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‘Doctor Who’ recap: 11×03 “Rosa”

Doctor Who recap: Season 11, Episode 3, “Rosa,” Aired Oct. 21, 2018

Happy Doctor Who Day, everyone! First takeaways this week: I still love the new theme, and I really missed the vworping of the TARDIS. It was so satisfying to hear. Also, Jodie Whittaker continues to shine. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop flailing over her.

Doctor Who 11x03 Rosa Jodie Whittaker Thirteenth Doctor

Now, let’s travel back in time to 1955 Montgomery, Ala.

Operation Rosa Parks

Doctor Who 11x03 Rosa Parks bus refusal

The gang gets to Alabama the day before Rosa Parks’ legendary refusal to move from her bus seat. Convenient, huh? The TARDIS followed out-of-place energy signals to that exact date, and The Doctor concludes that someone who has no business in 1955 Montgomery is after Rosa Parks. With that, the gang decide they must protect Rosa themselves.

Tough times

1955 Alabama is rough for the gang, with the locals discriminating against Ryan and Yaz. Graham and The Doctor have to sneak them around to keep them from getting hurt. A highlight: The two posing as a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Jobs. Nice one, Graham.

Doctor Who 11x03 Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker Graham Steve Jobs Bradley Walsh

Meanwhile, Ryan and Yaz think about their own situations in 1950s Alabama. Ryan, following Rosa Parks as a means of protecting her, gets invited into her little group, where one of the members is Martin Luther King. Even though he can’t change things for Rosa, he tries to keep her hopeful, in true Doctor Who fashion. The hope continues when Yaz tells Rosa that she’s a police officer. All this hope is one of the reasons I love Doctor Who so much.

Doctor Who 11x03 Ryan Sinclair Rosa Parks hope

Out-of-time imposter

Doctor Who 11x03 Rosa Thirteenth Doctor Krasko Josh Bowman Jodie Whittaker

Krasko, the racist muted criminal. He has a neural restrictor, so he can’t kill or harm anything, no matter how badly he wants to. Krasko is smart, though. He knows that small changes can have huge impacts, and he intends to see that things go wrong on December 1, 1955.

Doctor Who 11x03 Rosa Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker

Graham learns that Krasko gets bus driver James Blake to take off December 1 – the day he’s supposed to demand that Rosa Parks move from her seat. He and Ryan fix that while The Doctor and Yaz stick to Rosa like glue, making sure she gets on the crowded bus at the right moment.

Krasko himself was underwhelming, but the idea that small things have such gigantic impacts was well done.

Grab the tissues

Doctor Who 11x03 Rosa The Doctor Rosa Parks bittersweet moments

It’s always terrible in Doctor Who when protecting history means not helping their new friends, and this episode was no exception. The TARDIS team were supposed to get off the bus, but if they did, Rosa wouldn’t have been asked to move. Staying on the bust, they became a part of history. It was agonizing for them to have to contribute, but their participation made sure that history got back on track.


Wow, guys. Another incredible episode! It’s kind of cheesy, but I’m delighted with the emphasis on the universal impact of Rosa Parks. I mean, there’s an asteroid named after her. Doctor Who does the bittersweet especially well. Did anyone else get teary-eyed at this episode? Amazing.


Next week: Oh, gosh. Spiders. This will be interesting. Happy Halloween, Whovians!

What did you think of “Rosa”? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!

Doctor Who airs Sunday nights on BBC America at 8/7c.

(Image: BBC)


Jordan Alperstein

Jordy has a degree in English literature and communication studies. When she isn't attending concerts, she's watching way too much TV for her own good and fangirling over fictional characters. Jordy is a self-proclaimed optimist and bookworm, and she's a sucker for fantasy, superheroes, and good old-fashioned villains.

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