‘Doctor Who: Series 11, Episode 6 - Demons of the Punjab’ - TV Review

Like the Doctor Who episode, “Rosa,” a few weeks ago, “Demons of the Punjab” focuses almost exclusively on historical events and keeps the sci-fi elements to a minimum.  Set during the Partition of India, the Doctor takes her companions back to 1947, so Yaz can see her grandmother’s past.

With the chaos caused by the redrawing of boundaries, the episode echoes the spreading partisan divide and nationalism prevalent today in movements such as the alt-right and Brexit.  Yaz’s Muslim grandmother, Umbreen, is caught up in a Capulet/Montague romance and is engaged to a Hindu man named Prem as their home is separated based on religion.  Prejudice beliefs bubble to the surface on the cusp of political strife.

The holy man set to officiate the wedding is found dead next to two Thijarians.  They are an alien race of former assassins who have changed their ways when they returned home to find their world destroyed.  To atone for their violent past, they seek out people who die alone and honor their deaths.  In the end, the creatures are benevolent, and the real monster is bigotry.

The Thijarians are interesting, and I would like to see them return someday to develop them further; however, the episode would have been better had they not been involved and it was purely a historical story.  They are mostly irrelevant to the plot, and the time spent to make them a red herring would have been better used to focus on the main story.  The thing that really bothers me with them in this episode is that their stated purpose is to visit people who die alone, yet all three of the deaths we see them visit are for people who are not actually alone.



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