perhaps the Silence, as well. They are some of the most criminally under-used monsters on Doctor Who.
Where Part 1 Could Have Ended: Perhaps right when the timeline splinters? Or when the Silents break out of their glass prisons?
3. Victory of the Daleks
I still like this episode. I don’t care what anyone says. Although I don’t love it. And the reason it is at Number Three is because it was so close to greatness. Bracewell struggling to cope with not being human and contemplating suicide was nearly perfectly emotional on the level of Vincent and the Doctor but, ultimately, ended up feeling a bit rushed. He changes to being happier much too quickly. The Doctor’s dilemma over whether to save Earth or finally destroy the Daleks is interesting as well, showing how much he is willing to sacrifice to do the right thing. The first part could have showcased the Doctor trying not to lose his temper over the Daleks, while the second part could have focused on their plan to destroy London by turning on the lights. Because, at the moment, that plan almost had no tension when it was being carried out because it was stopped so quickly by three Spitfires in space-proof bubbles. This episode was so close but just needed a little bit more to be a real gem.
Where Part 1 Could Have Ended: “Behold! The restoration of the Daleks!”
2. Nightmare in Silver
This episode, again, needed another episode to build up the tension of the threat. Neil Gaiman claimed that he was going to make the Cybermen scary again. And he nearly did. The first half of this story did have me a little bit apprehensive of the Cybermen, I will admit. But it was just far too rushed, not helped by the unnecessary child characters that, quite frankly, just irritated me.
One minute it’s, ‘The Cybermen are unstoppable.’ and the next it’s, ‘Oh, wait. They are.’ The episode moves on so fast that there is no real threat. Once you have a whole army of Cybermen, the episode becomes an action movie and there is zero tension. Furthermore, when it was revealed that Warwick Davis’ character was the Emperor, I wondered how on Earth we were supposed to guess that. It would have been nice if we had a hint or two, so we could have worked it out from the hints alone. Also, the Emperor proposing to Clara was just weird and out of the blue, considering he had known her for all of a few minutes. The Doctor’s chess game with the Cyber Planner was interesting and should have been extended to give us a fascinating insight into the Doctor’s mind. Sadly, it was cut short all too soon.
Another part to this story could have made the Cybermen truly scary again and helped developed some of the secondary characters. It would also have given us an interesting take on the Doctor.
1. The Power of Three
I understand what Chris Chibnall was trying to do with this episode, I really do. Trying to give us a companion’s point of view on life with the Doctor and made Rory and Amy ask themselves how long they should travel with the Doctor for. It explored the dynamic between the characters and had genuinely funny and emotional moments. It also introduced us to Kate Stewart, to carry on the legacy of the Brigadier. Like Victory of the Daleks, it was so close to greatness.
But the ending was one of the most contrived that I have seen in a long time. The Doctor literally sonic screwdrivers his way out of the problem. This episode could have been so interesting with the enemy, who I thought showed promise. I really wanted to find out more about the Shakri and this Tally that they served. It would also have helped to explore the whole Doctor/Amy/Rory dynamic more and expand on the Ponds deciding whether to go with the Doctor or stay behind.