It’s been three months since that time loop battle the Doctor, Dan and Yaz had with the Daleks. The gang was hoping for a fun jaunt, but as usual they wind up somewhere else.
They wind up in a classic swashbuckling story with pirates, sea monsters, treasure…and special feelings.
Legend of the Sea Devils was an unusual way to celebrate Easter Sunday, but it was a very exciting story. The Sea Devils were first seen in the ’70s, but this group is very different. It wants to take the Earth back with climate change but the Doctor has other ideas.
It begins in China, 1807. A legendary pirate named Madame Ching (Crystal Yu) finds a statue of what seems to be a sea monster. A young man named Ying Ki (Marlowe Chan-Reeves) tries to stop her from getting a piece of it, but she winds up literally waking up the statue. It starts killing people, looking for a keystone
The Doctor, Yaz and Dan (in full Captain Hook mode) get involved when they hear screams and see odd things on the shore. They also see a levitating ship and a Sea Devil captain. It’s the same one that used to be a statue, and is called Marsissus (Craige Els).
His goal is to flood the Earth and take back the planet from the “land parasites”. There’s also a very big sea monster (called a Hua-Shen) that might remind people of the Meg. It even gets close to swallowing the TARDIS.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and her crew meet Ching, who is trying to find the treasure of Ji-Hun. She may want it for glory, but also admits she needs to pay ransom to get back her crew (including her sons). Throwing in a personal reason adds a lot of good shades in her character.
Much of the episode is the Doctor learning about the Sea Devils’ plans, but she also makes a side trip to the 16th century with Yaz to find Ji-Hun’s (Arthur Le) ship. They see him forcing his crew to jump off the ship, and bowing to Marsissus. They leave, and find the spot where the ship went down. It’s been buried under the ocean floor….thanks to the Hua-Shen. Then it was taken over by the Sea Devils, while Ji-Hun was kept in suspended animation. It’s a fate worse than death.
The Doctor tricks the Sea Devil leader talking a bit too much about his plans, then rescues Ji-Hun and gets his ship, too. Her entrance along with Ching and Ji-Hun is something to see. It’s followed by a very good fight scene where the good guys hold their own against the Sea Devils. The Doctor is upset Ji-Hun killed Marsissus, though, even if Ji-Hun had a reason.
What about that OTHER issue: Yaz’s feelings for the Doctor? This episode shows their feelings transcend gender. Remember, this is the first time the Doctor is a woman, and she’s starting to realize Yaz’s feelings for her. It might have been when she shows Yaz the view from the bottom of the ocean floor and says “Not a bad date, am I?” Then Yaz gives her that look. More on this later.
Marsissus eventually finds the keystone, which apparently has many powers like change matter or freeze time. It turned him into a statue for quite a while. Turns out Ying Ki had it, passed from his grandfather
Yaz and the Doctor work frantically to stop the flooding. The Doctor picks this time to say that Yaz is special to her, and would really have a date with her. Thing is, she also mentions her “wife” when she was a different man then. This is why their affection is special and not limited to gender.
Thanks to Ji-Hun’s sacrifice, everyone escapes with barely time to spare. It’ll be interesting if what happened in 1807 will affect the Doctor’s eventual encounters after this. Maybe they learned from what happened in China.
Finally, everyone takes a breather. Ching decides to let Ying-Ki join her ship, but no hugging. Dan tries to call Diana on his cell (from 1807?) and actually talks to her. She hopes to see him again.
As for the Doctor and Yaz, the Doctor admits she can’t fix herself to one spot or one person. They both agree to live in the present, and appreciate what they have. It ends with the Doctor making a wish, which she knows won’t last long.
A lot of fans of Jodie Whittaker really hope that her tenure aboard the TARDIS didn’t have to end in a few months. Her character’s advice to live in the present may be the best.
Soon, it will end, though. Of course, the Master will be involved along with some familiar enemies and….
two very popular Companions we have not seen in a while.