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‘Doctor Who’ recap: 11×06 “Demons of the Punjab”

Doctor Who recap: Season 11, Episode 6, “Demons of the Punjab,” Aired Nov. 11, 2018

Can you believe this season of Doctor Who is over half over?! I know the episodes are longer now, but I’m missing the episode count of a typical season.

This week, we head into Yaz’s past despite the No. 1 rule of time travel being not to interfere in one’s own past. I guess we shouldn’t really be shocked. The Doctor has always had a soft side for her companions. She was never going to say no to Yaz’s request.

Doctor Who 11x06 Demons of the Punjab The Thirteenth Doctor time travel interfere in history
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Let’s travel back in time in Doctor Who 11×06, “Demons of the Punjab.”

One hour, no interfering

The Doctor takes Team TARDIS back to 1940s Pakistan so Yaz can see her grandmother. The first hitch comes when her grandmother tells the team that her wedding is the next day, and the man she’s marrying is not Yaz’s grandfather. Yaz has a rough time dealing with her grandmother’s secret past with childhood friend Prem. However, any intervention could lead to a world where Yaz ceases to exist.

Doctor Who 11x06 Demons of the Punjab The Doctor Yasmin Khan
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After an inspirational speech from Graham, Yaz tries to enjoy these moments with her grandmother, focusing less on wanting to change history to achieve the future.

Doctor Who 11x06 Demons of the Punjab Yasmin Khan Yaz interfering in Umbreen's history
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“They’re under my protection”

Classic Doctor line, and – no shock – Jodie Whittaker delivers it so well.

Doctor Who 11x06 Demons of the Punjab Jodie Whittaker is The Doctor
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Immediately upon stepping out of the TARDIS, The Doctor is stopped short by creepy visions. Each one brings her physical pain, and she appears to be intercepting the “demons” of the Punjab, former alien assassins.

They kidnap The Doctor and tell her everything. The changed assassins now “honor those who die alone.” Turns out the real villain was hiding in plain sight – Prem’s brother Manish, who could not get over his brother marrying Umbreen, who was of a different religion.

Doctor Who 11x06 Demons of the Punjab villains assassins turned witnesses
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Historical episode!

The backdrop to Doctor Who 11×06 was the Partition of India, where British India was divided into India and Pakistan. India was largely Hindu, and Pakistan was largely Muslim. As the assassins noted, many people died alone, seemingly vanishing as they were forced to leave their homes.

The Partition underscores the events of the episode, causing family tensions and putting Umbreen and Prem’s marriage in jeopardy because of religious differences. Ultimately, the Partition led to Prem’s death. And in typical historical episode form, Team TARDIS could do nothing to prevent this tragedy.

Doctor Who 11x06 Demons of the Punjab Yasmin Khan Yaz
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Second beautiful historical episode of the season. Seriously, the writers are hitting these past-based episodes out of the park.

Next week looks lighter, which will be nice after tonight’s emotional episode. Looks like there will be creepy android-type things. I’m in. Check back next week for “Kerblam!”

Next week:

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

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

(Image: BBC)

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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 Captain Swan. 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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