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‘Doctor Who’ season premiere recap: 12×01 “Spyfall, Part 1”

Doctor Who season premiere recap: Season 12, Episode 01, “Spyfall, Part 1,” Aired Jan. 1, 2020

What better way to start the new decade than with an absolutely epic episode of Doctor Who?! Oh, how I missed that theme song. And the TARDIS sound – like coming home. Let’s jump right into it, shall we? Fancy a trip in the box?

It’s good to be back.

“Dealing with the impossible”

Spies around the globe targeted by extraterrestrial lifeforms that wipe the human DNA from the agents and rewrite it – who you gonna call? The Doctor!

Unfortunately, the Doctor and her gang/team/fam are targeted, too. Since they’re in danger as well, they split up to get all the intel they can get – Yaz and Ryan to investigate the only lead they have, Graham and The Doctor to see her smart recluse ex-MI6 agent friend, O. 

Let me just say this episode included by far the most frightening GPS interaction I’ve ever witnessed. *Shudder*

Daniel Barton

Founder of search engine, app-maker, etc. Vor is the only link between the attacked spies. So what’s Barton got to do with it? 

Posing as a reporter and photographer, Yaz and Ryan got an interview with Barton himself. Armed with some pretty neat spy gear, they learn that Barton is only 93% human. I think Yaz asked it best; what’s the other 7%? 

So the two do some snooping, and Yaz gets taken by the aliens. After all, what’s a Doctor Who episode without an endangered companion? I’m expecting more from this plot, as Yaz is quickly returned to her friends with, apparently, minimal effects other than some PTSD. There has got to be more here.

New aliens?

These guys are creepy because they can be invisible, and they can go through things – technology, walls – you name it. Most of the characters can sense they’re around without seeing them, and that would make anyone incredibly uneasy. And then they show up as beams of light in a human silhouette, basically – cool, but spooky. And by the way, they’re after the universe. 

I still don’t really know what they are, and I’m hoping we get much more from them on Sunday. They are pretty darn interesting.

That twist!

**If you haven’t watched the episode yet, you may want to stop reading here and come back after you’ve seen it. Major spoiler ahead.**

I see lots of people saying they did not see that coming at all, and while I was suspicious of O for most of the episode (his extensive research of The Doctor, for one thing), I never ever would have predicted he’s The Master. That. Blew. My. Mind.

After that reveal, it’s no surprise that he controls the villainous creatures , whatever they are. At the end of the episode, it looks like The Master has finally bested The Doctor. Her companions are on a quickly crashing plane, The Doctor herself was taken by the aliens, and The Master is able to move around time causing mischief as he pleases.

Also, what are the alien creatures? And what’s up with Daniel Barton? Is it Sunday yet?


Now that was a Doctor Who season premiere! At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how they were going to drag this into a two-parter, but they really built up tension, anticipation, and a story. Oh yeah, and THAT TWIST. Luckily, we don’t have to wait a whole week for part 2; see you Whovians Sunday night!



What did you think of “Spyfall, Part 1”? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!

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


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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