'Doctor Who: Flux' Episode 2 Recap: War of the Sontarans

The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Mary (SARA POWELL), Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL), Dan (JOHN BISHOP) in Doctor Who: Flux

Last week's Doctor Who ended with the end of the universe as the Flux entered the TARDIS from every door. (There were a lot of extra doors.) The week opens with the Doctor waking up from a black and white dream with a giant haunted house to a snowy place she declares to be the end of the universe. At least Yaz is here and Dan too, for whatever that's worth. Also, there's a dead soldier with a Union Jack and a red coat looking like a Poldark extra that wandered in from across the BBC lot.

Mary Seacole: You think the army takes advice from a Doctoress?

Mary Seacole (Sara Powell) finds them there and naturally mistakes them for Thénardier-like scavengers. Hearing the Doctor declare herself, she seems surprised Florence Nightingale's workers are so close to the front. The timing, the dress, and the dead are enough for the Doctor to add up the clues. It is 1855, and this is the Crimean War. Correction: it would be the Crimean War, except the British troops are fighting Sontarans, not Russians. Clearly, there have been a few changes since we were last in the 1850s. But Dan and Yaz aren't there long; the collision between the Flux and Vortex energy send them on their way, sans Doctor. She can't follow, as the TARDIS has lost all its doors.

Left with Mrs. Seacole, the Doctor meets army head Gen. Logan of the Light Division (Gerald Kyd). He doesn't respect her much, but to be fair, she's pretty unfamiliar with Earth maps, or that Russia and China do not exist, only Sontar. Luckily, Mary's got a Sontaran prisoner patient (not Strax, but it is Dan Starkey), who the Doctor uses to contact their leader, Commandeer Skaak (Jonathan Watson). Skaak admits they timed their attack with the Flux, jumping in just as the Lupari shield went up. (Their Psychic Commander foresaw it coming.) The Doctor tries to stop the fighting, but the idiot British General is all too happy to fight the Sotarans, so war it is. Frustrated, the Doctor rounds up Mary and goes exploring in the Sontaran ships.

Dan (JOHN BISHOP) in Doctor Who: Flux
(C) BBC Studios – Photographer: James Pardon)

Dan gets sent home to the present day, where he discovers his house is not where he left it. (The Doctor gave it to him, it's in his pocket.) Being outside makes him a curfew breaker, and he finds himself on the run from Sontarans, only to be saved by his mom and dad, Neville and Eileen (Paul Broughton and Sue Jenkins). They tell him the Sontarans turned up right after "The Three Minute Eclipse," which was the Lupari shield surrounding Earth at the end of last week. Armed with his mother's wok, Dan heads into Sontar HQ on the Liverpool docks and sneaks on board the ships, filming it all on his phone for the Doctor in case she turns up.

Of course, she turns up. The two accidentally contact each other through time on the Sontaran intercom. It turns out there's a whole Temporal Invasion planned, with the Sontarans launching from 2021 Liverpool to colonize Earth back to the dawn of time. Dan is left to stop the launch while the Doctor has to stop the Crimean pilot experiment. With the General defeated, he's now willing to listen to the Doctor, who has him drain the Sontaran ships of their replenishing gases. That will force them to head back to Liverpool in 2021 to refuel. But before they can retreat, the General blows up all their ships, to the Doctor's rage and disgust. The TARDIS is also upset and comes to rescue her.

Dan gets caught by the Sontarans, but Karvanista rescues him since he's still on the prowl to keep his human alive. He helps Dan create a temporal implosion, removing all the Sontaran ships neatly without a single bit of bloodshed. (The General should take notes from this pup.) The Doctor arrives and orders Karvanista to protect 2021 while she and Dan head off to find Yaz and figure out what's corrupting the TARDIS. But before they can do much, the poor blue box is hijacked, taking them to parts unknown.

 Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL) in Doctor Who: Flux
(C) BBC Studios – Photographer: James Pardon)

The Doctor and company aren't the only Flux survivors. Serving Commander Inston-Vee Vinder of Kasto-Winfer-Foxfell is also alive and kicking, having met a Priest Triangle (Nigel Richard Lambert). The Flux event comprised the Temple of Atropos and the Mouri inside. Vinder is dragged to the Temple to help fix it. But the hallway isn't empty for long, as this turns out to be where Yaz was sent, as was Williamson, the guy from 1820s Liverpool who opened last week's episode. She tries to team up, but he wanders off, muttering, "All is porous." So when the Priest Triangle shows up asking her if she can repair, she channels her inner Doctor and declares that's why she's here.

Unfortunately, Yaz and Vinder can't figure out how one "repairs" Mouri, beings who funnel time through their bodies and keep it orderly. Help is on the way, though, but not the kind they'd prefer. Swarm, Azure, and some big hulking *thing* they refer to as "Passenger" (Jonny Mathers) show up. They've been here before. Azure takes out the poor little floating Priest Triangle when it recognizes them as banned from the Temple; Yaz and Vinder look on helplessly as the group gets to work.

In case you hadn't already figured it out, Swarm and his buds are the ones hijacking the TARDIS, bringing the Doctor and Dan to the Temple. As the episode ends, Swarm welcomes them to the planet Time and reveals his temporary fix to the Mouri: Replacing them with Yaz and Vinder. Once again, the episode ends cliffhanger style, with Yaz and Vinder about to die as Time is blasted through their bodies... or is it? At least this week's episode had a beginning, middle, and end, unlike the opener, but we're no closer to things making sense than we were at the end of the premiere.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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